free sheet music
sheet music search


Oboe Reeds: Learning How to Experiment

By Maryn Leister

As you may have heard before, being consistent in your reed making helps ensure consistent reeds. A simple but powerful statement indeed.

Reed making is a rather long and varied process, and most successful reed makers would recommend that you do the same thing every time. That way you can slowly make corrections without losing your point of reference.

But what if you want to try something new?

The spirit of adventure definitely has a place in reed making, as long as you have the time (and patience) to do some experimenting. There is so much new equipment available to oboists today that can help (or hurt) your reed making adventures.

There are new kinds of staples coming out all the time, and someone is always introducing either a new gouging machine or shaper tip to the market.

Sometimes it is possible to borrow these new .toys. from friends to try, and other times you may be able to try a shaper tip on loan from a double reed company.

Just remember, don.t be afraid to try new things! That.s how you learn.

But here is a tip to make your experimenting as productive and efficient as possible:

Whatever you do, don.t get too caught up in the frenzy and try to change more than one thing at once.

It may go without saying, but reed making with any new materials at all is just like a science experiment. Remember those days back in lab class?

You never change more than one variable at a time when testing something new. You want to be able to determine just how the new change affects all areas of the experiment.

Some things you might try:

  • * change the length you tie the cane on
  • * try gouging your cane a few millimeters thicker Try these and many other things! As long as you keep everything else exactly the same, you will have conducted a successful experiment and you will learn something.

    It is surprising and fun to see how your reeds will change, and sometimes (hopefully most times) it will be for the better!


    Oboist and entrepreneur Maryn Leister helps beginner, intermediate and professional oboists become happier oboe players.

    She is owner of the oboe learning company MKL Reeds and publisher of the Reed Report and Oboe Success Tips Newsletters. Each newsletter is full of straightforward tips on becoming a better oboe player and on taking control of your oboe reeds.

    Get your free subscription to the Reed Report newsletter and start your own journey towards a more rewarding oboe future right away. Sign-Up now and get your FREE Oboe Reed Tips!