Even a good reed has a limited life span. No matter how hard a student tries, no matter how careful they are taking it in and out of the reed case, oboe reeds just do not last forever. Knowing when to buy a new reed is just as important as knowing where to get one.
There are a lot of factors involved in sound production on the oboe. As a mouth piece, the reed is just one part of the mechanism that produces tone.
So how do you know when it is time for a new reed? Here are a few good indications that it is past time for a new reed:
- If you open the reed case, and a horribly foul stench ﬁlls the air!
- If the wood is tinted black on either the inside or the outside of the reed!
- If two blades are so closed that you have to squeeze it open to see through the reed!
- If one of the blades has cracked and the double reed has become a triple reed!
- If you are compelled to use unnatural embouchure positions to play in tune!
- If you are using the right ﬁngering, but the note produced is wrong!
- If the tip of the reed look like your cat or dog chewed on it!
- If the corners of the tip have mysteriously vanished…
- If the two blades have separated and you can see into the middle of the reed through the sides of the blades!
- If you hit the tip of the reed on either your lips or teeth and it gets much more difﬁcult to play!
- If the opening of the tip looks more like a square, circle, or triangle than an oval!
- If you consistently can’t get the high notes and low notes to speak in the correct register (and your teacher has eliminated your voicing, ﬁngering, and instrument as the issue)!
- If producing a sound on the instrument becomes increasingly difﬁcult!
- If producing the desired tone becomes increasingly difﬁcult!