Oboe reeds are made from a plant — not bamboo — but a type of hollow cane called Arundo Donax. Arundo Donax can grow from 20-30 feet high and reeds are made from the part of the plant that measures 10-11 mm in diameter — referred to as tube cane.
Most American oboists use cane grown in France but we are beginning to see cane for making oboe reeds coming from Argentina and China too. Cane is also used for making clarinet, saxophone, bassoon and bagpipe reeds.
Arundo Donax is not native to the USA but it grows as an invasive and destructive plant throughout the southern part of the country. It grows very quickly and can produce up to 25 tons per acre. This cane, growing as a weed in the U.S., does not have the qualities needed to make good oboe reeds.
Handmade oboe reeds require a lot of work: Split the tubes. Gouge the cane to the correct thickness. Shape the cane to the correct dimensions. Tie the cane to an oboe staple with special nylon thread. Scrape the cane with a sharp reed knife. Test and Play.
Fun Facts are compliments of SinginDog.com