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oboe reeds

First Chair Oboe Reeds

Best Oboe Reeds For Players Seeking A Supple Response And A Beautiful Tone 

Summary:

  • The First Chair Oboe Reeds were introduced in 2021 to provide a high quality free-blowing alternative to my beefy Magic Reed brand.
  • First Chair features a slimline design that moderates aperture and manages other design elements to sound great with less effort.  This makes them accessible to a greater range of players, who may or may not have the benefit of a private teacher.
  • All reeds are made with an American long scrape.
  • Every reed receives dozens of micro adjustments and quality tests prior to assignment and shipment.
  • They are offered in true medium strength with medium density.  
  • My process supports the optimum balance of the four pillars of the oboe reed: stability, pitch, tone and response.  Extra weight is given to the response factor.

Experience Level:

  • First Chair Oboe Reeds are available in student, intermediate and professional grades.  Student reed customers can do fine without the aid of a private teacher. Others will enjoy these reeds with developing to expert free-blowing embouchures. Players should upgrade when they can manage the increased structure and detect improvements in sound quality commensurate with the higher price tag.
  • Players will find subtle increases in reed aperture size coupled with improvements in warmth, roundness of tone and dynamic range as they go up grade levels.
  • Players seeking a more structure and longevity should look at the Magic Reed  brand.  Those seeking a fine reed with a discount price tag will find it with the Reed Monkey brand.

Construction/Scrape Details:

  • I draw the best cane from my inventory and precision process it for optimum results. Cane is sorted for quality, conformation, diameter, strength and density and then matched with my objectives.
  • Medium range shape (currently  Mack ++).  
  • Mounted on a professional Chiarugi 47 mm 2+ unmarked staple with a natural cork and brass core. 
  • Tie length is 73 mm. Cane is offset from the staple median by a couple of degrees to create extra torque in the tie.
  • Reeds receive up to 2 scrape/drying cycles, as needed. The properties of the cane used generally do not require additional cycles.
  • Reeds are finished with a moderately defined heart and tip. The heart is @.40 + mm in thickness along the sides of the spine. The rest of the scrape depends on what is needed in pursuit of the four pillars described above.  Finished length target is 70mm. It is never longer, and sometimes 69.5 to address pitch issues.
  • No two reeds are ever exactly the same, and in multiple reed orders one will always be best.  
  • Tested in two rooms with and without carpet on a Loree 125 oboe. Reed prep instructions are included.  When I test reeds, I try to replicate the embouchure of the player I expect to purchase it, not my own.  If it is not a fit, I start over.

Note: I am blessed with an incredible inventory of oboe cane that has been acquired in large batches since 2015.  They originate from three different regions of France- Var, Avignon and Frejus (my Select cane is sourced outside of France).  Each is highly capable, but achieve subtle differences in tone color, response and other attributes.  I have found there there is enough of a difference to separate them by oboe cane brand. Of course, great reeds cannot be cloned, and there will always be some differences from one reed to another (even within a brand that manages materials). This improves consistency across orders.