I've been playing for a few weeks now. My one and only reed (a soft from my local music store) has worked fine. But I'm noticing that it seems that I'm getting wrong octaves and squeaks more frequently. I'm also noting that as my practice session progresses things seem to deteriorate.
I'm sure some of what I'm detecting is newbie player related. But I'm wondering if my reed is getting tired too?
1) how do reeds fail?
2) how do I know it's time for a new reed?
3) can one reed last an hour of playing, or should one swap out a reed after a shorter period of time?
4) as a newbie, should I stick with soft reeds?
5) where should I buy reeds? Are EBay specials any good?
Okay, first off, store-bought reeds are never going to last as long as handmade reeds. This happens because most machine-made reeds are quite softer than handmade reeds.
In answer to your questions:
1. Reeds fail mostly by the closing of the two blades due to the vibration of the reeds wearing the cane down. Eventually the reed shuts until it will no longer play.
2. Whenever you can't get a sound out of it any longer!
3. A decent reed SHOULD last an hour. You should only switch reeds if you feel the need in between different types of pieces such as a very soft reed for a technical piece and a very hard reed for a lyrical piece etc.
4. As a beginner, medium-soft reeds are usually the way to go. They get you used to resistance and give you a sense of stability in tone which soft reeds tend to not have.
As you become a more experienced player, you should challenge yourself with harder reeds, but only as much as you feel comfortable with. (If you have a teacher, you should always ask their advice on topics like this!!)
5. Your teacher is the best option for reeds if you have one. Some professional oboists sell reeds online that you can buy if you don't have a teacher or don't like their reeds. www.oxfordreeds.com is an example of a website where you can buy reeds. www.goodtoneguild.com is another. Some Ebay reeds are suitable, but ALWAYS check to see if they are handmade before buying and ask about the hardness as well.
1) Reeds fail when they stop vibrating. There are a large number of ways reeds will fail: leaking in between the blades, the back might be too thin, rails collapsed, the tip might be chipped.
2) When you can't play the reed in tune, or the reed keeps closing up on you you've got to get a new reed.
3) Some people like to change up reeds. I like sticking to one. You should be able to play for way longer than an hour before switching reeds. I've played for 7 hours straight on the same oboe reed.
4)& 5) As a new player you shouldn't stick to soft reeds. The definition of "soft" varies so much in the reed makers world. Get a professional oboist to make you reeds or buy them online at Good Tone Guild, Cooper Wright, ect. Get a reed which works for you and is the right resistance for you. Don't worry about "strength" because that word doesn't mean much amongst reed makers. Resistance is a key word.
Agreed. It's a real shame to see oboists who don't take lessons because of money/life/being too busy. If you can get lessons for sure! The oboe is troubling enough to play when you have a private teacher! I couldn't imagine playing oboe without a teacher!
These guys are right. Online lessons are the next best thing, but if at all possible you should get them in person.
I wouldn't be where I am today if I didn't have my teacher. I've only playing for two years but I feel very comfortable playing pieces like the Mozart Oboe Quartet, Haydn Oboe Concerto, and Saint Saens (this years all-state NYSSMA xD).
Hence you could say I've been playing flute for 5 years now. But quite honestly I sound kinda !***!ty lol. I took kinda the route you're taking for the Oboe. I ended up trying to correct a lot of bad habits that I probably could have avoided in the first place had I a good teacher.
Well, truth be told, after losing 600K USD in home equity and 100K USD in my retirement account, there is no budget for lessons. Every free dollar needs to go to repairing my retirement in the few years I have left.
Learning oboe is suppose to be cheap entertainment... :-)
I have no aspirations of becoming a professional oboe player. If I can play some heads to some jazz standards as a complement to guitar and piano, I'll be happy. I play cheap coffee houses. :-)
Maybe I can find a teacher willing to give me quarterly checkups...