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Old 16-05-09, 11:14 PM   #1
Oboist
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Default Reed Making

Having spent the evening making reeds for myself (so far a dozen) of which no doubt 5-6 will be good with 2-3 really good and concert level, I noticed that no one here seems to discuss reed making and given that you all have to have reeds I am surprised that more of you dont make your own or am i wrong..

I suggest for the board that there is a section (just a small one) devoted to the reed makers and those who are considering having a go. A place to discuss cane, width, gouge, profile and scrape, problems with tuning and intonation..machinary, knives, mandrels..if you want gadets make oboe reeds..its also highly lucrative at 16.00 for a single professional oboe reed which would last me about 3 weeks if I rotate half a dozen...I dont know what a bagpipe reed costs but I gather you get a good amount of time out of them..

Every double reed player I know battles with reeds myself included and Pipers are double reed players (face it), we use all sorts of tricks to keep our reeds at their peak, hygrometre cases to keep them moist (so they never totally dry out), electro hydronic baths to clean them, you name it we do it...Maybe Pipe reeds are not so sensitive but I am sure you have had great, good and terrible reeds and a small section to discuss the reed maybe useful..

I dont mean to jump in with wild suggestions but a genuine feeling that the crossover between my discipline and yours may actually be an interesting foray into the art of the reed maker...I am far from a professional reed maker but my reed teachers are superb and it is a subject discussed at length with Oboists all over the world...we are in fact known for it..


If this is of no interest then fair enough but it was just a thought..


Andrew
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Old 17-05-09, 02:11 AM   #2
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hi Obo..

again.. sorry for the shorten of your name..

ok.. as a reed maker myself.. i would not normally join this topic.. Every reed maker has his owm secrets.. which of course we choose not to talk about,.. What most pipers only see is the end product.. and at the end of the day.. thats all that matters..

My reeds are into their 3 year now in a band in grade 1.. Not all .. but some of them.. Thats because i believe in giving my customers a good product.. which will last.. Other reed makers will gladly take your money and a reed lasting only a few weeks.. I would rather have pipers coming back to me for reeds, years after they buy thier 1st reeds.. and give them value for money.. rather than they coming back to me weeks later.. and the reed is dead.. Money is hard enough to find at the moment for bands.. and its not right that they have to fork out 7.00+ per reed when a reed does not last..

As i said.. some of my reeds are into their 3rd year now in grade 1.. so that to me is proper value for money.. Of course.. the reed has to be looked after in the 1st place to last this long..

Thanks for posting your topic.. Appriecated..
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Old 17-05-09, 02:29 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Steve View Post
hi Obo..

again.. sorry for the shorten of your name..

ok.. as a reed maker myself.. i would not normally join this topic.. Every reed maker has his owm secrets.. which of course we choose not to talk about,.. What most pipers only see is the end product.. and at the end of the day.. thats all that matters..

My reeds are into their 3 year now in a band in grade 1.. Not all .. but some of them.. Thats because i believe in giving my customers a good product.. which will last.. Other reed makers will gladly take your money and a reed lasting only a few weeks.. I would rather have pipers coming back to me for reeds, years after they buy thier 1st reeds.. and give them value for money.. rather than they coming back to me weeks later.. and the reed is dead.. Money is hard enough to find at the moment for bands.. and its not right that they have to fork out 7.00+ per reed when a reed does not last..

As i said.. some of my reeds are into their 3rd year now in grade 1.. so that to me is proper value for money.. Of course.. the reed has to be looked after in the 1st place to last this long..

Thanks for posting your topic.. Appriecated..
Wow I am really surprised...we are so different, naturally I understand your desire to protect your methods..we are completely the reverse we share our techniques pros to students, student to student, Pro to Pro, it is such a vast subject and the perfect reed is like the holy grail unattainable

I am incredibly impressed that your clients are gettiing three years from your reeds, seriously if they only have to pay 7 quid a reed thats a bargain..I mentioned what I pay and get three weeks if that and that is about standard for Oboe reeds but of course our reeds are in direct contact with our embouchre and we exert a lot of pressure on the blades which is why I make my own, also I have more control over what I get from the cane..

It is standard for Oboe teachers to teach their students to make reeds, if they dont it usually means they cant make them themselves and didnt pay attention when they were a student. A friend of mine who studied at The Royal Academy in London was catagorically told after her first lesson never to turn up to a lesson on a shop purchased reed ever again so she went home and got busy..a bit sharpish I imagine..

Naturally I respect your wishes to keep your trade secrets I had no idea it would be such a closely gaurded issue so no offence (or cheek) intended..

Best

Andrew
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Old 17-05-09, 03:07 AM   #4
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Hi Andrew..

No offence taken at all.. There is no problems at all with you post..

Reedmakers are in competition with each other all year with competitions.. and the piping world is so fickle you would not believe it..

I dont know any reedmakers that actually talk to other reedmakers.. never mind talking about reeds.. Everyone plays their cards very close to their chests.. maybe its a good thing.. maybe its not.. but thats the way it is..

If someone comes to my workshop to pick their reeds.. i automaticlly stop working.. as no-one sees anything that i am doing..

I am 100% sure that i am not the only one who does this..

Its all about closely guarded secrets.. What works for me.. may not work for someone else.. and vice-versa..

But there is no point in showing someone how to do your job.. when there is only a handful of people in the whole world who can do the job..


Cheers..

Steve
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Old 17-05-09, 11:23 AM   #5
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Cheers Steve,

Well thats a real eye opener I had no idea it was so closely gaurded. I would have thought that though many would try to make their own reeds only a few and more advanced players would actually be able to do so...This is very much the case in the Oboe world..There are a few professional reed makers, maybe half a dozen in the uk, and they make a substantial amount of reeds which are either sold directly or via specialist woodwind shops..naturally this does not suppy all the Oboists ( kids generally) who are learning and many teachers make reeds for their pupils. This is quite standard and it is expected for Oboists as young as 10-11 to start learning the basics of tying on and scraping the cane to make their own or at the very least handle the knives and adjust shop bought reeds..I always have my knives handy in rehearsals to adjust things if my reeds are not playing ball..

All that aside thanks for your replies, very interesting reading..

Cheers

Andrew
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Old 17-05-09, 07:01 PM   #6
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I put value on my time and to sit and have to make a reed, not to mention the process of obtaining the correct equipment, well, it's just not worth it to me.
Steve makes very fine reeds and the price is reasonable. He provides a service that I am willing to pay for.
It's good for him, it's good for me, and it's good for the economy.
By the way, a reed usually lasts me around a year.
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Old 17-05-09, 09:34 PM   #7
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Steve is the best reed maker that I have ever come across. He has a great product and a great personality. I've played Celtic Reeds and I was blown away by the great sound that they have. I can't wait for my band chanter so I can use Celtic Reeds in my chanter.
Keep up the good work Steve. At the rate you are going you won't have to worry about competition.
-Joe
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Old 17-05-09, 11:22 PM   #8
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Now that has to be the best recomendation a person can get...

Always the best way to find someone is the opinions of others...

Andrew
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Old 18-05-09, 02:49 AM   #9
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I was only stating the truth. After the kind way that Steve treated me and playing the great reeds that he makes I will always recommend him to others.

A tad off topic, but my top choice for drone reeds is Ryan Canning's reeds: Canning Drone Reeds. Their tone is second to none and Ryan answered all of my questions even though some of them may have been a bit on the dumb side.

By the way Oboist I like your "wrong note philosophy". I'll have to use that at the next band practice.
-Joe
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Old 19-05-09, 11:12 PM   #10
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All I can say is thank goodness Steve makes the reeds he does. If I had to learn how to do that AND pipe, I might as well give up. I'm certain I'll never get close to making a quality reed like Steve, and certainly not for the price. I just ordered new Celtic reeds and have to say they are stunning. I've still got a reed from 2 years ago that Steve made...still works perfectly, even after spending a year on the sidelines in an empty pill bottle with cotton balls in it, just needed to warm it up for 10 minutes and it sang as it ever did...

I wanted to give his new line of reeds a go, and so far, they're worth every penny. In a year, I'll probably still be playing the first of my Celtic reeds, and it'll still be sounding just as good.

When it goes, I'll report back here. Today's my first day on the new reed, so this will be a good "time capsule" so to speak.
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