Sunday, May 30, 2010

My New Baby

So it's not a child from India yet (sorry to disappoint), but it's an oboe from France.  Yes, I unexpectedly bought a new oboe last week!  It was time for a new one since I had had my old oboe for 12 years now and, as all good oboists know, they blow out in about 10-15 years.  The sound (of my old instrument) was starting to spread and the pitch was less reliable than before. 

How does one accidentally buy a new oboe?  Go to an oboe party, of course!  (Like a tupperware party, but with oboes.)  A colleague of mine had 8 Loree oboes shipped from Carlos Coelho Woodwinds to his house.  Several local oboists came and tried them out.  Some brought their old instruments to sell.  Anyway, one of the AK models stood out to me.  I went back and forth between the AKs and the Royales before eventually deciding on this particular AK model.  I know, most oboists prefer the Royales because of their BIG sound and sturdy feel, but I decided not to get one.  Here's why...... 

Why I chose the AK over the Royale:
  • When I play with an orchestra, I usually play second oboe so I shouldn't out-boom the principle oboist.  Also, when I play first oboe or solo gigs, it's usually in chamber groups, opera, or church solos which require a sweet sound.  A big, boomy sound is not really what I need.
  • I felt that the Royales kind of boxed me in.  I like the flexibility of the AKs and I like that it allows me to bend the pitch easily if I want to.
  • My old oboe is an AK and I have loved it for 12 years!  
  • The sound of this one was similar to my old one, but better!  (Darker, and more focused)
  • The low notes played like warm butter.
  • I feel more comfortable on the AK and it shows in my playing.
  • The Royales cost $1000 more.  I had to ask myself, "Does this really sound $1000 better than the AK?"  My honest answer was no.
If money was no object, I would've bought one of each.  But---until I win the lottery, the AK is my instrument.

I kept my old oboe.  It makes me feel safe to have a spare.  If I have to send one off to be repaired I can still play on the other one.  Also, if I have an outdoor gig or something I can play the old oboe with no worries!

BTW - I'm a Loree girl.  I've played other oboes but I really prefer the sound of the Lorees.


  1. I had no idea oboes wear out. So unlike violins, there are no multi-hundred-year-old oboes played coveted by oboists?

  2. You're right. Strings are a whole different ball game. It seems like the older the better for strings, but the newer the better for woodwinds! Go figure.

  3. some people are oboe Geeks! Glad to know one.

  4. One? Don't you know at least two? ;-)

  5. yes! two. Greg saw Mark O. in Boston recently...I suppose I know at least 3.