You mean they’re adjustable?
Grab your needlenose pliers!
You can’t mess this up! All changes can be reversed, unlike removing cane. Try small changes at first.
First of all, start out with an excellent handmade reed. Check out Tiger Reeds — they’re not ‘cheap’; they’re excellent value.
Avoid machine-made, mass produced 2×4, buzzy monstrosities — check out the reed options and try one! Visit the Reeds page to purchase.
The reed’s wires control response, tone, and pitch.
In general, round wires = stiff reed, oval/flat wires = relaxed reed. Wires can be rounded to perfect circles or slightly oval and flattened to slight arches — try to not go too much further.
Both wires operate ‘opposingly’ to each other (squeezing side of 1st wire and top of 2nd wire do nearly the same thing, and vice versa).
Bassoon reeds feature three wires. One inside the Turk’s head wrapping (3rd/bottom wire), one above the wrapping (2nd wire), and one at the top of the tube just below the blades (1st wire).
A simple chart of effects:
- Round – open tip, flatter pitch, stiffer response, buzzier, louder
- Oval/flat – closed tip, sharper pitch, easier response, mellow, quieter
- Round – closed tip, sharper pitch, easier response, mellow, quieter
- Oval/flat – open tip, flatter pitch, stiffer response, buzzier, louder
Round both wires equally- tip stays the same, sharper pitch, quieter, mellower, high notes easier
Flatten/oval both wires equally – tip stays the same, flatter pitch, louder, buzzier, low notes easier
Do you have a puzzling bassoon or oboe reed question?
Ask the reedmaker and he’ll make a post about it!