Introduction to Reedmaking: The art of making reeds for woodwind instruments.
Introduction to reedmaking by Medina Reeds:
Music is a universal language that has been passed down through generations, and woodwind instruments play a fundamental role in the creation of unique sounding melodies.
Instruments such as the oboe and bassoon require an essential part for their optimal performance: the reeds. In this blog article, we will tell you more about the fascinating world of reedmaking, the art of making reeds for woodwind instruments.
What is reedmaking?
Reedmaking is the process of manufacturing the reeds used in woodwind instruments. The reeds are thin, flexible blades that are placed on the mouthpiece or attached to a tudel of the instrument and vibrate when blown, producing the characteristic sound of each instrument, these can be single or double, depending on the number of blades they have.
Reedmaking is a craft discipline that requires skill, patience and attention to detail to achieve quality reeds. At Medina Reeds we are experts in reedmaking.
The main material used in reedmaking in our case is the Selection reed, which as its name suggests, is a material selected by ourselves following some parameters: hardness, flexibility, appearance of the fibers, color … We choose among all, the best and most beautiful pieces. This material is appreciated for its strength and flexibility, which makes it the ideal material for oboe reeds.
The reedmaking process is meticulous and consists of several stages. The basic steps of reedmaking are as follows:
Material selection: The reedmaker carefully chooses the blades, looking for those that have the right quality and characteristics for the instrument in question.
Cut and Shape: The reed is cut to an appropriate length and then shaped to give it the basic shape of an instrument reed. This step is crucial, as it determines the response and sound of the reed. There are many reedmaking machines that can help perform this step more accurately.
Opening and scraping: The reed is divided into two parts and carefully scraped using special tools and blades. This allows the flexibility of the reed to be adjusted and its tonal response to be fine-tuned.
Finishing and adjustment: Final touches are made to the reed to ensure that it fits perfectly to the instrument and the musician’s taste. This may include adjustments to the reed opening and finishing touches to enhance performance.
Reedmaking is an art that combines craft skills and musical knowledge. Reedmakers spend time and it is essential to have patience, practice and perseverance or, failing that, to buy the reeds already made. Miguel Angel Medina, founder of Medina Reeds is an excellent teacher and reference in reedmaking for oboe and English horn reeds.