Because it affects tonal quality and overall sound, the quality of an oboe reed is important when playing the instrument. Even the highest-quality oboe in the hands of the best oboist can sound terrible if the reed isn’t of good quality. The best reed, according to most musicians, is one made from high-quality bamboo or tube cane. A reed that is machine profiled but hand finished comes in second on the list. Fiber or plastic reeds are generally not the best choice, and mass-produced, machine-finished reeds should be avoided.
Most serious oboe players agree that an oboe reed made entirely hand from start to finish is the best option. Handmade reeds are more expensive than mass-produced reeds, but they have a better response and tone quality overall. The best oboe reed is one made from high-quality tube cane that has been painstakingly shaved and shaped over time someone who has been trained, educated, and experienced in the art of oboe reed making. Look for a reed with a strong, well-defined tip and a sturdy spine, which is a thicker line running down the middle, when purchasing a handmade oboe reed. Otherwise, the reed should be smooth and free of gouges, cracks, or indents.
Finding a reputable manufacturer of handmade oboe reeds can be difficult. Some oboists respond to the challenge learning to make their own reeds. The process is an art that takes time to master, but if you’re up for a challenge, it’s one way to ensure that you’ll always be able to find the best oboe reed for your needs and playing style. Many colleges and music schools offer classes on how to make your own oboe reeds, but learning from someone who has done it for a long time is always beneficial.
Machine-profiled oboe reeds that are hand finished could be a good alternative for you if you are not committed to making your own oboe reeds or finding ones that are exclusively handmade. They aren’t the best oboe reeds you can buy. However, a reed that is mass-produced a machine before being shaped and finished hand can still be of good quality and tone.
When looking for the best oboe reed, mass-produced, machine-shaped, and finished reeds are probably not the best option. This type of reed usually rushes the process and doesn’t give the cane enough time to settle into its shape. The reed may become brittle, inflexible, and unresponsive as a result of this. As a result, the sound of the oboe and the way you play it will be greatly influenced.
Oboe reeds made of fiber or plastic are available from some manufacturers. While these reeds may be suitable for other instruments such as the saxophone, they are not suitable for the oboe. If you’re looking for the best oboe reed, avoid any that are made of plastic or fiber and instead opt for ones made of high-quality tube cane.