Adjusting Wires

The first consideration when adjusting a reed for the simple reason that the process is reversible.

First Wire

Round Flatten
Opens tip Closes tip
Strengthens Weakens
Adds resistance Lessens resistance
Darkens Brightens
Raises (sharpens) pitch Lowers (flattens) pitch


Which side of the reed to you play on, wire-up or wire-down?

Choosing which side of the reed to play on is simple: one side of the reed is stronger, and you should play on that side. Using your normal embouchure and air, play F4 (F above the staff) and manipulate this pitch up and down. Do this on both sides of the reed. One side will be stronger, and therefore more stable. Sometimes the difference is stark and sometimes it is subtle. The difference is not always visually obvious.

The material in this learning module comes from The Banana of Life: Peeling Away the Mysteries of Reed Making for the Bassoon by Rian Craypo and has been edited for clarity by Jessi Vandagriff. Please do not share or distribute this information to those not using the decision-based learning model. Used with permission.

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