Why buy a Westwind shaper tip?
Finding the perfect shaper tip is an essential step in your pursuit of the perfect reed, but it usually means a lot of trial and error because it’s a highly personal decision. What model of Oboe or English Horn do you play? What type of sound are you trying to make? What’s your reed technique? What’s your embouchure like? Choosing the perfect shaper tip for your reed making efforts will be influenced by all of these factors.
Unfortunately, shaper tips made using traditional machining techniques make the search harder than it needs to be. Because traditional methods have difficulty holding precise measurements to the hundredths of a millimeter, two identically-named shaper tips may not be identical at all. That means if you sample a teacher’s or a friend’s tip before buying, you’re likely to be disappointed when your new shaper tip arrives and it just isn’t the same as theirs. And even when you find the right one, you may have difficulty replacing it if it breaks.
Westwind makes it easier to find—and keep—your perfect shaper tip. We offer a range of proven shapes that are precision reproductions of classic shapes, as well as specific replicas of shaper tips used by renowned Oboists, English Horn players, and teachers in the industry. Westwind shaper tips are better than the originals too, because they’re manufactured using the finest modern machining techniques including highly accurate, computer-driven production methods. In short, Westwind offers the best shapes made better.
Back to top
Choose from a variety of proven shapes
To shorten your search, Westwind offers a wide range of classic and contemporary shaper tips. It’s quite likely that one of them will prove to be the perfect tip for you. The classic series are reproductions of popular tips that are no longer available from the original makers such as the Brannen X Oboe shaper tip. The contemporary series includes shapes used by the legends of the industry such as Oboists John Mack, John de Lancie, and many more. In fact, de Lancie’s tip was given to him by Marcel Tabuteau. According to de Lancie, Tabuteau later asked to "borrow it back", but he respectfully refused!
Back to top
Find your perfect shaper tip in less time
Because of our highly accurate production techniques, Westwind shaper tips offer unsurpassed consistency. Each shaper tip carrying a specific model name—RDG-Mack or Brannen X, for instance—is virtually identical. That means you can try a teacher’s or a friend’s tip with confidence. If it’s the right tip for you, you can get one exactly like it. You can also take advantage of our 30-day trial program. Simply buy any tip in our catalog. If it isn’t the right one for you, just return it within 30 days and we’ll refund your purchase price…or send you a different model to try if that’s your preference.
Check out our shaper tip comparison charts too. Unlike most comparison charts that give you a mind-numbing list of measurements that rarely help you make meaningful choices; our charts take a different approach. While measurements are shown in the tenths of a millimeter to protect proprietary information, the sorting function shows their real ranking based on detailed measurements in the thousandths of a millimeter. The measurement points are different too, with a focus on the three critical widths: belly, throat, and tip.
Back to top
Depend on your shaper tip for years to come
Once you’ve found your perfect shaper tip, you’ll be glad to know that the Westwind manufacturing process delivers superior durability as well. That means the ears of your tip are less likely to break than others, and if they ever do, just return your damaged tip and we’ll replace it…no questions asked.
Back to top
Copy your favorite shaper tip for students
Perhaps you’ve already found your perfect tip and you’d like to share it with others. Maybe you had a perfect tip once, but the ears broke off, or it’s now too worn to be useful. Or just maybe…you’d like to create your own custom tip. Whatever your goal is, give us a call. Westwind produces custom shaper tips about twice a year and we would love to discuss your project.
Back to top
Learn the details
"I have an old hand-made
shaper tip that I have used for
years and wanted to copy.
Bob's shaper tips and copying
techniques came highly
recommended by several
people that I talked to. When
I talked to Bob, I could tell
right away that he had a great
deal of experience and attention
to detail in the art and science
of copying a shaper tip. I sent
my shaper tip to him for
measuring and got it back
fairly quickly. Throughout the
process of reproduction, he
kept me involved and up to
date. I recently received
several copies of the finished
product and I am very
impressed with what a nice
shaper tip he makes. It shapes
consistently and more easily
than the original and yes, each
copy is faithful to the original!"
Dallas Symphony Orchestra,
Co-developer of the
Minsker-Lickman shaper tip
"Ever since our meeting in New
York many years ago, I have
continued to be impressed by
Bob Hubbard's commitment to
precisely engineered shaper tips
that are virtually indestructible.
I especially like the way the ears flow smoothly into the body of
the shaper, enabling greater
ease of use and a more
Former Principal Oboe
New York Philharmonic;
Distinguished Visiting Professor
of Oboe, Lynn University
"I'm always happy to tell people
about Westwind Double Reed,
and Bob Hubbard's work. I use
the Hubbard Z and Giacobassi
tips and I can always count on
them. Knowing that at least one
variable in this crazy craft is
constant, is a comfort to me.
And yes, I manage to make
reeds that work, even if I'm
not the queen of reed making!
Thanks, Bob, for your fine work.
You definitely know how to
make this oboist happy!"
Principal Oboe, Opera San José
Oboe & English Horn,
Symphony Silicon Valley;
Lecturer, UC Santa Cruz
Author of oboeinsight.com
More testimonials >>>
||Westwind shaper tips are manufactured with state of the art computer-controlled machinery, resulting in the most precise possible dimensional control. Measurements of all the original shaper tips were made on an extremely precise, computer-driven gaging system accurate to the thousandths of a millimeter (1 micron). Production of the replica tips is accurate to the thousandths of a millimeter. Since noticeable differences are measured in the hundredths of a millimeter, you can try or buy any one of our tips with the full confidence that you can get another one just like it when you need it.
||All Westwind shaper tips are made from tool steel that is specifically formulated for wear and abrasion resistance, and then hardened to RC 60-61. Although using very hard tool steel typically means excessive brittleness, Westwind shaper tips receive a proprietary treatment that dramatically reduces the brittleness in the ears without affecting the high hardness throughout the body. In addition, all Westwind shaper tips are shipped with a distinctive black oxide coating, which reduces the tendency to rust in humid climates. Although the black coating will eventually wear off the profile edge, this doesn’t affect the shape underneath, since the coating is softer than the tool steel and is only .000050 inches thick (50 millionths, or one half of one 10,000th of an inch!)
||During the design phase for each shaper tip, we made sure that every point across the shape was perfectly symmetrical across the centerline in order to reduce the risk of leakage on one side of the reed. This technique was applied to all tips, including the replicas of specific tips in the contemporary series. The final versions of these replicas were each approved by the players whose names they bear.
|The Westwind Classic Series of shaper tips includes the Brannen X and Pfeiffer/Mack Oboe shaper tips, as well as the Brannen English Horn shaper tip. To ensure a faithful reproduction, we measured multiple copies of each type of tip—between 6 and 14 of each—all graciously loaned to us by dozens of professional oboists. Since the old manufacturing techniques yielded glaring inconsistencies, we subjected these measurements to statistical analysis, throwing away the extremes and averaging the middle dimensions. In this way, we feel we’ve come as close as possible to the original makers’ intentions.
|The contemporary series offers newer tip designs that have been developed to reflect the differing needs of today's performers and instruments. Each tip in this collection was the result of direct collaboration with a respected Oboist or English Horn player. We worked, for instance, with John de Lancie, Bert Lucarelli, Joe Robinson, Bill Banovetz, Robert Sorton, David Matthews and Stephen Lickman, as well as Julie Giacobassi to make replicas of their favorite tips. And we worked closely too, with Bob Gilbert at RDG Inc. and John Mack, who wanted new tips made to exacting specifications. All tips are included in our catalog with the permission of each player.