Help with Choosing Oboe Reeds

New Beginners

We recommend you order at least 3 reeds so that you have spares.

If you are under 11 years old order Soft strength, otherwise order Medium-Soft strength.







Improving Players (grades 1-4)

We recommend you order at least 3 reeds so that you have spares. We would recommend trying 3 of one of the following reeds to get a feel for the style. After testing them you can return any and swap with something else if it seems that another reed style will suit you better.





Advanced Students (grades 5-7)

If you haven’t tried any of our reeds before we recommend you try at least 3 reeds of one of the styles below to start with. After testing them you can return any and swap with something else from our full range of oboe reeds if it seems that another reed style will suit you better.













PROFESSIONAL REEDS

All our reeds (except the Oxford Reeds) are suitable for players of all standards up to professional level. We produce a wide range of designs and styles to accommodate the different individual needs of players. You can see all the oboe reeds by clicking here. For further guidance and information please scroll down and continue reading.

TRY SOMETHING NEW
If the style isn’t right for you, return them and try something else. See our reeds chart and the information below  to help you decide. Alternatively, for further help, email us at info@britanniareeds.com or phone us on the number at the top of the page.


Major Features of the reed

Shape
Our shapes vary from about the widest to the narrowest available.  If unsure start with medium (M3).  For a broader sound try a wider shape.  For a more focussed sound try a narrower shape.  If you play flat or find some notes dip or wallow in the 2nd octave, try a narrower shape.

Scrape
Standard U-scrape - gives a responsive reed with a clear mellow sound.
Thick U-scrape - gives a more resistant reed with a much darker tone.
European W scrape - a more open, looser feel for the embouchure.
American W scrape - clear and very responsive and designed for the American embouchure.

Gouge
A thinner gouge creates a more responsive reed and a clearer, more resonant sound.  A thick gouge dampens vibrations producing a darker sound and less responsiveness.

Some Examples

2nd octave F / F# / G wobbles, dips, or is wild in pitch
This is caused by too large an internal volume in the reed chamber. What is too large varies depending on the player and the oboe make and model. Try a different reed style with a narrower shape; find your reed style on the reeds chart and choose a style to the left of it.

Playing flat - can't get up to pitch
The overall size of the reed is too big. It may be too long or too wide. First try a reed style with a narrower shape; find your reed style on the reeds chart and choose a style to the left of it. This may solve the problem for you and give you a suitable reed.
Sometimes using a narrower reed is not comfortable to the player as the “feel” and response can be different. If you find this is the case, you can instead stay with your original favourite reed style but Special Order them to be tied-on to shorter staples. Normal length is 47mm; if the reed is tied-on to a 46mm staple the pitch will be higher by up to an eighth of a tone; on a 45mm staple pitch will be raised by up to a quarter tone. To order reeds on shorter staples please order them as normal adding your requirements into the “Notes” box on the individual reed page (For example: “please make these reeds on 46mm staples”)

Reeds close up - blades become flat
Most people assume that they need harder reeds but this is rarely true. The problem usually stems from poor breath support causing the player to have to pinch or bite the reed too firmly to make it speak. This problem will get worse if the player moves to harder reeds. Better to try some exercises to improve breath support and loosen the embouchure. See the Hints and Tips page for how to do this.  

Playing sharp
Playing sharp is more common in hot weather as the higher temperature raises the pitch the instrument plays at. Naturally, you would pull the reed out of the oboe slightly to lower the pitch. If you are always a long way sharp you may need to change the reed style you use. Try a wider shape; find your reed style on the reeds chart and choose a style to the right of it.
Sometimes in moving to a wider shape players find the pitch stability becomes poor and the reed seems wild and uncontrollable. If this happens, try moving to a harder and wider style - the harder style will be more stable on average.
For example: A player plays on Regency reeds(Medium strength) but plays sharp, so they try the Minster reed (Medium strength) which plays at a lower pitch. However, they find the wider Minster wild and unmanageable, playing sometimes sharp, sometimes flat. They therefore try the Berlin reed (Medium-Soft strength) - a more stable stiffer reed, but at a slightly lower strength.
If none of this solves the problem adequately you may ask a specialist oboe technician for a reed well insert - this is a small (usually 1mm or less) piece of the bottom of a staple which is inserted into your oboe’s reed well so that the reed sits inside the oboe at a higher point, flattening the pitch.

Wanting a darker tone
Generally, the thicker the cane on the reed, the more mellow (dark) the tone of the reed, but the tougher it is to blow. If you want a darker toned reed, locate you current reed style on the reeds chart then try moving to a heavier-weight reed. This will also be a tougher reed to blow so you may also decide to use a slightly softer strength than you currently use.

Reeds aren’t responsive enough
If you are consistently having this problem with any reed style, it is best to try a more flexible reed. First find your current reed style in the reeds chart, and choose a lighter-weight style. This will give you a more free-blowing reed, and also a more resonant tone.


For a cheap budget reed
which is free-blowing and
easy to play try the
Oxford Reed


For a reed with better
tone quality and tuning
try the
Paris Reed

The Paris Reed - a responsive
free-blowing reed with a clear
clear resonant tone.

The Regency Reed - our most popular reed.  Pleasantly responsive and more substantial than the Paris, with a more mellow tone.

The Regency Reed - our most
popular reed.  Pleasantly
responsive and more
substantial than the Paris,
with a more mellow tone.




The Reinhart Reed - a very
popular reeds with experienced
players. The thicker scrape
gives a rich dark tone, with
more "body", yet with
resonance and good
response for such a
heavyweight reed.

The Paris Reed - a responsive
free-blowing reed with a clear
clear resonant tone.


Paris Oboe Reed Oxford Oboe Reed Paris Oboe Reed Regency Oboe Reed Paris Oboe Reed Regency Oboe Reed Reinhart Oboe Reed

Regency Reeds St Albans

   Telephone 01727 833027

admin@regencyreeds.com

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