The hard choice of a Double Reed.
We have a lot of customers that come in asking for a double reed for either their student, or they are just starting to play themselves. A lot of people think it is as easy as coming in, finding where the double reed selections are in our store and find the strength that they are required to get. What a lot of you don't know is that a lot of times, oboe and bassoon reeds are machine made. They follow a template and shave things down until they fit that template... If only that worked to provide the player with the best reed possible. Sadly, 1 out of 10 machine made reeds actually work.
Some of the most common qualities that a player or instructor is looking for are:
MORE OPEN ---------- LESS OPEN
More air needed ---------- Less ar needed
Better in low register ---------- Better in high register
Flatter ---------- Sharper
Louder ---------- Softer
Harder ---------- Easier
MORE VIBRATION ---------- LESS VIBRATION
Better in lower register ---------- Better in higher register
Better Response ---------- Tends to have better focus, stability
Priorities in identifying the perfect double reed:
1 - The Reeds Response is impotortant. The player needs it to be able to hit any register at any time.
2 - Stability and Pitch - The reed must be able to sustain a tune without exhausting the player.
3- Dynamics - You want to select a reed that has a wide and a variety of a range. It needs to be very easily played and loud enough to be heard but still needs to be soft enough to blend into the ensemble.
4 - Tone - It needs to sound good without having to adjust or soak the reed longer than usual.
The things you need to look for when you are purchasing a reed or two at a local music store or online.
The opening of the reed should be oval like, almost as if it were a small football. Each blad of the tip should be symmetrical in shape and in thickness. A reed that is too OPEN can be very hard to play, and a reed that is too CLOSED will have bad response time and could temparily be fixed by soaking in water.
SIDE of the REED:
The sides should press tightly together by the thread holding it together. If they do NOT touch, it means the side are "loose" the reed will most likely be unstable and inconsistent.
The blades should be overlapped slightly. It has be to be just right, it cannot have too much overlap or to less of an overlap. This will mess with the consitency of the tone and pitch.
Bad Double Reed: If your reed looks like these, don't get them!!
Good Oboe Reeds:
Ever wondered what the double reed making process looks like?
If you have any other questions or would like more information please feel free to stop in or call!
891 E. Baseline Rd
Gilbert, AZ 85233