Topic: Making oboe reeds with a big dynamic range.

How does one go about making a reed with a bigger than normal dynamic range? My present oboe doesn't have as much "loud end" as many oboes, but it plays softly very well. I take it that a large tip opening will help and that a large opening can be acheived by a strongly curved gouge, cane from smaller diameter tubes, and a wider shape. What can we do in the way of scraping a reed to have a good "loud end", aside from not taking off too much cane overall?

David Crispin
Crispin's Creations and Accessories
freelance oboist. Mississippi Symphony Orchestra

Re: Making oboe reeds with a big dynamic range.

My personal "recipe" for a louder-than-usual reed (without modifying the gouge) would include:

--  Try using a larger-bore staple (Chudnow, for example, is much larger than Loreé, Stevens #2 is in between, etc.).
--  Leave the heart of the reed as thick as possible (try to leave bark on the rails!), and the sides of the tip as thin as possible, with more-than-normal definition between the two (a sharp drop from heart to tip, at the sides, but more "blended" at the center). 
--  As for the back, don't go any thinner than the heart (add length, only) until you are ready to play-test the reed.  Then start thinning the windows to suit your "timbre-taste," with the knowledge that you will loose power with each stroke.
--  Use soft/flexible enough cane, so that it will vibrate well under these heavy conditions.

Let us know what ends up working best for you!

Jonathan Marzluf
Owner, Marzluf Reeds
SoCal Freelancer/Educator