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Oboe/Reed, oboe playing, irregular teeth


Hi Geoffrey,

I have played oboe for around 1.5 years. I have irregular teeth (my front teeth both up and bottom). How will it effect my oboe playing? Because I have thick lips, so I can still roll my lips well I think.

I use german-scrape reed. I thread on 75 mm, cut on 72 mm. I use shaped-cane, Rigotti, diameter: 10.5-11 mm, thickness: 0.56-0.57 mm, tube: Chiarugi 47 mm. I use Rigoutat Expression. What scrape do you prefer with this shaped-cane I have? I have the book from Michael Untch and I'm using that kind of scrape right now.

I got really interested with Hansjorg Schellenberger. In some post I read about Schellenberger's profile, but I don't really know how is it. Would you like to tell me about it?

Sometimes when I played a long phrase, I got my reed wet and it became hard to control. Why can this happened?

I'll wait for your reply. Thank you so much for your help.


Dear Billy
If you can roll your lips under your teeth and don't have problems with soreness on the insides you should be fine. The problem lies when the lips are quite short and rolling is a big stretch. If you tire easily though there may be a problem and this wetness you speak of with long notes might be caused by that. The answer is actually keep playing and do short bursts of practise. If you start to tire then stretch your embouchure and this includes all your facial muscles of expression, rest a little then go for it again. The best exercise for lip strengthening is playing - but in short bursts and don't forget to warm up by gentle blowing of low notes - resisting the high ones which are so satisfying! So get the lip going then play for a little longer and so on.

The scrape I would use probably would be a U shape perhaps even making the U a little longer but not removing too much of the substance of the cane. Just the shiny bark initially and then feeling how it is with the embouchure. Evn try making the U into a long V going back to about 15mm at the point. Again resist taking off too much of the cane and take off the shiny bark. Frees them up.

The longer scrapes are kinder to the lip and sometimes I make an American style to give my embouchure a rest! Then though you need to chop the tip back to about 70mm usually as the more bark that is removed the flatter the pitch becomes and also the very top notes tend to be more difficult to get. It is a matter of balance of long tip and amount removed further back.

Hans-Jorg's scrape is the standard profile provided by the Michel profiling machine. It takes quite a lot from the sides and is easy blowing with a pronounced spine and shortish tip. Works very nicely but I find sometimes that it is a little too free blowing and cane dependent. Can be excellent.

Best wishes



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Geoffrey Bridge


Professional oboist with many years experience. Former pupil of Leon Goossens. Solo artist for Arts Council of Great Britain. Freelance recitalist/broadcasting/orchestras. Former Head of woodwind teaching in Hampshire, England. Questions on repertoire, playing styles, reeds, cane selection and processing.


St Andrews University Royal College of Music, Aberdeen College of Education Licenciate of the Royal Academy of Music General Teaching Council certificate Broadcast solo recitals/performed with major symphony orchestras/Music Club recitals/writings on double reed matters

Chairman and Trustee of the British Double Reed Society International Double Reed Society Association Hautbois Francais Orchestral Manager of Southern Pro Musica Orchestra/Aberdeen Sinfonietta

Double Reed News/Australasian Double Reed Society magazine/International Double Reed Society

LRAM, Cert Ed

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