Oboes Oboes Oboes

June 24, 2010

Oklahoma City IDRS has been a hot one!

It’s been very hot, and very, very humid here in Oklahoma City. It’s made me grateful that at least I’m in 100 degree weather with no humidity Arizona.

I ran around trying oboes today and the ones that struck me the most are:

  1. Howarth XL – These instruments just seem to get better and better. The tuning gets more even, the pitch seemed lower, and the bore was as responsive as always. I’ve always felt as the XL’s had slightly high middle C’s, and that there was too much response, and that it was difficult for me to “hold back” some of the color and volume. No such difficulty this year. If I had to pick up any instrument and start playing it, it would be the Howarth, which felt better than ever. The cocobolo XL with the plastic lining was my favorite, as I just felt like I had the best of both worlds: sweet sound, with plenty of projection and cushion.
  2. Marigaux 901 – Wow, the altuglass version was my favorite on the table. Who would have thought it. Whereas many of the plastic topjoint instruments seem to have the sound “jump out” of them, this all-plastic instrument had so much warmth and ease in the sound. I was really impressed by it, and it was a clear number two on my list. The Grenadilla models were also very good, a bit darker and sweeter, but felt somewhat less flexible in tonal colors.
  3. Yamaha 841 Kingwood with the plastic liner – I can’t believe I’m writing this, because I have historically strongly disliked the Yamahas, but this instrument was really fantastic, and I also found this instrument to be very, very friendly. The only reason I preferred the Howarth Cocobolo XL was that it just had more of an overtone, where as the Yamaha felt like a smaller model.
  4. Fossati MB model – Fossati came out with a new model made for Michel Benet. It was smooth and projecting, and had a lot of really nice cushion in the sound which allowed flexibility in color and the ability to “float” notes, playing a note at any dynamic without having to hold back the sound with embouchure or air. Very impressive.

I’m aware that there’s certain names missing (in particular, Loree), and I’m not sure what this implies, but the Lorees just didn’t strike me as a direction that I felt comfortable on. I personally play on two old Lorees which are completely different from modern Lorees, but that’s a different post.

Anyways, we can all be grateful that we have so many options to try so many different quality instruments that are even, flexible, colorful, and mechanically sound!


2 Responses to “Oboes Oboes Oboes”

  1. Angela Walker said

    Hi Cooper –

    It was great seeing you at IDRS. I was wondering if you knew a source for the Ferrillo gouger – or at least the blade? Does one have to go directly to Mr. Ferrillo?


    • cooperwrightreeds said

      Hi Angela,
      Good seeing you again too. For a Ferillo machine, I’d suggest looking up Boston Double Reeds, as that seems to be the only reseller. Otherwise, yes, try to contact Mr. Ferillo himself.

      Just another note, that machine is really picky, and Mr. Ferillo swears you should only use 10.7mm diameter pieces, which is extremely hard to find, so just know you’re going to end up putting aside a lot of other cane. I’d suggest getting another machine as well so you don’t waste all the cane that is between 10 and 11mm, but not 10.7.

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