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Tube Cane Guide
December 19th, 2012 by Jeff
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.
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.
Var Select: 10-10.5 &10.5-11
Var Select cane is a medium-hard to hard cane which we are currently stocking for a limited time only. Var select cane has a paler color, a dull texture and can be somewhat tricky to work with, but if you seek a harder cane you may consider giving it a try. While the consistency between batches varies, in general it is a medium-walled cane with tight vascular bundles which should probably have a finished gouge slightly thinner to help facilitate vibrancy. The resulting reeds are reflective of the various batches of cane; mainly the longevity and the overall resulting sound. Harder, more brittle pieces of Var result in reeds with a much more focused sound that can be ‘bright’ whereas the softer pieces of Var will be less focused and less stable. The yield of usable, processed pieces will vary as well per quarter pound of cane. Overall this cane borders on the hard side. Recommended for all climates and elevations.
Rieger: 10-10.5 & 10.5-11
Rieger cane has become increasingly more popular in the past few months but be aware that we keep a smaller quantity of this cane in stock. This cane is a medium-hard to hard cane, golden in color, thick-walled with some marbling. The batches of Rieger cane are generally very consistent, with very straight tubes, and will have a higher yield of useable processed pieces. The finished gouge could possibly be adjusted to finish slightly on the thinner side to help facilitate vibrancy in reeds. Rieger generally requires a little more work to get reeds vibrating but the resulting longevity of the reeds is certainly increased. Reeds on Rieger cane are very focused, sit up in pitch, but the cane be somewhat stodgy at first. If you tend to favor the harder canes we would highly suggest giving Rieger a try. Recommended for all climates and elevations though this cane seems to be selling best on the west coast.
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.
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!