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Making oboe reeds for the first time

Tammi

Private woodwind instructor
#2
Amelia says "It's a little lumpy, but not bad." "As long as the sides seal you should be OK"

Are you using beeswax? She says it helps things stay put.

She can wrap like a pro, too bad she can't scrape for crap yet.
 

bpimentel

Broadway Doubler List Owner
Distinguished Member
#3
Beeswax is a really cheap and easy way to improve the chances of an airtight reed. So cheap and easy that I think it would be a mistake to omit it!

From the pictures, it doesn't look like too bad of a first attempt, but I think you can get much neater wrappings than that. It's easy to unwind a sloppy wrap or two and redo them. This will also benefit the airtightness of the reed.

Of course it's impossible to tell for sure from a picture, but something about the way the thread looks, plus the flatness at the tip, gives me a gut sense that you haven't wrapped tightly enough.

Do I understand right that you are attempting this without the guidance of an experienced reedmaker? If so, I wish you luck but I'm betting on the reeds to win! :)
 

SOTSDO

Old King Log
Staff member
CE/Moderator
#4
I may be flaunting tradition here, but it was my son's bassoon teacher's premise that you got the best seal with nail polish. She said bee's wax was for the birds (or bees), and that it had a tendency to open up the join a lot quicker than did the synthetic approach.
 

bpimentel

Broadway Doubler List Owner
Distinguished Member
#5
Nail polish is fairly common with bassoon reeds ("Duco" cement is more common), but not with oboe reeds. I suspect this is because oboe staples (or "tubes") can be reused, and waxed thread is much easier to remove than lacquered. Bassoon reeds don't have reusable parts, so something like nail polish--which, I'd say, probably DOES give a more airtight seal--is fine because you don't have to try to remove it later.
 

Tammi

Private woodwind instructor
#7
Good Job!

Are the wraps getting smoother and tighter?

I have a chair with little bits of thread hanging off from Kid #2. Sometimes I think I should really have her snip them off, but I change my mind.
 

SOTSDO

Old King Log
Staff member
CE/Moderator
#9
Are you chucking the staple cork in a variable speed drill when you wind them? I knew a gal who used to swear by this method (which would seem to require an awfully steady hand to make it work), but I never actually saw her do one.
 

Ed

Founder
Staff member
Administrator
#10
I'm impressed by the progress. I wonder how many good playable reeds people who do this all the time get.
 

SOTSDO

Old King Log
Staff member
CE/Moderator
#11
My son, a mere junior high school level bassoonist, was up to fewer than one in eight being unusable when he last played at the start of high school. I know that I could use them, however good of a gauge of that it might be.

His teacher, our next door neighbor at the time, claims to never have made a reed not worth her trouble to finish. I played a few of hers, and they were uniform and tight, the product of a very organized and meticulous mind.

One thing that I regret was never having taken the time to photograph him hard at work at the reed-making board. Head down trimming an edge, under the over-bright light fixture we installed at his request, he would work at his reeds longer than his homework.

It all ended because of 1) the school requirement that all band members be a part of the marching band, 2) the concurrent requirement of attending extra practices focused on marching band (and having little to do with either music or drill and ceremony) and 3) playing high level hockey (he's still a AA rated player, and even plays adult checking hockey up in New Jersey). So much for bassoon playing...

Me? Well, I have tried reed making in the past (converting Eb clarinet reeds to fit my single reed staple mouthpiece for the oboe, and a couple of attempts to make bass clarinet reeds). But, I quickly found out why the little oboe mouthpiece came with an envelope full of reeds - I, like many others, do not have the patience to do it right.
 

Merlin

Content Expert/Moderator
Staff member
CE/Moderator
#12
Time for some followup.

I played in a concert at church. Oboe obbligato part with the choir. Used one of my own reeds. Just made another 3 on Friday, and they all work well.

I've gotten my tying much smoother. I've also been experimenting with upholstery thread instead of FF nylon.

Getting Joseph Shalita's downloadable PDF book on reedmaking has been a tremendous help.

I've gotten to the point where I'd rather play the reeds I make rather than anything I can buy - and that includes some pro quality reeds.

Total number of reeds made to date ===> less than 50.
 
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