Oboe is one of the most complicated wind instruments but also one of the most satisfying to master. It is a double-reed woodwind, meaning it uses two canes that vibrate against the mouthpiece. Professional oboists usually make their reeds, but there are online stores that sell oboe reeds if you’re a novice like I am. One thing I learned from a Youtube video, which incidentally got me started on this oboe journey, is that I have to have a special reed case. The plastic casings that the reeds are shipped in are good for just that: shipping. But I can’t exactly buy an oboe reed case without an actual reed.

Best Oboe Reeds Reviewed

Tbest’s reeds are made out of bamboo and are of medium strength. Every purchase contains five pieces. It is advertised that this brand does not need soaking. 

The staple is the usual cork color. The thread is red, with a brown line a little above the bark. The tip is a light beige. It is encased in clear plastic tubes with a black butt where the staple is held during shipping.

Reviewed by Asksound
Tbest Handmade Oboe Reed with Plastic Case
Gouged, shaped, tied and blank reed is opened

“Pitch Floor” concept which makes them responsive stable and also helps minimize biting and interference from embouchure.

Eastar boasts of its high-quality products grown without human intervention in temperate and subtropical zones. It has medium-soft strength. The website boasts of its high precision CNC lathe production. They also weed out substandard reeds to provide top quality products to their customers, if you get my drift. Every purchase comes with three pieces.

Reviewed by Asksound
Eastar ERD-OBms Reed with Individual Moisture-Proof Case
The sound of this reed is focused, both dark and light at same time.

Produces an illusion of depth in the sound that is similar to that produced by great painters when a canvas seems illuminated by light from within.The mixture of overtones produced by this reed is rich and complex.

The staple is the usual cork color with a black thread. A thin metal wire holds the back of the reed. The spine is noticeably darker than the rails. The tip is almost dirty white.

Made from the most refined French cane, Emerald Oboe Reed has medium-soft strength. True to its name, the thread of this reed is lovely emerald green. The back is prominently darker than that of the rest until the tip. Each reed is sold individually. It weighs .16 ounces. 

The reed from customer review posts is shipped in s clear container with a green butt for holding the cork. There is a wad of protective wool or cotton around the tip to protect it from breakage, but a handful of reviews did say that it was broken upon arrival.

Reviewed by Asksound
Emerald 601MS Medium Soft Oboe Reed
Made from high quality cane and brass staples.

Cane processed by skilled craftsmen using the world’s most advanced reed machinery.

Several oboists have recommended a medium-strength reed since it would be best to get a feel of the instrument during the initial stages of playing. Playing the oboe is no easy feat. There are dozens of pages about how difficult it is to learn and even harder to play. Then again, I am determined to learn this instrument. I want to start that journey by making the right choice with my first reed. 

Care for you Reed

Before I go about purchasing things I need, I take a moment and look up how to care for them. I did the same thing with this review. I looked up several reviews and videos about taking care of reeds, even coming across a satire video that I had a hard time deciphering if I should take it seriously or not.

First of all, you can make your reed or have someone make it for you. As I said earlier, novices and beginners usually just buy their first few reeds. Making your reed also means investing in tools that are typically niche and hard to find, meaning that they are expensive as well. If you can buy one, go get it. But if you are on a tight budget, buying pre-made ones is the way to go.

Next is soaking. Soaking is a practice before every session with the oboe. The reed’s upper part is soaked in clean water for a few minutes to loosen it up a little and prevent advanced wear and tear. However, only the tip must be submerged. 

Cleaning is the next stage. One of the videos I watched on Youtube suggested running a pipe cleaner through the reed every two weeks to remove any food and saliva residue from your reed. This is also to prevent any mold from building up anywhere in the reed. Remember, the reeds are expensive. 

Last is storage. As I’ve said in my introduction, you need a different reed case from the one it was shipped it. It’s an entirely different purchase and review, but if you invest in something as precise as a musical instrument, be ready to shell out a lot. Music is no joke. With a handful of exceptions, only those dedicated to the craft can survive.

Conclusion

Considering all of the facts I have presented above, I believe that Eastar Oboe Reeds are the best among these three choices. I was turned off by the no soaking feature of the Tbest and the cracked tips from Emerald.

I guess I just have to dig around a little more to know what the Eastar reeds are made of, but they are my choice for now.

FAQ: Frequent questions

🏆 Which is the best?

Tbest Handmade Oboe Reed with Plastic Case

🔍 How did we test them?

We tested 17 products, researched 15 sources, evaluated 147 reviews and spent 11+ hours on our guide.

🤔 What should you look at before buying?

When choosing it's best to make a decision based on the price/quality, functionality and compatibility with other devices/technologies.