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 New oboe, some random questions/issues
Author: JohnDill 
Date:   2017-04-23 22:51

I am considering upgrading from my old B series Loree to a new instrument. I got a few instruments on trial, a couple of Lorees, a Howarth, a Rigoutat, a Marigaux, and a rosewood Patricola. I've had the chance over the past week to play with all of them and play with them in the ensembles I play in to see how it blends/projects.

I'd be willing to send someone a gift/beer money if they can help me out and save me a trip to the repair shop - there are no oboe specialists around here and I would have to ship it across the country.

The Patricola has been my favorite - but it is not perfect. The oboe came with a lot of adjustment issues that I was able to fix - but there's still a few problems/questions that remain.

One of the biggest issues I still face is that the low D is difficult to play, and the middle D is stuffy. Beginning of Le Tombeau is impossible to play with the low D. The notes below it - the low Db, B and Bb are fine. The Eb plays fine too. And the low E speaks cleanly with the lightest touch. But the second I put down the low D, it does not speak well.

Some potential issues that I noticed - the F# tonehole (key between R1 and R2) is made from a white leather(i think) pad instead of a cork pad. The Eb pad, the low C pad and everything below that are also leather. So maybe that's messing with my adjustment? Do leather pads have more drag on a feeler than a cork pad?

The perforated cork between the 2 parts of the split D ring mechanism is also too thick. The upper ring was clearly much higher than the inner ring. I took a razor blade, cut down the height of the cork and sanded it. The two rings are now flush with each other but the low D issue persists.

Another issue that I haven't figured out is the 3rd octave key. When I play high E + 3rd octave, it jumps to high F. I do realize that the 3rd octave key makes notes slightly sharper, but on the other oboes, it makes it sharper by maybe 3-4 cents but this one is completely different. I'm also aware that the 3rd octave key should open just the tiniest bit but it still does not work. I have tried adjusting it so that it opens to different key heights but the issue persists.

I attached some pictures of the lower joint of the oboe, it has some extra adjusting screws that I'm not used to seeing - like the adjusting screw on the Eb pad. On the side view of the keys, you can see the different cork/leather pads being used.

There's something loose too next to the banana key. I think I saw someone call it a "horseshoe" that keeps the long rod from bending. I circled it in the red on the "Middle joint" picture. It moves side to side on the rod and screwing the post tighter doesn't help. What is the purpose of this key and does it really matter?

Also just a random question, is the hole on the R1 key supposed to be open? It seems to be filled with some kind of material to plug it. On some oboes like the Royal or the XL, it doesn't have the hole there.

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 Re: New oboe, some random questions/issues
Author: JohnDill 
Date:   2017-04-23 23:08
Attachment:  Middle joint.jpg (1842k)
Attachment:  Middle joint lower.jpg (1830k)
Attachment:  Sideview.jpg (1762k)


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 Re: New oboe, some random questions/issues
Author: oboeyogi 
Date:   2017-04-24 14:06

Hi John
I had a Patricola S5 some years back. I did fine the key work was very easy to play ergonomically and of all the oboes I have played Patricola C Banana key is the only that works it's close your fingers and sits at a nice height. plus the G Key hole is offset which fitted my hands.

Your D problem could be the C Pad is not lifting to adjust it try to loosen the screw above the C # pad ( Just in where the low arrow is pointing on your side view photo). Or link screw linking the D Key outer ring to the pad of the F# tone hole could be out but I don't think so as the D should seal on the inner ring anyway.

The E flat pad screw adjusts the play in the Left E flat key and opening pad height.

The Horseshoe is just a brace and does not matter.

I know my S5 did not have hole on the R1 but on the L1 mine did have a small plastic tube with a hole in it that you could have in or out depending on your tunning on the effected notes.

3rd Octave key I never need it anyway.

I hope this helps.


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 Re: New oboe, some random questions/issues
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2017-04-24 15:48

The forked F vent is the most common problem with oboes if it isn't set up correctly as it often gets overlooked as it is fully closed when no RH fingers are held down. But as soon as you close RH3, that will release the F vent so it can open and it should then be closed by RH2.

So to check it, hold down RH3 to release it and then close RH2 to check if it's closing (using a feeler gauge to check the F vent pad) and adjust it so both RH2 and the F vent are closing together. Chances are it might not be closing fully and that will impair the notes from D downwards.


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 Re: New oboe, some random questions/issues
Author: JohnDill 
Date:   2017-04-24 20:14

Nicholas, indeed I noticed that as well. I thought the oboe wasn't lining up right until I noticed the G key was slightly offset, the banana key is curved in more and closer to the D key so it definitely becomes a lot more practical to use.

Chris, thank you for your suggestion. I forgot to mention something about the forked F resonance vent too, it's a bit quirky. From what I understand, the forked F pad should not depress very hard, only just enough to feel that it is dragging the feeler gauge securely.

When the forked F vent goes down to play low D, I can still tap the key with my finger and it will go down a little bit more. But if I test it with a feeler, the grip is pretty strong. I also tried playing low D and used my pinky to hold down the forked F vent, the low D is still a bit stuffy.

Some of the bumper pads looked a bit too thick, I sliced them down a little bit and the issue seems to have improved.

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 Re: New oboe, some random questions/issues
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2017-04-24 23:41

You have to adjust the forked F vent to close along with RH2 while RH3 is being held closed.

Closing RH3 frees the F vent, but RH2 then closes it when both RH fingers 2 and 3 are held down together so you can get the notes from D and lower to speak easily.

The 'hole' in RH1 is paint - the middle of the fingerplate has a hollow in it and they're usually filled in with black paint purely as decoration. Loree and older Rigoutat and Yamaha oboes have this too (and aren't the only ones). It's just to make all the fingerplates look the same.


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 Re: New oboe, some random questions/issues
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2017-04-24 23:50

The extra adjusting screw on the Eb pad cup (just below the pad cup) is to finely adjust the amount of free pay between the RH Eb key and the pad cup instead of having to sand the cork down. Howarth XL, XM and LXV oboes have that too.

The split RH3 fingerplate SHOULD have the outer ring higher than the inner ring to make sure the F# pad closes - just as any ring key on a clarinet or other instrument has the ring keys marginally higher than the tonehole chimneys to ensure the pad closes.

This oboe also has a low B-C link so you can play low B or Bb without having to hold the low C key closed. It will impair some upper register or altissimo notes if you use the low B key on its own to resonate or improve response if them.


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 Re: New oboe, some random questions/issues
Author: JohnDill 
Date:   2017-04-25 01:43

Thanks! I didn't know the B-C linkage was there before and have never played on an oboe with one. I took a closer look at the mechanism and it was "disabled" as the screw had been backed all the way out but I turned it back in and now it works great - that's pretty neat!

Anything particular uses for this linkage, specific passages? I can think of just one example - if I'm slurring/trilling from low Eb to B/Bb.

After some messing around with the adjustment, the low D issue is finally solved. It's not perfect but the beginning of Tombeau is much more doable now.

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 Re: New oboe, some random questions/issues
Author: EaubeauHorn 
Date:   2017-05-29 01:52

This is a serious question. Why would you not contact the dealer who sent you the instrument with adjustment problems this bad? They should send it to you in completely playable condition, not in a condition where you have to do serious messing with it in order just to get it to play. ???

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 Re: New oboe, some random questions/issues
Author: SarahC 
Date:   2017-05-29 04:12

No mention of third octave key?

If it releases too high (I think) the notes are sharp, and vice versa the other way.

I had to open mine a little more yesterday because all the notes were too flat up there.. A whole quarter tone.

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