Oboes have unique mouthpieces, and a good reed can greatly hinder or enhance one’s playing. I’ve found with most young students that they rely purely on machine-made reeds for the first few years of their playing, which can greatly impede their development. These reeds are almost always too open and flat, which instills bad habits with regard to air and embouchure.
My reeds are handcrafted with care. I know how important a good reed is for a young oboist’s self-esteem, so I work slowly and deliberately to ensure my students have the best reeds I am able to provide. Response and pitch are the most important factors, followed by flexibility of dynamics and tone quality. If a reed is not comfortable for the player, then playing does not come naturally! Ease of playing is essential, and if a reed is not perfect for my student in the lesson, I take the time to adjust it specifically for their needs.
Innoledy Gouging Machine
I begin my process with an Innoledy gouger to ensure consistency within the insides of my reeds. A gouger carves out the insides of tube cane, so that they’re thin enough to eventually blow air through comfortably.
Innoledy gougers last a long time, are easy to use, and are sturdy so long as they’re treated with care. I’ve been using using for six years with no issues and great reed results!
Gilbert 1 SHaper Tip
The Gilbert 1 shaper tip is a popular choice for many reasons, but especially because they consistently produce good reeds. I use it because I enjoy the accurate pitch and stability it provides.
I use brand-name razor blades for my shaping. They are sharp without being so fine that they wear away on the shaper tip from so much use. Delicate craftsmanship is crucial in this step. If cane is not shaped properly, it can cause leaks, which renders a reed unusable.
I use Pisoni staples, Deluxe silver, 47 mm. They are well-made and reliable, and allow me to have consistency with my reed-making. They provide healthy openings for reeds without sacrificing pitch or comfort.
After tying the shaped cane onto Pisoni staples, I begin the initial scraping of the reed. I scrape with deliberate care while regularly sharpening my knives to ensure accuracy. It is important while crafting a reed to maintain balance and execute extreme attention to detail.