Reed Books

(updated 25 April 2021)

This page has our reed books for Single Reeds, Bassoon, and Oboe.

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Single Reeds
C066: Handbook for Making and Adjusting Single Reeds-Revised Edition by Kalmen Opperman, M. Baron Company, Inc., SS, 44 pages. This popular book is now back in print. It is intended for those who wish to make reeds or work on commercial reeds for all clarinets and saxophones. Subjects covered are the handmade reed, the commercial reed, cane, the model reed, tools, making the shaped blank from tube cane, cutting the vamp, finishing the reed, adjusting and retouching handmade or commercial reeds and the life of the reed. Appendices include reed scraping suggestions, suggested measurements, the German B-flat clarinet reed, and sources for cane and reed making equipment.
C2655: How to Work on Clarinet Reeds by Michael Drapkin. Drapkin Music Publications, 2019, PB, 42 pages. The author details his step-by-step approach to creating the perfect reeds for his clarinet. The conversational text is amplified by photos that put you right in his workshop. All reed players should take the time to learn how to craft their own reeds. “Most clarinet players are slaves to whatever comes in the box, not realizing that just a few minutes of touch ups can make all of the difference,” says Drapkin, as he begins his process of creating the perfect reed. He discusses reed knives, various sandpapers, and how to “finish” a reed. When all is done, he even provides a troubleshooting guide for less-than-perfect reeds. This handy tome will bring you a skill that will last a lifetime. Click on the cover image to view a sample page.
C413: Making and Adjusting Clarinet Reeds by Glen H. Bowen. 2000, SS, 38 pages. Glenn H. Bowen is Professor Emeritus of Music at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. This booklet is about making reeds from blanks economically with a minimum of gadgetry. The chapters cover equipment, reed making procedures, and adjustment. A short list of reed making equipment suppliers is included. The author writes about this book ". . . my procedure for making reeds is quite detailed.  It uses common tools in logical combinations which will produce reeds easily. In the section of the book dealing with adjustments, there are no mysteries, no double-talk, . . .  Straightforward and factual."
Free Media Mail shipping on this book to US, IF ordered with another item.
(Except other items with free shipping.)
C064: Making Clarinet Reeds by Hand by Walter Grabner. ClarinetXpress, 1999, SB, 28 pages. This book is a comprehensive guide to making reeds "from scratch." Subjects include: why learn to make clarinet reeds, reed cane, tube cane vs. blanks, blanks suitable for clarinet reed making, quality of the cane, tools required for reedmaking, response vs. resistance, curing your blanks, measuring the length of the vamp, scoring the blank, removing the bark , the cuts, a model reed, filing, sanding, clipping and adjusting. The book includes nine photos.
C2680: ReedWorks by Blake McGee. Jeanne, 2016, SS, 76 pages. This book covers Reed Care, Reed Assessment, Adjustments, Tools and Micrometers. This book should be useful to anyone looking for a comprehensive book on reed care and adjustment.

S137: The Saxophone Reed, The Advanced Art of Adjusting Single Reeds by Ray Reed. Infinity Publishing, 2004, PB, 215 pages. Los Angeles based saxophonists, Ray Reed, who started his career in the 1960s and has played with everyone from Stan Kenton, to Supersax, to Frank Zappa has written the longest and most detailed book on making and adjusting reeds we have ever seen. It covers nearly every conceivable topic in the single reed making universe. While this book is aimed at saxophonists, and includes many appropriate measurements, clarinetists will find much of value here as well.
C041: Selection, Adjustment, and Care of Single Reeds by Larry Guy. Rico Editions by D'Addario, 2012 (third edition), SB, 64 pages. A practical and well illustrated guide to clarinet and saxophone reeds. This book presents detailed instructions for selecting, breaking in, and adjusting reeds in an easily understood manner. It also includes a guide to the selection, care and use of reed tools (knives, sharpening stones, sandpaper, files, etc.).
C373: The Single Reed Adjustment Manual by Fred Ormand. Amilcare Publications, 2000, SB, 84 pages. A comprehensive guide to the adjustment of single reeds. Includes the subjects of reed design, reed tools, care of the reed knife, selecting the reed, preparing the reed, balancing the reed, working on spots, clipping, breaking-in, using and storing reeds, reed analysis, equipment (mouthpiece, ligature, and clarinet), location (altitude, humidity, and temperature), and hints when "Nothing Else Works." This book is not currently available.

DVD009: Working the Single Reed by David Bourque. BCL Enterprises, 2005, DVD. This DVD by David Bourque, a member of the Toronto Symphony for more than 20 years, is a "how to" video for adjusting commercial reeds. It will help you: fix unresponsive reeds, make more reeds play well, learn how to scrape a reed, learn where to scrape a reed. have more reed stability, no more waterlogged reeds, and adjust the Légère reed.

Bassoon Reeds

B028: Bassoon Reed Fixing by William Spencer. Emerson Edition, 1982, SS, 8 pages. This brief pamphlet by the author of the Art of Bassoon Playing contains a significant amount of information on adjusting bassoon reeds. It includes guidance on testing the reed and adjusting the wires and scrape.
Free Media Mail shipping on this book to US, IF ordered with another item.
(Except other items with free shipping.)
B015: Bassoon Reed-making A Basic Technique by Christopher Weait. McGinnis & Marx, Third Edition, 2000, SS, 34 pages. An excellent book on the basic techniques of reed making featuring sharp photographs and clear diagrams. Subjects covered include preparation, tools and equipment, assembling the reed, finishing, tuning and adjustment techniques, and solving reed problems. A Spanish translation of this book is also available.
B125: Bassoon Reed Making: An Illustrated Basic Manual by Christopher Weait. Weait Music, 2008, SS, 46 pages. This book describes and illustrates a basic method of bassoon reed making that is ideal for players who are just beginning to play or those who which to know more about making, adjusting and finishing reeds. Lavishly illustrated with over 150 photographs to demonstrate every step. A reed is made from gouged, shaped and profiled (GSP) cane. No expensive tools or complex machinery are required.
B002: The Bassoon Reed Manual - Lou Skinner's Theories and Techniques by James R. McKay, Contributing Authors Russell Hinkle and William Woodward. Indiana University Press, Bloomington IN, 2000, PB, 116 pages. This is a very attractive book, well illustrated with photos (including color plates of reeds) and diagrams. Chapters include theoretical principles and concepts, essential tools for reed making, the straight taper reed, the tip taper reed, variation to the tube, variations to the gouge and the inside of the blades and tubes, variations to the outside of the blades, special reeds and processes, a comparison of Mechler and Knochenhauer reeds, and the contrabassoon reed. We no longer carry this Book. You can order it here from Amazon.
B046: Construcción de Cañas de Fagot: Técnica Básica by Christopher Weait translation by Eduardo Adrián Rodriguez and Fernando Traba. Christopher Weait, 2004, SS, 47 pages. Spanish translation of Bassoon Reed-making A Basic Technique.
B012: The Illustrated Bassoon Reed Handbook by Laine Bryce. Laine Bryce School of Music, SS, 12 pages. This book is a brief but well illustrated introduction to the fundamentals of reed making technique. This book is intended as a guide to accompany reed making lessons and is not intended to replace the teacher. It servers as a reference to the steps required for a student to make reeds independently. A page on reed adjustments is also included.

DVD014: Improve Your Bassoon Reed by Christopher Weait. Christopher Weait, DVD, 16 minutes. For new bassoonists, music teachers and bassoon parents! Christopher Weait shows you how to make your store-bought reed play better with simple tools and techniques.

Oboe Reeds

Ob009: The Oboe Reed Book by Jay Light. Des Moines, IA, 1983, SB, 117 pages. Detailed and well illustrated instructions in the reed making art. The chapters are Some Philosophy, A Whole Lot of Useful Information About Tools, Cane and Other Supplies, Knife Sharpening, Tying the Blank, Knife Technique, the Scrape, Shaping Your Own Cane When and How, Some Thoughts About English Horn Reeds, Trouble-Shooting Chart, and List of Dealers and Supplies.

Bindings:  HB: Hard Bound,  PB: Perfect Bound (paperback with square spine),  SS: Saddle Stitch (paper, folded and stapled),  SB: Spiral Bound (plastic or metal)