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.

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).

A4-B4 and Unintended Consequences

After my fancy Ab/Bb trill mechanism was completed, a number of interesting options have come up. The most recent, when seeking to remember the¬†famously impossible A4-B4 trill in the last movement of Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique, I discovered a new one that anyone with an Ab/Bb trill key can do, and I can do easier since my thumb can just use the Bb key.


B4-A4 downtrill

It’s kind of a down tril. Start on A normal fingering, then go to this full fingering (red trill keys down) for B, and trill open the two tone holes to go down to A. A bit fussy, and the A is sharp, but it works well enough for Berlioz and easier to get to than the other fingering I learned years ago.

Bassoon Reed Styles

While my reeds have been very well received, I know that no single reed style is appropriate for everyone.

The standard Weasel reed is made on my shape design, profiled with no spine. The shape is fairly wide, especially in the throat, and offers excellent response everywhere including extreme registers, with a vibrant and solid “core” to the sound. This is the style of reed I personally play on, and it is what I would suggest you try first from me. This is the reed made using the method in the video linked to on my reeds page.

[Pictures Coming Soon]

My new style is a Popkin style reed. These are made with a Popkin shaper and profiler and made using a different construction method than my standard reed. The Popkin shape is more narrow over all, with straight sides to the blade, and the profile has a spine. The length and wire measurements are made to Mark Popkin’s specs, which are pretty close to my standard reed, except the scrape pattern is totally different. For me these reeds respond better in the lower register than the extreme high register, but they react very well on more resistant bassoons or bocals (so Fox bassoons and Heckels between 11,000 and 13,000 for example). The tonal character is complex and flexible, but just a bit different than my standard reed.

[Pictures Coming Soon]

If this is your first time buying a reed from me, stick with the standard reed first, and if you like the quality but maybe want something different, try the Popkin style reeds.


Two announcements:

I am very happy to announce that I have accepted a position as bassoon professor at the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire. (My official title is “Lecturer” because that’s what part-time faculty are called.) This fall semester I am also teaching two sessions of Aural Theory, a course I haven’t really thought much of since my days at Lawrence, but Donna DiBella drilled us in solfege so much that I still think in it most of the time I hear music. I’m very excited to teach my first collegiate bassoon studio, although I’m not so excited about an hour and a half commute. It’ll be worth it.

Second, I have purchased a Popkin profiler and shaper and have just completed the first three prototypes of a new reed design that I will make along side my “Weasel” reed. Probably available before the end of September, these are the “Pop Goes The Weasel” reed. These reeds have a completely different profile, shape, length dimension, and constructed differently. The result is a different sound and response (mostly sound). So far the results are extremely promising.

International Customers

Thank you for your interest in my reeds or in the Little-Jake pickup. Reliable international shipping is a fair bit more expensive than my shipping costs within the US. I only charge the actual shipping costs, no handling fees or mark-ups on shipping. For customers outside of the US and Canada I prefer to ship USPS Priority Mail International to make sure you get your product in a timely manner. Click the appropriate button to add the costs to your cart, then if you need, use the back button on your browser to return here to add the product if you haven’t already done so.

For reeds, click this paypal link to add an additional $27 for Priority Mail International shipping costs.
Buy now with PayPal

For the Little-Jake pickup, please be aware that the threading used for the Little-Jake is an SAE measurement of 10-32. The tool used to make the adapter must conform to this measurement but can be difficult to find outside of the US. If you know you have access to this tool, great! Otherwise I can purchase the necessary bit and tap pair for your repair person to make the adapter. Combine this cost with the additional international shipping costs by adding this to your shopping cart.
Buy now with PayPal

Adding more keys to my bassoon

After careful consideration, I decided I wanted to add a right hand Eb trill and offset the C# trill on my bassoon. I had Eric Anderson at Midwest Musical Imports again do the work. We used Fox key castings and posts and had the plating done at Brinkman’s Silver Plating in St. Paul. Some components, as always had to be made specifically for these keys. Here’s a gallery of the entire process! (more…)

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Not that I use it much, but I’m now on Twitter. Finally caved. Follow me @tjbassoon.

Single reeds

I got an alto saxophone. My wife was actually amused. This should be fun!

Luckily the EWI work that I’ve done for the last two years has prepared me very well for the fingerings. It’s mostly just a problem of sound production and intonation. Technique is still a foreign language, but I’m getting better. I get the vocabulary and grammar I’m just not fluent in the saxophone family fingerings yet. The easier tunes out of the Real Book aren’t posing any problems for playing the melody, and I’m using that and the Klose to learn the instrument.

Will probably be some time before I feel comfortable enough to call myself a “doubler” but I hope to integrate it into my gigging. I already have a mouthpiece modified for use with the Little-Jake (demo will eventually come) so I can use effects without microphone feedback problems.