RFReeds Bassoon Reed Review

The following review is for RFReeds. Rae Feldcamp sent me a bassoon reed for free in exchange for my blog review. All opinions are my own (or the unbiased opinions of my students). My goal with these reeds reviews is to describe the reeds I feature as thoroughly as possible so that you, a bassoonist with a different instrument, elevation, embouchure, etc., can decide if these reeds are right for you.

Rae Feldcamp of RFReeds makes beautiful, customizable reeds. My reed came in a small box with batting to keep it safe.

2016-02-26 192704 NIKON D5100 1155 Master

The reed itself has a few features that are unique. As you can see in the picture, the third wire is exposed. The portion of the reed that is wrapped is also shorter than other reeds I’ve seen. The finishing on this reed looks amazing. The tip opening is thin and perfectly shaped.

2016-02-26 192058 NIKON D5100 1143 Master

Judging the reed by its looks, I expected it would play wonderfully. I put it on my bocal and had a little trouble getting it on. It was very snug. Later on I noticed that the insides had shredded a little. Definitely needed to ream it.

2016-02-26 192033 NIKON D5100 1141 Master

The reed’s response was very good in the low register. From high A and up, the response was not as good. I couldn’t get the reed to vibrate well. The crow was weak and thin. The sound was muffled, but still ok. This reed just needs to vibrate more.

The intonation results were very surprising:

  • D in the staff: 20 cents flat
  • A at the top of the staff: 30 cents flat
  • Low F: 5 cents flat

I was so surprised by these results that I messaged Rae Feldcamp and asked what I could do to bring the pitch up. The reed is only 53.5 mm long, so I was reluctant to cut it. She pointed out that while the overall reed is short, the blade is actually quite long (30 mm from first wire to tip).

2016-02-26 192045 NIKON D5100 1142 Master

I really wanted to like this reed. They are made in South Carolina (very different from my Rocky Mountain home). I still haven’t cut the reed to fix the intonation problem because I plan to try this reed at sea level when I’m in Italy later this summer. I will post an update.

RFReeds offers finished reeds, reed blanks, GSP cane, and gouged cane. They offer lots of custom options. For a finished reed, you can specify the color and whether you want the thread sealed in duco or beeswax. For reed blanks, you can choose the brand of cane (Danzi or Rigotti), the shape you want (Fox 2, Fox 3, Reiger 2), as well as the wrapping and type of seal. I haven’t seen customization like this anywhere else!

A standard finished reed costs $15-16. Professional reeds are $19.50-$22. Blanks are $12-14. There’s a useful post about reed care that would be good for all students to read. Please comment below if you have tried RFReeds. I’d love to hear your experience.

I tested these reeds on February 6, 2016 in Provo, Utah (elevation 4,551 ft). The temperature inside was 70° F, humidity 38%, and the barometer was steady. I played them on a Fox 201 bassoon with a Heckel CD 1 XL bocal.

4 thoughts on “RFReeds Bassoon Reed Review

  1. Reply
    Erin - March 27, 2016

    I bought S,G,P cane blanks and was worried about the length as well, but they turned out great. The tip is already pretty thin (which I like, less knife work) but the spine is thick and for my younger students is where I need to shave off. I am going to buy more.

    1. Reply
      Jessi Vandagriff - March 28, 2016

      I’m glad to hear these work for you! Do you mind saying where you’re located (or the kind of elevation and climate you live in)?

  2. Reply
    Paul - March 30, 2016

    As an amateur with little time to make reeds, I have been trying a variety of reeds recently and like the RFReeds a lot; so much so that I have a subscription with them to automatically send reeds periodically. I have a tendency to play sharp, and these work well for me on my Fox III with my Heckel CC2 bocal. I live in Lynchburg, VA, in the Piedmont of central Virginia, about 800 feet above sea level.

    1. Reply
      Jessi Vandagriff - March 30, 2016

      I’m so glad to hear that you like these reeds. I can tell that they are very well made. That’s why I was so sad that I didn’t like the one I tried. Thank you for your feedback!

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