By Lieza Hansen, RDG Bassoon Specialist
One question we get asked a lot is how the different brands of bassoon cane compare to each other. Of course a big part of that is up to personal preference, location, altitude, etc., but we do have at least one quantifiable aspect we can measure: hardness. Hardness can be measured using a hardness tester. The lower the number, the harder the cane. Hardness numbers are only one part of the equation, but these numbers can provide us with some confidence when trying a new brand of cane.
To collect my data I selected a small sample size at random of each brand and measured the hardness levels on a Reeds ‘n Stuff analog hardness tester. Because hardness testers can measure differently from each other, I was most interested in showing the range of each brand in comparison with the others. The length of each bar shows the variance within the brand; the beginning of the bar is the lowest number of the sample and the end is the highest. Hardnesses are measured in hundredths of a millimeter.
The Superieure and Danzi cane are gouged in-house with our RDG USA gouging machine. Rieger, Medir, RDG France, Glotin, and Cote D’Azur are all gouged by their respective manufacturers. The Pisoni and Lavoro cane I gouged on an RDG gouging machine from our stock of tube cane. The Pisoni cane is only available for purchase as tube cane.
These measurements were taken in February 2020, and it's important to note that cane densities can vary over time. For those interested in trying out new cane I always suggest buying a few pieces of several different types to do their own comparison and discover whether harder or softer cane works best for them.
P.S. If you’re into the numbers like me, I highly recommend the Reeds ‘n Stuff hardness tester! You can check it out here.