Oboe Reeds! A Simple Process

I wanted to share this video I made, but wasn’t sure where to post this, so I’m putting it on this board because it relates to music…? (I hope that’s okay!)

Oboe players spend a lot of time working on reeds, and there are a LOT of steps that even I often forget. I finally put together a super cut of the process. :crazy_face:



I was captivated. I had no idea why things were being done, but it was so cool to see! I’m so impressed. I enjoyed the Spongebob throwback, was intrigued by (and somewhat scared of) your specialty cutting implements, and was horrified that those gorgeous curls got composted (surely, somewhere, a scarecrow wants to be a blonde). That rainbow thread is so pretty. I’m rambling. But that was fascinating. I’m astounded that you went from a tabletop full of potential candidates to a tiny number of finished reeds. Do oboe players generally prefer to make their own reeds? How long does one reed last on average? Thank you for sharing your process.

1 Like

Goodness-- I had a friend in college who played bassoon & I remember her making reeds, but I think she started with the trimmed cane & there wasn’t as much finessing at the end. This is impressive!

1 Like

Ya, I immediately looked up the cost of pre-fab reeds and how long they last. I am so happy it’s you that plays the oboe and not one of my kids!

1 Like

Wow. I had no idea the work involved, or that people made their own. What a neat and unique process.


Wow, that was a great video! I had no idea reed making was that involved. Thanks for sharing. :slight_smile:

1 Like

Heehee, yes, I have a lot of blades. :neutral_face: And don’t worry, I have made plenty of curly cane crafts over the years!

Also, I didn’t take all of the tubes in the first shot all the way to the end, but yes, there is a lot of material that doesn’t make the cut. I used to make every bit of what I could into reeds, but time end energy ends up getting wasted later if the wonky pieces make it past the vetting process. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

I think most players prefer to make their reeds (er, prefer the reeds they make), because they can have a bit of control over them.

As far as how long they last… because they’re organic material, they have a tendency to keep changing over time, so adjustments keep being made. I’ve had reeds last for a rehearsal before calling it quits, and I’ve had a few freak reeds that have been happy to play for a couple months!

Yeah, the bigger the reed, the easier they are to deal with. Even english horn reeds (which are just a few mm size bigger than these) seem infinitely less finicky!

Haha! It’s one of the things I try to make clear to anyone who wants to play oboe! I think people don’t realize the difference in “accessory” costs from instrument to instrument. If I ever have kids, they’re all playing viola. Or trombone. HA.

1 Like

I used to play oboe. No, I used to have lessons at school then not practice.
The reeds were awful and I remember mum moaning about the cost (and that was 40 years ago!) I didn’t continue long enough to learn how to make my own.
Thinking about it, it’s no wonder I didn’t practice - I actually wanted to learn flute. Not that much difference between the two; you blow in one end and change the noise by twiddling your fingers on knobs :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye::joy:

Wowzers! I was extra picky about my clarinet reeds, but that was just “who to buy from” level! And just a single reed to worry about.

LOVED the video! One tip - some of the titles could last a second longer, maybe. The action was all on the right side and the titles were so fast on the left side which meant I kept missing them and having to rewind to make sure I saw them. Just a very very little point, the video was great. I love how you included the care of the equipment also. That is also something that frequently gets forgotten in the rush to just get the things made!

1 Like

That was an amazing tutorial!
Thank you for sharing.
You did an awesome job on it.
And I was surprised at how many steps it involved.

1 Like

I agree, lol. I just did this in iMovie and I couldn’t figure out how the heck to make the text last longer than any of the individual clips, so in any place where I cut something out (which was every-stinking-where), I couldn’t get the text to last longer. But I’m a tech troglodyte, so there’s probably some simple solution I missed, haha!

1 Like

Never thought I’d find reed-making so entrancing! Great job!!

Amazing piece of information! That’s a lot of preparation. Thanks for the insight. CJ

Also, I think your project description is misleading… “A Simple Process”. Ha! Did you watch the video?