5 tips to improve your oboe reed making.

Just as we do scales, long notes and articulation exercises every day, it is highly recommended that you make reeds daily to progress. Here are some of the tips to improve your oboe reed making I always give in my reed making lessons.


1- Making reeds is a part of the study of oboe.

It is necessary to understand that making reeds is part of the study of oboe. Set a time every day that you can spend in any of the processes of the reeds (gouging, tying, shaping the cane, measuring hardness …). In an oboe player’s house, there are always things to do 🙂

2- Better to have a sharp knife than a dull one!

80% of the people who come to my reed making lessons have their knife blunt. When making reeds is essential to have a sharp knife that allows us to make smooth and relaxed movements. This will give us much more precision to scrape.

3- What is the best time to make reeds?

It has never happened to you that you make reeds at night thinking that you are making perfect reeds and in the morning you realize that you have scraped too much or the scrape does not look as pretty as you thought?

Avoid making reeds at night when you are very tired. Which brings us to point 1. Try to integrate reed making into your daily study routine in a schedule that allows you to concentrate and try your reeds to not to scrape too much.

4- A method is always important.

Many times we make reeds in a disorderly way. Sometimes we make the tip first, sometimes we start with the “U end” or we begin by separating the tips. It is important that you have a routine when making oboe reeds, no matter the order, but try to follow the same steps always. This will help you work faster and correct errors if any.

5- What shape are you using?

It is important to have all your material sorted and labeled to always know what you are playing. Many times lack of organization leads us to mix cane with different shapes, diameters and thicknesses. If we have everything organized, when we have a reed that we like a lot, we can know exactly what features it has and we will be able to repeat it.

2 thoughts on “5 tips to improve your oboe reed making

  1. Vijay Lazarus says:

    I am playing the oboe for 20 ears. Again the time has come to replace the pads. Should I go for cork pads or the usual leather pads?

    • Éric González says:

      Dear Vijay. Please contact your trusted luthier for that question. We do not replace pads and we can’t advise you. Thank you! 🙂

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