Oboe/Reed staples 101


Dear Geoffrey, I am taking up my oboe again after many years of rest and need to get my reed making tools dusted. I play a PŁchner oboe and it tends to have a flat C which I addressed (long ago) by purchasing a very narrow staple (if you measure the base, it is around 4mm as opposed to the typical 5mm). I also had a narrow shape which stabilised the tone. Now, when I last played (early 1990's) these staples were passed on to me by my teacher and I used his "special" narrow shape to shape my cane OR would use my own normal size shape and sand down the sides a bit. I have only a handful of the staples left and I would like to get some more; and would also like to order the right size shaped cane. However, the scene of oboe supplies have changed! (So awesome). I have all these online websites and pages and pages of choices! I have no idea where to start and what to look for. I wonder if there is perhaps a simple guide out there that, for instance, explains the difference between D10, D11 and D12 staples. Something that could explain the difference in shaped cane so that I know which one is the narrow one and which one is broad? This is the type of thing one's teacher typically tells you and takes care of and now, I have nobody to refer to as I'm all grown up :) . We don't appreciate them enough!! Please would you help me. Thank you so much.

Dear Adi

Sorry to be a bit late with my reply If you can send me an email address I will send you some tables of staple and shape dimensions which might help you through the mire!

If you had one of your old teacher's narrower shapes you could perhaps measure it and compare the charts This would give you a guide. You have to really shape cane yourself these days and there are lots of different types of shape. KGe is often quite a good supplier of cane gouged and shaped. He sells narrower versions of his shapes. He also has his own staples which are made to counter the flat C syndrome.
If you look through the tables of staples dimensions you will find something there I ma sure that will be near to what you need. The Loree DM is quite small in chimney size and is available in  different lengths. The D10 is big. I have used these in a shortened version 42mm for example.

Another supplier springs to mind and that is Roseaux Chantant in Lyon France. He sells narrow shapes and staples to match. Worth a try. His cane is good too.

I'll send you the tables when you send me your email address. The shape tables need patient exploration!
Bear in mind that a standard average tip width is 7.1mm. What sort of reed length gives you an A that is comfortably in tune?
Is it long (73mm) or short (69/70)?

Best of luck


Send me an email if you prefer to.  geoffrey@geoffreybridgeoboe.com


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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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