Last night I couldn’t see how I could possibly wake up this morning and go exercise. This morning I woke up before the alarm went off. Funny how that happens. So I did exercise. And I know I’m better off for it. (Never any thinner though. Ah well!)

Now it’s time to look at those reeds and check out the oboe and see what’s up. Things always look better when one isn’t exhausted!

Reeds, here I come. (Some of them might be in duck and cover mode because they know they are goners if they don’t behave. Poor reeds. But that’s life in oboe city.)

Reeds & Hot Water
Have an old, dead reed? Folks at the IDRS were talking about the hot water treatment. I don’t know if any of you have tried that, but I use it when I know a reed is fried but I want just one more—okay, sometimes even more than one—day with it. The “more dead” (yes, I know dead is dead most of the time, but we’re talking oboe reeds here!) the hotter the water. I don’t soak them for long, but it seems to help. One IDRS member suggests that what this does is help an old, closed reed absorb more water and open up a bit more. Try it! You might get to experience a resurrection of sorts. Not an everlasting one, mind you. I’m still waiting for someone to create an Everlasting Reed™. Now wouldn’t that make life wonderful? C’mon, you know it would!


  1. I found found that reeds respond better to warmer water as well.  There is a product called “Reed Life” which I purchased from Charles Double Reed that helps extend the life of Reeds.  I know of another player that occasionally soaks his reeds in Listerine to help distinfect.  One last tip, the following is a link to a site of a British bassoonist who soaks and stores his reeds in Vodka—interesting!!



  2. Patricia Mitchell

    Well, I wouldn’t use hot water on just any reed. I save that treatment for the old dead guys.

    I’ve used “Reed Life”. I’m still not sure I can see any difference using that, but oh well!

    I’ve heard that using Listerine isn’t a good idea. Don’t know if it’s really true. I do know that the stuff that has dye in it will dye the reeds a bit. But Listerine has a bunch of stuff in it, doesn’t it? Maybe even sugar? I can’t say for sure, as I don’t have any here.

    I talked to my microbiologist brother and he suggested the best way to disinfect reeds is to use a water and isopropyl alcohol combo. He said that the pure alcohol doesn’t work as well as a blend. Sadly I can’t remember what the percentages are now. He said other things … like hydrogen peroxide … take far too long to work. We can’t leave oboe reeds soaking that long. (I know some bassoon folks soak their reeds for eons; we just can’t do that!)

    I’d seen the Vodka guy before. Funny.

    Mostly I try to use our purified water, I don’t share reeds with anyone if I can help it, and I brush my teeth before playing. That seems to work okay for me. I’ve noticed that since I’ve stopped playing on students’ reeds (as much as possible anyway; I do have to play them on occasion) I’ve not had even a little cold. Nice!