Custom Oboe Reeds

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Magic Reed
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Magic Reed Custom Oboe Reeds are designed for professionals and adult amateurs with highly developed production systems and discriminating concepts of sound. Typically reed makers themselves, they understand how to construct a reed that helps them sound their best and are good at directing my efforts for a more personalize result. My custom oboe reeds represent flexible reed making at its best. All oboe cane is hand selected from my best inventory of tube cane and precision processed in my shop. Buyers have choice of: cane strength, density and shape; 46 or 47 mm Chiarugi Professional Oboe Staple; certain tonal preferences from brighter to darker; response; and pitch. Cane is drawn from my best inventory with additional sorting/editing after the shaped cane is folded. I use my construction and scraping skills to achieve a personalized result. They are harder to make, with less room for error, which is one reason they cost a little more. They include extra finishing cycles to settle the reed and increase the odds that the reed you receive will play the same as the reed I tested and shipped. I overfill these orders in and only ship  the best of the batch. Below is a guide to help you to make the best choices to help achieve the full benefit from purchasing this exceptional product.

Custom Oboe Reed Structure Considerations

Cane Strength And Nuance:

I work with cane in the medium - medium hard range. I don't use soft or very hard cane. It doesn't work for me. Cane strength supports structure. Harder cane permits more nuanced scraping than softer cane, and it is a bigger challenge for the reed maker. It is my job to use scrape to create the response desired with the three strength ranges I work with. However, all things being equal, medium strength cane will be more flexible than hard cane.

Cane Diameter And Aperture Size:  

How large do you like your reed opening? How much do you cover? Do you prefer free-blowing or robust reeds? Do you live in a dry or humid climate? All these things effect aperture size choices and the cane diameter that directly effects it. Large diameter cane closes apertures and small diameter cane opens apertures. The degree to which this takes place is highly dependent on climate. High altitude and dry climates tend to require smaller diameters because the cane shrinks. Low, humid climates tend to require larger diameters because the cane expands. I can make reeds and test them for function with diameters between 10.5 and 11. I have trouble testing smaller diameters and leave this to others. 

Staple Length And Pitch:

Staple length effects pitch. The standard staple length for oboe is 47 mm. Those players who have a problem playing up to pitch because of their mechanics or oboe issues can benefit from a 46 mm staple that can raise pitch above 440 when applied correctly.

Shape, Tone and Pitch

I offer four cane shapes in my comfort zone. Shapes that are narrower tend to promote higher pitch, but also brighter reeds. Shapes that are wider tend to promote lower pitch and darker tone. Sometimes, matching a 46 mm staple to a wide shape will help manage pitch. Use this guide to make your selections, and I will use my reed making skills to create the result you desire.

Scrape and Response

I like a reed with a bit of a back bone and a somewhat larger aperture because I tend to cover.  My lightest reeds are not especially light relative to the competition. I do not, and cannot make a reliable oboe reed that is extra light, so I don't offer it. My scrape options will be Regular, Somewhat Lighter, Somewhat Heavier.  Choose response based on your embouchure and playing style as well as the demands of the music you are playing. Nobody can get through the Strauss Oboe Concerto with a really beefy reed. Having a range of reeds in your reed case is probably a good idea.

Orders of three or more for custom reeds at a time are appreciated due to their special set-up.  Please factor in an additional 3-4 days for production vs. standard reeds since they must be made from scratch to properly match shape and strength selections. Tested on your choice of a Howarth XL or Loree 125 in two rooms. Reed prep instructions included. Please Covid sanitize reeds upon arrival.