Oboe Shaper-Tips

Comparative Measurements

A list of over 120 Shaper-Tips for Oboe Reeds.


It seems somewhat surprising to discover that so many variations exist around notionally identical shaper sizes. I hope that this list, offered to assist my oboist colleagues, will indeed prove comprehensive, but I should be grateful for any reader, distributor or manufacturer to contact me please to suggest additions or corrections.

For obvious reasons, those who produce these valuable items cannot reveal their every detail, and it will be readily seen that specifications provided are in general sparse. Nor are measurements taken always from the same position along the length. So comparison will inevitably remain a challenge.

It would prove an endless chore to take more than a few details in person, while any measurements made with callipers must allow for a good margin of error, probably of no less than 0.02 mm laterally.

Before purchase we should in any case bear in mind a number of qualifications ...

Manufacturing parameters, nowadays under computer control, have tightened enormously over the decades, while shaper-tips from certain manufacturers have developed in any case from their notional starting points. Nor is every maker equally equipped to reproduce the same tolerances. Results can vary wildy within the categories quoted.

Numerous other factors anyhow influence the precise curvature of the reed that emerges. (The necessary fine controls are explained in detail through Chapter 8 of my book UtOR). The chief of these are the competing compressions of the cane around the shaper. Yet a good 2-dimensional representation will indeed offer a helpful advance approximation. (Kreedo suggests that the cane will emerge 0.1 mm narrower than the shaper-tip – for the oboe, but more for the larger sizes – a result that will generally occur only when small cane has been especially compressed.)

Led by Westwind and for compete accuracy, a few manufacturers specify, not from the reed Tip backwards but forwards from the 'Wrap', the 'correct tie-on width at the staple tip'. This is specified, for the oboe, as 5.1 mm, although the exact point will always vary a little according to the fullness of the staple. Thereafter specifications are offered at 5, 12 and 23 mm forwards. (I have chosen 5.2 mm for the Reeds in Outline shown by following this link, or approached via my page of Shaper-Tips for Sale.) The reed Tip, however, varies in both length and width according to the choice of the player, and so remains impossible to specify. The many shapers that display Ears obviously enforce a reading from some 4 or 5 mm behind the Tip, unlike German models that profit from broader sides.

'Shaper-Form' Templates for Oboe, Oboe d'Amore, English Horn/Cor Anglais, Bass/Baritone Oboe, Baroque and Classical Oboes, Wiener / Viennese Oboe, and Oboe-Musette may be found next by following these links.

Shaper-Tips for comparison: Oboe d'Amore, English Horn, and Baroque & Classical Oboes.

Those shaper-tips which are measured from the Wrap forwards are shown below boxed-in in grey. The Table falls into three sections: a few Historical tips of value, Numbered tips in order of Increasing Width, and lastly those listed alphabetically according to the Name of the original Oboist.

Understanding the Oboe Reed