Why should we buy oboe reeds finished by hand instead of reeds made in series?
Many oboists at the beginning of their career as musicians consider whether there is any difference between the use or purchase of handmade oboe reeds (handmade or hand-finished) and the typical oboe reeds that they sell at music stores and that have been produced from mechanized form in series.
From Medina Reeds we know very well this feeling of doubt and for this reason, our founder Miguel Ángel Medina Monsalves as an expert in the art of creating oboe reeds and canes and as a master of the oboe, explains us the differences between one reeds and the others as well as the best option for oboists who want to improve and grow professionally.
Before beginning to list the differences, it is important to consider that regardless of the level of the oboist (beginner, intermediate or advanced), the hand-finished reeds provide an intonation and stability that the reeds purchased in the store, made in series, do not guarantee.
The reasons are the following:
1. The length: in many occasions, the reeds that are manufactured in massive quantities and put on sale in stores are shorter than those made by hand and confer a unique problem: they generate a flat tone. It is important to consider that the final length of most oboe reeds should be between 69 and 73 mm* long (from the bottom of the cork to the top of the reed). When a reed becomes shorter, it can produce both difficulties in the emission of sound and bias in the notes. A big problem considering a shorter length is that it cannot be cut to find the correct dimension so the oboists should work harder to make the oboe sound good. This is something that does not happen when done by hand. An expert knows the length that each reed needs (around the length of the standard reed or suggested by the client) according to its characteristics and he or she elaborates them taking into account its hardness, flexibility…
2. They are produced in mass: The oboe reeds are made of Arundo Donax or common reed, a plant similar to bamboo. These plants are collected and taken to standardized machines that produce the reeds for oboes, however, it is not taken into account that not all the blades have the same characteristics, each one is different and therefore, the reeds that are created will sound and vibrate differently. A professional is needed to understand how the reed vibrates and he needs to scrape it accordingly, in addition to carrying out quality tests after each process, as we do in Medina Reeds.
3. Price: The reeds bought in the store are expensive if the quality/price scale is taken into account. We can say that the handmade reeds are more expensive, but we are actually buying a custom-made reed while the stores buy reeds that have been produced in series.
4. Customer service: Usually when you buy reeds made in series, you do it in non-specialized oboe music stores. These tend to be larger and more generic stores that not only are likely not to solve your doubt, but also take more time to serve you or offer the necessary service. When you buy oboe reeds finished by hand you will be buying from someone who specializes in that service and who probably has a platform or a smaller store to offer you a closer and more personalized treatment as we do in Medina Reeds. We always make ourselves available to the client and the oboist to offer advice, facilitate the process of buying and retouching the reeds after and before buying them.
The best thing about buying oboe reeds, like ours, finished by hand? Professional oboists can easily adapt them to the needs of each score, while reeds made in series, require repairs and arrangements so that they can start to work well and, in many cases, they cannot be retouched.
Have you decided yet? ? Choose www.medinareeds.es
In this video we show you how we manage to create our reeds in a nice and delicate way:
* Source: our own and doubleornothingreeds