Why is it critically important to you that your reed seals, but it’s acceptable that your oboe doesn’t?
This isn’t a problem flute players have. Their headjoint never changes. Every time they put their instrument together, they have the constant of the same headjoint. If suddenly—or more likely, gradually—their low notes don’t respond, they know it’s not the headjoint; it has to be the pads and/or mechanism. You don’t have that luxury. Every time you change reeds, you don’t know if your problems are with the reed or the oboe. Your propensity is to blame the reed. You then go into that dark place known as “reed hell.” You start trying to figure out where the problem is. The cane? A dull knife? Wrong staple? Wrong shape? Wrong gouge? Do you need to buy a new shaper tip? Gouging machine? Different tube cane? At some point you might find yourself traipsing through the countryside in the south of France looking to buy the perfect plot of land to grow cane. Only then will you think you’ve gained enough control of the process to assure yourself that you can make the perfect reed.
My question to you is this: When was the last time you had your instrument repaired? Properly?
A properly sealing and set up oboe will remedy a myriad of problems. Tone, response, and intonation all become miraculously improved. The assumption that your oboe is working at its peak probably belies the fact that you’ve been compensating in your reeds for problems caused by the oboe. The number of times someone has approached me saying, “The oboe feels fine, but can you just take a look at it?” and then reacted with incredulity when I say, “No, the instrument isn’t in very good shape,” is constant confirmation of my experiences. I’m confident that a yearly maintenance regime will make playing your instrument a much more gratifying experience.This is the tool with which you chose to pursue your passion, to express yourself. You deserve for it to be in the best condition possible.