High Altitude Reeds

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Home Forums Reeds The Oboe Reed Room High Altitude Reeds

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    I moved from Missouri to Idaho 2 months ago, and almost every reed I’ve made since I got here has cracked. Is there some procedure I can follow in the higher, drier climate to help my reeds not crack?


    At high altitude four-bar phrases become two-bar phrases.

    Khara Wolf

    Hi Katelyn,
    You are welcome to check out my article on high altitude reeds. I live at 7,000 feet and have been making them at this elevation for 20 years. https://kharawolf.com/2016/03/19/high-altitude-oboe-reeds/. I’m happy to answer any specific questions you have. The general rule is that they vibrate less and are more closed because of the dry climate and elevation. You’ll end up with a reed that feels stiffer and is likely sharp. In order to compensate, we have to scrape more cane out of the reed to get it vibrating (often more out of the channels and other places you might not take as much out of at sea level). This will cause the reed to collapse and become unstable if the reed is too closed or the cane is too weak. I recommend using slightly harder cane and go down a diameter size. If you normally use 10.5, try 10 instead. Best of luck!

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