Topic: Harsh/Shrill sounding reeds - frustration!

Hi everyone,
So, I'm a pretty experienced reed maker and having quite a bit of frustation lately. I know that no one will be able to give me advice based on seeing my reeds since you cannot see or play them, but hopefully someone has an idea that will help me correct my problem.

setup: Sierra Tubes -- Joshua +2 tip -- Charles Cane

I haven't had a great reed in quite a while. The crows are all very harsh and somewhat shrill. there is a lot of junk in the sound of the crow. What I used to do to fix this, doesn't seem to help (remove more cane up the very sides of the tip). No matter how much I take out of the plateau and back, it only destabalizes the reed more. The shrill/harshness of the crow is obviously translating into the timbre/tone on my horn.

My tips are fairly defined, though I am experimenting with making them a little less defined -- i.e. more blend between tip and heart  to correct this frustrating problem.

Any ideas? Oh yeah, the knives are sharp :-) I have already tested that to make sure my knives were sharp enough.

Last edited by Oboehotty (2006-08-12 20:23:07)

Shawn Reynolds
Professor of Oboe/EH - Youngstown State University
Howland Schools - MS (director of bands); HS (Asst. Dir of Bands, Marching, Symphonic)

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Re: Harsh/Shrill sounding reeds - frustration!

Shawn,

Is the center of the tip of your reed darker than the outer corners of the tip?  That takes some of the shrillness out.  You have to remove enough cane in the tip to make the reed vibrate but when you look at the reed in the light, there's a definite dark area in the center of the tip.  Hope that might help.

Janet

Oboe, English horn:  Amarillo Symphony, Chamber Music Amarillo, Amarillo Opera, Shepherd's Trio
Blog:  http://janet.thelaniers.net/
Composition & Arranging Website:  http://janetlanier.com
"Ever notice how orchestra pits shrink through the run of a show?"

Re: Harsh/Shrill sounding reeds - frustration!

Hi Shawn,

Sounds like you are not getting a "warm" sound...   More than likely you do not have enough BLEND between the back and tip.  Also, have you tried backcutting the tip (making one of the tips slightly shorter ... done by lifting up the reed as you cut the tip on the block)

Make sure you blend the reed by taking cane off the SIDES of the hump... not the center of course.  Try that... and the backcutting... that should do it.  It is really just a balance issue.

Kerry
www.reedmaker.com

Re: Harsh/Shrill sounding reeds - frustration!

I liked Shawn's comments.

I would add:

--Don't make the tips too thin--leave some "yellow" in the tips--they shouldn't be "white." Thin tips sound "tinny."
--Thin the tip of the tip for good response. Make sure that there are no microscopic lumps on the tip of the tip. These lumps are invisible. Use a flat, sharp knife and shave them off. I am amazed at how often these lumps hide on the tips of my reeds!
--If the tends flat, emove cane from the windows--avoid the spine and rails--with the tip of your knife to get the reed opening down to something that plays easily. If the reed tends sharp remove a little cane from the sides of the heart to reduce the opening and flatten the reed.

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Re: Harsh/Shrill sounding reeds - frustration!

Shawn,

Make sure your tips  are no longer than 4mm on the  sides. The tip in the middle just behind the tip of the tip should  be  0.10-0.12mm thick. Try to preserve the  spine all the way to  the end of  the  tip. Use a reed micrometer to ensure the heart is 0.50mm thick in the center. Check out Martin Schuring's reed diagrams. The closer my reeds approximate those parameters, the better they play.

Best,

john

Best,

john

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Re: Harsh/Shrill sounding reeds - frustration!

John,

Thanks for this information.  Where can one find the Martin Schuring's reed diagrams you mentioned? Thanks for any info you can provide.



John Towle wrote:

Shawn,

Make sure your tips  are no longer than 4mm on the  sides. The tip in the middle just behind the tip of the tip should  be  0.10-0.12mm thick. Try to preserve the  spine all the way to  the end of  the  tip. Use a reed micrometer to ensure the heart is 0.50mm thick in the center. Check out Martin Schuring's reed diagrams. The closer my reeds approximate those parameters, the better they play.

Best,

john

Oboe, English horn:  Amarillo Symphony, Chamber Music Amarillo, Amarillo Opera, Shepherd's Trio
Blog:  http://janet.thelaniers.net/
Composition & Arranging Website:  http://janetlanier.com
"Ever notice how orchestra pits shrink through the run of a show?"

Re: Harsh/Shrill sounding reeds - frustration!

Hi Janet:

All sorts of good things on his web site  http://www.public.asu.edu/~schuring/main.html

Kent

Dr. Kent Moore
Principal Lecturer In Bassoon and Theory
Northern Arizona University

Re: Harsh/Shrill sounding reeds - frustration!

what a great site!  Thanks!

Darlene

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