My Birthday Present: Reed Proctology

November 5, 2009

I turned 30 years old on Halloween, which I was dreading, but it turned out okay. (I’m still alive!) Perhaps one of the best gifts I could have gotten came a thousand miles away, when the Oregon Ducks stomped the USC Trojans!

Here in Arizona however, Mr. Weber gave me a very special gift. The first part was a folder with some laminated pages of information about tuning oboes, with dimensions and figures on undercutting, tonehole sizes, etc. The other gift however is truly special, as it is a one-of-a-kind tool, that is not on the market:

Reed Proctology 1

I’ve seen David use this tool on his own reeds, and he uses it quite often. He said he got the idea from the late Jimmy Caldwell and he made one for himself and it worked.

IMG00004-20091105-1143You insert it into the reed and push it down a ways. There’s notches on the bottom of the tool to gauge how far you have pushed it down.

BeforeBefore pushing it down. Notice the grooves at the bottom of the staple.

AfterAfter pushing it down a mm or so.

IMG00006-20091105-1145So what does this all do? As you can see from the picture above, it changes the dimensions of the staple so that the staple becomes bigger vertically and smaller horizontally. The effect that I find on the reed is that it gives a bit more focus, and props the reed open a bit more. I don’t know why, because usually when you take pliers and squeeze on the top and bottom the opening becomes bigger, and when you squeeze on the sides the opening becomes narrower, but it just works. There is always a trade-off however, and I find the downside of doing this is it sometimes flattens the high G a bit, and perhaps the high A a bit as well. But it’s a good tool to have, and I’m grateful that Mr. Weber hand-made me one, because I don’t know of any of these tools on the market.

I asked if he had a name for the tool, and with a coy smile, he simply answered, “Reed Proctology?”

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One Response to “My Birthday Present: Reed Proctology”

  1. Bobo said

    Hi Cooper,

    AK staples seem to have that rounder shape relative to staples I’ve traditionally used. I found Loree’s regular staples to be shockingly narrow; I can’t imagine using them. Pisoni, Stevens and others with a more oval shape are fine I find.

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