3 Easy Steps to Scraping a Bassoon Reed Tip

Here’s My Dirty Little Secret- All of my Youtube Videos and Blogs are Created with Selfish Intent.

I make no effort to hide it and if you have been following me for a while you probably already know this about what I am sharing.  I’m tracing my own Bassoon Journey as an Educator and a Performer.

What appears to be ego centric work (blogging and making videos) is actually me tracing my Ah-Ha Moments. This also means I film my own discoveries as I discover them. So sometimes I do not answer video requests quickly. I hear them, file them away in my journal and then answer them as I find the best way to articulate my ideas and thoughts.

After almost a year of fielding requests, questions and comments I am finally ready to share my 3 Tiered Bassoon Reed Tip Scraping.

It took me a bit of time to decide how I wanted to cover scraping a reed in a video format. I didn’t want to mindlessly answer this request.

Scrape a TipThe Goal Scrape … a 3 Tiered Bassoon Reed.

Initially I thought I would create a full Vlog Series of EVERYTHING I do to a Bassoon Reed from start to finish. Obviously the overachiever in me had taken over. And I wanted to wait until the summer so that I could adequately film and edit with freedom of time and energy to devote to the project.

But I was overwhelmed by the number of requests from around the world. People everywhere (South Korea, Brazil, the Netherlands, and more) were asking for this.

And I have to tell you it was wild to see how the requests varied in tone. Some were Pleading, others were Angry- how dare I post the Make a Bassoon Reed Video Series last summer and NOT INCLUDE Scraping Videos?!? and others that were Excited with Anticipation.

My favorite were the excited messages because I was excited to plan how to best film and present my ideas, too!

A few of the requests I received.


This video is the start of sharing the scraping! Once I put a tip on a reed I start to play it and break it it.

My goal in filming the Scrape the Tip Video was that I didn’t want it to be a Long Video. Prior to filming- I surfed the internet for an option that I could recommend to the angry subbies. A way to allow myself a bit of time and the ability to focus on my own posting goals but still give them a key to success.

I found several but they were all SO LONG. And many didn’t give closeups of the reed, the angle of knife while scraping, or the dimensions.

I quickly began to understand the nature of the Angry Subbies that had commented. 😉 There was a real need in the internet world for a clear and concise bassoon reed tip scraping video.

To be sure that I made the best use of time in the video and articulated my ideas with   clarity, my JSU Bassoon Studio spent weeks helping me test the scrapes for elements that can go wrong and how to verbalize my intentions for success.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of doing what works but not being able to articulate what it is that one is doing. Some of the best performers I have studied with could not articulate how to achieve success. Dangerous! 

Avoiding this pitfall is one of the many reasons I chart my progress in my online journal of blogs and videos.

Special Thanks and Hugs to my JSU Bassoon Studio:  Braden, Destiny, Hannah, Michael and Ty.

Early in the film preparation process my studio and I realized that each scrape needed an appropriate name, ruler dimensions and visual pencil markings to anchor the material and add clarity.

It was the only way to be sure the scrape was both Consistent and Accurate from person to person.

In essence, we were creating a Bassoon Reed Tip Recipe. And every good recipe has Step by Step Instructions, Pictures, and Measurements.

Here is a still from the video charting the angles of the TRIANGLE SCRAPES.

After much thoughtful meditation and analyzing of My Bassoon Reed Scraping Styles we  Arrived at a 5-and-a-half-minute video on 3 Easy Tips for Scraping the Tip of a Bassoon Reed. (linked below)

Quick BONUS Tip: if you struggle with knife placement and control: Mark The Intended Area of Cane Removal with a dull pencil and then scrape off your markings.

This also works visa versa. I like to mark the heart of reed with a dull pencil, then I scrape around it. If the pencil markings begin to disappear, I know to be extra careful and watch my knife angle more closely. An over-scraped heart will never have the same depth as a reed with a good full heart. Reeds are like people in that way. 🙂

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

A word about the 3 Bassoon Reed Scrapes. Each of the Scrapes is from a different bassoon teacher I studied with in my Bassoon Career. My mother always says that in order to  successfully teach anything you have to Own the Material. Make it Yours. And she was right.

I have blended them into a style that works for me and my Raffe Reeds business. And now I am sharing the 3 scrapes with you- to help your Bassoon Journey. No longer do you need to buy one of my reeds to have your own Raffe Reed. 🙂

In my opinion each of the scrapes is what I consider a Standard Scrape. The Knife Angles for each of the scrapes differ by teacher but the Removal of Cane in each location was fairly consistent.

Here is a quick Extra 30-second video on controlling the knife with BOTH hands while also holding the mandrel. Exclusive Blog Content!

And no worries … it sounds more complicated than it is. With Time Skills Grow and Develop. It Will Get Easier.

Quick BONUS Tip: be sure to be aware of your dominant hand, Right handed bassoonists often take more out of the Right Side of the Reed. Always check for equality of scraping on each side of the reed with a Reed Lamp.

I do these 3 steps to every reed that I make. Sometimes I do these steps without ever using a Tip Profiling Machine. I scrape the reeds from start to finish by hand. Other times, I use these scrapes in conjunction with a tip profiler. Either way, they are a constant in my bassoon life.

For best results I suggest pairing the 3 Tiered Bassoon Tip Scrape with my Micrometer Dimensions and a good Medium Hard to Hard Bassoon Cane. In our studio we paired it with the Eryn Oft Style of Barton Cane and we all had similar positive results.

Hopefully these posts will aid you in your own Bassoon Journey. And like me and the work I shared with my teachers, you will blend what I speak about into your own personal style.

Because as all bassoonists know, making music is only as much fun as the reed will allow. And I want you all to enjoy your creativity to the fullest.






  1. Eryn…Enjoyed your tip scraping video greatly. Quite similar to my own tip scraping techniques, although I do not usually create your “crescent Moon” first, but rather later on in the process. My first scrape is along each blade edge, about 1/2 of the length of the blade and about 2-3mm wide, then I create your “first triangles” with an appropriate overlap. My next scrape is in your “chevron” area, and I scrape across the reed more than you show. Then I scrape “windows”, if you will, alongside the spine blending into the heart area. Initially, I clip my reed at 57mm overall length (27.5mm tube), after my scrapings, I expect the 3rd space E to be flat, and then gradually clip the tip back to an overall length of 54-55mm. I also use sandpaper alongside the spine (600 grit, then 800 grit then final finishing with 1000 grit. I use an Opinel #8 or #9 folding knife for nearly all of my scraping (Thanks Stephan Levesque) and find the the curve of the knifeblade is a wonderful tool for creating and refining the windows. I hope this brief description makes clear my own finishing process. I do own a Rieger Tip Profiler, but find I make better reeds without it, and usually only use it if I need to produce a high number of reeds quickly.

    Frank Watson
    Spartanburg (SC) Philharmonic Orchestra
    Converse College Petrie School of Music


    1. Awesome and great to hear from you. I have played with leaving the tip log and then cutting to a finished dimension, too. What a great reminder of a tip to pass along to those who are prone to over scraping! And always great to share that you don’t need a tip profiler to make a great reed. 🙂


  2. Hello Eyrn, first, great job on all the blog! Lots of great stuff and a very useful resource! I was curious about your finishing scrapping. I was wondering if you have specific tests (standard note pitch matching harmonic note pitch) like Mark Eubanks to help you tell when a reed is “finished” or at least when to set it aside for the day?

    Anson Hancock


    1. Hi Anson, Glad you have found it helpful. I like to scrape the reed until it crows the full length of the blade and it goes just a tiny bit flat. Then I set it aside for a day or play it for 30 minutes. If it is a good piece of cane it will stabilize and begin to strengthen. I will be sure to do a tutorial about this in the next few months. Thanks for keeping up with my bassoon adventures, Eryn


  3. Hi Eryn! Just wanted to let you know that this technique works so well for me! I’ll share this info with my Hispanic bassoon friends if you don’t mind! Thanks again and hope that you keep updating us with your videos!!!!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: