Tuesday, October 23, 2012


I think everyone has heard to not let reeds soak too long. "Getting waterlogged" was supposed to wreck the reed, although exactly how was never clear to me. I read something in the IDRS Journal, awhile back, that more or less convinced me that this wasn't possible, that "getting waterlogged" was basically an urban legend. The cane is fully hydrated or it isn't, goes the story, and if it takes on too much water (and how much is too much?) it would suffice to let it dry again. Since then I haven't worried too much about soaking reeds. I'd just soak the whole reed in water for a few minutes before playing, and dip occasionally. I would let them dry after I was done, but if I forgot and left the reed in water overnight, I'd just take it out and play, not obviously the worse for the experience.

Last week, I was away for a few days, and accidentally left my reed in water the whole time. In fact, I took it out only while packing for my rehearsal. Our usual conductor was away that week, and we had a sub, D, a bassoonist. She saw my reed, and remarked on it, saying that just looking at it made her lips hurt. Indeed, it was quite dark with water. I gathered that getting waterlogged makes the reed stiffer. Maybe it was just psychological, being jinxed by her remarks (plus four days without playing) but the reed really bothered me the whole rehearsal. After it dried, the tip looked like the picture: almost entirely flat, and separated and curled up at the corners. I soaked it again, and now it seems to play fine. But still, I don't think I'll let a reed get that soaked again.

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