Basic reed care for Oboe and Bassoon reeds. Erica
Skowron Principal Oboe PGSO
The reed after you is the most important part of your instrument keep it working by doing the following...
1. Always soak your reed in water before you play it. If you try to play on a dry reed it will not work and you could damage the reed. Wetting the reed in water rather than wetting it in your mouth with saliva will make the reed last longer.
Soak the reed in cold water, you can use hot water if the reed is old and the opening is closed up but by that time you should have a new reed
Those little plastic containers that film comes in work great for soaking your reeds. Camera stores are more than happy to give them away free of charge. Rinse the container well in hot water before using it.
2. Soak the reed for a minute or so. If the opening of the reed is very
small you may have to soak it a little longer but don't soak it for more
than 5 minutes. It could get water logged.
3. Brush your teeth before you play or at the very least rinse your mouth. Tiny food particles can find their way inside the reed and will cause the cane to break down sooner.
4. The tip of the reed is very fragile. At the beginning you will have to
extra cautious of knocking it against your teeth and crushing the tip making it unplayable. Do not bite on the reed while playing it.
5. Before putting your reed away dip it in water and shake off the excess.
6. The little plastic tube that your reed came in is great for shipping new reeds but it is not recommended as storage of a reed that you are actively using. It doesn't allow the reed to dry properly which can cause it to become moldy or the tip can warp.
A reed case made for oboe reeds is your best bet or a cheaper alternative being a reed guard. A reed guard holds two reeds. Reed cases come in all shapes and sizes. A small plastic reed case that holds three reeds is probably big enough for a beginning oboe player.
If you are stuck using the tube that it came in, let the reed dry out before you put it away, place the cork end of the reed into the cap first and carefully place the reed into the tube. This way the tip of the reed will not be pressed into the sponge at the bottom of the tube and will be less likely to become damaged.
7. You can clean the inside of the reed with a thin soft pipe cleaner. The reed must be wet and you should wet the pipe cleaner also. Carefully push the pipe cleaner through the cork end and carefully pull it out the other end. Do not pull the pipe back out the cork end or you will damage the reed.
This does not need to be done very often. I would just do this to an older reed or if it looks as though it needs cleaning.