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 New to Oboe
Author: JonfromRW 
Date:   2021-10-28 18:38

Hi, Lifelong musician here- brand new to oboe/double reeds but always wanted to play double reeds. Recently borrowed a student oboe and beginners book. Made pretty good beginners progress (considering the limited time available...), but ran into a quick dead end with the lower register (below F#) and especially the forked F fingering which I can't get to sound at all about 95% of the time. With the octave key pressed it's fine. Is this a usual problem? Any suggestions?

Also, I'm looking to replace the reed as part of troubleshooting. Any thoughts on Lakota reeds? Any others you'd recommend for a beginner? I imagine I should stick with medium soft until the embouchure strengthens?


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 Re: New to Oboe
Author: Hotboy 
Date:   2021-10-28 21:59

The symptom you are describing makes me think that the oboe itself is out of adjustment and a vent key is leaking, which can screw up the low register. Best to take it to a qualified oboe repair tech for adjustment/repair.

I don't know anything about Lakota reeds, but medium soft strength is a good place to start, even though different reed makers' ideas about what constitutes "medium soft" can vary.

If you want to improve your endurance and ability to handle heavier (and better sounding) reeds, you must play until your mouth/cheek muscles are completely fatigued every time you practice. Over time, your embouchure will strengthen and allow you to play longer time and better reeds.

After you work on your own for 3 or 4 months, I recommend that you invest in a few lessons with an oboe teacher to correct your poor embouchure, incorrect hand position, ineffective tonguing, and bad support. :-)

Bay Area, California

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 Re: New to Oboe
Author: EaubeauHorn 
Date:   2021-11-03 20:10

Those who respond are generally going to tell you to access a good teacher because the whole "reed and instrument thing" is just something that non-oboe players won't get for a while. I too a was degreed classical violinist, competent brass player, and I a) got a good teacher right away, b) was really glad that I got on a pro level instrument pretty quickly after discovering the drawbacks of a crummy one, and c) found that store bought reeds are pretty useless, and d) found that even online-bought-pro-made reeds are just never going to work without being adjusted. From my POV the oboe itself, given it is a good one, is not impossible to play reasonably well (e.g., in tune over the whole range) with a modicum of correct instruction *and*a*good*reed*, but the finagling with reeds is a significant drawback, one that I have not been able to conquer myself.

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