Professional oboe reeds
Professional Oboe Reeds
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 comfortably 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 Kunibert 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 consistent with my classifications of 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.
Monthly professional oboe reed subscriptions are available below.
Please send me a quick message stating what hardness you would like to be sent monthly, after placing your order. Aalakota@gmail.com.
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
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.Disinfecting best practices from the Centers for disease control and prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/disinfecting-your-home.html
- 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.
My new disinfection process is as follows.
- Wash hands thoroughly.
- 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 customersPackages 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.
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.-Aaron Lakota
- 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.
The approximate current wait time is always listed on the front page of the website and along the top of each page on non-mobile devices. Please be sure to check the current wait time before placing an order.
Why is there a wait time?
I love making reeds and devote a very large part of my life to my profession as a reed maker. There are a lot of steps that go into making oboe reeds which can be read about here. I have worked very hard to develop efficient methods that allow me to craft hundreds of reeds each month to help my customers to enjoy playing the instrument we love so much. I love that I am able to help so many oboists of all levels! I ask my customers to understand that in the day of next day deliveries with large businesses, I am just one person working to improve my craft and desire to bring you the best oboe reeds.
Along with the crafting of each reed I am also solely responsible to answer any customer service questions, package and ship the orders, manage inventory, and do any other tasks that are needed to be done in the process of getting you high-quality oboe reeds. I currently devote 50-70 hours per week toward my business. When I have a lot of orders I devote a lot of time to making those reeds, but also more time towards answering questions and shipping those reeds. As demand gets high every part of the process becomes more laborious which adds time to the whole process. You can help to keep the wait down by noting the lead time before ordering and letting me know of any shipping delays outside of that timeframe, not within it. Every customer email about when reeds will arrive is time away from making reeds. I will gladly help with orders that may have been lost in the mail, or have problems for some other reasons. I want to provide the best customer service possible. If the lead time is 2 weeks and you have not received your reeds after 4 weeks, please do email me and I will help to identify if there is a problem and prioritize solving it. When the wait is 4 weeks and I am emailed after 2 there is most likely not any problem with the order.
The current lead time is a fairly accurate estimate of how long it will take from the time of your order to when I will ship that order. The lead time can be anywhere from 5 days up to 3 months depending on demand. I really want to get you your reeds as soon as possible! I do not like to keep customers waiting, I realize how frustrating it can be to need to plan so far in advance. I really do everything I can to keep your wait as short as possible.
How can I be sure I have reeds when I need them?
My suggestion is to order reeds when you still have plenty of working reeds in your reed case. I advise my students to always have at least 3 good reeds at a time. This means you should order oboe reeds long before you only have 3 working reeds. You or your oboist will be very disappointed if you wait until you have one working reed left when you place an order and realize it will be a month or more until you receive those reeds. If you have an important recital or concert coming up be sure to place you order as soon as you know about the event. I take the responsibility of providing you the best oboe reeds I can make, I hope you will take responsibility to plan ahead for all your oboe reed needs.