Rediscovering (Old) Loree Land™

June 3, 2010

The Hiniker has been on the market for quite some time now. It’s been shipped around quite a bit, and is currently in New York, and will move on to LA and San Diego if it isn’t bought beforehand. It’s one of the finest instruments I’ve ever played, and is very well balanced in so many ways. The instrument is a dark sounding instrument, and you have to “push the air” through it at the top dynamics, somewhat like a Laubin, but it has a bit of “edge” (or I refer to it as “ring”) that a Loree has that allows it to project very well, even in the largest of orchestras. Tom retrofitted a plastic half sleeve in the topjoint which helps the vibrations travel quicker down the top joint, so the response is very quick, and the sound can jump out of it. I found this very helpful to know exactly how responsive it is and how reliable I could trust it at the quietest dynamic levels for very sensitive spots, such as the opening of the Poulenc Sonata which I performed on my recital this past April. It’s been a trusty instrument, virtually unbreakable with plastic tonehole inserts in the topjoint (which keep it sealing and in adjustment, always, since wooden tonehole crowns move around and change to the seal slightly). The result of all of this is the instrument plays best with a reed that can be ultra responsive, but has some resistance in it, particularly in the channels of the tip to give more to “blow against”.

Since this instrument has parted ways with me, I have returned to older Loree Land™, and currently am the owner of a DX, CU, and a CJ Loree, all of them are very good. I repadded the DX and the topjoint of the CU so that they have a 20 seal on both of them, and I had David Weber do a complete overhaul on the CJ since I wanted to see his work and have a model to make sure I am on the right track. David likes the CJ the best because it has extra “cushion” in the sound, which I translate as a type of resistance not only to the air but to the vibrations that an oboist can “push against”. (The difference between cushion and “stuffiness” would be when you push against cushion, it gives you more overtones, volume, and blossoms, rather than giving you nothing, requiring you to push even further until you’re overblowing the reed, thus spreading/distorting the tone.) I however have preferred the CU and DX, not only because they’re more freeblowing, but they’re more similar to each other. I think the CJ would require different reeds than the CU and DX. (If anyone wants to try the CJ to purchase, contact me via email.)

The DX is currently a really nice instrument, however when I purchased it, I found that it was cracked to the bore. Since then, David sealed it up from the outside, but the crack in the bore is still there. Despite this, it still plays well, and some days I like the CU better, other days I like the DX. The wildcard in all of this will be that I’m planning on getting a half-plastic sleeve inserted into it, either by John Peterson or John Symer, and it will come back a different instrument. I plan on reaming both of the with David when it comes time.

It’s been difficult for me to re-configure my reeds for these older instruments, and has certainly made me re-evaluate a lot of things in my reeds. I’ve been having difficulty getting enough “fuzz” and “sizzle” out of the sound, like my reeds weren’t balanced enough. I kept scraping more out of the channels of the heart, but would just get brighter, less stable reeds and would end up trashing them. After much anguish and frustration, I consulted with David and realized that his reed style and structure is really geared toward this era of instrument. David told me I was leaving too much in the channels of the tip (obviously a habit I picked up from the Hiniker), while I was scraping too flat in the windows, thus taking out too much of the spine. (When I describe flat, I mean if you are looking straight, and your sight is directly down the reed which is parallel to the ground on the Y axis), the knife angle would be parallel to the ground on the X axis.) Consequentially, my spines were too thin, and the back of the reed was collapsing. I could get away with this when I was leaving the tip channels thicker which kept the aperture open, but now when I needed to scrape out the tip channels, it would collapse the tip and the back.

Finally this morning I’ve been tinkering with leaving thicker spines, clearing the tip channels, but still somehow maintaining enough in the middle of the reed to give depth, cover and cushion, and everything has come back together. My reeds play well, and I’m able to play freely as I want to. What a relief, considering I’ve been in months of the “trying to figure things out”.

Since going from Hiniker-World™ to Old Loree Land™, I’ve been reminded just how much reeds can vary, and how some reeds work in certain oboes but not others. I’m borrowing my old Undergraduate Loree from my friend which is an NF AK model Loree, and it takes completely different reeds as well! The good news is it challenges me to make a reed that functions in all of them so that I can ship them off. The bad news is that boy, is that a challenge!

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