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June 30, 2015

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Legere Bassoon Reeds

December 8, 2014

This might be an odd topic to write about on a reed website but I do have some experience playing with Legere Bassoon Reeds over the last few years. The first time I heard about these reeds was from Stephen Paulson, the Legere reed company was working with him to get input for their prototype models. He let me try some of the earlier reeds that they had sent him during a lesson and I was really surprised. I remember people using Legere clarinet and saxophone reeds in marching band, but I immediately thought that a plastic bassoon reed would never work. I tried a plastic bassoon reed in high school (I think it was even by Fox) and I didn't like the upper register tone or pitch.

 

When these were available for sale at RDG I was deterred by the price (which is still too high) so I waited a while. But eventually I caved in and bought one because I was so curious and it had been getting so many positive reviews. It felt funny, the texture is much smoother than cane reeds and the high notes were a little thin. I bought a medium and I have since bought a few medium hard which are better all around. The tip opening of the reed closes over time so you have to adjust it by inserting a plaque and running it under hot water. This softens the plastic and reforms it to a more open shape. Since the reed lasts longer than a cane reed, it gets FILTHY and hydrogen peroxide baths are the only answer. 

 

The last thing to know about these reeds is that they don't last forever. It will survive far longer than cane reeds ever will, but after a few weeks of vibration little cracks begin to appear. These cracks get bigger and bigger until they effect the response. I still keep a few of these with me at all times because depending on the climate these will save your life. On a rainy day or at a high altitude I use these, especially in a situation where I need to play pianissimo. The last time I used my Legere was for a production of Marriage of Figaro. The air conditioning was blasting on the pit orchestra and drying out everyones reeds but the Legere performed well. 

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