Is Your Oboe Reed Too Heavy?

One of the most common mistakes made by young oboists (and maybe old oboists too) is playing on oboe reeds that are just too heavy for that particular player. I’ve been there, and I have certainly done that. And I saw many of my colleagues struggle with the same issue, especially when we were in school. It’s really easy to do when all you listen to is other oboists, day…

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Making Oboe Reeds: Creating the “Shell”

Scraping an oboe reed blank is a little like creating a shell for the reed to live in. It isn’t really an oboe reed yet, but it has to be a good enough shell so that the reed can eventually take shape within it. It seems like a rather abstract idea now, so just remember… Your initial goal is to just get some cane off the reed. All that hard…

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A Special Note to Band Directors About Oboe Reeds

Let it be known that I like band directors, and that without mine long ago I would not be sitting here writing about what I know about the oboe. He was (and probably still is) a wonderful man who encouraged me, taught me what he knew but then was humble enough to say that he could take me no further. He recommended a professional oboist in town so I could…

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Not Making Oboe Reeds? Money’s No Excuse

There are many excuses for not making your own oboe reeds, but in my opinion, one of the poorest excuses is money. Let’s face it, playing the oboe is an expensive proposition. If you haven’t realized it already, then let this be your warning. If you don’t want to spend any money at all, then you should probably just pick another instrument. Apart from getting the oboe itself, there is…

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How Do I Know What My Oboe Reed Strength Is?

Question “How do I know what my oboe reed strength is?” Answer I never bought into the whole reed strength phenomenon, so I don’t know what to tell you. Make your own and it won’t matter. If you have to buy a “strength” just remember that harder doesn’t mean that you or the reed is “better” or more advanced than you used to be. It will simply have more wood…

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Playing Your Oboe Reed Out of Your Ear

When you’re looking for a good reed to play a solo performance, just remember this: Make sure you can play the reed out of your ear. That means the reed should be easy enough to get through your piece 2 or 3 times in a row without getting tired. So if your reed has you huffing and puffing after a bar or two, you’re going to get into hot water.…

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Oboe Reeds for Sale!

It’s amazing what 4,000 feet will do to an oboe reed. 30 days ago, we moved out of the mountains of Flagstaff Arizona. Flagstaff Elevation: 7,200 feet above sea level. Now when you’re an oboe reed company, that type of elevation can be a real deal breaker. It was for us. So we stopped selling oboe reeds. We’d make them at the top of the mountain in Flagstaff, and then…

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From the Oboe Notebook: Reed Checklist – 11/6/1993

I remember this reed lesson pretty well. Even though it happened almost 15 years ago (eekkk…). The idea was to give myself a simple “cheat sheet” that I could refer back to as I made reeds. It was basically my profile of the “perfect reed.” I created a quick list of the major things I was looking for in a good reed. Mind you, this was 1993… so I was…

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Tying the Knot on Your Oboe Reed… Here’s a Quick Video

Got a question recently about how to tie your knots when you’re making an oboe reed. It’s hard to explain in words, so take a look at the video and see if it’s clear. This video is actually part of our reedmaking course, The Beginner’s Guide to Making Your First Playing Oboe Reed… In 9 Days or Less

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Where do dead reeds go?

Here’s what happens to dead oboe reeds (in this case, a bassoon reed) in our house. My son really gets a kick out of this. I wish I could have so much fun when my reeds kick the bucket. 🙂

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