Thomann's Cool Online Guides: Oboes

6. Reeds

The quality of the reed is just as important as the quality of the instrument in determining the sound and function of an oboe. They are fragile and unpredictable, and while a good reed can make you feel that the oboe is the finest of all instruments, a run of bad ones can make you want to give up on the spot. Some teachers make their own reeds for their students, while others use colleagues whose reeds they like to supply what they need. It’s also possible to buy reeds ’off the shelf’ from a variety of manufacturers.A reed is made by taking a short strip of bamboo cane, folding it in half and tying it onto a brass staple, then cutting off the tip and scraping each side evenly until the it blows easily. As a general rule, the neater and more symmetrical the reed, the better it should work, though occasionally the most ragged-looking reed produces a great sound for no obvious reason. Each reed is different, and each oboe and each player need slightly different reeds - there is therefore no right and wrong; only personal Preference.

Reeds come in various hardnesses - soft, medium-soft, medium, medium-hard and hard. Soft ones (which have the most cane scraped away) are best for beginners. When trying a reed, always firstly soak it tip down in a small pot of water for a few minutes. When you blow into the reed without making an embouchure it should make a crowing sound, and you can then go on to see how well it works in an oboe. Most reeds come with a small piece of brass wire tied around the neck to adjust the aperture. The shape of the scrape can vary - most European reeds are scraped until halfway to the thread, either in a V or a W shape, and this is generally preferable to the American norm of scraping almost right down to the thread, which needs a different type of embouchure to work well. While a soft reed is easy to blow, it generally produces a harsher sound, and so as soon as the mouth muscles are strong enough, you should progress to slightly harder reeds. It should never be excessively hard work though – if it is, then go back to a softer reed.

Oboe reeds are relatively expensive (between £10 and £15 each, approximately), and they also break easily, so it’s essential to keep them in a properly made hard case. The small cardboard boxes packed with cotton wool in which reeds sometimes arrive are not really adequate, and plastic tubes are also not ideal as they don’t allow the reed to breathe, and the tip can be damaged easily when removing or replacing the reed. For a beginner, a case with three to six slots will be plenty.

An average reed, carefully looked after, should last several weeks. It may however, require a little care and adjustment along the way. Often, the cane thickens with playing, and so the reed will need further scraping. Teachers usually do this for their students, but should you wish to do it yourself you will need a specially-made reed knife and a small plastic tongue or ‘plaque’ to insert into the reed as a backing on which to scrape. Barrie Gregson makes very good knives. Reeds can start to leak air through the sides, in which case you can wrap a small piece of clingfilm or PTFE tape around the reed, taking care not to cover the scrape at all.

Your Contacts
Phone: +49-9546-9223-26
FAX: +49-9546-9223-24
Question!
Question! Give the right answer and win 1x Stairville Quad Par Profile 5x8W RGB WW worth €65.
How many people are in a quartet?
Conditions of participation
Terms and Conditions for participation
in online competitions

Note: Participation in an online competition runs independently from any purchase at Thomann GmbH. The following Competition Rules apply when participating in any online competition run by Musikhaus Thomann:

  1. Competition

    1. The competitions are organised by Thomann GmbH, CEO: Hans Thomann, Hans-Thomann-Straße 1, 96138 Burgebrach, Germany.
  2. Participation

    1. Competitions are only open to persons of full age.
    2. To take part in the competition you must answer all questions correctly, fill in the registration form and submit your entry to Thomann GmbH by pressing the "send" button.
      By pressing the "send" button the participant accepts the aforementioned terms and conditions.
    3. The participant is responsible for entering their email and/or postal address correctly. Entries to the competition will be logged electronically.
  3. Qualifying Entrants

    1. Staff of Thomann GmbH and any cooperation partners and their dependants are excluded from participation.
    2. Should these conditions of participation be violated, especially by using illegitimate means, Thomann GmbH reserves the right to exclude persons from the competition. In case of such violations prizes can be withdrawn and claimed back subsequently.
  4. Announcing the winner

    1. The winners will be notified by Thomann GmbH by email or in writing and their names may be published on the homepage www.thomann.de. The winner accepts this form of publication explicitly.
      Should for whatever reason the winner not claim their prize, then a new winner will be drawn.
    2. The prize presented to the winner may not be identical to the item description. There can be deviances regarding the model, colour etc.
    3. The merchandise prizes will be sent by Thomann GmbH or by one of its contracting delivery companies, per freight forwarder, courier or postal service to the postal address indicated by the winner.

      The delivery is free of charge. Only extra transport costs and customs/duties must be covered by the winner. In the case that the delivery has to be made through a freight forwarding company the freight forwarding company will contact the winner to arrange delivery timings.
    4. An exchange, cash alternative or replacement prize is not possible.
    5. The claim to the prize or replacement of the prize cannot be assigned to a third party.
  5. Data protection

    1. The participant accepts explicitly that Thomann GmbH saves all necessary data for the duration of the competition and forwards them exclusively for purposes related to the winning process to the respective cooperation partner, who is also permitted to save the personal data only for the duration of the competition. The participant is free to withdraw his entry at any time. Please direct the withdrawal to:

      Thomann GmbH
      to the data protection officer
      Hans-Thomann-Straße 1
      96138 Burgebrach, Germany
    2. Thomann GmbH is obliged to consider the regulations for data protection according to the Federal Data Protection Law (BDSG) valid at the conclusion of the competition. In this context the general data protection regulations under notes regarding data protection should be noted.
  6. Liability

    1. Thomann GmbH will be released from any obligations by handing out the prize.
    2. Thomann GmbH is not liable for the insolvency of a cooperation partner and the resulting consequences for the implementation and processing of the competition.
  7. Other

    1. Legal proceedings are barred.
    2. The law of the Federal Republic of Germany applies exclusively.
One of our Fans
Fast, efective, great communication
S. P., 04.04.2018

Oboes overview

Yamaha Stagepas 600BT Subpac M2X Adam T5V Roland R-07 black RME ADI-2 DAC Heritage Audio HA-73 EQ Elite Epiphone Richie Faulkner Flying V Fender Squier Affinity P-Bass PJ ILBK Focal Listen Professional Focal Shape Twin Yamaha Stagepas 400BT Fender SQ Affinity PJ Bass Pack BK 18
Recommended
Yamaha Stagepas 600BT

Mini-PA System with Bluetooth Function Consisting of 2x passive 2-way boxes and 10-channel power mixers, Power mixers and speaker cables can be stored in the boxes for transportation, Successor of the Stagepas 600i, Including 2 speaker cables, each 6...

to the product
€799
Recommended
Subpac M2X

Subpac M2X, Mobile tactile bass system, SubPac adds real depth, connection and enjoyment to whatever you play through it - your music and media comes to life with the added dimension of physical bass. Frequency Response: 1hz-200hz, Wired Input: 3.5mm...

to the product
€385
(2)
Recommended
Adam T5V

Active Nearfield Monitor Equipped with: 5" woofer and 1.9" U-ART ribbon tweeter, 2x Class-D amplifiers: 50W RMS woofer, 20W RMS tweeter, Frequency range: 45 - 25000 Hz, Crossover frequency: 3 kHz, Maximum input level: 106 dB (1m/pair), Rear bass...

to the product
€169
(1)
Recommended
Roland R-07 black

Portable MP3 / WAV Recorder with Bluetooth Functionality Stereo recordings up to 24 Bit / 96 kHz in WAV format or up to 396 kbps in MP3 format on microSD / SDHC card, Built-in stereo microphone, Integrated hybrid limiter,...

to the product
€225
(3)
Recommended
RME ADI-2 DAC

High-end DA converter & headphone amplifier Sample rates: 44.1 kHz up to 768 kHz, Playback of DSD and Direct DSD, SteadyClock FS, LCD display with AutoDark function for lighting, Desktop Case, Dimensions: 215 x 52 x 150 mm, Weight:...

to the product
€999
Recommended
Heritage Audio HA-73 EQ Elite

Heritage Audio HA-73 EQ Elite; 1-Channel Mic-Preamp wit EQ; based on the 1073; hand wound Carnhill Transformers; 3 stage fully discrete class A mic preamp; max. Gain: 80 dB Mic and 50 dB Line; -20 dB Pad; LO-Z switches the...

to the product
€945
(1)
Recommended
Epiphone Richie Faulkner Flying V

Electric Guitar Body and neck: Mahogany, Fretboard: Ebony, Neck profile: Thin C, 22 Jumbo frets, Scale: 628 mm, Pickups: Active EMG 57 (bridge) and EMG 66 (neck) humbucker, Floyd Rose 1000, Grover Rotomatic machine heads, Colour: Black, Incl. Deluxe...

to the product
€925
Recommended
Fender Squier Affinity P-Bass PJ ILBK

Electric Bass Affinity series, Body: Alder, Neck: Maple, Fretboard: Indian Laurel, Neck profile: "C", 20 Medium jumbo nut, Scale: Long scale, Nut width: 41.3 mm, Pickups: 1 Jazz and 1 Standard Split Precision single coil, 2 Volume and 1...

to the product
€229
Recommended
Focal Listen Professional

Headphones Closed, Circumaural, Conversion technology for acoustic transparency and dynamics, Impedance: 32 ohms, Sensitivity (@ 1 kHz - / 1 Vrms): 122 dB SPL, THD (THD, @ 1 kHz / 100 dB SPL): 0.3%, Frequency range: 5 Hz to...

to the product
€249
(1)
Recommended
Focal Shape Twin

Active Near Field Monitor Tweeter with low directivity for flexible listening position, Closed design with two passive membranes for easy installation near the wall, 2.5-Way concept for optimal control of the bass and lower mids, Optimal integration through extensive...

to the product
€849
(1)
Recommended
Yamaha Stagepas 400BT

Mini-PA System Bluetooth Function Consisting of 2x passive 2-way boxes and 8-channel power mixers, Power mixers and speaker cables can be stored in the boxes for transportation, Successor of the Stagepas 400i, Including 2 speaker cables, each 6 m...

to the product
€555
Recommended
Fender SQ Affinity PJ Bass Pack BK 18

Fender Squier Affinity PJ Bass Pack BK bass guitar set with bass, rumble 15 amp, cable and strapt; bass guitar, poplar body, maple neck, indian laurel fretboard, 20 medium jumbo frets, nut width 41,3mm (1,625"), scale 864mm (34"), pickups 1x...

to the product
€269
Feedback Found an error or want to give us feedback about this page?

We're looking forward to hearing from you and aim to solve any problems as soon as we can.

Please leave a comment. Please enter your e-mail address.