I made a bassoon floor lamp

Finished product first:

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Oh one of these days I’ll post the building process.

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Effects Pedals for Sale

I have several effects pedals for sale. All have been well cared for, work well, and have minimal cosmetic wear from typical use. I think all of them have velcro on the bottom. Reasonable offers considered.

Please contact me directly if interested.

EHX Frequency Analyzer ring mod, modded; added LED, CV input, Expression Pedal input, Input>CV Routing option: $175

EHX HOG with foot controller: $325

Optical Tremolo, single knob controls rate: $60

Heavy Things  Box (Sansamp GT2 clone, amp simulator): $50? Make an offer

Subdecay Baby Quasar phaser: $170

Subdecay Spring Theory reverb: $100

MXR Carbon Copy analog delay: $100

Blakemore Effects Deus Ex Machina fuzz: $100

Liver & Onions (Lovetone Meatball clone with switchable fuzz): $300

Cancer diagnosis

If you missed the small notice on my shopping page, I was diagnosed with esophageal cancer on May 30, 2017. My wife also gave birth to our second child this last week (July 10) so my life is very occupied with helping with a newborn, my 4 1/2 year old daughter, and managing side-effects from chemotherapy.

I am still making reeds and teaching, however my reed delivery time is closer to 2 weeks as of this writing as a result of these circumstances. I hope to get a bit more ahead in preparation for the fall when demand for reeds will go up.

If you are interested in following along in my cancer treatment, my wife and I have set up a caring bridge page here. I will not post updates about my health to this blog.

So what’s it take to really practice effectively?

Michael Lowenstern knows.

This video is done in the same kind of vein as my reed making video I made a few years ago. After presenting the finished product, Michael shows an unfiltered (although sped up to avoid absolute boredom from the audience) glimpse into his practice method when working up a difficult passage. With the clock displayed clearly for all to see, he works up a passage using a metronome and builds the tempo close to performance level. It’s a bit more than 30 minutes of him practicing and shows beautifully what 30 minutes of focused, intense, and correct practice looks like.

Students of all ages should watch this. This guy does it right.

Better Do It Right (Northern Darling)

 

Lyrics by Liz Davis
Music by Liz Davis, James Mouritsen, Trent Jacobs

Performed on James and Ben’s porch last autumn.

I’m using the TC Helicon Voicelive 3 for harmonies (all bassoon audio is from the Little-Jake).

UWEC Summer Double Reed week!

Dr. Christa Garvey and I will be hosting a double reed week this summer, July 18-22, 2016. The camp will have separate sections for adults and high school level players, with a specific focus on reed making as well as the usual masterclasses, ensemble playing, and other playing activities. Use the UWEC double reed department reed making equipment including a full set of Reeds ‘n’ Stuff processing machines. Cane is included with cost of tuition but we’ll request you have some of your own finishing tools.

More importantly, we want to know what YOU want to get out of the camp! So when you register, we’ve made a questionnaire that will allow us to tailor the session’s content to meet your needs and desires! More details and the registration form is here:

https://sites.google.com/site/oboistchristagarvey/uwec-summer

We’ve done everything we can to keep this as affordable as possible. We’re pretty sure you can’t get a better deal than this. 😉

Dremel tool beveling of the bassoon reed

In my never-ending quest to make my reed making more time efficient, I have switched my beveling technique for my regular reeds. I still let them form on the mandrel and bevel dry, but now instead of using a file for the first step of beveling, I use a Dremel tool with a sandpaper bit.

This removes the bulk of the material that I want to get rid of below the 2nd wire area and does it really fast especially when I have three dozen reeds to do at a time. The cut it leaves is really rough and uneven, but it smooths out really well on the second stage of the beveling where I sand the edge off the entire interior section using a flat block and sand paper.

“Tupperware” (Legere) reeds

Three years ago (give or take) plastics company Legere introduced a synthetic bassoon reed at the IDRS conference. There have been plastic reeds for years, my band director in high school in the 90’s tried to get me to play on plastic ones then, probably the Fox Renard reeds, but they were always notoriously bad. Flat, impossible response in the extreme registers, and they would frequently split down the middle. Anyway, Legere has made respectable single reeds for decades, and finally discovered a way of making polypropylene bassoon reeds that worked marginally well.

They were, of course, all the rage at that conference. Reeds you can’t adjust!? Of course I’ll take 6! Oh, they’re $135 each? Nevermind.

I played on a a few and found they played OK. They had three strengths then, “soft” “medium” and “hard”. I was told “you’ll hate the hard reeds” which was pretty untrue. They were a bit hefty to handle with the embouchure, but not terrible. The “soft” reeds couldn’t take any air for me at all. No dynamic range whatsoever. The “medium” was fine, although still not very full response in the bottom of the bassoon, and the extreme highs were … tenuous.

So fast forward to about a year ago and Midwest Musical Imports starts carrying the reeds. I tried a half dozen or so of the two new strength options “medium” and “medium hard” and found the medium to be like the soft was when they were first introduced, and the “medium hard” to be like the medium originally. Out of the first batch of ten, I found one that maybe would play OK for me. Not great, but doable. Still not worth $135.

But now I heard they changed the design pretty dramatically sometime in October/November of this year, and for the worse by all reports. So I tried about 10-12 of the medium hard ones and found one that I felt could actually play dynamics for me. Basically the most open, most boisterous one in the group. Way out on the end of the bell curve. I was always surprised at how many people preferred the “medium” strength, and even felt those to be hard/heavy. Unreal. Anyway, I went ahead and bought that one. The most comfortable one I had ever tried, and apparently the last of this generation, so I just went with it. I’ll hold it as a backup in it’s own little reed case in case I forget my reed case at home for a gig or something, I know I’ll have something that will work with me.

And further interesting, when I let one of my students try this reed that I liked, it was SO LOUD for him. These things definitely don’t react like cane. They don’t sound as good (although passable) and respond kinda weird. This one plays the very high notes very well though. But it’s interesting how different they are for different people. I don’t see them replacing my cane reeds for either myself or others any time soon, but there’s certainly a market for a reed that you can’t adjust even if you wanted to. Just make sure you try at least half a dozen and be able to return what you don’t like. They’re at least as variable as cane reeds, if not more so.

Postage increase

I hate to do it, but I have to adjust the rate of postage for my bassoon reeds. The US Postal service raised the price on Priority Mail packages by nearly a full dollar for the small flat rate boxes this month. http://www.endicia.com/usps/postage-rate-change/2016

I’ve always charged exactly the cost of postage for me. With the flat rate boxes, and using recycled newspaper for packing material, that means it’s only the rate charged by the post office. I don’t have to buy packing and shipping supplies (other than tape and a sheet of paper for the label). So while this jump is significant, I wasn’t making any money on shipping anyway. I unfortunately have to change my shipping to reflect the new cost to me of a flat rate shipment to $6.10 (and that’s not considering that paypal takes their cut of what I charge as well).

December bassoon reed special

Through the month of December (we’ll call it a holiday special) I’m offering my reeds at a discounted rate of $20 per reed. Contra reeds still regular price, but if you need one for those nutcrackers or new year’s concerts, now’s the time.

Please allow 2 days for finishing, and USPS Priority Mail shipping time (usually 2 days).