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Thread: Wind Instruments Parts

  1. #1
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    Default Wind Instruments Parts

    Where woodwind joints fit in an other, cork makes them airtight usually, or formerly a wound and impregnated thread. I try heatshrink sleeve at my bassoon's bocal presently.

    The tighter fitting immobilizes the bocal as I wanted, but tighter cork would do it too. The result is stiff and can minimize the dead volume, which should ease the altissimo, but up to C# (just below the Sacre) where the comfort zone of the musician and the reed end presently, I notice no difference; maybe things change at higher notes.

    These are the bassoon bocal without its cork, pieces of heatshrink sleeve, the bocal with the sleeves, and a zoom.

    Img613ctsz.jpg
    Img618ctsz.jpg
    Img628ctszsym.jpg
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    The Chinese made the material affordable. It comes in many diameters and colours, length is commonly up to 1m. The diameter shrinks strongly and irreversibly at heat, from a hairdryer, a soldering iron, or with care from a lighter. No skills needed.

    Two plies happened to fit at my bocal, first with grease, later without. At first try, the shrunk sleeve moved around the bocal, so I held it with instant glue, which could be applied because the bocal is conical.

    ==========

    What can improve?

    Each ply is too thick and stiff for an adjustment, I had luck. Also, the conical bocal holds in an inverted cone at the bassoon. Maybe double-sided adhesive tape below the sleeve can adjust the diameter and slope if it resists the heat. Or a thread wound below the sleeve, which would give some elasticity.

    Heatshrink tape exists too, which enables big diameters, but I expect leaks where the tape ends. Below a sleeve maybe. Would it be thinner?

    Inner layers could stop before the outer sleeve to provide a smooth, airtight and sturdy taper.

    Marc Schaefer, aka Enthalpy
    Last edited by Enthalpy; Jul-18-2020 at 09:02.

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    Here's my home-made bassoon balancer. It works for a French bassoon too.

    Part of the idea is: hold at the boot for safety, pass through a ring added at the tenor branch for equilibrium.

    Img640ct.jpg

    The ring is added rather high on the tenor branch and this relieves the left arm. It consists of two turns of adhesive tape around the branch plus the length for a gamma eye. It crosses the concave part of the tenor branch, where it separated over time, which doesn't hurt. A professional embodiment must improve that.

    The ring passing between fingers 2L and 3L was only a tiny bit too high, so a longer gamma may enable it.

    Sewing thread tightens the gamma. This stabilizes the side position of the gamma to achieve perfect roll equilibrium. Other advantage, the ring doesn't pull sidewise nor away the adhesive tapes at the pictures' left that hold it upwards.

    Marc Schaefer, aka Enthalpy

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    Bassoon balancer v3. The string coming from the boot joint is redirected by a loop that now has its ends parallel to the body, while the ring perpendicular to the body passes straight over the loop. This v3 is much easier to build and to adjust.

    Img662ctszrot.jpg

    Img671ctszrot.jpg

    Still adhesive tape, about 3 plies. At the loop, two foldings give 90° each, and an added short tape part neutralizes the sticking side.

    V3 too provides perfect roll balance and leaves some weight on the left hand, since an attempt with perfect pitch balance was unplayable.

    The adhesive tape always separates from the concave portion of the tenor joint, so instead of sticking it there, this time I gave it roughly the loose length left by the spacing to the bass joint.

    Img678ctsz.jpg

    Marc Schaefer, aka Enthalpy

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    4c definitive version of my bassoon balancer. Easiest to build and adjust. Time will tell if it's the most durable.

    BassoonBalancer4c1.jpg
    BassoonBalancer4c2.jpg

    4 plies of adhesive tape parallel to the tenor joint hold a ring. I superimposed the 4 plies first, holding the first ply between a desk's edge and my fingers. The tape needs some length to hold on itself near the ring. Several turns of a second tape around the joint holds the first tape against the joint as previously.

    Duct tape (Gewebeband, toile adhésive) crept and began to tear at the edges. Surgical tape (Pflaster, sparadrap) crept, and the European tan looks silly on African wood too. Plain office adhesive tape is best up to now.

    Duct tape and surgical tape crept at a D-shaped ring until holding at a corner, so a round ring is less bad.

    Do use the shoelace that holds at the boot! It saved my instrument a dozen times.

    Marc Schaefer, aka Enthalpy

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    Interesting reading and pix. Can heatshrink sleeves be sanded?

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    I have used a dozen times isopropanol to clean one bassoon reed and to disinfect it from bacteriae and virus.

    This reed is very old and it becomes dull and unresponsive when a biofilm develops inside. Isopropanol eases much the mechanical removal of this biofilm (some bassoonists use a pipe scraper), often no mechanical action is needed. I give some drops in the reed at the bocal end over my usual plastic soaking box, then I soak and shake the reed for about 1min in the flown isopropanol.

    The cleaned reed becomes responsive again. Could the biofilm be the cause of reed ageing?

    Isopropanol, or isopropyl alcohol, is what gives hospitals their odour. It must be concentrated >70% but not pure. Its deadly dose is half that of usual alcohol, so rinse the reed. Concentrated usual alcohol (ethanol, ethyl alcohol) should work identically; I'd stay away from methylated spirits, whose denatonium tastes so badly. I haven't tried vodka &co, normally it's 40% ethanol so its antiseptic action isn't guaranteed.

    My bassoon reeds are covered with wax to be airtight. Perhaps the more usual varnish dissolves in isopropanol and ethanol. I haven't tried with oboe reeds nor single reeds.

    Marc Schaefer, aka Enthalpy

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    Quote Originally Posted by Enthalpy View Post
    I have used a dozen times isopropanol to clean one bassoon reed and to disinfect it from bacteriae and virus.
    This reed is very old and it becomes dull and unresponsive when a biofilm develops inside.
    reeds certainly do deteriorate with time and usage....the "biofilm" can be cleaned out, and should be done periodically....I'd not use alcohol, tho.....tried it once - the aftertaste, even after thorough rinsing was really unpleasant....I use hydrogen peroxide H2O2 - let the reed soak a few minutes - the oxidizing action seems to soften and loosen the deposits....then clean with a pipe cleaner, run carefully thru the Reed, from butt end toward the tip....rinse....
    this process may work once, maybe twice....but the cane itself breaks down with usage....I find that eventually, the reed will lose its fundamental and lower overtones...the sound shrill, thin, lacking in lower partials.....time for that reed to RIP.....
    To form and seal the reed at formation, I use Duco cement....works great....the reed never comes undone...holds it very firmly...you must ream the reed however, because Duco shrinks, contracts on drying....use full reamer, and I always use a throat reamer as well....this really opens up the sound...with throat reamer never go to or past the first wire!!
    Last edited by Heck148; Jan-18-2021 at 20:29.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Heck148 View Post
    [...] I'd not use alcohol, tho... tried it once - the aftertaste, even after thorough rinsing was really unpleasant... I use hydrogen peroxide H2O2 [...]
    This was methylated spirits I guess. Both isopropanol and ethanol, not tainted with denatonium, have a reasonable taste that washes away immediately.

    I didn't try peroxide as my intuition told me it hurts the cane, but only experiment can tell. At least, it's less poisonous than hypochlorite.

    Duco Cement: I should give it a try. Sturdier than wax is a definite advantage.

    At least two bassoonists use a tiny brush to clean the reed's interior. Sounds interesting.

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    I quit trying to resuscitate reeds long ago. That biofilm is what gives reeds stability, I think. And peroxide ruined some reeds. I just loathe the time and trouble reeds can present - so I took an alternative route. I buy my reeds from a guy in Bulgaria. His construction is meticulous and detailed. And dirt cheap. Each blank comes out to about $2.50 - You can't buy GSP for that anymore. My only task then is the fine tuning and finishing which is no problem. Saves me my least favorite task of making the reed.

    I cheat even more for my contra reeds. A pro player in Germany plays the same model contra I do, we have similar ideas on what a contra should sound like. I buy four from him each year - although two would probably get me through. His reeds I don't even need to adjust or trim in any way.

    So when reeds start to go south - I toss them and move on and not worry about it.

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    I've always enjoyed Reed-making, and became quite good at it...good teachers, I guess...high rate of consistency, good rate of successful outcome.
    they do wear out, play out, the fibers break down and they are not redeemable....that's part of the game....I always found that using them in rotation prolonged reed life....you should always have 4-6 good general use reeds available...they can split or die during a performance....you also need some special ones - high register, low register response, ultra-soft for super-pianissimo stuff...
    you need a variety - I wouldn't use the same reed for a Haydn symphony that I would for a Shostakovich symphony...- the demands are quite different.

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