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 cracking instruments
Author: Jaysne (---.hsd1.ma.comcast.net - (Comcast Cable) South Deerfield, MA United States)
Date:   2010-11-16 03:10

I've never had a wood instrument crack on me, but I just finished a three-weekend run of a show in a very cold pit and I was concerned for my oboe and clarinet. Luckily, the weather warmed up and nothing happened.

Anyway, I'd like to hear stories of how you went through a cracking episode. Where did it happen? What was going on the moment it happened? What was it like? Did you know at the moment? How bad? And what did you do in the immediate aftermath?

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 Re: cracking instruments
Author: MDW (---.dhcp.mdsn.wi.charter.com - (Charter Communications) Beloit, WI United States)
Date:   2010-12-14 19:38

It's not so much the cold which causes cracking it's the lack of humidity & the combination of moist inner bore with dry outer bore.

Here's an article with details by the late Edmund Nielsen:
http://www.nielsen-woodwinds.com/t-41.aspx

Of course, it's a good idea to warm up the instrument if at all possible so as not to provoke excessive condensation inside the bore, causing water to clog the tone holes.

Best,
Miriam

Music is well said to be the speech of angels.

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 Re: cracking instruments
Author: MDW (---.dhcp.mdsn.wi.charter.com - (Charter Communications) Beloit, WI United States)
Date:   2010-12-14 19:38

It's not so much the cold which causes cracking it's the lack of humidity & the combination of moist inner bore with dry outer bore.

Here's an article with details by the late Edmund Nielsen:
http://www.nielsen-woodwinds.com/t-41.aspx

Of course, it's a good idea to warm up the instrument if at all possible so as not to provoke excessive condensation inside the bore, causing water to clog the tone holes.

Best,
Miriam

Music is well said to be the speech of angels.

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 Re: cracking instruments
Author: oboesax (---.proxy.aol.com - (America Online) , (null) United States)
Date:   2010-12-14 20:07

Do any of you ever use good plastic oboes in the pit when the pit is very cold or it's winter, in order to avoid the possiblity of cracking, even when you own an oboe such as a Loree?

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 Re: cracking instruments
Author: Jaysne (---.hsd1.ma.comcast.net - (Comcast Cable) Sunderland, MA United States)
Date:   2010-12-16 00:13

I know some oboe players do break out their plastic horns for cold pits or for cold outside work. Some will also just use a plastic upper joint.

I played in a very cold pit last month and bought one of those "Cozies" socks that you cover the horn with to keep it from getting cold when you're not playing it. It worked well.

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 Re: cracking instruments
Author: oboeidaho (---.progress.wi-fi.windwireless.net - (Northwest Nexus) Greenacres, WA United States)
Date:   2010-12-16 17:02

I would definitely recommend a GOOD plastic oboe for the pit - but I do not own one myself. You have to put down a wad of cash (or do your own fixing) to get a decent one for less than 2K I would say. But if you are not a regular oboist, the plastic/greenline type oboes are worth a look! I'd buy one just for peace of mind if I could afford it.

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 Re: cracking instruments
Author: oboesax (---.proxy.aol.com - (America Online) , (null) United States)
Date:   2011-02-13 16:59

My daughter's new Loree oboe cracked last week. I keep the house quite humidified and she has a humidifier (sponge) in her case. The oboe was about 6 weeks old when it cracked. She was careful to build up the playing on it slowly as she was instructed. She didn't notice exactly when it happened, but believes it might have happened during All-Districts band (a 3-day event). It cracked from between the D# and C# trill keys to the first two tone holes. It's not a deep crack, and hopefully it will be fixed by adhesive and she'll get it back soon. She performed in a pit orchestra over the past few weeks, but always used her her older Fossati oboe there.

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 Re: cracking instruments
Author: Joseph Tomasso (---.ga.at.cox.net - (Cox Communications) Gainesville, FL United States)
Date:   2011-11-26 15:14

None of my current instruments have cracked. I'm either lucky, or florida is helping :) I'll suggest it is a mix of both.

I due keep a humidifier pack in all of my cases (2 in the double cases).

A crack isn't necessarily the end of the world if you catch it right away. I used a loree in my masters that had cracked through the C#/D# trills (which i think is the most common oboe crack?) and the instrument was really quite nice. In fact, my first oboe teacher even told me if an instrument cracks it can be a good thing as it releases the tension in the wood (if there is any). I had only used it after the crack, so I can't say for sure, but i'm assuming it was the same before and after.

If you catch the crack right away (check every week at least) it is juts a matter of some sawdust/super glue and you're on your way. Metal binding rings and pins (unless it is very serious) seem to be a thing of the past.

I use a Fox 330 when i'm really worried about the environment, but my Marigaux oboe and Loree english horn have both been playing outside and in cold pits. Take the time to warm up slowly and there is much less to worry about.


For what its worth, owning 4 wood clarinets, oboe/ehorn, bassoon, and baroque recorders, i expect it will happen at some point.

Make sure you have musical instrument insurance just in case it is catostrophic!

Bachelor of Music, Sax/Clarinet Performance (2005, 06)
Master of Music, Multiple Woodwind Performance (2008)
Master of Music, Oboe Performance (2013)
Gainesville Chamber Orchestra (Clarinet)
University of Florida 2010-2011(Visiting Lecturer in Woodwi

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