Oboe/Oboe reeds

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Question
I have been playing oboe for about 12 yrs. Making my reeds for about 8 using cane that is completely processed. I was a clarinet player thru high school and college. The problem I'm have is my reeds close, even short periods after they are made. Many times in rehearsals I have had them close up in just a few minutes into rehearsals. I have tried several type of cane: Van Doran, Rigotti, Charles' double reed, Pisoni etc. but they all seem to do the same thing. I learned to make reeds thru MKL reeds (Maryn Leister). Is there something I can do to keep this from happening?

Answer
Hi, Robert.  I have a couple of ideas that you can try and hopefully one (or more) will be helpful.  First thought is about your embouchure. If you're biting down rather than having a more open embouchure then there is a tendency of having the reed close during play. If you're taking lessons, you might want to discuss this with your teacher.  Otherwise,  play long tones in front of a mirror and take note of your embouchure.  If it is in fact restricting the reed, try dropping your jaw - this will result in a more open embouchure and will put less pressure on the reed. You said that you buy your reeds processed.  I assume that means that the reeds are gouged and shaped.  The diameter of the original tube will make a difference.  The lower the number of the diameter, the more the reed will be open.  So when purchasing cane, look for diameters equal to or lower than 10.5 mm. Next, do you buy blanks - I mean reeds that are already bound on the staple?  If so, I would suggest learning to tie your own reeds.  You can increase the reed opening by tying the cane lower on the staple.  This also helps to prevent the reed from leaking as well.  I would suggest experimenting with the placement of the cane on the tube.  You can open an already tied reed a bit.  Place the reed on the mandril.  Face the reed with the flat side up.  Pinch the tube just below where the thread meets the reed (you want to pinch the tube not the reed alone). This should open the reed a bit more.  Remember to use a mandril or else you risk crushing the tube rendering the reed useless.  I hope these suggestions help. If you have the chance and inclination, please let me know what works.   Joel  

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Joel Simon

Expertise

Reed making, oboe technique, oboe adjustments. PLEASE NOTE, NO QUESTIONS ABOUT OBOE VINTAGE OR VALUE. THAT INCLUDES SERIAL NUMBERS, AGE OF INSTRUMENTS, AND HOW MUCH THEY MIGHT BE WORTH; AND THAT INCLUDES WHERE YOU MIGHT FIND SUCH INFORMATION. THESE QUESTIONS WILL BE REJECTED.

Experience

I've played oboe for over 40 years. During that time I've played and performed in many ensembles including full orchestras, chamber orchestras, and wind quintets. I've played as both an amateur and professionally. Out of necessity, I've learned how to care for the oboe, make adjustments and repair when necessary.

Education/Credentials
I studied with Robert Sprenkle at Eastman School of Music preparatory department and 3 years privately with Lois Wann. I've also studied with Robert Eliscu.

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