Avoid My Reedmaking Mistakes: Not Adjusting With the Seasons

oboe, reed, reedmaking

One of my biggest reedmaking mistakes has been continuing my reedmaking routine with no adjustments as the seasons change into either fall/winter or spring/summer. If you live in a climate that has seasons like this, you need to think about how that affects your reeds!

Winter brings dry air and dry reeds. Summer brings humidity and much happier reeds! But you can have good reeds all year round if you adjust your process for the season. Learn faster than I do and change long before you ruin several reeds in a row!

The main change I make is the length I tie my reeds. In the summer, my cane is moist and happy and my reeds might be too open and flat. When summer is on its way my reeds start to be so flat that I am clipping them more and more until they are unusable for being so short and STILL flat! In the start of winter, my reeds tend to be more closed and sharp and no amount of scraping seems to bring the pitch down enough! In both scenarios I eventually remember the definition of insanity – reedmaking – ah, I mean, doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results – and I finally realize what has changed and how *I* need to now adjust accordingly.

Reeds tied at a longer length will be more narrow than reeds tied at a shorter length. The long, narrow reeds are sharper and the short, wide reeds are flatter. Therefore my reeds lengthen in the summer and shorten in the winter to adjust to the how much moisture is causing the cane to swell or not.

In the summer, I tie my reeds as long as 74mm. This is likely because I live in a very humid area! In the winter, I tie reeds around 72mm. This makes the difference between suddenly struggling to get a reed in tune and being able to make good reeds easily again!

Also be mindful of how much cane you are scraping off. You might also have to make the windows deeper and deeper as you get more dry weather to keep in tune for example. If the seasonal changes are mild in your area, maybe that is all the change that is needed!

In what ways have your reeds been affected by seasonal changes and how have you adapted?

2 thoughts on “Avoid My Reedmaking Mistakes: Not Adjusting With the Seasons

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s