Commercially made reeds – those profiled-cane, shinily-wound Jones and Lesher and Emerald Reeds – have their place. They are designed for beginners, or for young players, or for players that don’t have reed-making skills of their own or a private teacher where they live. And there are thousands of people who fall into that category. These reeds are designed to be relatively affordable, and they are designed to WORK, immediately out of the box.
But they are not meant to sound GREAT, and they are not 100% conistent, and they are certainly not meant for an advancing player to make beautiful, nuanced music on.
The ideal answer is to make your own reeds, or work with a good teacher who can help you by supplying reeds at the appropriate strength or by working on what you have – but there are plenty of scenarios in which you might find yourself holding a store-bought reed AND possessing high oboe standards, and wanting to make the one thing match the other. Maybe you ARE a teacher, and your big-eyed student has just brought one of these in. Maybe you are desperate because your last good reed just cracked down the middle and the only reed in miles comes from your local Q and F. Maybe you have no better source, but you want to sound better.
In this video I analyze and repair a random assortment of reeds from MY local Q and F, and offer advice and suggestions.