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 Renard/Fox 330 Oboes - Rate Or Slate?
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2021-05-22 23:20

Yesterday I had an early '90s Renard/Fox 330 oboe come in for some minor work as it was long overdue a service with several keys being sluggish as a result. The owner had also taken it to another repairer before I was recommended, but that repairer had nothing particularly good to say about it.

Yes the 330 isn't a wooden oboe and isn't a full Gillet conservatoire model as it lacks the LH3 split D#-E trill mechanism (making it the same spec as a Howarth S40c/S45c, Cabart 74, Rigoutat Riec, etc.), but just because it's plastic, that doesn't mean it's a bad instrument.

I also bought an older 330 for myself with the view of adding a thumbplate to make it dual system and a low Bb bell vent to bring low Bb up to pitch, but think I'll leave that as it's always good to have a spare conservatoire system oboe as a loaner instrument should a conservatoire system player need one to borrow whilst theirs is being worked on as there a few conservatoire system players in the area when most are either thumbplate or dual system players.

And for me I chose the 330 as a spare for the fact it's made by a company that makes oboes which means features seen on their pro models will have filtered down to their student models for continuity, they have all stainless steel screws and springs so nothing is going to rust and the plastic body will mean they're not likely to crack when subjected to unfavourable playing conditions (making sure the keys don't bind up when cold is important with plastic instruments. Teflon tipped adjusting screws, although noisy, do mean they're more likely to remain in adjustment for a long time as there aren't as many key corks under adjusting screws that can compress, swell, get chewed through or drop off.

There are some aspects of finishing that could be bettered - both these 330s still have their original pads and key corks from new (although I replaced all the key corks and a couple of pads on mine), but they could use more durable silencing materials on several of the linkages than natural cork and while it's not a major issue, some of the small diameter top joint toneholes could do with wider crowned bedplaces, unless they've since addressed that on more recent instruments.

As for how they play and sound, I have no problems with that side of things as there's nothing I could fault, besides the flat low Bb which is common on instruments without a low Bb vent, but it does everything anyone would expect a decent oboe to do. The keywork is very sturdy, not easy to bend or flex and feels very positive under the fingers. The only thing that does flex is the plastic body as plastic doesn't have the same tensile strength as wood and this is true with any plastic oboe, but that's not something that should be seen as a negative thing - only as a characteristic of the material.

Had it been a cheapo Chinese plastic oboe - the type seen on eBay and elsewhere carrying whatever name anyone wants laser etched or printed onto it and with no real heritage nor quality, then there'd be genuine reason to slag it off as those oboe-shaped things are built like crap.

I think it's an educated choice of an instrument for anyone moving around where the climate can be at either extreme, even in a single large country like the US where the owner of this oboe was originally from and the reason why they specifically chose this model oboe.

There are good and bad oboes and these ones are definitely in the good category. I put it down to the previous repairer's lack of knowledge for them to trash it in the manner they did. And here in the UK, Fox/Renard oboes aren't all that well known compared to the US (Fox/Renard bassoons and contras are much better known here), but unfamiliarity doesn't mean bad.

Chris.

Post Edited (2021-05-22 23:45)

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 Re: Renard/Fox 330 Oboes - Rate Or Slate?
Author: Hotboy 
Date:   2021-05-24 20:18

I think the 330 is an excellent choice for the student who is moving up from an entry level instrument, which is often a school-owned instrument. I do not recommend the 333 because it is missing the articulated C# mechanism, which I think is important for low note facility.

For a student in 6th to 9th grade, I prefer a plastic instrument because they won't crack from temperature changes, and the scale is often more in tune than a wood instrument in the same price range.

The only Chinese oboe that I have tried that was any good was a KGe...I've tried others that were unadjustable and/or a half step flat.

Dane
Bay Area, California

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 Re: Renard/Fox 330 Oboes - Rate Or Slate?
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2021-05-24 22:45

Incidentally the owner of this oboe has had it since the early '90s and is currently a university physics lecturer over here in the UK (she's been here for fifteen years having moved from the US) and plays in a number of the university city's orchestras.

While I had my 330 all in pieces the other day I could see it had undercut toneholes which not many intermediate model oboes have. I haven't had the chance to play mine properly in any band or orchestral setting since I bought it because of the pandemic (I had my first rehearsal last Wednesday since early March 2020) but I will definitely give it a good playing this week.

The more recent 330s now have a 3rd 8ve and low Bb vent which brings them up to the same spec as a Howarth S40c/S45c and Cabart - the keywork also looks more refined as well compared to the older versions.
https://www.foxproducts.com/renard-artist-model-330/

I just used their serial number search which shows mine (88xx) was made in 1993:
https://www.foxproducts.com/instrument-search/

Chris.

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 Re: Renard/Fox 330 Oboes - Rate Or Slate?
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2021-09-18 01:29

Hands up if you've replied and know what an oboe is.

Chris.

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 Re: Renard/Fox 330 Oboes - Rate Or Slate?
Author: Hotboy 
Date:   2021-09-18 03:10

> Hands up if you've replied and know what an oboe is.

Yeah, I was thinking the same thing...is it worth the time reporting bots to the site owner?Chris P wrote:

Dane
Bay Area, California

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 Re: Renard/Fox 330 Oboes - Rate Or Slate?
Author: Mark Charette 2017
Date:   2021-09-18 19:25

Yeah, it's worth it. I ban hundreds of Class C ranges ....

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 Re: Renard/Fox 330 Oboes - Rate Or Slate?
Author: Carmella 
Date:   2021-10-09 10:55

Thanks for sharing imformation.

MyBalanceNow



Post Edited (2021-10-11 09:02)

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 Re: Renard/Fox 330 Oboes - Rate Or Slate?
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2021-10-09 18:04

For myself, I would add that I can't read everything posted on all of the boards on test.woodwind.org (I don't know how much of it Mark has time to read), so from my point of view reports/complaints are helpful to point out junk that I've missed. I don't mind at all if, when you report bot produce to Mark, you copy me as well.

Most of the stuff seems harmless if also useless and just wastes everyone's time. But a few include links that could be potentially problematic.

Karl (not the list owner, but recently added as co-moderator)

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 Re: Renard/Fox 330 Oboes - Rate Or Slate?
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2021-11-15 23:13

Martinez06 wrote:

"Thanks for the information, I will try to figure it out for more. Keep sharing such informative post."

Don't you ever get tired of all this constant spamming?

Chris.

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 Re: Renard/Fox 330 Oboes - Rate Or Slate?
Author: Mark Charette 2017
Date:   2021-11-16 02:49

Chris P wrote:


> "Thanks for the information, I will try to figure it out for
> more. Keep sharing such informative post.
"
>
> Don't you ever get tired of all this constant spamming?

Years ago. It comes in waves.

I will probably add some code to eliminate a few percent of the signups. It used to be that requiring a positive affirmation in an email was a barrier but not anymore :(

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 Re: Renard/Fox 330 Oboes - Rate Or Slate?
Author: Hotboy 
Date:   2021-11-16 06:15

I can't tell whether it's a sophisticated bot or somebody who gets paid to spam forums.

Dane
Bay Area, California

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