Bassoon Emergency!

 

 

 

 

 

broken D key

The unthinkable happened, in my absence my bassoon took a fall. I left it on a bassoon stand and left my room for a few hours. Some combination of either pets or siblings knocked it over and there was MAJOR damage done to my left thumb keywork.

The D key completely broke off and the C key was bent outwards by about half an inch. After finding it and nearly having a heart attack I immediately called Daniel Deitch. He scheduled me for a repair the very next day! I had a service of Marriage of Figaro the day and it only took him a few minutes to repair it.

He said that there had been a hairline crack in the key since the pieces were so oxidized at the ends and that maybe that key was damaged years before.

 

There is a spot missing in the plating but bassoon is back to %100

Daniel Deitch is amazing! If you are in SF you should really go and see him.

www.danieldeitch.com

 

Fixed D key

Marriage of Figaro

I have been lucky enough to get some opera work this summer, and even luckier that the orchestra is all great players! We are playing Marriage of Figaro with the Opera Academy of California. The venue is by the sea in San Francisco’s Fort Mason center which prompted me to revive my Legére reed.

My last Legére reed had so many cracks in it that it was eventually unusable and so I went right back to cane reeds. However this year at the IDRS convention I picked up a new one to see if maybe I had a dud before. So far this reed sounds great but there are cracks down one of the blades so we will see how much longer it will last!

Legére reed

Shapers

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One of the defining aspects of creating tone on the bassoon is the shape of the reed. Shapers are made by many different companies, and each company offer different dimensions. These design differences correlate to players’ theories about reed dimensions. Some top players even have their own shapes manufactured to unify their own reed style.

Shapers are made of shaper handles and shaper tips. The shaper tips are the pieces with varying dimensions, and many shaper tips can fit into the same shaper handle to process cane. Straight shapers do not require shaper handles and are usually cheaper. For shaping with regular shapers the cane is folded in half and so only two sides need attention. The set back of the straight shaper is that the cane is not folded over and so four individual side of cane need to be cut evenly.

I own three shapers myself; a Fox 2 straight shaper, Rieger 1A, and a Rieger 13. Oddly enough all of these shapes create a 15.5mm tip and play respond best with a blade length of about 27mm.

I would say that a Fox 2 straight shaper is a great shape for people new to reed making. A Straight shaper (black shaper pictured above) is easier to work with because there are no adjustment screws in the way of you knife, and you can shape before or after profiling. This is a thinner shape with narrow throat and tube. This is my go-to shape for high note reeds, however low notes are usually quite sharp.

The Rieger 1A is a very popular shape, and I haven’t met a bassoonist who doesn’t own this shape. Its a great shape for bassoonists who are looking for an all around balanced reed with high notes and low notes. In my experience, this shape can be a bit too bright with a *CVX* bocal. A bright shape with a bright bocal can create a thin sound which lacks much depth.

The Rieger 13 is new to me, it is a copy of the shaper created by the famous American bassoonist K. David Van Hoesen. Many of my favorite bassoonists today studied with Van Hoesen and carry on some of his reed ideas. It has a wide throat and tube which is great for keeping pitch down for most reeds. The shape of the finished blade itself is slightly rounded near the tip. So far I have noticed that this shape has a sweet sound and ages well.

below are three blanks shaped on different shapers.

Fox 2          Rieger 1A        Rieger 13

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