Magic Reed Specifications

For Those Who Want To Know More:

  • Magic Reed Oboe Reeds are made with an American long scrape and a signature internal structure that reflects our preference for extra beef.  The degree of beef in a reed, in combination with the preferred size of the aperture, are key factors  that differentiate one reed maker's reed from another.  We work in a world where millimeters make all the difference in performance and where there is no room for error.  We need to adjust for the natural differences in the cane based on diameter, density and other factors.  We need to do all this while modifying the strength of student reeds so that players who are either not ready for more beef, or who prefer and easier ride can enjoy our products.  Welcome to the world of the oboe reed maker.  Even the most elite players and reed makers are often humbled by this aspect of playing oboe.  While nothing is absolute, these are some target specifications that we use.
  • Reed specifications for those who need to know.    
  • American long scrape
  • ​Gouge- @.59
  • Shape- Usually Samson or Mack ++ 
  • Heart thickness- @.40  
  • Blended tip- Starts at @ .19 mm from thread.  
  • Length of blank- 73 mm; Length of finished reed- @69.5-70 mm  
  • Staple- Synthetic cork (Student and Intermediate) Natural Cork- Chiarugi #2 upgrade available on Conservatory and Professional models. 
  • FF thread 
  • They generally require a break-in period.  Our student and intermediate reeds are designed for an easier ride.  

Professional Reeds

Our higher end professional oboe reeds are designed for players who prefer a somewhat beefier reed on a little harder cane.   We believe that this structure gives the player a better and more professional experience, An added benefit is that our reeds last longer than most on the market.

We select the cane diameter for optimal aperture when paired with a player with a well developed embouchure and general "chops".  While specific gouge targets are relative to the strength of the cane, and other factors, generally, professional reeds have a thicker gouge than the student reeds.  This is the best way to install more nuance without sacrificing pitch or collapsing the aperture.  

Reeds are progressively warmer, darker and and more responsive from one grade to the next higher one, with more quality control and pruning.

Student Reeds

Our student reeds are designed to give aspiring players with a great reed with an easier blow.  We make the reeds on medium strength cane that may have a slightly thinner gouge than the pro models.  This is a real balancing act for the reed maker. Too much of anything, in the service of a highly responsive reed can wreck the reed.  Cane that is too soft lacks enough structure to do its job.  It wreaks havoc with the aperture, drops the pitch, reduces its dynamic range, and cuts short its lifespan.  In some ways, student reeds are much harder to make than professional ones.  All too often, professional reed makers overscrape student reeds in an effort to get it done quickly, and have it play.  We refuse to go down this route.

If you are new to Magic Reed and are accustomed to very light reeds, you need to let us know.  We will do our best to accommodate you.  If you like our reeds, but still need something lighter consult your teacher for help.  We do not have beginner reeds on our menu.