Captain’s Log: Oboe Reed 44932.3

My team and I are preparing to launch into a series of recitals, auditions and symphonic performances. Commander Data has been experimenting with different shaper tips, types of cane and a variety of staples in order to find a suitable balance of reed making algorithms that will achieve an outcome that is pleasing to all… especially me.

But seriously folks, wouldn’t it be nice to have a system (or an awesome Android) to help sift through the mysterious realm of reed making?

I am not an “A” type person. I try to be, but usually fail. So I have never been the type of person to keep a log for my reeds. I tend to be a little more intuitive with my reed making and I try to not change a lot of variables at one time. In the past I haven’t really found it useful either, but there are times when I think it can be helpful. Reeds are comprised of a myriad of little decisions within our control and things outside of our control, all which affect the outcome of your reeds.

Think about it:

  • The type of cane
  • The batch of cane — yes the batch matters!
  • The diameter of the cane
  • The type of gouge
  • The thickness of the gouge
  • The length it was tied on
  • The kind of staple you used
  • The Shaper Tip
  • The weather
  • The elevation
  • And more….

If you are still struggling with some consistency in scraping, some of these variables might not be as noticeable in your reeds yet. For example, if you’re ripping off your tips, you probably won’t notice the subtle differences in different types of staples. However, here are a few reasons to start keeping a log or journal of your reeds if you don’t already do so.

1. Be able to identify patterns.

If you are trying out something new like a new shaper tip, type of cane, different gouge etc., it can be valuable to have a system to help you remember what reeds you made the changes with. When you do make changes though, try not to change too much all at once!

2. You’re having a recurring reed making problem.

I’ve had a lot of reed making problems in the past but only two that really were a slump for a long time. One was with flat and hard reeds, and the other was collapsing reeds. Both were a nightmare. Sometimes you just need to break everything down to every little detail and see if you can figure out what the heck is going on.

3. You tend to be more careful with all the details involved with reedmaking.

If you are checking your gouge consistently and logging it, you tend to be more careful with your gouging. When you are logging the length of your finished tip you tend to be more aware if your reeds are ending up too long or too short. Logging your reeds can help you be more mindful about all the little details involved with your reeds and can help you be more consistent.

Helpful Tools

Below are a few tools that you can consider using to help with logging your variables:

1. Reed Log App

img_4823If you’re an Android user (pun intended?), a new app has recently been published to Google Play with the creative name “Reed Log.” It can track all kinds of variables and even has a “Reed Feed” which is a social element where you can comment and receive advice from other reed makers. Fun! iOS is in currently being planned to release at a later date.

Click 👉🏼here👈🏼to check it out!




2. AirTable

AirTable is a data system that works kind of like spreadsheets on steroids. I have been using it lately and find it kind of fun! You can customize your options which is really nice.

3. Reed Log Worksheet

Another creative name! If you are a pencil and paper type person (sometimes the simplest thing is the best), you can download my reed log printable by clicking 👉🏼here.👈🏼

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