Quick Guide to Bassoon Reed Tuning Supplement
The Quick Guide to Bassoon Reed Tuning is now available for purchase from Arundo Reeds and Cane, Forrests Music, Charles Double Reeds, and TrevCo-Varner Music.
Click here for a look inside!
Supplemental material on this website is a work in progress and will continue to develop. Please contact us if you have any questions regarding the tests in the Quick Guide to Bassoon Reed Tuning. Your input will help us expand additional material.
The introductory material and 20 test procedures presented in the Quick Guide to Bassoon Reed Tuning publication are condensed from a larger yet to be published work (expected completion early 2018), The Unruly Trinity: The Reed, Bassoon and You. The title derived from the work of New York City’s master reed maker, Frank Schwartz, whose decades of reed research inspired my early work in professional reed making and tuning methods. This new publication began as a rewrite of the 25th anniversary of Advanced Reed Design and Testing Procedure (ARDTP) but has expanded greatly. The ongoing research has led to a complete method for reed tuning not shown here in its entirety. Many students have helped develop these new techniques in lessons over the years. I have learned from them in my attempts to explain clearly the tuning zones and adjustment techniques. This condensed publication shows the basic methods of reed tuning to all bassoonists from beginners to professionals. The ARDTP rewrite began in earnest in 2013 with the help of Sarah Peniston, a former bassoon student and Arundo Reed maker living and performing in the Seattle area. The Arundo Research website will post additional information, tests, and videos to enhance your understanding of the tuning techniques that were impossible to include in this “Quick Guide.”
This publication of 21st century reed tuning pedagogy shows elements of reed design and uncovers problems with our instrument which will help you find a clear path to success. We must identify the roadblocks. As Jean-Marie Heinrich’s study of reed making points out, “Scraping is not the only cause of success or failure of a reed.” There are aspects of tone production and the bassoon’s acoustical quirks and complications that you may have never approached or thought about. We must learn to manage adjustments to our instrument as qualified bassoon repairmen are few. Band instrument repairmen are largely clueless and often make matters worse, especially for school bassoons. Luckily, bassoonists are now entering a period where we are no longer stuck with a limited number of reed makers, cane suppliers, gougers, profilers, reed shapers or specialty reed tools with many listings in the International Double Reed Society Journal. Choices abound. If what is written in this publication is initially too technical, give it time. A lifetime of study has gone into this “Quick Guide.” We hope it will be a lifelong resource for you when problems arise. The difficulties we face as bassoonists with both our reeds and instruments far exceed those of other woodwinds. Thorough knowledge of the bassoon requires “peeling the onion.” There are many layers of difficulty, but the results may bring tears to your eyes! What a great and versatile instrument to explore.