About Our Reeds...
As professional bassoonists, we are continually searching for the perfect reed. As most
bassoonists will tell you, and we agree, there probably is no such thing - we wish there
was. But, we have tried to create a reed style that will serve many different people at
different skill levels. Each of our reeds are play-tested several times, and are designed to
be balanced and voiced appropriately for anyone who is using adequate support on the
bassoon. Our philosophy, and hence our name, is based on our belief that the unique
sound of the bassoon is just too wonderful not to be heard. We believe in a "bel canto"
style of playing that needs to be supported by a LARGE QUANTITY of air. If you
initially have trouble with our reeds it is likely due to insufficient support to drive the
vibration of the reed and the bassoon.
When you first get our reeds...
When you first get our reeds they will likely be quite dried out. You will need to soak
them, preferably in warm water - and no more than 5 minutes - but they may initially
swell and the tip might be more open than you would like. This can easily be fixed by
closing the first wire down- preferably with a mandrel and pliers- to 1/16 of an inch.Be
sure not to close it too much or you will notice that the first finger E will sink and the
sound will be quite "buzzy". As you play in the reed you may need to open the tip again -
this time by squeezing the sides of the first wire. Advanced players may want to
experiment with the second wire, but this should not be necessary. A very good chart for
learning the effects of changing the wires can be found in the "Art of Bassoon Playing"
by William Spencer.
The effects of embouchure on reeds...
There are nearly as many embouchure styles as there are differing reeds. We teach and
advocate what is called a "soft-cushion" embouchure with a slight overbite and the teeth
down and not actively involved with control of the reed. There are many ways to think of
forming this embouchure. My favorite is to have students drop their jaw while they use
just enough muscle to keep the lips together. This creates the feel of the openess and
"cushion" that we teach. This flexible style allows the reed to vibrate and also offers
control of tone quality and pitch.
If you find you are having trouble with the reed and you have confirmed that the tip is
open no more than 1/16 inch, then you may want to investigate your embouchure. We
have found the very best way to do this is to buy a small "locker" mirror and place it on
your music stand. Focus on watching your embouchure while you are playing scales and
Our pricing philosophy...
Our reeds are hand-made in advance of your order so they start the seasoning process
long before you need them. Each reed has to pass muster with both of us before we will
send it out.We know there are cheaper reeds on the market, but we believe that $15.95
(us) is a fair price for our reeds - and that you will think so too after you try them.
These reeds are probably not the most economic option for beginning players who may
go through many reeds in a short period of time. However, once a player is established,
reeds can last a significant amount of time and are an investment in making playing
(and life?) easier. We hope that you will find our reeds to be of superior quality and
worth every cent of their price.
|Bel Canto Reeds
- premium quality hand-made bassoon reeds -