FAQ

General

What makes your reeds different than the others?

My reeds are made with an extremely high bar of quality control, as they are meant to be professional performance reeds comparable to the ones I use in the Toronto Symphony Orchestra.

The tip of the reed is scraped in a complex, multi-layered fashion that creates an easy and balanced response in all registers. The tip articulates nicely into a full-bodied, colourful vibration without creating a “chirp” of its own. The pitch holds itself together very well, there is no need to chomp down on the reed (this greatly improves a player’s stamina for long pieces).

I have an extremely strict method of cane selection, such that only the very best materials make it to production. The scraping process is done more slowly over multiple periods; this allows the cane to settle better. A slower process means less cane is scraped off, leading to a more stable, projecting, longer-lasting reed.

How do I make the most out of your reeds?

Here are some tips and tricks:

  1. Sometimes I get new students who are startled at how sharp they are when they first try out my reeds – the pitch is in fact much more dependable than what they are used to! There is no need to bite. A firm, well-cushioned embouchure will suffice.
  2. Play the reed with the tip vibrating freely in your mouth. (Place your lips about half-way down the cane). For high-register playing, consider holding the angle of your oboe ever-so-slightly downwards (this can offset the lips in a useful way)
  3. Make sure to properly dry the reeds out after each session. Store your reeds in a proper multi-reed case for the best longevity. (The single-reed cases are for shipping only! They are not for storage and are very poor at drying reeds)
  4. For the best articulation, you should put the reed in your oboe such that the side with the crossover is facing you.

How long is the wait time for a new reed?

Because I am also a full-time symphony musician and a private teacher, things can get busy.

During peak periods, reeds can take up to four weeks to make. I will always get in touch if the wait time is expected to be greater than two weeks. Please order your reeds well ahead of any important performances!

Please note that HLR no longer offers the option of rush orders. Reeds are sold on a first-come, first-served basis.

Technical

What materials/specs do you use on your reeds?

HLR Premium Oboe Reeds are made the same way I make my own performance reeds for the Toronto Symphony:
Length: 69-71mm
Shape: Mack-Pfeiffer (Westwind)
Tube: Guercio G1/47
Thickness: ~0.45mm at the top-center of heart
Gouger: Greg James (Precision Music Products, Toronto)
Gouge: 0.59/0.47

How about tools?

Landwell knives (DHG, M/S)
Sharpening: ATOMA 400 Diamond Plate & KING 1000 Waterstone
Honing: Roger Miller – ROM Steel Burnishing Rod
Pregougers: Greg James (Precision Music Products, Toronto)