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Oboe/reed: shape and gouge


Hi Geoffrey,
Finally I got my rigoutat -2 shape. It gives totally different feeling compared with the H70 which I used before. I got a feeling that at 75 mmm it is very difficult to close the side together 1 turn before the staple as you recommended before. I always get the blade cross each other. Is it okay to try 75.5 or 76 maybe? Because I think it will be difficult for the intonation to change to a bigger staple. My next question is, how to break in a new reed properly? How long should you wait after tying on, and after scraping? Is it a must that the reed should be able to crow after the first scrape?
Thank you so much. I'm looking forward for your answer.

Best regards,

Hi Billy
I hope that the new Rigoutat shape isn't discouraging you in any way. It will work but you will have to get used to it. It is a little wider than H70 so will tie on longer onto the staple. Have you thought of a shorter staple which has the result of still giving you about 25mm of actual cane depending on your pitch level you need. The problem is cutting back further down the shape as you would have to do if you go longer on the tie on to 76mm. In practice though you may never notice! Cutting further down the shape and making the cane length above the staple nearer to 23/24mm slightly changes the taper of the blade of the reed. So a shorter staple say 46mm might be best or even 45mm. I would still stick to the rule about tying on to one turn before the top of the staple for reed stability reasons and smoothness of the vibrations progressing down the red from tip to throat.

I would say that a reed is best left in a tied in state for a couple of days and then scraped a bit and left again if you can! This is often the trouble using profilers making a reed to the end in one process. They often work quite well then harden up quite quickly. I have had that happen over a period of a couple of hours. Next stage is often a wild uncontrollable reed which still needs clipping and rescraping by hand! But having said that I still use profilers to start my scraping process. They are so much more accurate.
About the initial crow. I would expect to scrape until a tight tight crow which give me an indication as to whether it is worth going on with that particular reed. Ideally do a few at a time and leave. Scrape and leave that is the best way. The reed will last longer in the end. Don't be tempted to take out too much of the back. Make the tip first with plenty still in the back. It should crow at a C sharp or a D at this stage. If it is below a C at this stage watch out it might be free but flat in the oboe when it is finished.

Best of luck with all this and sorry not to have answered immediately........



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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.


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

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

Double Reed News/Australasian Double Reed Society magazine

LRAM, Cert Ed

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