My A.Lakota professional oboe reeds are 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. I aim to make very comfortable playing professional oboe reeds for myself and hope customers will benefit from my journey to find what works well.
I am currently using a Pfeiffer/Mack or Mack++ shape, 47mm brass staples with natural cork, and a Ross or Inoledy gouger. The oboe cane used changes from season to season and is what I find to be best at the moment.
Comparatively, to other handmade oboe 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 sound. I like reeds to vibrate freely without controlling them too much with my embouchure.
Hard reeds are less finished in my opinion so if you have a particular way you like to finish your reeds you may consider trying the hard professional oboe reeds. I do not suggest ordering hard oboe reeds unless you have a lot of experience adjusting oboe reeds. I describe them as “unfinished”.
If every oboe reed you buy seems very hard to play you may try the soft professional oboe reeds.
I suggest starting with the Medium if you are a new customer. This will give you an idea of my ideal concept.
I try to be as consistent with my classifications of the hardness, but I do not have a tool to measure the qualities of resistance and response. I work very hard to be consistent, but as with all handmade products, some variability should be expected from reed to reed.
It should also be noted that I am making reeds in Massachusetts 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 oboe reeds you receive from season to season please let me know. I aim to make great products no matter where my customers live, and this information allows me to be a better oboe reed maker.
Oboe reed sanitation against Corona Virus (Covid19).
Oboe reed sanitation is something that every reed maker must be familiar with when selling reeds to the public. Reed makers must try and adjust every oboe reed or English horn reed I made to ensure proper function. I traditionally use Hydrogen Peroxide (HP) for a few reasons
HP seems to be more gentle on the vascular bundles/cell integrity of the cane.
Hydrogen Peroxide is made up of 2 atoms of hydrogen, and 2 atoms of oxygen (H2O2).Hydrogen Peroxide decomposes to become water (H2O) and oxygen which are non-reactive, and have no taste.
HP seems to be a great cleaner for older reeds that may need revitalization, making it a substance that all double reed players should have on-hand.
Due to the recent covid-19 (corona virus) outbreak I have made a switch to using both Hydrogen peroxide along with Isopropyl Alcohol to disinfect oboe reeds and English horn reeds. Northampton MA has not yet had any cases of Covid-19, however I am approaching my sanitation process as though I have already been in contact with the virus.
Soak reeds in alcohol for 30 seconds, remove from alcohol and let let the alcohol drain through the staple.
Let reeds sit for 3 minutes and then dip the reeds in fresh distilled water to rinse off alcohol.
Allow reeds to dry fully away from reedmaking station (4-12 hours).
Wash hands thoroughly.
Place reeds in hydrogen peroxide for 30 seconds, remove from HP allow excess liquid to flow through the staple then shake excess moisture from the reed. Allow reeds to dry full
Wash hands and insert reeds into their packages for shipping.
The Covid-19 virus can survive on surfaces for 4-72 hours.
https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/new-coronavirus-stable-hours-surfaces. As an added precaution I am allowing reeds at least 3 days to reach their destination after being packaged. This ensures that if the inside of the package was contaminated, the virus will spend enough time in the packaging to die. I will not expedite shipping until further notice, and packages expected to reach their destination within 1-2 days will be held 24-48 hours before being shipped.
Further precautions for oboe reed customers
Packages being delivered may have been touched by many hands during transit. Customers wanting to take further precautions upon receipt of their oboe reeds may wish to take these steps.
Allow packages being delivered to sit for 72 hours before being handled.
Wash hands after opening your packages and before trying oboe or English horn reeds. Be careful not to touch the reeds directly after touching the outside of the shipping box.
Reeds can be sterilized again in a 70% isopropyl alcohol solution.
Avoid sharing reeds.
I am very appreciative for all the support that I have received from my customers over the years. I am grateful that we are able to help one another to play the instrument we love and be happy oboe-ing.