Monday, December 2, 2013

What's In Your Bag?

What's In Your Bag -- Or Instrument Case?

My daughter is a talented photographer. Among photographers there's a lot of discussion about equipment, often starting with the question, "What's in your bag?"

Let's try that for the bassoon!

In Your Case

What do you routinely keep in your case?

In mine, I've got:
  • small photos of my daughters -- got to get my wife's photo in there -- oops!!
  • earplugs
  • cigarette paper
  • extra pivot screws (get these from your repair technician)
  • grease and oil for keywork
  • mini drill for cleaning out bocal vent (my favorite bocal seems to collect stuff from time to time)
  • cork grease for the tenons
  • US Customs Certificate of Registration for Personal Effects Taken Abroad
  • metronome, tuner
  • small screwdriver
  • small brush
  • swab 
  • extra reeds in cases
  • 2 extra bocals
What's in your reed tool pouch?
  • 2 reed knives
  • set of needle files
  • sandpaper (400 and 600)
  • reamer
  • mandrel
  • several placques (I lose them easily)
  • cutting block
  • razor blade
  • file brush
  • tweezers (for picking up screws, etc.)
  • pad slick (for reseating a pad)
  • small bit of stick shellac (for gluing a pad)
  • two screwdrivers -- one large for pivot screws, one small for long screws
  • pencil
  • spring hook
  • pliers
In my valise:
  • music
  • extra pencils
  • extra ear plugs
  • mute
  • soakers (extra -- I tend to lose these, too)
  • reading material
  • phone
In my locker:
  • extra seat strap
  • neck strap
  • another mute
  • tails and dark suit
  • black shoes and socks
  • Nespresso coffee pods (!)
  • coffee cups, spoons, sugar
  • toothbrush, toothpaste
  • small, hand-held butane torch
  • low A extension
I asked repair technician, Ken Potsic what he would recommend bassoonists keep in their cases.  Here is his response:

2  screwdrivers, 1 for pivot screws and 1 for rods - or 1 small miniature screwdriver with interchangeable bits. 

Small spool of thread, like from a sewing kit.  This can be used for loose tenons and for binding pivot screws.  Sometimes, especially on a new instrument, when the weather changes some keys will start binding. This can usually be remedied by wrapping some thread under the head of the offending screw.  Better than just loosening it, as it will not fall out when tightened down with thread under the head.  Thread can also be used to bind a tenon cork which may be coming loose.  

1 almost spent (to save room) roll of electrical tape.  This can be used to cover a tone hole on the bassoon which may be leaking due to the pad falling out, or a key getting bumped.  This can be a lifesaver for those who have a separate back A-flat key.  That key often gets bumped and bent and can be easily taped over in the event of an emergency.  

An extra whisper key pad (usually 12mm on most bassoons) and a little chunk of pad glue.  One could also carry a mini Bic lighter, or hope to find one when/if the need arises.

A pack of cigarette paper for checking pads, drying pads etc.  Also might consider a few sheets of the Yamaha "Powder Paper" for sticky pads.  

Cork grease!  Especially if you have tight tenon corks.  Forcing tenons and bocals can cause bent keys, split bocals, and can even lead to a broken tenon like the one I repaired this month.

Swabs that work, of course.
So, what's in your case?   Please share!


  1. This is quite interesting! Here's what is in my case (aside of course from my bassoon):

    2 silk swabs (one for wing joint and one for boot joint)
    2 crutches (one large for standing, one smaller for sitting)
    2 polishing cloths (one for wing/long joints, one for boot joint)
    2 bocals
    4 pencils (I'm kind of paranoid about not having one)
    sets of reeds tuned at different pitches (a 440 box and a 442 box)
    AFM Travel documentation for domestic travel
    Small pliers for quick reed adjustments
    cigarette paper

    Tool bag:
    light up plaque
    2 knives
    a bunch-a finals
    240, 400, and 600 grade sandpaper
    mandrel handle
    2 forming tips
    eyeglass screwdriver
    Scissors in two sizes (for tip clipping)
    millimeter ruler
    spare wire segments

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