Selecting Your Higher End Magic Reed- A Closer Look

  • No reed is perfect,  no two reeds are exactly the same, and one reed in a group will always be best. Welcome to the world of oboe reeds.
  • While we have lightened our reeds in response to customer preferences, our reeds are still beefier than most of the competition. We believe that this structure gives the player a better experience, and it is a longer-lasting reed in general.  If you are new to Magic Reed and are accustomed to very light reeds, please consider reeds that are either on the lighter end of our spectrum (even if the label does not match your proficiency level), an elite custom reed if you want more nuance, or the possibility that they may need a scrape or two by an experienced reed maker.  There are no beginner reeds in our line-up.  
  • Reeds are progressively warmer, darker and and more responsive (the way professionals like them) from one grade to the next higher grade. 
  • Reed specifications for those who need to know.  
    • Gouge- @.59
    • Shape- Usually Samson or Mack ++
    • Heart- .37-.42
    • Back Channels- Variable (generally between .25-.32)
      • The back channels are usually installed last, and as needed to for desired effect.  ​​Student and intermediate reeds may have less definition between the back and the heart depending on what is needed to balance a lighter strength and pitch.
    • Tip- Starts at 19 mm from thread.
    • Length of reed-  @69.5
    • Staple- Synthetic cork (Student and Intermediate) Natural Cork- Chiarugi #2 (Conservatory and Professional)
  • We do not identify our reeds options by thread.  The thread color is used for internal purposes to color code cane source, gouge, and shape. 
  • All oboists need to learn the necessary skills necessary to prepare their reed for play.  Most reeds, and especially my reeds, do not play well without good preparation.  Lack of reed prep is often the culprit when I am consulted when a player doesn't get the result they expect.  Here are some guidelines:
    •  Managing the size of the aperture can be done with water temperature and time soaked in water, and a pinch of the tip or base of the back.  The basic formula is warmer and longer opens the aperture; cooler and shorter keeps it smaller.  (No more than 15-20 seconds/no less than 10 seconds). 
    • Managing the pitch of the reed can take place by closing the aperture with the same pinches.  
    •  Opening the aperture can be done with pinching the sides and plyers can be used with advance instruction.
    •  Plan for your concert needs in advance.  Most Magic Reeds require a break-in period but  have a longer lifespan than most others on the market. ​​

 If you need more help selecting the right reed from our product line, please contact us directly.

Magic Reed

Professional Oboe Reeds