I have discovered the secret to bassoon reeds!  Age the blank!!!!!!!!  I talk about this on the reed making section of this site, but this past weekend it became apparent to me how much it really has changed my reeds.  I played a concert on Saturday, solo with a band accompanying.  The reed I used?  The same reed that I used in some of the BCMCC recordings done in January 2011!  I’ve probably played 70 concerts on this reed.  It is a real gem.  And it is still playing fantastic even though by most reed knowledge it should have died 6-10 months ago!

Is this reed magical?  No.  Not really.  I didn’t make it with a blessing of a fairy or sprinkle it was special water.  I just made my reeds like I always do.  I formed the tube, then I let it sit, unwrapped for at least 6 months.  Only after 6 months did I wrap the reed, had it sit another week, then cut the tip.  Then shaved it down and did my finishing work.  Then I just played on it.

Other “magical” tips: I rotate my reeds so I always allow them to dry out fully before the next time they are used.  I also always brush my teeth before playing.  Otherwise, I don’t do anything interesting.  But doing these three things, especially allowing them a long time to age, has provided me with stable consistent reeds.  In my reed box I have only concert quality reeds.  3 reeds are over a year old, 2 that are over 6 months old, 2 that are under six months old, and 1 that is less than a month old.

I feel very fortunate to have experimented with aging reeds.  I’m grateful I have planned far enough ahead to allow my reeds time to age so now I have “magical reeds” most of the time.  Try it!  You’ll be amazed at how long a great reed can live!

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