How do you tell if your reed is strong or weak?

Use the following strength indicators to determine the strength or your reed:

Indicator Strong Weak
High register easy, sharp unstable
Low register difficult, sharp easy
Slurring down difficult easy
Slurring up easy difficult
Embouchure manipulation – low register too much very little
Embouchure manipulation – high register very little too much

Embouchure manipulation refers to how much you have to use your embouchure to get your reed to cooperate. For example, if the very lowest notes of the bassoon come right out, then you are using very little embouchure manipulation. If you need to drop your jaw a lot and play on the very end of the reed, then you are using too much embouchure manipulation.

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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