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Thomann's Cool Online Guides: Bassoons

6. Reeds

The question of which reeds to play on is a tricky subject, and probably never one to be broached with another bassoonist if you are on a tight schedule - the resulting argument may take some time! Your choice of reed is very individual and to an extent, there is no right or wrong answer. In the beginning however, it’s best to go with whatever your teacher recommends. They will usually suggest something that is relatively thin, and therefore easy to make a sound on. These can start to sound ‘tinny’, so a teacher will often encourage the use of stronger reeds as you progress, although this is not always the case. Always make sure there is room in your reed case for air to circulate around the reed and dry it out properly after use. This will help prevent the reed from decaying, and enhance its longevity.

Reeds can be bought as a finished product, and as there are several different manufacturers, you are almost certain to find a type that works well for you if you’re willing to experiment a little. They are quite expensive however, as each one has taken someone a fair amount of time to make and scrape (alter) so that it is playable. They usually cost between twelve and twenty pounds. Financially, it can work out better to make your own, although this does require investment in several tools - a specialist reed knife, a ‘mandrel’ on which to place the reed while scraping, and a ‘plaque’ to hold open the blades. You may also need a ‘reamer’ that is used to bore out the inside of the reed so that it fits snugly on the crook. There are several other specialised tools such as profilers, shapers and gouging machines, but these are very expensive, in the order of several hundred pounds, and are generally only used by professionals. Making reeds is something that your teacher will usually be able to show you how to do, but it is generally advisable not to go down this time consuming route until you are a more advanced and committed player. Most players learn to adjust ready-made reeds, long before they embark on making their own, scraping them or adjusting the wires to individual taste.

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Terms and Conditions for participation
in online competitions

Note: Participation in an online competition runs independently from any purchase at Thomann GmbH. The following Competition Rules apply when participating in any online competition run by Musikhaus Thomann:

  1. Competition

    1. The competitions are organised by Thomann GmbH, CEO: Hans Thomann, Hans-Thomann-Straße 1, 96138 Burgebrach, Germany.
  2. Participation

    1. Competitions are only open to persons of full age.
    2. To take part in the competition you must answer all questions correctly, fill in the registration form and submit your entry to Thomann GmbH by pressing the "send" button.
      By pressing the "send" button the participant accepts the aforementioned terms and conditions.
    3. The participant is responsible for entering their email and/or postal address correctly. Entries to the competition will be logged electronically.
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    1. Staff of Thomann GmbH and any cooperation partners and their dependants are excluded from participation.
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    1. The winners will be notified by Thomann GmbH by email or in writing and their names may be published on the homepage www.thomann.de. The winner accepts this form of publication explicitly.
      Should for whatever reason the winner not claim their prize, then a new winner will be drawn.
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      The delivery is free of charge. Only extra transport costs and customs/duties must be covered by the winner. In the case that the delivery has to be made through a freight forwarding company the freight forwarding company will contact the winner to arrange delivery timings.
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      Thomann GmbH
      to the data protection officer
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      96138 Burgebrach, Germany
    2. Thomann GmbH is obliged to consider the regulations for data protection according to the Federal Data Protection Law (BDSG) valid at the conclusion of the competition. In this context the general data protection regulations under notes regarding data protection should be noted.
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    1. Thomann GmbH will be released from any obligations by handing out the prize.
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