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 Reed Crowing Obsessives...
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2017-09-01 18:50

Does it really matter if your reeds crow a high C, Bb or Z# for that matter?

So long as they work in the instrument is the defining factor in my opinion. I will crow my reeds to make a multiphonic and don't get fussed if they crow a specific note.

They may indeed make that precious high C, but once in the instrument they might not even play at all.

Since when do you play the reed on it's own anyway? If it doesn't work in the instrument, then adjust it or bin it and move on.

I also see similar things with clarinet players getting all obsessive about the note their mouthpiece/reed set-up makes. The tone generator will always work on its own, but you can't rely on that single factor to determine whether or not it's good until you can get the most out of it when it's in the instrument.

Chris.

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 Re: Reed Crowing Obsessives...
Author: Wes 
Date:   2017-09-01 22:54

For me, it is a matter of security. If I get good C crows on the thread edge and also on the very tip, I can usually count on those American scrape reeds to play in tune, but I do not get concerned about multiple octaves in the crow.

With a multiphonic crow, I can have some doubts, especially if the group is very loud, making it harder to hear ones pitch. None of my teachers ever talked about C crows. I've heard a lot of out of tune oboists. To each, his own, but I'll revisit the multiphonic crows one of these days!

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 Re: Reed Crowing Obsessives...
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2017-09-01 23:08

I only crow my reeds after soaking and immediately before playing to free them up. They make an undeterminable pitch due to all the different notes sounding at once - it's not a pretty sound, but it gets them going.

A reed that's mega tough will crow clean a high C on its own, but that won't mean it's playable once it's shoved into the socket - the overall playablility of the reed can't be determined by its crow.

Chris.

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 Re: Reed Crowing Obsessives...
Author: oboist2 
Date:   2017-09-02 02:13

My reeds register on a tuner as sometimes a B and sometimes a C, it depends on the reed. I do find if the reed crows to a B flat, it generally requires a lot to get it up to pitch, conversely, one that crows a C# is often a little high in pitch - however it is just a guide. What I find more useful is the resistance behind the crow. If the crow is tight and does not rattle freely, then more work has to be done to free the reed up. A nice easily produced crow will usually produce a reed with enough flexibility that I can adjust any pitch variances, and one tends to do it instinctively. Mind you, you need an oboe that locks in its tonal centres well - I am lucky, my old Louis does.

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 Re: Reed Crowing Obsessives...
Author: Wes 
Date:   2017-09-03 00:25

We are clearly not on the same page, but that's ok! I also like the C crow to be stable with different levels of air pressure, a la Light's advice in his reed book.

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 Re: Reed Crowing Obsessives...
Author: KJC 
Date:   2017-09-04 01:55

I make reeds to crow to a C or preferably a C# if possible. I play a Loree Royal, and it seems to play right on pitch if I make the reed crow a C#. Also, I think it is much easier to flatten your pitch than bring it up so I'd rather have a reed that plays on the sharp side. Reeds that rattle too much with different pitches or crow lower than C result in a reed, at least for me, with no secure pitch center with a tendency to play flat. They require too much compensation on my part with air and/or embouchure in order to play on pitch.

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 Re: Reed Crowing Obsessives...
Author: mschmidt 
Date:   2017-09-07 23:41

Thanks, Chris, for jumping on my bandwagon! (Though that might not be the way you see it.) This last weekend I made a pretty good reed that ended up with a crow around B, but it a major third lower and was slightly sharp throughout its development. YMMV, but in my opinion the crow is way overemphasized.

Mike

Middle-Aged Amateur


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 Re: Reed Crowing Obsessives...
Author: mberkowski 
Date:   2017-09-08 00:05

Mike -

Do you mean to say the reed was crowing a major third below C and still played sharp before locking in with a B crow? I'm not terribly picky about crowing right on C but I am certain I never had a reed crow Ab that actually played.

Michael

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 Re: Reed Crowing Obsessives...
Author: mschmidt 
Date:   2017-09-08 05:43

It didn't play terribly sharp; I could lip it down to pitch. And it was still that way after I got it to crowing a B, but it was more comfortable and better-sounding at that point.

One thing that perhaps needs to be specified is whether one is crowing with a playing embouchure or just free-blowing with the lips on the very back end of the reed. I'm describing the latter.

Mike

Middle-Aged Amateur


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 Re: Reed Crowing Obsessives...
Author: EaubeauHorn 
Date:   2017-09-10 03:03

I'm swimming a little bit in my mind with all this. Since my teacher played the same model oboe as I did (I bought one of his he decided he was not using enough) ... I watched him make reeds for that specific moe3l. However, he was also the oboe prof at the local U, and people I ran into who took his "tech class" made reeds (lucky them to have learned somehow) that were basically like his (of course.) Crow a C on light blowing, lower octave comes in with heavier blowing, no other notes creeping in there. Lower C not "always" present but usually. His reeds were exceptionally stable and required little work to play in tune on an instrument with a good scale, while not being difficult to blow themselves.
There certainly is a lot out there that is individual. However, I will say that every time I have run into an amateur, even high level ones in community orchestras, whose intonation is all over the map, they turn out to be playing on something like a Jones and Lord knows how those crow. Jones I have bought, twice only, went straight into the bin because of the amazing lack of what I would consider stability. I can't imagine trying to learn to play this instrument on a reed that "plays" like the Jones that I tried out. Along with most of what I tried buying online....unstable, squawky, couldn't figure out how those people could ethically sell something like that. Could be they never, ever, played on what I would consider a good, stable reed, just because of whom I studied with. None of this is commentary on any reed maker here; I'm just doing a mental dump of sorts based on observations I've had. The person I most recently tried to study reed making with, could not make a reed that crowed at all, yet he was a fine player. I can't figure out how much work he must be doing to play the instrument at all, given what his reeds were.

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 Re: Reed Crowing Obsessives...
Author: jhoyla 
Date:   2017-09-10 15:43

Beatrice, you are describing philly or Mack-style American scrape reeds.

European scrape reeds are very different and the embouchure used is necessarily different, as well. There is a lot more muscle in a German or UK embouchure, and the sound is a lot more varied as a consequence.

I like a bit of both. There was for a time a frequent poster here from Canada (Robin?) who described how his reeds weren't exactly short- or long-scrape, but somewhere in between - he would lengthen the scrape as needed to free up the crow, but tried to leave as much cane (including bark) as he could, both for the longevity of the reeds and for the robustness of his sound. That is closer to where I live, musically.

This is just my opinion and absolutely no offense is intended to anyone; I think that there is a certain uniformity of sound, a focused sweetness, that long-scrapers strive for and that short-scrapers cannot abide? It is truly a beautiful sound, but endless beauty can be very wearing after a time. Ultimately it is limiting and does not allow full freedom of expression.

Pro players seem to be able to make their characteristic sound on almost anything playable and that goes for experienced amateurs too - yes, we all strive for perfect reeds but we make do with anything that can take air, even if it sounds like a buzz-saw. Almost nobody else notices the difference. I'm sure this is true for you as well.

J.

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 Re: Reed Crowing Obsessives...
Author: EaubeauHorn 
Date:   2017-09-11 00:20

PS: my name is not Beatrice.....not sure where you got that. At one point it was an online alias, but that was a long time ago.

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 Re: Reed Crowing Obsessives...
Author: jhoyla 
Date:   2017-09-11 12:50

Oops sorry. You should modify your profile. Click on "My Profile" below.

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 Re: Reed Crowing Obsessives...
Author: EaubeauHorn 
Date:   2017-09-11 23:34

Aha. I didn't realize I had put that in my profile, and it explains why the occasional person addresses me that way. I think I'll just leave it. Most of my Beatrice stuff is on Facebook having to do with toxic mold exposure.

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 Re: Reed Crowing Obsessives...
Author: EaubeauHorn 
Date:   2017-09-14 23:19

Chris wrote:
I only crow my reeds after soaking and immediately before playing to free them up. They make an undeterminable pitch due to all the different notes sounding at once - it's not a pretty sound, but it gets them going.

A reed that's mega tough will crow clean a high C on its own, but that won't mean it's playable once it's shoved into the socket - the overall playablility of the reed can't be determined by its crow.

Chris.

Wow....this is just so far from my concept of a good reed. I'm not criticizing. But I won't even consider trying to play on a reed that does not crow a clean high C on its own. and it's not difficult to blow either, and can be made anywhere from very easy to blow to having quite a bit of resistance. It's about stability; a well made reed is stable and is entirely predictable by the crow how it is going to play in the instrument. I do start to wonder what these differences are, whether it is short scrape vs long or what. In my experience, the overall playability can be entirely determined by how it crows. Take a look at Youtube videos by The Five Minute Reed Maker. She is just SO close to what my teacher does. I wish I lived near her because I'd haunt her studio.

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 Re: Reed Crowing Obsessives...
Author: oboist2 
Date:   2017-09-15 02:54

For may years, I played on am medium scrape reed....it was a longer scrape reed than many of my teachers made, but it worked for me. I did not know about the pitch of a crow, but instead, I used it to help gauge resistance. I later changed to a long scrape with windows, but still make my reeds quite a lot longer than many American reed makers make, and it was really an adaptation to the reed style I already made, rather than a strict American style. Since I have started to try and make my reeds crow as close to a C as I can get, I have found my reeds are more consistent and I need to adjust with my embouchure much less. Ultimately we all produce or play on a reed that suits our concept and instrument the best. Many roads lead to Rome, and that is what makes the journey interesting.

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 Re: Reed Crowing Obsessives...
Author: mschmidt 
Date:   2017-09-15 08:40

Many roads lead to Rome? Are you suggesting we should all sound like Italian oboists? (Joke)

Mike

Middle-Aged Amateur


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 Re: Reed Crowing Obsessives...
Author: Jeltsin 
Date:   2017-09-15 09:47

I have a few Jones's reeds. I use them when it is extremly cold and extremly dry indoors. That's the only time the Jones's reeds work for me.

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