Tube Cane Guide

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Tube Cane Guide

The foundation of any great reed is the quality of its parts, most importantly the cane used.  One of the most frequently asked questions the oboe staff gets at MMI is ‘What kind of tube cane is really good right now?’  While every oboist looks for different characteristics in their cane, this guide will serve as a breakdown for the general qualities our cane displays.  Keep in mind that different batches of cane will behave differently though there are some consistencies in brands that we see from batch to batch as we sort the cane.  As always, we do not recommend buying large quantities of cane you’ve never worked with before as tube cane is non-returnable.  Start with a quarter pound to determine if the cane will suit your needs.  If you like what you get you can always order more!  If you have any further questions regarding tube cane batches, you can always contact Jeff or Steven at 800.926.5587 for further information and insights!

Glotin:  10-10.5 & 10.5-11

In general, Glotin cane tends to be a medium-soft cane, has a paler color, and generally requires a slightly thicker finishing gouge.  Glotin has an overall silky texture but can vary in consistency from piece to piece.  Some tubes yield some harder pieces while others are much softer and stringy.  This cane is thick-walled overall with tight vascular bundles which is very appealing, but it is recommended that the finishing gouge be slightly thicker as each scrape will take significantly more cane off.  The finished reeds on Glotin cane have a focused, rich sound, but because it borders on softer cane the longevity of the reeds are decreased.  This particular cane is increasingly more popular in climates with slightly more humidity.

 

Rigotti: 9.5-10, 10-10.5, & 10.5-11

Rigotti is considered to be the ‘work-horse’ of the cane world.  It is certainly one of the most consistent canes we stock and is extremely popular, which also means we are frequently out of stock of the 10-10.5 diameter.  The color is generally golden with medium walls and moderate vascular bundles and has a fairly even scrape.  The texture of the cane can vary from batch to batch but it is quite easy to work with.  When prepping and gouging Rigotti, the finished measurements can be whatever is most comfortable for you and your setup; it is not necessary to adjust the finished gouge.  Finished reeds are focused with a full sound and the reeds have a nice life-span.  A good all-around cane, Rigotti will generally have a higher yield of processed pieces per quarter pound.  Recommended for all climates and elevations.

 

Medir: 9.5-10, 10-10.5, 10.5-11

Medir is the newest addition to our tube cane selection and has become increasingly popular! While most cane is grown and harvested in the Var region of France, Medir comes from the Catalonia region of Spain.  This cane is a great medium strength cane with a darker golden color and some marbling in coloration.  The cane is medium-walled with moderate vascular bundles.  Overall a very consistent cane, the tubes are very straight and yield a high number of processed pieces per quarter pound.  Being that it is a medium cane, the finishing gouge does not necessarily need to be adjusted and the scrape and finish are very even as well.  Reeds finished on Medir cane have a focused, rich sound but are not quite as vibrant as Rigotti or Glotin.  A very popular choice for climates that have a higher humidity.

 

Loree: 9.5-10, 10-10.5, & 10.5-11

Loree is by far our most popular selling and most consistent cane and is a staple of our tube cane selections.  We would qualify this cane as a medium hard cane with a rich, golden color, light marbling, and smooth texture.  This is a very consistent cane in terms of processing and has a high yield for usable, processed pieces.  Loree cane tends to produce a very stable reed, with a full focused sound and a somewhat increased life span from being harder cane.  The finished gouge could be adjusted slightly to finish thinner in the center to facilitate vibrancy.  Loree cane can vary from batch to batch slightly in consistency of scrape but overall it is very even and easy to work with.  Loree has been very popular across the country but most specifically on the East coast.  Recommended for all climates and elevations.

Danzi: 9.5-10, 10-10.5, & 10.5-11

Danzi cane is a new addition to our inventory of tube cane selection.  Grown in the northern region of Italy, Danzi cane has long been a favorite of the bassoon world.  This cane is generally going to be a hard cane  with a dark golden color, smooth and even texture, some marbling in color.  A very straight cane with very thick walls, dense vascular bundles, and dense in weight with a high yield per quarter pound.  Danzi, being harder, would benefit from a slightly thinner gouge to help facilitate vibrancy in the scrape. Finished reeds will have increased longevity.  Recommended for all climates and elevations.

Marion: 9.5-10, 10-10.5, & 10.5-11

Marion is our newest addition to our tube cane selection.  Grown in the Grimaud region of France, this cane has a beautiful dark golden color, smooth texture, with some marbling.  We would qualify this cane as a medium-hard to hard cane with very thick walls, tight vascular bundles, and also very dense in weight.  The tubes are generally very straight and will have a higher yield per quarter pound.  Because this cane is rather dense there are less tubes per quarter pound than other brands.  The gouge on the Marion could be slightly adjusted towards thinner to help facilitate vibrancy.  Finished reeds have a warm, rich sound and are very focused.  Recommended for all climates and elevations.

Pisoni: 9.5-10, 10-10.5, & 10.5-11

Pisoni cane is also one of our most consistent canes and also one of the most popular sellers as well.  This cane generally is qualified as a medium-hard to hard cane with a golden color, smooth and even texture, and some marbling.  Pisoni does generally tend to have a higher yield of processed pieces.  The tubes are also generally straight.  The cane borders on the harder side and the finished gouge may be adjusted to be slightly thinner to help facilitate vibrancy.  Finished reeds will commonly have a decent life span and have a very focused sound but can sometimes border on ‘bright’, depending on the scrape.  Batches of Pisoni are generally very consistent, very straight, with tight vascular bundles.  Recommended for all climates and elevations.

 

Alliaud: 10-10.5 & 10.5-11

Certainly one of our most popular and hardest canes, Alliaud is another staple of our tube cane selections.  Alliaud has a darker golden color, tight vascular bundles, very thick walls, some marbling and an even scrape.  Being the hardest of our canes, Alliaud does require more work to get the reeds vibrating, but the resulting reeds have a much increased lifespan and are very focused and stable.  The batches of Alliaud are usually very consistent and we find very little change between harvest dates.  The yield of useable processed pieces is slightly less for Alliaud then other brands of cane as some tubes can tend to be somewhat twisty and therefore decreases gougable pieces per quarter pound.  If you like smaller diameter cane, ordering 10-10.5 is your best bet as Alliaud does tend to be on the smaller side of the diameter ranges.  10.5-11 diameter Alliaud is probably more suitable for those who favor cane in the 10.25-10.5 range.  Recommended for all climates and elevations.

Lucerne: 9.5-10, 10-10.5, & 10.5-11

A new addition to our tube cane selection, Lucerne cane comes to us from central Europe and we consider this to be a medium soft – medium cane.  It has a lighter color, some pieces are more dense than others so there is some variation.  It gouges quite nicely and there is generally a high yield of usable pieces per quarter pound.  The reeds produced with Lucerne cane are light and vibrant and scape very evenly.  Being that this cane is a medium soft-medium cane  you can gouge on your standard set up and receive fairly consistent results.  Recommended for all climates and elevations.

We are certainly proud to offer a wide variety of tube cane options for oboists to choose from.  We work very hard to acquire only the finest products but please keep in mind that cane is a plant, and there are some things (like weather and other growing conditions!) that are out of our control.  We’re hoping this guide will at least give you an idea of what to expect with our tube cane brands and remember, you can always call Jeff or Steven to get further insight on cane.  We’re always here to help you with whatever cane questions or concerns you may have! Visit our store to shop our tube cane.

9 Comments »

  1. I haven’t played oboe in years, but we have a shortage of reeds in our area, so I’m interested in learning to make them. What cane would you recommend to get started? Also, can you recommend a good kit that will include everything I need to “practice” this new craft?
    Thanks so much!

    Comment by Myra Vaughn — January 29, 2014 @ 9:27 am
  2. Myra,
    We’ll have one of our oboe specialists contact you directly with suggestions. Thanks for visiting!

    Comment by Trent — February 3, 2014 @ 4:42 pm
  3. When do you expect 10.0-10.5 diameter Pisoni and Loree oboe tube cane will be back in stock?

    Comment by Cindy White — May 22, 2014 @ 3:46 pm
  4. We’ll send you an email directly (since this is time sensitive)

    Comment by Trent — May 27, 2014 @ 2:03 pm
  5. How can I tell the difference between oboe cane and oboe d’amore cane?
    Thanks!
    John

    Comment by John Ayala — November 3, 2014 @ 12:28 pm
  6. Hello John –

    Typically if you’re looking at tube cane specifically, the only difference will be the diameter. Traditionally oboe d’amore tube cane is sold in the 11-11.5 diameter. Gouged and gouged & shaped cane is usually clearly labeled as oboe d’amore cane.

    Comment by Jeff — November 5, 2014 @ 3:18 pm
  7. So far so good with the Rigotti tube cane. Nice straight tubes (able to get 6 pieces of gouge-able cane out of some tubes!); very easy to work with. I can turn out reeds fairly quickly and have gotten a few that would work in a performance, not the rich, very complex sounding ones that I can get from Vandoren cane (and I doubt that they will last as long); however, Vandoren cane is not a ‘high production” cane, is very hard and takes time to produce a finished reed. Need to produce some decent reeds in a hurry? This is the cane to use.

    Comment by Henry Tervo — December 30, 2014 @ 3:40 pm
  8. Hi Jeff:
    Question regarding center gouge on your very hard/hard oboe and English horn cane (your cane article referenced that hard cane should typically be gouged thinner). What is
    the average center cane gouge for both. I use a Gilbert 1 shaper for oboe and Gilbert
    1eh shaper for English horn and my scrape style is American, the typical diameter
    cane I use is 10.50mm to 10.75mm oboe and 12.00-12.50mm English horn also use 11.00-11.50 for oboe d’amore and use the Tom Stacy d’amore shape for that instrument.
    Thank you … Jean

    Comment by D. Jean Welander — December 10, 2015 @ 10:18 am
  9. Hi Jean –

    The center gouge can be tricky waters to navigate. In general, we’ve always been taught that for oboe the center gouge should be approximately 60mm in the center and 45 mm on the sides. I always find that with hard cane, to compensate for the cane being hard, gouging to around 58mm in the center will help balance the difference between the gouge and the hardness of cane. If you leave a particularly harder cane gouged at 60 in the center, it typically means that you’ll have to work a little hard and remove cane before the reed will start to vibrate. Depending on you approach scraping, the more cane you remove earlier in the process the less room you have to work when you’re finishing the cane. For example, I do not even scrape in the back of the reed until it is playing up to pitch and has a C crow or slightly sharp. For hard cane, to get my reeds to vibrate I find myself having to take more cane out further back to get the vibrations I want which means by the time I put the back in the reed, more often than not its going to be flat. Thus, having a thinner center gouge will allow you to remove less cane to introduce vibrations. For English horn, I generally tend to go with a center gouge of 69-71mm. I tend to have better results with my english horn reeds when I gouge a little heavier as you generally take more out of the heart in EH reeds and leave the tip heavier and less refine thanoboe reeds. For D’amore, I just use gouged oboe cane at 60mm and rarely have any issues.
    Hope this helps!
    Best,
    Jeff

    Comment by Jeff — December 10, 2015 @ 1:11 pm

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