The Struggle of Oboe Reeds

Selling oboe reeds is fairly new to me (2018), but I have found my new passion! Making reeds can be frustrating and time consuming so I do my best to provide reeds for oboists of all different abilities so everyone can enjoy playing the oboe even if making reeds isn't your thing.

My Type of Reed
The "perfect" reed unfortunately does not exist. Everyone has a different oboe, different embouchure, and different preference of sound. When trying anyone's reeds for the first time, I recommend that you buy at least two reeds to get a fair representation of the type of reed you're trying.
The reeds I make are a Cleveland style reed after John Mack's style of reed-making. I finish my reeds around 68-69mm and aim for the crow to be at C 440 or slightly under so that as the reed breaks in, the pitch will rise to be constantly stable. Stable reeds are a must-have for all oboists- beginners to professionals. With a stable reed you can focus on having consistent air support, and a cushioned embouchure that can accommodate the extremes of the registers on the oboe.

Reed Philosophy
In the case of oboe reeds, I do not believe that a harder reed is for more "advanced" players. The oboe itself is an instrument with a tremendous amount of back pressure so why add to the pressure with a hard half-finished reed? All of my reeds (beginner, intermediate, and professional) are made so that playing is as effortless as possible. The professional reeds do have more resistance but that is different than "hardness". With a slightly thicker heart and shorter tip, the professional reeds have a type of resistance that gives it a darker sound and the capability to produce a bigger sound with strong support and air. My beginner reeds are shorter and have less bark on them overall that allows easier sound production especially designed with beginner oboes in mind. Often times, beginner oboes have resistance already built into the instrument, which means that if you're playing on a hard reed all you'll get is a headache. Literally. My intermediate reeds are a bit of a blend between the two, closer to the feeling of an already broken in professional reed but with slightly less cane on it overall.

Final Thoughts
Making reeds can be a source of stress that can unfortunately at times take the enjoyment out of playing. Finding the right reeds can be tricky and expensive. Inconsistent reeds will doom your efforts and it's best to eliminate as many variables as you can by finding a source of consistent reeds. If you have any questions at all, please don't hesitate at all to contact me and ask away. My reeds may not be for everyone and that's OK. If my reeds aren't for you, I'm happy to help you find a source of reeds that better fit your desired style of playing. I hope you find that you like my reeds, but more importantly I hope you find reeds that make you like playing the oboe!
~Samantha Zelnik