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Which Reed is Best for You?

If you've already played our reeds and are interested in trying another style please scroll down to the section REED STYLES

If you're new to Regency Reeds please read on... 

No-risk Test-and-Return Guarantee You can test the reeds and return any which don't suit you for exchange with something more suitable. If you want help with what to swap to please call us or email. (Note - for hygiene returned reeds are not re-sold)

Beginners 
For an easy to play budget reed to keep costs down try the Oxford Reed
For a free-blowing reed with better tone try the Paris Reed.
Which strength? If you're under 11 years old we'd suggest you order Soft strength, otherwise order Medium-Soft strength. 
How many? We recommend you order at least 3 reeds so that you have spares.

Grades 1-3
For an easy to play budget reed to keep costs down try the Oxford Reed
For a free-blowing reed with better tone try the Paris Reed.
For a medium-response reed with a mellow tone try the Regency Reed.
Which strength? Usually it's best to order the same strength you've used before, but if in doubt we recommend you try Medium-Soft. 
How many? We recommend you order at least 3 reeds so that you have spares.

Grades 4-6 
As you develop, reeds need to be more specifically suited to your personal requirements. However most people are comfortable with the more popular reed styles - Paris and Regency - so we suggest you try one of these styles first to see how they suit you. Once you know how they play you can return them to swap them with another style of reed if it seems that a different style will suit you better.  
Initially we'd suggest you try one of the following:
The Paris reed - if you prefer free-blowing reeds with light and resonant tone.
The Regency reed - if you prefer mellow tone with some heart and substance.
How many? We recommend you order at least 2 reeds of any new style to give an impression of what that reed style feels like.

Grades 7-8+ and Professional
The best reed for you will be an individual choice and is difficult to judge accurately before you have tried any of our reeds, so we suggest you try one of the more popular styles first and once you know how they play you can return them to swap them with another style of reed if it seems that a different style will suit you better.  
Initially we'd suggest you try one of the following:
The Paris reed - if you prefer free-blowing reeds with light and resonant tone.
The Regency reed - if you prefer mellow tone with some heart and substance.
The Reinhart reed - if you prefer rich dark tone with plenty of heart and more to blow against.


REED STYLES

Your needs as a player are very individual so what works for another person may not work as well for you. A number of things influence this - your make and model of oboe, your embouchure, your internal bone structure (mouth and nasal cavity), your breath pressure, and your personal concept of the sound you wish to make.
When you have a reed issue to solve, or something to improve upon, it may help to study the following reed chart and read the information below. If you need further advice please call us or email us.



Tone is too thin or bright
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 reed with more substance and a firmer response. A firmer reed will also require stronger breath support.

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.

Low notes don't speak easily enough
In this case try a wider shape. If you are already using the widest shape then try a softer strength within the same reed style you are using, or alternatively change to a less firm or more responsive reed.
Note that it is important to have your oboe checked for leaks by a reasonably regularly by an oboe technician, since leaks will cause low notes to be very hard to play on any reed. 

High notes hard to get
In this case try a narrower shape. It is also true that reeds with a thicker gouge will have more support in the blades which can help achieve high notes. If you change to a narrower shape and also choose a style with a thicker gouge this will enhance high notes but also require more breath support when you play.   

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”)

Wobbles, dips, or wild pitching at 2nd octave F / F# / G / G#
Your oboe bore style, embouchure and personal bone structure in your mouth and nasal cavity all influence how much you may be affected by this issue. The usual remedy is to 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#######.

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 significantly 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 wider style with a thicker gouge or a firmer response - the harder/firmer styles will tend to be more stable.
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 semi-permanently into your oboe’s reed well so that the reed sits inside the oboe at a higher point, flattening the pitch (the reed well can easily be removed by a technician if you sell the oboe in future). 


THE MAIN 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.  Individual players vary in their response to reed dimensions, and if you play flat or find some notes dip or wallow in the 2nd octave, try a narrower shape. If you prefer the feel of a wider shape but need the pitch raised you can order reeds on shorter staples#######.
Wide W4 - promotes a very broad tone, increased low-note response, slightly lower pitch.  
Medium M3 - promotes a broad tone and good response throughout. 
Narrow N2 - promotes a centred tone with good response throughout. 
Flared ND - promotes a focused tone, increased high-note response, slightly higher pitch, good stability.
Very Flared NT5 - promotes a focused tone, increased high-note response, slightly higher pitch, good stability.
Very Narrow N1 - promotes a very focused tone, enhanced high-note response, higher pitch, good stability.

Scrape 
Thin U-scrape - gives a light clear resonant tone in a free-blowing reed.
Standard U-scrape - gives a warm mellow tone with good response.
Thick U-scrape - gives a rich dark tone with a substantial feel and good firm response. 
European W scrape - gives an open resonant tone and a more open, looser feel for the embouchure.
American W scrape - clear, very responsive and designed for the American embouchure.

Gouge 
A thinner gouge creates a more responsive reed and a clearer, more resonant sound and more freedom for the blades.  A thick gouge dampens vibrations producing a darker sound, less responsiveness, and more support to the blades.