Introducing Buffet Crampon!
Double reed Instruments such as the Oboe, Bassoon and English horns are members of the woodwind family, Unlike the clarinet and saxophone which use a single reed attached to a mouthpiece, the double reed family uses 2 reeds held together as the mouthpiece itself. The reeds are extremely fragile, thus a double reed player must take great care not to damage their reeds.
The 2 primary members of the double reed family are the oboe and the bassoon. Although the oboe resembles the clarinet in size and general shape it has a very unique sound due to the use of the double reed and a conical bore. The clarinet is mostly cylindrical. In fact the oboe has more in common with the saxophone than the clarinet. The English Horn is a less common member and is in essence a tenor oboe. It is pitched in the key of F and sounds a fifth lower than the oboe. It is considered to have a warmer tone than the oboe, but lacks some of the projection.
The Bassoon commonly provides the bass
The contra-bassoon is a full octave lower than the bassoon and is the lowest member of the woodwind family. Due to the size and cost of the instrument contra-bassoons are seldom seen or used. Most of them are owned by symphony orchestras or universities which keep them for situations when a contra-bassoon might be called for.
Because the reeds are very fragile and expensive (typically $15 or more for a single reed) many double reed players learn to make their own reeds. The cost of the raw cane or precut blanks is much more affordable than buying pre-made reeds also allows the player to modify the reeds to their personal taste.