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 Aged reeds
Author: lrooff 
Date:   2008-09-04 23:54

I've been playing with the local community band after 40 years away from music. For the first year, I switched between my clarinet and bass clarinet, but then we lost our bassoonist and I volunteered to make the transition. I still have my bassoon from many years ago, but I'm wondering if I need to replace the reeds. Hate to waste money if I don't have to, as I have a dozen unused Vandoren reeds that have been sitting there in the case for several decades. Do reeds deteriorate with age, or do they just need a good soaking? Right now, they play awfully hard with the exception of a fibercane reed of similar vintage which plays as well as ever.

On a similar note, does anyone make a hand rest for the left hand that will take some of the weight off the first three fingertips? I have very large hands and can't just let the horn rest on the base of the first finger.

Thanks in advance.

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 Re: Aged reeds
Author: cairngorm 
Date:   2008-09-06 00:25

I had the very same situation when I started back playing - dragged out my old reeds from at least 30 years ago, maybe more, and voila, they played! Give them a good soaking - 3 minutes on each end (or a complete tip to string soaking of 3 minutes total) and see what happens. It may seem they are hard because your embouchure is not up to snuff yet.  :)

Are you using a seat or neck strap? If a seat strap, make sure it's placed toward the front of the seat rather than the back as this will move the weight a bit. If a neck strap - maybe get a seat strap!

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 Re: Aged reeds
Author: Terry Stibal 
Date:   2008-09-06 22:52

Yup. Get a seat strap, and one that doesn't call for a boot and a chancy fit on the bottom of the horn.

I had my new used bassoon fitted for a ring for a hook with my seat straps, and had a local leather shop turn out of two of them for me. Used a couple of old bass clarinet neck strap hooks, which they installed into the leather with a blind rivet, and then stitched up with a sueded side for on the seat and a smooth side to sit on.

Some English firm has a bracket that fits over the right thigh. Not cheap, though. There are also add-on spikes that you can purchase, but they require a permanent installation on the bassoon.

leader of Houston's Sounds Of The South Dance Orchestra
info@sotsdo.com

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 Re: Aged reeds
Author: Terry Stibal 
Date:   2008-09-06 22:52

Yup. Get a seat strap, and one that doesn't call for a boot and a chancy fit on the bottom of the horn.

I had my new used bassoon fitted for a ring for a hook with my seat straps, and had a local leather shop turn out of two of them for me. Used a couple of old bass clarinet neck strap hooks, which they installed into the leather with a blind rivet, and then stitched up with a sueded side for on the seat and a smooth side to sit on.

Some English firm has a bracket that fits over the right thigh. Not cheap, though. There are also add-on spikes that you can purchase, but they require a permanent installation on the bassoon.

leader of Houston's Sounds Of The South Dance Orchestra
info@sotsdo.com

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 Re: Aged reeds
Author: lrooff 
Date:   2008-09-08 17:55

I've never tried a seat strap, but will give it a shot. Shouldn't take but a few minutes in my workshop to create the critter. It'll be a lot easier than when I made an oversized palm rest for my right hand. (Stock one was too tiny.)

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 Re: Aged reeds
Author: cairngorm 
Date:   2008-09-09 16:58

It's nice if the strap has a swivel hook on the end - that way you won't be straining against the metal with the hook. Terry posted some detailed instructions in another post on this forum about how he had his made, or you can see pictures of them on any one of a number of websites that sell seat straps to get your own idea of how to do it.

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 Re: Aged reeds
Author: Jaysne 
Date:   2008-10-13 01:43

I bought my first bassoon reeds about 10 years ago for a bassoon tech class at college.

After that class, I didn't play them for about eight years. Then I started learning bassoon in earnest, and found them to be quite playable. I'm still using them, two years later.

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 Re: Aged reeds
Author: cairngorm 
Date:   2008-10-14 17:24

Yes, reeds can be quite durable if they get thoroughly dried out between playings. Good for you for keeping them! Like me, you probably were horrified at the difference you paid then for reeds and what you pay now.

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