Reed Care for Oboe & Bassoon Players
Care must be always taken with your reeds, as chipped or damaged reeds won’t play correctly. When you follow these tips, your oboe and bassoon reeds will typically last about a month.
The oboe reed is made from specially grown bamboo cane. Blowing into the top of the reed causes the two pieces of cane vibrate together to create sound.
The reed staple is a thin metal tube covered with cork that creates a seal between the cane and the oboe. The binding secures the cane to the staple.
Unlike the oboe reed, the bassoon reed does not have a separate staple. Instead, the bamboo tube acts as a staple. The binding is more elaborate and secures the cane.
The reed is place over the bassoon crook, which creates a seal, and directs air from the player through to the instrument.
✦ If you have just eaten, make sure to either brush your teeth or rinse your mouth out with water before playing.
✦ Make sure to remove any lip products, as these will negatively affect reeds.
✦ Soak your reed in room temperature for 2 to 3 minutes.
✦ Break your reeds in by playing them for a short time on the first day, about 5 to 10 minutes, then gradually increase the duration of playing until comfortable. This usually takes 3 to 5 days. Make sure you start breaking in new reeds before your current reeds need replacing.
✦ Rotate between 2 to 3 reeds daily to prolong their life. When you start having multiple practice sessions per day plus rehearsals, you will need to rotate your reeds more frequently.
✦ If you ever need to put your instrument down, first take out your reed and place it in its box or back in your soaking cup. Also remember to lay your instrument down with the keys facing upwards and tilted to the left!
✦ Remove any excess water from your reed by either blowing through the cork end, or gently wiping away the water on the cane.
✦ Always return your reed to the box when you are not using it.
✦ The cases your reed comes in does not have any ventilation, so when at home you can dry your reed out with the box opened to ensure mould does not build up.
Tip: Reed cases allow for ventilation while stored and makes caring for your reeds easier!
Following these tips will keep your reeds in good playing condition for longer!