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 Oboe hand sizes
Author: oboeyogi 
Date:   2017-09-05 15:52

I know the the answer = cost

But here goes any way why don't oboe makers make oboes for different hand size?

If you buy gloves you get a size to fit, buy a bike you get one that fits. You buy clothes that fit. But oboes you get put in the same thing or you go to a different brand.

Surely it's not to hard to have 3 key sets the suit different hand sizes and they could even be swap over if need be it could be a new market for the makers.

Any thoughts


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 Re: Oboe hand sizes
Author: ckoboe777 
Date:   2017-09-05 20:05

> If you buy gloves you get a size to fit, buy a bike you get one
> that fits. You buy clothes that fit. But oboes you get put in
> the same thing or you go to a different brand.

Changing key placement/ size can make it necessary to move tone holes, which makes everything a lot more complicated and inconsistent.

> Surely it's not to hard to have 3 key sets the suit different
> hand sizes and they could even be swap over if need be it could
> be a new market for the makers.

Most oboe makers (even Loree or Marigaux) don't make anymore than a little over a thousand oboes each year. Being relatively small businesses with small outputs, standardizing three different key sets wouldn't be so easy, both logistically and technically. If they were much bigger businesses, it might be worth it...


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 Re: Oboe hand sizes
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2017-09-06 01:29

Oboes and especially intermediate and pro level ones are restricted to finger spacing because of the tonehole layout and trying to fit everything in on an instrument where space is already at a premium.

Beginner level oboes without all the extras can have fingerplate extensions on most of them (apart from LH1 and RH2) to accommodate players with smaller hands, but oboes with perforated fingerplates for all the Gillet trills make that near impossible to achieve.

Some adaptations or keywork alterations can be made if things are difficult or beyond reach - this is best done at the time of order as that will be less expensive to do than keywork alterations after the instrument has been bought.

Some sacrifices may also have to be made, such as losing the split D#-E trill mechanism for players who can't cover the RH3 bush or similarly losing the G#-A trill if they have trouble covering the aperture in the LH3 fingerplate.

Cors anglais are also restricted and already compromised to accommodate the RH main action and C/C#/Eb cluster in favour of having the Rh2 fingerplate positioned as off-centre as possible for the mid fingerplate to function along with the low C key in the 3rd register. The RH3 tonehole has been relocated higher up the lower joint and the pillars for the C/C#/Eb keys are repositioned to make all the keywork fit under the fingers, even though it can still be an awkward stretch for the right arm and wrist for some people.

But the fundamental problem with all musical instruments is they're not a natural thing for us as primates to be playing as we're not that long in evolutionary terms descended from our tree dwelling ancestors. We're designed to grip onto branches and later learnt to throw spears, but holding woodwind instruments is doing something we're simply not designed to do.


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 Re: Oboe hand sizes
Author: oboeyogi 
Date:   2017-09-06 15:13

Thanks Chris

What I find the problem is more with the ring and little finger,s that could be moved just to make life easier.

Like offsetting the left ring finger key a little like how it's done on the flute but not that far. Yes the tone hole may need to rotate a little.

The left little finger keys could move up a little left f key is to low. I play Marigaux M2 with the adjusted left f key as high as it can go it's still a long way for me.

The banana key is way to low and to far away but I do manage to use is.

The M2 is the best fitting to my hands oboe that I have found that sounds good. I am short at 5':4".

Other oboes I have try have just doing fit me. They sound great and love them but got to much effort to play in comfort.

May I should go back to primates and swing from tree to tree this maybe could stretch my little fingers.



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 Re: Oboe hand sizes
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2017-09-06 19:26

You won't be able to move the split RH3 fingerplate on oboes, but you can have the other fingerplates altered to reduce the stretch.

LH1 can have an angled aperture to move it towards the lower side (nearer to the extension tab) and the middle fingerplates and LH3 fingerplate can be fitted with a cor anglais-style ring on the top that's offset (up or down) so the apertures can still be positioned centrally, but the ring on top will ensure your fingertips will still make an airtight seal.

RH1 is often fitted with an extension tab, but that can be made with a much taller one which runs over the F# key.

The F key is relatively easy to alter to make it easier to use, the LH Eb/B/Bb abd LH F keys can be lengthened, the G# key can be reangled, the RH C/C#/Eb cluster can also be altered and still function.

It's a case of sitting down with a specialist repairer who can make these alterations so the keywork is tailor made to fit your own hands. I've done this kind of work for players on both clarinets and oboes either in the simplest form by bending keys to fit their hands or more involved alteration work for players with arthritis or missing parts of their fingers.


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 Re: Oboe hand sizes
Author: EaubeauHorn 
Date:   2017-09-08 21:54

I think I have one of the smaller sets of hands out there, and it is enough to have me playing a Rigoutat instead of a Loree. However, a friend of mine who appears to have, at least, shorter fingers than I do (my fingers are not that short, just small hand size) plays a Loree. She grew up playing oboe (and studied with John Mack.) But I also know from studying violin as a kid, that if your hands are still growing they will adapt to different required reaches. The pinky finger on my left hand is actually rotated outwards (? the direction it has to reach to play in correct position on the fingerboard, say B natural in 1st position on the E string.) compared to my right hand, which only had to use the bow. The difference is obvious just looking at my fists from the finger side. It's a problem trying to teach adult learners of the violin who have even bigger hands than I do, because they don't have the reach that developed over time while my hands were growing.

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