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Oboe/Staple-Shapes Combinations


Dear Sir,

I have read with attention your past answers and I am truly impressed with your knowledge.

I am experiencing trouble (as always, as everyone) with reed-making. I was wondering especially what advice you would give regarding combinations between staples and shapes.

I play a Rigoutat J. My staples are Chiarugi 47 2. Currently I use a RC15 shape which gives me quite some instability, especially with a "wolf" on the middle F, F# and G. I guess there could be too much internal volume. Is it possible that the bottom of the reed is too wide? Can I solve that problem with a more trapezo´dal shape like the RC12, or -2.

By the way, what are the difference between the Rigoutat -2 and the -2 shapes?

Looking forward to your answer. Best regards,


Dear Quentin

Oh dear I am sorry that you have had to wait for your answer. Do forgive me - life has been very hectic with me this week!

The problem you are having is a classic case of a shape that is too wide for the bore to take. Those first octave notes are the first thing to let you down.
I have all the RC shapes and have found the RC15 normally too wide for my oboes and reed scrape. If you are very careful not to take too much out of the back of the reed you can get away with it sometimes. If the cane is soft-ish then the problem is made worse and a thicker gouge might help to stabilise things. The staple can make a difference too but I would stick to the excellent Chiarugi 47 2 and a narrower shape such as the RC12.

The Rigoutat -2 is also slightly on the wide side too I have found. If you can tie on so that the cane is drawn in more on to, say a Loree staple, which is narrower in the chimney you may have better controlled first octave notes. As you say the internal volume is a factor and this would be reduced a little by the smaller chimney. You then have problems with crossing of the blades and having to tie on further off the staple to avoid overlapping too much.

Another thing to try is a deliberate overlap which American reed makers ALWAYS do to stabilise their reeds with their long  scrapes. This reduces the volume, and narrows the shape giving great top notes which combined with the long scrape gives great low notes.
Sometime worth trying - if you like the sound they make!!

The dimensions of the Rigoutat -2 and the RDG -2 are about the same. Quite wide at the top at 7.3mm down to 3.4 at the bottom.

Hope this helps and again sorry to make you wait.



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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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