Oboe reed staples are important. Sure, you can build a good reed or a bad reed on any tube, but the material, the bore, and the dimensions of the staple MATTER. The staple is an extension of the bore of the oboe!
I haven’t done the most extensive testing of staples, and I’m not the smartest person in the world about their metrics. I look at Ann Hodge’s amazing blog post defining staple length and width and shape, and I see her tables of numbers, and my eyes sort of glaze over. I cannot tell you anything intelligent about a staple from its measurements.
But I am a performer and I know what I like. And I can make reeds quickly and consistently enough to run good experiments. I knew that I was not perfectly happy with anything I’d tried, and even the staples I was making my living on weren’t perfect.
I wanted something that gave me a comfortable amount of resistance – because I like a light reed on a heavy staple. I WANT to use the air in my human body, I don’t WANT to have to hold back to avoid overblowing. Resistance is attractive to me.
But many of the thicker tubes I had tried gave me trouble in the middle register. Getting over the break between middle c and c#, for example. Or a wild quality around octave f and e. And I had had consistency issues with some makers as well! I’m on the record as being indifferent to mandrel fit with staples – but 1-2 mm difference in fit between one tube and the next is absurd.
So I worked with a manufacturer to create a staple that I DO love. It took us months of trial and error and feedback and back-and-forth, but it was worth the wait!
The Jennet Ingle Reeds Custom staple is a handcrafted German silver staple with premium natural cork, and we’ve honed in on a custom bore dimension that offers a warm sound, moderate resistance, and stable pitch up and down the instrument.
I find that they are more resistant than my thin-walled Chiarugi staples, in a very good way, and more vibrant than the Pisoni artist tubes I used to be enamored of. Middle C is free blowing and not constricted. The sound is warm, especially for a silver staple, and the pitch is easy and comfortable at 440.
I’m excited to have these out in the world now, and I hope you’ll love them too. They are available as finished or partially finished reeds on my site, or to purchase as-is so you can run your own experiments!