I know, I know, real oboists make their own. But for the rest of us– hobbyists, students, doublers, and anyone else lacking the time, inclination or aptitude for the endless chore of tying and scraping– there are options. Lots of them, in fact. There are now dozens of oboe reedmakers selling their product around the country. Many of them have web sites, and finding them is easy, but choosing one is not. Oboe reeds are quirky and unpredictable, and they don’t come cheap. My experience as an amateur player has taught me that the commercially available product varies widely in style and price– and in quality, whatever that term may mean. So the purpose of this site is to provide a forum for oboe reed consumers to share what they know about the various reedmakers, to better inform their choices, and also, to provide feedback for those on the supply side of the business.
How Does it Work?
Very simple. The left sidebar contains a list of pages for individual reedmakers. Click on one and you will be able to express your opinion in two ways: (1) by rating the reedmaker in a simple poll, and (2) by typing in a comment in the comment box. This site does not require registration for comments, so it is not necessary to fill in any of the boxes for name, e-mail, etc. You will also be able to see the voting results (click the “view results” link) and the accumulated comments to date.
Rules for Comments
There aren’t any, but to quote the one decent line in that otherwise mediocre pirate movie, there are some guidelines:
Be Concise. No need to explain this.
Be Specific. Because reeds are so variable and judgments so subjective, please describe the qualities of the product that kept you coming back to a particular reedmaker, or motivated you to move on. Comment specifically on attributes such as resistance, response, stability, pitch, durability, tone– whatever is important to you. A few words about your own tastes and level of expertise are important, since a reed that works great for a more advanced player might not suit a beginner, etc.
Be Polite. Most of the reedmakers I’ve known are individuals, working out of their home or a small shop, trying to make a living in classical music. They’re doing their best. They’re not
Enron Indymac Lehman WaMu Madoff. If your opinion is critical be honest, but don’t flame.
Help Improve the Site
This site will only be useful if it is used. If you like the idea of a knowledge pool on reedmakers, then get the word out: put a link on your web site; post a comment to a discussion group or mailing list; mention it to a student; tell a friend. If you know of additional reedmakers, please give me their info and I will put them up. Beyond that, I am still learning about web site management, and am kind of feeling my way along, on site design and mechanics as well as content. I would appreciate any suggestions on how to improve this project. You may either comment on the SUGGESTION BOX page, or email me at the address below.
My name is Jack M. Raphael. I love the oboe, but I am not a pro– the last time I thought of myself as a serious player was in high school, and that was in the Ford administration. As a grownup I have a white-collar day job and play in a community orchestra in California. I have no affiliation with any of the reedmakers on this site, although I have been a customer of several of them.
Thanks to Patty Mitchell and her invaluable blog, oboeinsight, for much-needed assistance in putting this site together!
UPDATE: July 2, 2016: I have now added a COLLECTED POLLS page that shows all of the various reedmaker polls together.
UPDATE: February 3, 2017: Request For Audio. I recently noticed a reedmaker who has an audio demo of her reeds on her site. I think that’s a great idea! I’ve marked it (see the audio notation on the sidebar), and placed a link on her page here. This site would be better if we could get as much of that as possible, so I’m inviting any reedmaker who has an audio clip available (unaccompanied playing obviously would be best) to let me know. We’ll post or link it here.
UPDATE: March 9, 2017: Geographic Organization. There are now a few UK and Australian reedmakers listed here, and somebody suggested organizing the pages by country. That’s a good idea, which I’ve tried to implement. By default the reedmakers are located in the US, since this is a US site. If you scroll down, however, you will see the Australian and UK reedmakers collected under separate headings. (Unfortunately, this has screwed up the alphabetization. I’m trying to figure out how to fix this.)