News and Guides

Bassoonists and reeds don't mix!

September 13th, 2023

Bassoonists and reeds don't mix!

Bassoonists and reeds don't mix!

If you don’t play the bassoon can I share a secret with you? Never ask a bassoonist about their reeds. 

A litany of woes

You will be hit with a litany of stories about reed failures, frailties and frustrations!

Bassoon reeds are at the beginning of the column of air which starts at the reed tip at a millimetre or two in width and finishes up at the end of the bell some tens of millimetres in diameter.

A minor difference at the reed tip amplifies itself hundreds of times to become a huge difference by the time it reaches the bell.

Add to that the fact that a reed is made of natural cane which is inherently unstable - it is wettened for use and the degree of wetness affects its structural characteristics, plus it is prone to structural deterioration over time as it is repeatedly wettened and dried. 

Add on to that as well the differences in reed shape and finishing between makers, and the quality control they apply to each reed, and you have a recipe for never-ending headaches.

We understand your reed frustrations

At Double Reed Ltd. we have taken all this on board. We have scoured the market for the best reeds to offer our customers, whether from the UK or elsewhere in Europe. All makes of reed we sell, whatever their characteristics and whoever makes them, have to pass four tests before we offer them for sale: 

  1. Do they play well out of the box? Across the registers, with good projection and intonation and a good tone?
  2. Are they consistent? From batch to batch, and reed to reed within batches.
  3. Are they well made? With attention to detail and care in getting them just right.
  4. Do they last? We extensively test a number reed samples over several weeks, on different bassoons and crooks, to ensure they continue to perform.

Some of our makers are professional bassoonists themselves who intimately understand your frustrations and take pride in producing reeds which they know will help you perform to your best. Others are dedicated reed makers who apply themselves day in and day out to producing the best reeds they can under expert guidance.

Reed advice and guidance on tap

It is very important to us that you buy the correct reed for your playing style and bassoon. Because we extensively test each make of reed we understand them and how they perform. So we offer an advice service, by email or phone, to help you select the right reed.

But our help doesn’t end once you have bought some reeds. Over time any reed is likely to need a minor adjustment to keep performing to its maximum, and so we pack a small leaflet with every reed shipment telling you exactly how to adjust your reed in very simple terms should you ever need to do so. 

Hundreds of customers, thousands of reeds

We now supply hundreds of customers with thousands of reeds per year across the UK and as far afield as Canada, the USA and even Japan, and our sales are growing all the time.

Would you like to explore joining our many satisfied customers whose frustrations, if not totally eliminated, have been greatly reduced by buying and using our reeds? Take a look at our reed selection here.

Maybe bassoonists and reeds can mix after all…