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My A.Lakota professional oboe reed/ Wide shape is made with a focus on function first and then finished to have a full resonant sound. I make all professional oboe reeds by hand, using traditional methods. I make reeds that play comfortable for me, so the Medium is what works well for me, soft is a little less resistant than what I may play myself and the hard is more resistant than what I would like, Hard reeds are less finished. It is my aim to make s very comfortable playing professional oboe reed for myself and hope customers will benefit from my journey to find what works well.
Comparatively, to other reeds on the market, I find my professional oboe reeds to be slightly less resistant with a thinner tip and more removed from the windows just behind the heart. I aim to get as complex of a tone as possible with overtones throughout the entire sound. I like reeds to vibrate freely without controlling them too much with my embouchure.
The wider shape will allow players to use more embouchure control without playing sharp. The slightly wider shape will accept more air volume from the player which can relieve tension in the body due to back-pressure, this will be specific to the oboist. I find a lot of woodwind doublers seem to benefit from a having slightly wider shaped oboe reed as well. This has been true for several bassoonists, saxophone and clarinet players I have worked with. I feel this is due to the increased volume of air these musicians must use on the other instruments. Doublers please feel free to contact me and I can help to find the best oboe reed for you.
Hard reeds are slightly less finished in my opinion so if you have a particular way you like to finish your reeds you may consider trying a hard professional oboe reed.
If every oboe reed you buy seems very hard to play you may try the medium or soft professional oboe reeds. I suggest starting with the Medium if you are a new customer.
I try to be as consistent with my classifications of the hardness, but I do not have a tool to measure to the qualities. It should also be noted that I am making reeds in Massachuessets where the climate changes regularly, and with that reeds can act differently in different climates. I welcome your feedback about how the reeds are working in any given season when you receive them so if things seem to change with the reeds you receive from season to season please let me know. I aim to make a great products no matter where my customers live, and this information allows me to be a better oboe reed maker.
Most SOAKED oboe reeds will benefit from being squeezed shut for 30-45 seconds for the first few playing sessions. For more on this see my articles about oboe reed soaking and adjusting reeds without any tools.