LONDON FIELDS REED SHACK
Reeds & Reedmaking for the Modern Bassoon
Rick Yoder, Proprietor
- Try other players’ reeds, if they’ll allow you to do so, at every opportunity. Experience with a wide variety of reeds will permit you to learn what you can, and cannot, expect from reeds, and to learn what you like and don’t like. You will be genuinely shocked at what you learn.
- Always have at least two or three reeds that you are comfortable playing, and alternate using them. There’s nothing worse that getting used to one reed and then finding one day that it doesn’t feel right anymore, and you also don’t like any of the others that you have available.
- When you finish a playing session, as soon as possible clean the reed. I recommend holding the reed under running water and gently brushing the blades towards the tip with a toothbrush. Then blow through the reed forcefully from the butt end, and allow to dry outside the reed case.
- If you treat your reeds well, you can expect each reed to last about 10-15 playing sessions (hour-long practice, or longer rehearsals and concerts).
- Have your bassoon checked at least once a year by a professional bassoon technician who uses a vacuum leak-testing machine such as the Magnehelic. No reed will play well on a bassoon that leaks. Between check-ups, learn to test your bassoon for leaks yourself. (Check back on my blog, where I will be posting information on how to test for leaks.)
- Soak the reed in warm water before use. Put the reed in water blade-first and leave it until you can see that the water has soaked through the fibers on the butt end (about 5 minutes). Or, if you are leaving home to play a gig, soak the reed for 1 or 2 minutes at home
and place it in your reed case; when you arrive it will be ready.