Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Off-label uses

Many bassoonists browse hardware stores, craft stores and other shops wondering how they could modify what's on the shelves for bassoon playing.

My former colleague, Phil Austin is particularly good at this. Here are a couple of ingenious uses he's found for these common items.

Low A Extension

Using a wiffle ball bat (found in most sporting goods stores), mark out a 7" section of the bat from just above the word "OFFICIAL" stamped on the fat part of the bat extending towards the handle.

Cut with a saw.

Color black with spray paint or a Sharpy permanent marker.

Warp a layer of black electrician's tape around the area that contacts the bassoon bell.

Insert into bell and check pitch of Low A. If flat, you can cut shorter!

Perhaps due to the hard plastic, this Low A has a better sound than the paper towel roll often used and is MUCH cheaper than extensions marketed by double reed suppliers!

Case Humidifier

Take a film canister (people of a certain age will tend to have more of these laying around than others!) and drill some holes in it.

Cut up a sponge into a cylindrical shape with scissors.

Insert sponge into the film canister, put lid on and wet sponge under a faucet. 

Shake out excess water so sponge is damp, but not soaked. 

Put in case for higher humidity.

Anyone have any off-label uses for everyday items to share?

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