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 Water Problems
Author: hautboy 
Date:   2010-03-09 17:58

Lately I've been having a huge problem with water accumulating in my trill keys above the B key. I also have some problems with water in the octave key on the front of the oboe. I constantly swab my oboe and use cigarette paper to soak up the water and I put cigarette paper under the keys when I put my oboe away. Between all of the rehearsals and the fact that I went from a cold warm up room to a hot stage, the amount of water I had in my keys was ridiculous even though I warmed up the instrument and played on the stage rather than the cold warm up room. After thoroughly cleaning out the instrument, I had major water again after 10 minutes of playing and my octave G (and some other notes) didn't play due to water and I couldn't get rid of it as I was in the middle of playing. Some of these notes were solo and it sounded terrible. I even tried blowing into the holes, but I couldn't get rid of the water. The next day I had the same concert at a different place and I had no water problems at all. The stage and warm up room was much drier and at a warm, not hot temperature. What can be done about all of the water I get? I'm always cleaning out my oboe and using cigarette paper, but I still get a lot of water at this particular building where I have rehearsals and concerts. Should I try using a feather instead of a swab? Why are my trill keys so water logged?



Post Edited (2010-03-09 20:22)

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 Re: Water Problems
Author: ohsuzan 
Date:   2010-03-09 18:50

Sure, try a feather. Have you removed your octave vents for cleaning lately? If not, that's where I'd start. You will need a special tool for this, but it is well worth having one. Once your octave vents get fouled, everything goes south.

Susan

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 Re: Water Problems
Author: johnt 
Date:   2010-03-09 19:05

You probably have dirt or an errant swab thread in one or both holes, which could be wicking water up the hole to the pad. Remove the rod holding the keys, spray the end of a pipe cleaner with either Woodwind-All (Forrests Music) or Favor (supermarket) & ream out the holes, being careful to not touch the backside of the bore with the end of the pipe cleaner. You might be surprised to see how much gunk comes out of the holes. Good idea to do this with the finger holes on the top tube as well & the octave holes. Get yourself an octave insert hole remover from a double reed supply outlet (prices vary so shop around), remove the octave inserts (one at a time!!!) & apply the same treatment to the hole. Soak the metal insert in isopropyl alcohol for a minute or so, then take an old tooth brush & scrub the inserts. Blow out the insert, re-soak for a second or two, wipe dry & spray the insert with the All or Favor. Oil the rods with either ATF or automotive gear oil (not too much). You'll be surprised at how much better the oboe plays after doing this. I go through this procedure each month to every six weeks or so. Moving parts must be attended to, as well as the spots which catch the condensation & concomitant gunk.

Good luck,

john

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 Re: Water Problems
Author: hautboy 
Date:   2010-03-09 19:05

I considered the octave vent and I will have it checked when I send my oboe out for repairs or perhaps find a place close enough for me to drive. I live in Western NY but I will be in Atlanta for 5 days in April. Anyhow, not sure what to do in the meantime.

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 Re: Water Problems
Author: hautboy 
Date:   2010-03-09 19:15

johnt I appreciate the suggestions, but I'm fearful of my oboe repairing abilities, though I feel as an oboist I really should be far more experienced in that area. I really couldn't afford to send my oboe out every month or even every two months, so I wonder if the local instrument repairman where I take my oboe for minor repairs would be competent enough to do this. He does a lot of repairs in the area, but he's not an oboist.

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 Re: Water Problems
Author: ohsuzan 
Date:   2010-03-09 20:03

hautboy,

Removing and cleaning the octave vents is a no-brainer. You need to learn how to do this. Try it BEFORE you invest a lot of money in sending the oboe out for repair. It may be the only thing that you have to do.

I also agree with the idea of cleaning out the top joint finger holes. Last Fall, I had a persistent problem that I couldn't figure out, and finally in desperation decided to bite the bullet, take all the keys off the top joint, and clean out the holes. HOLEY cow! The "A" hole was a crud pile! Who knew! And the oboe was healed. It's a miracle. And it doesn't cost anything except a spring hook, a screwdriver, and a bit of courage on your part. If you do this and have trouble getting it back together, that's when to go visit your local repairperson. But I'll bet you can do it.

Susan

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 Re: Water Problems
Author: hautboy 
Date:   2010-03-09 20:22

Oops, I meant the trill keys above the B key.

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 Re: Water Problems
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2010-03-09 22:30

The easiest remedy for water in any top joint toneholes is to take the top joint off (and take the reed out), block the tenon with one finger of your right hand and close the fingerplates with your LH fingers.

Blow into the reed socket and open the affected toneholes (one at a time) to blow the water out of them. You can nudge the trill keys with LH 2 and 3 to open them while LH 2 and 3 are still closing their respective fingerplates.

Then do the same thing but this time suck air into the instrument through the affected toneholes as you open them in turn. After you're done, run your pullthrough up the bore to dry it and wipe any water on the joint surface with a piece of absorbant paper (that doesn't tear easily - such as Bounty/Plenty kitchen towel) and blot the pads and tonehole bedplaces to dry them as well. You can use your cigarette paper to blot the pads with - but they only remove water they're in contact with and won't wick water from inside toneholes (especially 8ve vents).

When blotting the pads, let them close onto the paper that's placed between the pad and tonehole and close the pad onto the paper. Then open the key and take the paper out - DON'T drag the wet paper from under closed pads as it can tear (leaving bits of paper stuck to the pad or tonehole) and can also scuff the pad if it's fairly coarse paper.

Chris.

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 Re: Water Problems
Author: jhoyla 
Date:   2010-03-10 05:45

I'm sure this is not your problem, but it is definitely on topic.

Never, ever, ever hold your instrument with the pads facing down. Gravity always works, and if you are in the habit of tilting your instrument forward beyond the vertical, you will experience all of the problems you listed.
Be aware, always, of the orientation of the pads on each joint of your instrument!

If you adhere to this advice religiously, condensation will form a track down the lower face of the bore eventually dripping from the bell and your tone-holes and pads will stay mostly dry.

And the 40 second drying ritual:

remove top-joint
swab
seal, blow and flick all the keys
dab-dry with cigarette-paper as needed
seal, suck, flick octaves and other keys as needed
swab
reassemble

and you're ready to play.

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 Re: Water Problems
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2010-03-10 09:55

On conservatoire systems the Bb and C pads lie closed (on dual and thumbplate they're open standing), so to get water out of them you can either close RH1 to open both of them up and blow into the toneholes (try to do this quietly!), or while the top joint is seperate, press the upper end of the linkage bar (the 'con bar') on the right hand side of the joint to open them both and blow the water out.

While holding the linkage bar and joint firmly, you can always give the top joint a good shake to dislodge water - but do be sure you hold the joint firmly so it doesn't go flying across the room.

On conservatoire system oboes you can also place a small wooden wedge between the lower end of the con bar and joint surface to lift it up (but not forcing it) so the Bb and C pads remain open while it's in the case so air can circulate through all the main action toneholes (no need on dual/thumbplate oboes as the Bb and C pads remain open anyway).

Chris.

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 Re: Water Problems
Author: johnt 
Date:   2010-03-10 14:37

Susan is right. All this is a no-brainer. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. As they say on TV, just do it & you'll be glad you did.

Best,

john

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