How to Play the Bassoon
How to make a reed

Professional bassoonists mostly use handmade reeds. For this reason, as an example, it would be good to briefly describe how a reed is made.

  1. First, split a cane of common reed into four sections of equal length.
  2. Strip the bark at the center.
  3. Cut the long edges to produce a boat-like shape.
  4. Score the reed at the center and fold it into two, and make vertical incisions on the part of the cane where the bark remains.
    As the incisions cut along the line of the fibers of the cane, it is easy to tear and destroy the reed at this stage.
  5. Holding the cane around a mandrel.
  6. Fasten the base with wire to hold it in a cylindrical shape.
    Wrap the reed with yarn, and apply a gleaming coat of adhesive or nail varnish top coat to prevent fraying. Cut the tip of the reed, insert a plaque between the two sides to cut against, and shave the surfaces with a knife to finish.
    * To get started, try making reeds using "profiled cane," which has already been prepared through to step (3) outlined above.
Creating a reed

Reeds should be moistened with water before use. If the reed is used while it is dry, its condition will change as it becomes moist. It is best to prepare some water before playing, so that it can be applied to moisten the reed if it becomes dry during a performance.

To adjust the reed, wet sandpaper can be substituted in the place of specialist tools. Sandpaper rated around 600-grit can be used for rough work, while 800-grit or 1000-grit can be used easily for finishing.