Dave is a bassoonist who, once upon a time, learned a lot about reed making from some pretty excellent teachers, including Robert Williams of the Detroit Symphony and John Miller of the Minnesota Orchestra. Dave lives in Maplewood, MN with his cat, Lizzie, a housemate who would really like to teach you flute, two other cats, sometimes a fourth cat, and a bunch of fish.
Dave makes reeds to sell. (He hopes you like them.)
If you have questions for Dave, please email.
F.A.Q. (Frequently Asked Questions)
Question: Can Lizzie hunt?
Answer: She’s strictly an indoor cat, but I haven’t seen a spider in years.
Question: Does Lizzie help you make reeds?
Answer: No. She tried to eat one once, though.
Question: Do you do custom reed colors? I want green/blue/yellow/etc!
Answer: Yes, for a small additional fee (which just depends on the type and cost of the thread requested. There’s a craft store not far from here.) Turnaround may take a bit longer though, so order early. Please contact Dave for details.
Question: Do you do custom reed designs? (Specific shapes, profiles, etc.)
Answer: Not at this time.
Question: Do you have separate “student” and “artist” lines, or make more expensive “pro” reeds?
Answer: No, we target our reeds for players at the beginner or intermediate skill level. They are scraped and adjusted to prioritize response and ease of playing. But more advanced players with more demanding repertoire may find them lacking in certain cases.
Fortunately, more advanced players have no shortage of options, as most commercially available “pro” quality reeds ($20/reed and up) are really pretty good.
Question: Do you play on the reeds you make/sell?
Answer: Basically, yes – my reeds are “stolen” from my production line. However, I adjust them a bit differently – not scraping them as aggressively, and leaving them a bit on the stiffer (more resistant) side.
Question: What kind of cane do you use?
Answer: We’ve used several kinds – until recently, most of our reeds were made with cane from Advantage USA. Lately, we’ve been buying cane from Medir. If you order reeds today, you’ll probably receive reeds made from Medir cane.
Question: So what’s your deal? Can we get more of a bio than “Dave’s a bassoonist?”
Answer: Well, okay. I got my BA in Music from Eastern Michigan University in 2003, and my MM in Bassoon Performance in 2008 from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities. I subbed and freelanced a bit in Minnesota, was the principal bassoonist of the Marquette Symphony for a couple years, and play regularly with the Minnehaha Repertory Orchestra and the Neoteric Chamber Winds.
Question: So, wait… you aren’t some big shot? What do you actually do for a living?
Answer: I do computer stuff. Minnesota is teeming with talented freelance bassoonists, and honestly, the freelance scene is way too unreliable for somebody trying to make a living, so I retrained. While I don’t actively pursue a musical career, I’ve continued playing here and there, and making reeds for my own use.
Question: So why are you doing this?
Answer: I started making more reeds to sell, mostly because I was frustrated at the lack of easily available, affordable, quality reeds for students. My “last straw” moment happened when, needing reeds in a hurry for a concert, I learned the hard way that it was entirely possible for someone to walk into a music store, spend $50 or more on premade bassoon reeds, and leave with completely unusable reeds. (This is also why I play-test all the reeds I ship out.)
Question: Why is your website almost all in the third person or first person plural? (“Dave” this and “We” that?)
Answer: We asked some of our ex-musician friends who work in sales now, and they told us it was more businesslike. We are not sure we believe them… also, Gollum is our favorite LOTR character.
Question: What happens to reeds that don’t meet your standards?
Answer: I have a plastic bin labelled “Reed Graveyard.” The reeds towards the bottom are 20 years old. Or more. About one reed in three ends up in the box. I have no idea what I’m going to do when it gets full.