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Selecting Commercial Bassoon Reeds

Recommended Brands: (get these from the sources below)

Vigder, Shape C 



Vigder’s Bassoon Supplies
20430 Malden Street 
Winnetka, California
10am - 6pm Daily
Try the “C” shape. Many others available


Criteria for selection:

  1. Workmanship

    • The tip opening should be a symmetrical almond shape with the widest point being in the middle.

    • The tip should be clean with no fraying, jagged edges or cracks.

    • The wrapping should be tight with no loose ends.

    • The wires should be snug or just a little loose. They will tighten as the cane is soaked.

  2. Hardness

    • When a choice of hardness is given, I recommend medium to medium hard reeds regardless of the student’s level. Soft reeds accomplish little for beginners and often delay development of tone and breath support.

  3. Tests (soak reed for 3-5 minutes in lukewarm tap water)

    • “Pop Test”

      Cover the tube end of reed with index finger and suck air out of the blades with lips. Pull reed out of mouth and reed should pop as blades open. This indicates a well-constructed, air-tight reed. If reed does not pop, soak again and try test. If still unsuccessful, glue the seams of the blades between wires or press a little wax into the seams inside the tube.

    • Crow

      • Putting reed in mouth so that lips are on the first wire, blow into reed with enough force to produce a multi-phonic sound. Too much or too little force will result in a single tone.

      • While crowing multi-phonic, squeeze reed a little tighter to distill crow into one tone. This tone should be an E or F above middle C on the piano.

    • Shading

      Place reed (soaked or unsoaked) under a light and observe the contrast of light and dark shade in the blade area. The ideal shading should be similar to a “bullet” or “thumbnail” shape silhouette with gradual changes from light to dark throughout.

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