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 best oboe to buy for a student
Author: bluejay555 
Date:   2017-07-07 03:41

I am researching oboes for my 12 yr old. She has a Yamaha student oboe and has progressed into needing a better instrument. I have been looking at the Fox 330, or maybe 300? Is used OK? I have no idea what exactly we need and am open to any opinions on this.

We began looking because she is interested in auditioning for a symphonic orchestra and we were told she would benefit from a more professional oboe. When attending music events, she seems to be the only student with no F key! We don't want to spend a fortune as she is only 12, yet are willing to invest a bit, since she is musically driven and sees herself choosing a career in it. Thank you for any advice!

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 Re: best oboe to buy for a student
Author: oboist2 
Date:   2017-07-07 05:59

I would suggest you look at a Howarth S20 oboe or a Bulgeroni student model. I know the Howarth has a third octave key as well as the LH F key that her current instrument is missing. The Fossati Tiery is worth a look too - very fine instrument. The thing is, you need to spend a bit of money to get a good instrument. The resale value is better, and a reasonable investment would take her right up to college probably before she may need to upgrade again. The left hand F is not absolutely essential - I hardly ever use it..but many do swear by it and it does make playing certain passages a little easier. Do seek advice of her oboe teacher, or a professional in your area as they may have a good second hand instrument. I am sure her teacher will have a fairly strong idea on what will be best for her, and has the advantage of knowing her, and her playing.

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 Re: best oboe to buy for a student
Author: tgenns 
Date:   2017-07-07 06:36

First, if she has a private oboe teacher, make sure to include them in the process. I would highly recommend that you do not by any used instrument without having an experienced oboe player / teacher try it. You can get a good used instrument for less money, but you need to be careful. Like used cars, they should be checked by an expert before purchasing. Also, even with a new instrument, it is a good idea to have an experienced oboe player / teacher play test if for you before you purchase it. Do not buy any instrument that does not have a trial period.

From what you said above, I think you should consider buying a high quality intermediate to advanced student level oboe. The price range for a new intermediate student oboe is $2500 - $4000 American currency. The price range for a new advanced student level oboe is $4000 - $6000 American currency.

For a plastic oboe, I recommend a Fox Renard 330 for an intermediate student oboe, and I recommend the Fox 300 for an advanced student oboe. For a wood oboe I recommend the Howarth S40C for an intermediate student oboe and the Howarth S50C for an advanced student / entry professional oboe.

The above intermediate oboes have all your essentials keys except for the split D key, which is used for the D#-E trill. The above advanced oboes have all of your essential keys. The left hand F key is essential IMO. I do not consider the third octave key as an essential key.

To simplify your decision, I recommend deciding on a price range and then whether you want wood or plastic. Try out a few and then buy the one you like the best.

Hope this helps.

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 Re: best oboe to buy for a student
Author: Wes 
Date:   2017-07-07 10:22

Amen to much of the above. However, I rarely use the left F key and have blocked off the third octave key on my oboe so it doesn't get used when I press the regular octave key. I like the sound of the forked F and find it easy to use.

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 Re: best oboe to buy for a student
Author: SarahC 
Date:   2017-07-07 10:23

My thoughts...

Resin all the way...

She is 12 after all

I am happy with my resin Armstrong ward instrument. Has. All the keys

Fox 300 has all the keys too. And that would probably be my first choice.. Except for the cost compared to the Armstrong ward one. The fox 330 is missing one trill key that I use. Although few pieces need it. I haven't played them, but they get great reviews. If I could have bought one with a return policy.. This is what I would have bought. But I didn't want to part with money until I tried it.

The new foxes have a third octave key, which the older ones didn't. So quite desirable to get new. Despite what others say... I love my third octave key!

Howarth s40 are really nice.. But not resin! Lol

Do you see I have a bit of a beef there!?!

I just love the reliability of resin. And recommend all my students buy resin instruments (piccolos and clarinets and recorders.. I dont teach oboe. .. Buy my experience is students break wooden instruments.. Even if they are careful)

New versus used...

Well if u buy used.. U need to be prepared that u may lose the money... I have had scores and losses with used. Always hard to predict. And I am a knowledgeable buyer... I have had some that were money losers over the years. Not oboes yet... But I have only bought two used oboes.

Good luck with it!

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 Re: best oboe to buy for a student
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2017-07-07 14:17

You can order the Howarth S40c with a partially lined top joint bore at an additional cost - maybe even with an entirely synthetic top joint if you order it specially:

http://www.howarth.uk.com/pic.aspx?pid=35121

Chris.

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 Re: best oboe to buy for a student
Author: tgenns 
Date:   2017-07-07 16:54

Some thoughts on plastic vs wood oboes:

Plastic oboe advantages:
No break-in period (three months)
Will never crack

Plastic oboe disadvantages:
Although the sound will be nice, it will lack the complexity in sound that you
would get in a wood oboe.
Resale value will not be as good as a wood oboe.

Wood oboe advantages:
Better sound -- more complexity in the sound

Wood oboe disadvantages:
Break-in period for three months to minimize cracking
Instrument should be warmed up by your hands / body before playing to
minimize cracking.
Cracks -- the majority of wood oboes crack, which needs to be repaired.
Once the horn is repaired, it will play fine, but this entails time, money, and
headaches!

For a student / amateur oboe, a plastic horn will be fine, and may be preferred for the much less fussing involved. Also, if you are doing a lot of outdoor playing, you should consider getting a plastic one.

For a professional oboe, you would want to get a wood oboe because of its better sound. There are some exceptions -- Loree makes a plastic oboe that sounds and plays as well as a wood one, but it costs more. I have not played on their newer ones, but it gets good reviews from experienced, knowledgable oboists.

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 Re: best oboe to buy for a student
Author: EaubeauHorn 
Date:   2017-07-07 18:14

I also would recommend resin if you can find one that both she and her teacher approve of. Of the resin ones I know of, the Fox 300 is what had been recommended for me, but....my hands are small and the reach was uncomfortable.

Left hand F? I use it ALL the time, but my background includes instruments on which one uses forward planning as to what fingering is going to work best for what is coming up. Can't figure out why someone would not use a left hand F, but everybody is different.

As to new/used....I bought a Rigoutat Expression on ebay (two week trial period) for the grand sum of $3000 US, took it to my teacher and he about fell off his chair at how good it was. I have never bought a brand new instrument and likely never will. With brasses I can check them myself, but with the oboe I had to have my teacher check it, and it was a spectacularly good one. From Ebay! He said "I'd play a concert on this right now!" And yes, he is a pro and retired college professor.

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 Re: best oboe to buy for a student
Author: bluejay555 
Date:   2017-07-07 18:46

Thank you to everyone who took the time to answer my question! I appreciate your feedback and I will look at every oboe suggested and consider all your advice. We were hoping to spend no more than $3000 for now and her oboe teacher has suggested we look at intermediate rather than pro (and definitely resin). We just want whatever we choose to see her through high school.

I guess our issue now is finding a local seller so we can try the instrument out before buying! Her oboe teacher will definitely be involved in the final decision.

Thanks again!

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 Re: best oboe to buy for a student
Author: mschmidt 
Date:   2017-07-08 02:35

Do not limit yourself to local dealers! It is quite common for oboe dealers to send instruments out on trial via UPS or FedEx. If you are in the US, I would suggest checking with Charles Double Reeds, NH; Nora Post in Kingston, NY; Carlos Coelho in Indianapolis, IN; or Hannah's Oboes in AZ. All these are staffed by people who are very interested in finding you the right oboe given your budget and needs.

Mike

Middle-Aged Amateur


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 Re: best oboe to buy for a student
Author: EaubeauHorn 
Date:   2017-07-10 02:36

Yes, shipping is very low cost compared to having to buy whatever is available locally. Most dealers will send oboes out on trial, and you pay shipping both ways.

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 Re: best oboe to buy for a student
Author: bluejay555 
Date:   2017-07-10 22:58

We found a Fox 300 full conservatory professional oboe, used (1998) from reverb.com It's resin. Anyone have an opinion on Fox oboes?

Full conservatory key system with heavy silver plating
Left hand F key, F resonance mechanism
F♯ key tab, B tab
Articulated C♯ mechanism
A♭-B♭ trill key with A height adjustment
G♯-A trill key
Low C-C♯ trill key
Assembly key C-D and B-C♯trills
Low B♭ key with resonance vent
Third octave key
Split D ring mechanism

Her oboe teacher suggested a Howarth S40c and an intermediate Loree (both used and being sold locally) but the howarth is wooden and I just don't think a 12 yr old is ready for wood.

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 Re: best oboe to buy for a student
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2017-07-11 02:26

The Fox 300 is a fully loaded pro level oboe, so that should be an excellent instrument and will last a lifetime. It will also make an excellent back-up oboe when she gets her first pro level wooden oboe so that will be good for cold churches, playing outdoors, travelling or anywhere that poses a risk to an all wooden oboe.

When buying a wooden oboe, only buy them around April-May time when the weather is becoming more humid and they'll be played in by the time winter sets in when the heating comes on and humidity levels drop. That will also reduce the risk of it cracking. Never buy wooden oboes in late autumn or winter.

Chris.

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 Re: best oboe to buy for a student
Author: bluejay555 
Date:   2017-07-11 19:57

Excellent! Thanks. I think we found our oboe then!! And wow, I had no idea how fragile the wood really was.

And one last thought....when she made the switch to oboe from her $200 clarinet, that used reeds that cost less than $2 a piece, we had no idea what we were getting into! We wouldn't change a thing though, and are very excited to see how far she goes with this!

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 Re: best oboe to buy for a student
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2017-07-11 22:05

Wood is actually stronger than plastic in terms of tensile strength, but it is very susceptible to humidity changes whereas plastic is affected more by temperature changes. A wooden oboe can last for many decades of playing if well maintained.

Here's the current catalogue blurb on the Fox 300: http://www.foxproducts.com/fox-model-300/

Chris.

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 Re: best oboe to buy for a student
Author: SarahC 
Date:   2017-07-12 01:51

My experience with wood is... Cracks...

My resin oboe.. My son kicked a ball into... Quite hard.. The reed cut my lip.. But the oboe didn't crack.

My resin recorders have been dropped, used as swords etc (these activities are stopped the moment I witness them).. And they show no signs of wear.

I am not sure if every resin instrument is as strong.. But the ones I have owned have been beaut.

Personally.. I would choose a new resin instrument over a 1998 Fox. Reason being.. To replace the pads is about 100$ a pad... And the springs etc (assume oboes have them) can be "tired"

That is exactly the reason I bought the AW resin rather than ordering a used one online.

I have often bought flutes online. But am finding that the tiredness of the pads means the total cost will be more than buying online..

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 Re: best oboe to buy for a student
Author: SarahC 
Date:   2017-07-12 01:53

The last word should be "new" not online... I have a little one here.. Being quite distracting.. Sorry.

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 Re: best oboe to buy for a student
Author: bluejay555 
Date:   2017-07-12 18:56

Good to know. Luckily, this particular oboe says it's been "overhauled". Google tells me this means pads and springs have been replaced. And of course we will be taking it to the instrument repair shop and have them look it over and make sure everything is in perfect working order. Fingers crossed!

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 Re: best oboe to buy for a student
Author: Barry Vincent 
Date:   2017-07-13 02:42

Hi Emily. When a seller says that it's been "overhauled" it usually means the pads have been "looked at" , the mechanism has been oiled and adjusted. but it's very unlikely any springs have been replaced. I do wish you well though in that this Oboe turns up to be in good working order nevertheless.

Skyfacer

Post Edited (2017-07-13 02:44)

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 Re: best oboe to buy for a student
Author: SarahC 
Date:   2017-07-13 03:34

Yes overhauled is a sellers term... A meaningless one...

There is a seller on this board that buys instruments from here, then claims to overhaul them on his eBay adds. But they aren't...

But hopefully it is in pretty good shape. And gives u many fine years

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 Re: best oboe to buy for a student
Author: bluejay555 
Date:   2017-07-13 03:55

Ugh. Just shows I shouldn't trust everything I read! I sent a message to reverb.com asking what they mean by "overhauled". That way I can have a clear answer of what they've done with it.

You all have really opened up my eyes! Buying an instrument is not as easy and clear-cut as it sounded to me!!

Thanks!

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 Re: best oboe to buy for a student
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2017-07-13 14:14

There was an alto sax being sold recently that had apparently according to the seller been "recently serviced*" - I could see from one of the photos the low E pad had a white patch on it, closer look showed the pad was shot and the white patch was the felt showing. So I mentioned this to the seller and told them whoever serviced it should have replaced that pad as that's one of the first things high on the list of priorities.

* The least expensive operation is a check-up where the instrument is checked, adjusted and oiled and only a few keys are ever removed to replace any damaged pads, broken springs or missing key or tenon corks, so just doing the minimum needed to get an instrument playing - often done in an emergency. That's not to be confused with a service.

My simplified description of a service is when an instrument is taken apart, all the joints and toneholes are cleaned, the bore is oiled, the keywork is cleaned and polished. Any pads, key corks or springs that need replacing are replaced and the mechanism is oiled as it's being reassembled and then regulated so the instrument is put back into top playing condition. This should be carried out routinely at 12 to 24 monthly intervals to be sure it's all playing and working well. That's not to be confused with an overhaul.

An overhaul is in essence a complete stripdown and rebuild from the ground up. So everything is taken apart and all consumables (pads and corks) are all removed and replaced with brand new pads and corks so you will pretty much have an as new condition instrument. There are loads of other things done during a service on top of that and in addition to a service which makes it the most expensive work carried out on any oboe and is only done a few times in the instrument's lifetime.

Chris.

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 Re: best oboe to buy for a student
Author: bluejay555 
Date:   2017-07-13 19:52

So this seller "Symphony Duck Music" should not be calling it "overhauled". I received a msg from them saying the oboe did not need new pads/springs, but they went over the instrument to make sure it was fully functional, made adjustments as necessary, and polished the keywork. Hmm....

I still think for the money this is our best option (asking price is $3,045). We will have whichever oboe we decide on looked over by a professional during the return period.

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 Re: best oboe to buy for a student
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2017-07-13 20:10

Sounds like it had a checkover at the most just to be sure it's all fully working before selling, so only the minimum was done.

You are always best having it gone over by an oboe specialist just to be sure it is in full working order as most music shops don't deal with many oboes and some hardly see any pro level oboes at all.

But I do think the Fox is your best option and it will be a lifelong instrument being a high spec oboe.

Chris.

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 Re: best oboe to buy for a student
Author: SarahC 
Date:   2017-07-14 02:26

I have bought a few things from that store and been happy.

But yes.. Overhauled is a very loose term when it comes to eBay sellers!

And fox is reliable. I actually would have bought a Fox oboe from them.. Except they don't charge the import duties.. Which means an instrument can be held in customs for a long time...

Fingers crossed the pads etc last a long time. If not. Once u get it serviced, it should last forever.

I didn't service an instrument I bought on eBay unless it was having trouble. So I wouldn't pay for a service just because. Try it first, it might be fine.

I bought an "overhauled " larilee at one time and it was fine enough. It didn't need anything to be done to it so I could play it etc. Later on, however when I got it serviced it started to sound amazing. Lol

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