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Bassoon Reed Blanks (unclipped) in packs of six, mixed hardnesses or sorted by hardness.

Gouged cane from tubes split for symmetry. Each piece measured for hardness.

We’re working on a finished reed product now. If you’re interested in knowing when it might be available, please get in touch.

Our Story

We’ve carefully trained craftspeople in Nairobi, Kenya, to select, split, gouge, shape, profile, and form tubes of cane into bassoon reed blanks. They’re paid a full-time, monthly salary, not hourly wages or piecework, so their first priority is careful work and the highest standard of quality.

Reedmaker Rachael on Tigoni Road
Reedmaker Rachael
Interview with Rachael on Facebook

The name Tigoni Reed Works comes from the street in Nairobi where they work. All of our reedmakers take great pride in their work and have demonstrated extraordinary willingness to learn. They are relentlessly committed to making quality bassoon products in service to the music-making of bassoonists around the world.

Every Tigoni Reed Works customer directly supports these people and their extended families, a transformation of livelihoods and futures. Our proven training model means that we can always produce more blanks to meet your demand, ensuring you reliable supply without compromising quality.

Reedmaker Edith on Tigoni Road
Reedmaker Edith
Interview with Edith on Facebook

Our Mission

In a question familiar to bassoonists everywhere, who spend such an enormous amount of time making reeds, non-bassoonists have often asked American bassoonist David Richmond: why can’t you just buy them?

David Richmond

Bassoonist with the Sarasota Opera Orchestra in Sarasota, Florida, David received his master’s in bassoon performance from the Rice University Shepherd School of Music, where he studied with Benjamin Kamins. Born in Portland, Oregon, David graduated from Harvard College with a degree in music, and he also studied bassoon privately with George Sakakeeny on a Paine Fellowship from the Harvard music department.

Why couldn’t I just buy bassoon reeds? Because I couldn’t find something available that worked for me. Because I could find good quality control or good availability of reeds, but rarely both at once. Because I worried about relying for my musical expression on one person to supply me with my “secret sauce.”

Tired of answering “why can’t?”, Tigoni Reed Works asks: why not? To maintain quality control, we pay staff full time salaries, not by piece. Ensuring availability, our business can sustainably scale production. And we continue to make substantial investments in hiring and training to make good on our mission: supplying you with high-quality bassoon reed products, when and where you want them.

Our Products

From Tube Cane…

Tigoni Reed Works begins with tube cane, which we split carefully by hand for the best possible symmetry, sorting out and keeping only the straight pieces after pregouging. By the time the cane has reached one of our products, we’ve accepted fewer than two-thirds of all pieces.

…to Gouge

Accepted pieces are gouged to an average thickness of 1.33 mm, concentric. Every piece is measured three times, and we discard those varying by more than 0.09 mm across the gouge. Two-thirds of pieces are within 0.03 mm of the 1.33 mm overall average (see chart below).

Many bassoonists have found that their reedmaking improves by measuring and sorting for hardness. We measure and label every piece of gouged cane and every blank with a hardness number. Refer to the chart below for the distribution of hardness numbers. Our sorted packs divide cane into three groups:

  1. Hard, the hardest third, below 16.
  2. Med. Hard, about half of cane, between 16 and 18.
  3. Med. Soft, the softest third, 18 and above.

Hardnesses in mixed packs are not guaranteed, but we aim to alter the overall distribution (see chart below) as little as possible. Prices for sorted cane vary by demand and availability.

  • Hard
  • Med. Hard
  • Med. Soft

Blank Measurements

Tigoni Reed Works blanks use a Herzberg shape, with relatively standard American-style measurements (see diagram below).

TRW reed

Profile

The Tigoni Reed Works profile (see chart below) is designed to get as close as possible to a finished reed at one-half inch (12.7 mm) from the fold across the whole back, limiting the amount of required hand work across most of the reed and setting you up for a quick start on your favorite tip profiler, if desired.