Bassoon Issues (seriously out of tune)

It's only cool if no one's heard of it.

Moderators: SecondTalon, Moderators General, Prelates

User avatar
CNiall
Posts: 68
Joined: Wed Sep 17, 2008 3:52 pm UTC

Bassoon Issues (seriously out of tune)

Postby CNiall » Sun Jan 25, 2009 9:04 pm UTC

I'm not entirely sure if this is the right place for this query, but I couldn't think of anywhere better so here goes.

I'd like to think of myself as a somewhat decent bassoonist, but recently I have been experiencing a plethora of technical issues with it that I can't explain. Most notable among these is that it has suddenly gone severely out of tune for no apparent reason; it worked fine last night but when I started playing it tonight it sounded horrific. This is hardly the best time for it to fail on me, either: virtually every piece the orchestra I am in is playing for the upcoming concert is annoyingly bassoon-centric. The reed I am using is reasonably new (I started using it around a week ago) and while it's one of the more awkward reeds I've had there's no obvious damage to it and, as I said, it worked fine last night.

The bassoon was in pretty poor condition when I acquired it (it's not technically mine; I'm loaning it from my school), though I don't see why it would suddenly screw up like this. Does anyone have any idea why?

bbq
Posts: 186
Joined: Sat Dec 27, 2008 5:00 pm UTC

Re: Bassoon Issues (seriously out of tune)

Postby bbq » Sun Jan 25, 2009 9:20 pm UTC

First of all, congratulations on playing the bassoon, they are awesome.

Now, I'm not an expert on bassoons (or even woodwind for that matter), but have you made sure all the parts are pushed together, and that none of the keys are stuck?
niinn.ininniinniininiini.n.iii...ininiiinnninnin.inn.niniininnnn.

Mere Accumulation Of Observational Evidence Does Not Constitute 'Proof'.

User avatar
CNiall
Posts: 68
Joined: Wed Sep 17, 2008 3:52 pm UTC

Re: Bassoon Issues (seriously out of tune)

Postby CNiall » Sun Jan 25, 2009 9:31 pm UTC

The parts are pushed together fine, and I didn't find any stuck keys but I'll have another look later on or tomorrow. Thanks for the help.

notallama
Posts: 236
Joined: Fri Jun 01, 2007 4:28 pm UTC

Re: Bassoon Issues (seriously out of tune)

Postby notallama » Sun Jan 25, 2009 9:32 pm UTC

and have you tried turning it off and then on again?
(i'm sorry. i couldn't resist.)

User avatar
SkaBassist
Posts: 171
Joined: Tue Aug 28, 2007 1:42 am UTC
Location: Texas (The ass end of America)
Contact:

Re: Bassoon Issues (seriously out of tune)

Postby SkaBassist » Mon Jan 26, 2009 4:47 am UTC

And my parents, friends, and everyone I've ever known said bassoon was useless. Well I'm gonna show them, answering a question on the internet!

In my experience, 95% of all problems boil down to the reed, which is both good and bad - it's good because you can fix it yourself or just get a new reed, but it's bad because the alternative is something wrong with your horn - normally an obvious/easy fix. With reeds, it's a little bit more of intuition/experience/luck when it comes to fixing them.

Solution:
Try a different reed. Or, a few different reeds. If it's still screwed up, take your horn in for repairs. If it is the reed, ask someone who works with reeds if they can work on it for you. You should really get some reed tools and learn to work with them, because it's one of the most essential skills for a bassoonist (or really any reed player) to have.
Occasionally, reeds are unsalvagable; just get/make a new one.

Lemme know if you need any other help.

User avatar
a386
Posts: 220
Joined: Fri Nov 09, 2007 5:07 pm UTC
Location: sailing the seas
Contact:

Re: Bassoon Issues (seriously out of tune)

Postby a386 » Mon Jan 26, 2009 5:14 am UTC

did you just hit a cold snap? wind instruments can be picky about the weather and if it changed very quickly, it might be your intonation culprit. i don't really know much you can do though, try to keep the bassoon somewhere warm or something? also if the humidity changed even without the temperature changing drastically that can have a great effect on instruments, i think especially wood ones but i don't know for i play the brass.

masher
Posts: 821
Joined: Tue Oct 23, 2007 11:07 pm UTC
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Bassoon Issues (seriously out of tune)

Postby masher » Mon Jan 26, 2009 6:29 am UTC

From my wife:

Do you mean it sounds crap (ie certain notes don't work, squeaky etc)? or that it's just not in tune?
If it sounds crap: Check all screws, pads and corks. You're looking for loose/missing screws, missing/misaligned pads and cracked corks.

If so, get it serviced.


If it's just out of tune, tune it.

User avatar
CNiall
Posts: 68
Joined: Wed Sep 17, 2008 3:52 pm UTC

Re: Bassoon Issues (seriously out of tune)

Postby CNiall » Mon Jan 26, 2009 4:58 pm UTC

It's a combination of the two, masher: any D or G is squeaky and it's generally out of tune.

Yeah, it's been pretty cold here recently so I suppose that could have caused some of it, at least. I'll see if keeping the case by a radiator (with the instrument in it, of course) does anything to help the issue.

masher
Posts: 821
Joined: Tue Oct 23, 2007 11:07 pm UTC
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Bassoon Issues (seriously out of tune)

Postby masher » Tue Jan 27, 2009 11:20 am UTC

If they've never ever been squeaky before, then check the pads and screws involved in those notes.

Change your reed

Tune it

Get it serviced.

User avatar
hestia
Posts: 106
Joined: Fri Jul 13, 2007 2:17 pm UTC

Re: Bassoon Issues (seriously out of tune)

Postby hestia » Tue Jan 27, 2009 11:57 pm UTC

CNiall wrote:It's a combination of the two, masher: any D or G is squeaky and it's generally out of tune.

Yeah, it's been pretty cold here recently so I suppose that could have caused some of it, at least. I'll see if keeping the case by a radiator (with the instrument in it, of course) does anything to help the issue.


NO!

Never never never put your bassoon by the radiator in the winter. Switching between extreme hot and cold temperatures can cause all sorts problems not the least of which can be cracking. The real issue is less the cold (which can admittedly cause issues) but more the lack of humidity. Putting orange peels in your case works wonders. Just be sure to change them very frequently.

As for the intonation issues, what everyone has said so far is correct. The reed can cause all sorts of problems but don't screw with it just yet, especially if you don't have a teacher (if you don't have one, get one). A lot of young bassoonists blame issues on their reed that are really embouchure or support issues. It is very possible that you have always been this way and you have now developed the ability to hear intonation better, that happened to me when I hit college.

Also, when you are tuning, never ever move the bocal to adjust tuning. If your band/orchestra director tells you to do this, they are wrong. It helps very little and causes far more issues than it fixes. If you must you can pull the joints apart a bit if you are sharp but my guess is that you are flat as that is more common. If you try another reed and the issues persist (you should have more than one reed anyway)
try making an "ee" sound in the back of your throat if you are flat and create more space back there if you are sharp. Your lips should be doing nothing more than holding the reed in place except in emergency situations.

As you might have gathered, I am a bassoonist and actually a band director so if you PM me with more details, I can give you more specific things to try.
NightStar wrote:
Chocceh wrote:Whatever way this thread turns out, Jesus is off-limits.


Tell that to Pontius Pilate.


Return to “Music”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests