About the Légère
Synthetic Bassoon Reed
Like our single reeds, Légère bassoon reeds
have all the depth and warmth that elite players demand. Because they are
made from our specially prepared synthetic material, the deliver all the
advantages of a traditional Légère reed: consistency, durability and an
Légère reeds are made from polypropylene,
which is approved by the FDA for use in direct food contact applications,
so our reeds are completely safe to use. For more information, see our
Légère bassoon reeds are cut from our own
unique polymer on 3-axis, computer controlled precision cutting machines.
We can also measure our reeds with extreme precision using computer
controlled equipment, and this allows us to maintain very tight quality
The reeds are cut in halves using our own
customized profiles which are based on a mathematical description of a
reed profile rather than a model or prototype. The halves are then bonded
together again using a digitally controlled system. The result is a reed
which is perfectly balanced in both blades, and has just the right
combination of tip thickness, heart, and flexibility.
Because the process is entirely digital, we
can design new reed profiles very easily.
Instructions for Playing the Légère
Synthetic Bassoon Reed
1. Basically the reed is what it is!
Currently, we are producing reeds with a tip width of 16 mm in soft and
medium strengths. Do not try to work the blades with your knife. You will
only dull your knife. The polymer is about half the thickness of cane, is
very brittle, and has its own "grain". The only adjustment possible is to
the aperture. You may close the aperture by gently squeezing the blades
together about 15 mm from the tip edge. You may also open the aperture
slightly by gently squeezing on the sides with your fingers about 15 mm
from the tip edge. Do NOT use strong force or pliers because the reed will
2. The sides have been sealed from the butt
to the tip edge and it is important not to break that seal.
3. If you wish to make the reed harder, you
will need to OPEN the aperture. Place the reed in hot water (approximately
90 Centigrade/ 194 Fahrenheit ) for 30 seconds. Remove with tweezers,
insert a plaque and place in cold water for a minute. Be careful not to
jam the plaque in so as to unseal the sides. You can also tie a string
onto the reed to make it easy to remove from the hot water. If you heat
the water in the microwave above the boiling point it can flash boil when
the reed is inserted. This phenomenon is called super heating. To avoid
this, stir the water gently with a fork before inserting the reed.
WARNING: opening the aperture will allow
more air but may also cause the 1 finger e to fall. (See #4)
4. If the 1 finger e falls, you may close
the aperture slightly. If you need to have more stability, you may also
clip the tip back as you would on cane reeds.
5. If you wish to make the reed softer, you
will need to CLOSE the aperture. Place the reed in hot water
(approximately 90 Centigrade/ 194 Fahrenheit ) for 30 seconds. Remove the
reed with tweezers and immediately close the tip edge by squeezing the
blades with your thumb and fore finger. You may also use a clamp but
clamps tend to close the aperture too much necessitating the partial
insertion of a metal plaque to re-open the aperture slightly while the
reed is still warm. You can also tie a string onto the reed to make it
easy to remove from the hot water. If you heat the water in the microwave
above the boiling point it can flash boil when the reed is inserted. This
phenomenon is called super heating. To avoid this, stir the water gently
with a fork before inserting the reed.
6. If you have a thick walled bocal and the
reed will not fit, you may ream the reed the way you would ream a cane
reed. However, be careful to remove the debris from inside the tube with a
7. After a period of playing (usually around
15 to 20 hours), you may notice an accumulation of debris on the inside of
the blades of the reed often accompanied by a slight discoloration. This
debris will actually dampen the vibrations of the reed, making it a bit
"stuffier", and therefore should be removed without breaking the seal on
the sides. (See Caring for your reed below.)
Caring For Your Reed
Légère synthetic bassoon reeds are rugged
and should last for many hours of playing. However, the tip edges are
fragile and the reed can split or break if one tries to manipulate the
aperture by squeezing the tube as one would a cane reed. (See Instructions
for Playing the Légère Synthetic Bassoon Reed above)
One of the best features of a Légère reed is
that it does not need to be moistened prior to playing, and it is not
subject to weather and humidity differences. It will warm up over the
first few minutes, and should then be stable for an extended period.
The reeds should be cleaned periodically
with water and a mild detergent. Germicides such as Sterisol can be used
to clean the reeds, but you should not assume that such products will
sterilize them. You can also pull a soft pipe cleaner from the butt
through the aperture to remove debris. Be careful, however, NOT to break
the seal on the sides of the reed. We advise against sharing reeds or
using reeds that have been tested or played by others unless the reeds
have been sanitized.
With proper care and maintenance, your
Légère reed should provide you with many hours of playing pleasure. Many
players report that our reeds can last for months.