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You're excited.

Your brand new Billerbeck reeds have arrived in the post. 

Here are a few top tips to help you get the best out of your lovely new reeds. 


We’re not talking putting your reed in a tasty salsa or humus, but a small pot of nice clean water. Cane is a natural substance and needs a bit of moisture to function.

In between leaving our studio and arriving at your home, the reeds will have dried out, so it's important to give your reeds some nourishment.

How long you soak them is down to personal preference as too long in water, reeds become waterlogged and unresponsive, not long enough and and it’ll feel like you’re playing on planks of wood.

We like to soak reeds between 30 secs to a minute, in an amount of water only just above the scraped area of the reed. Avoid allowing the water to reach the threaded area.

Crow it


Crowing a reed after it’s been soaked gets the cane vibrating. To crow a reed make your embouchure slightly looser but place your lips much closer to the thread, and blow hard.

The rather delightful sound emitted should be similar to that of a crow! Enjoy the sensation for a good minute or two, to really get the blades of the reed moving.


Blow it


This is the fun bit, grease the staple cork to ensure it’s not an effort to push in and remove the reed from your oboe. Not so much grease that you have a goopy top joint.

Then enjoy blowing your reed in.

There are a lot of theories about blowing reeds in, but we find playing each reed for around 10 minutes at a time for a few days when you first receive them lets them settle. You’ll find they last a little longer. We also like to start by playing a few slow scales up an down the oboe to get the reed going.


Any questions please do get in touch at, and one of our friendly team will be on hand to help.

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