I’ve written about this before, I’m sure, and it’s nothing a double reed player doesn’t already know, but since there are readers here who aren’t reeders (aren’t I just so darn funny sometimes?!) I’ll write about it again.

I’m in the middle of an Opera San José run of La traviata. This Friday night I have a recital at UCSC where I’m playing the Carl Reinecke trio for oboe, horn and piano. I can’t play the same reeds for these two events. For opera I have been playing several reeds for the first and second acts, and then I use another for the end of the opera. The reed I’m hoping to use for the recital is a different one from anything I would ever play in the pit. We have to choose reeds for different acoustics. We have to choose reeds for different climates and elevations. It’s crazy making, to be honest. I’m hopeful that the reed I’m planning on using for the recital will work on Friday; with the weather changing and all, who knows? I know I’ll need more reeds for opera, as we have eight performances and reeds just don’t last long when I’m playing so much. Following the opera run I play in San Jose Chamber Orchestra’s performance of Mahler’s fourth symphony, where we are doing the chamber orchestra version. For that I have to have oboe and English horn reeds ready to go.

I hate reeds. But I also love them. When they are bad, they really are just hideous to work with. When they are good they feel heavenly. Most times they are somewhere between those two ends of the spectrum, though. So far I have nothing I love, but I also am not going to crazy. I still do wish I had a few that felt a wee bit better, though.

Ah well. Reeds are the curse of the oboist. And that’s just the way it goes.


  1. Thats a big box of reeds. What is your tying schedule like? 1 a day or multiple one day and then wait a few days? Do tell

  2. Oh when I am wrapping reeds I usually do 10 or so. It all depends. I certainly don’t do daily reed work. I’m too darn lazy!

  3. Interesting perspective on the reed box. As you scroll it gets bigger going up and smaller going down…