An Oboe for you


What is it?

The oboe is a french instrument that first appeared in the 17th century as an improvement of the hautbois and the shawm. 

Here’s how it looks and sounds

Not to be confused with

You may hear about it with other names. Pronounced /ˈəʊbəʊ/, from the french meaning “high woodwind” and called oboé in portuguese. A person that plays the oboe it’s called a oboist

Category

The instrument it’s from the Wind family meaning the sounds comes by blowing air in a mouthpiece into a tube(resonator). 

Variants

The types of oboe are determined by time period :

  • Traditional: all double reed instruments that through time have become folclore, like the algaita, mizmar, shawn, piri and tenora.
  • Baroque: that includes the baroque oboe, baroque love oboe, hunting oboe and contrabass oboe, all precursors of the modern oboe.
  • Modern: including variants like the heckelphone, bass oboe, cor anglais, oboe d’amore, oboe, and piccolo oboe.

This can be confusing, just know that the most common variant is a modern oboe that plays in either treble or soprano.

In terms of materials the options are usually wood or plastic, with some pieces of metal (brass, gold, silver). This particular one is commonly made of grenadilla or rosewood. The material has no effect in sound (our article here) but it does in price and durability.

Before you buy 

Getting an oboe for sale? as a gift? If you do, here’s all you need to know.

The price of the instrument is around $200 – 5,000 USD , the cheapest we found was a Mendini C oboe with accessories and the most expensive was a ROFFEE C oboe with rose-gold finish.

In the middle we have something like another ROFFEE C oboe with 18k gold finish for $2,700 USD, you can search in amazon here or ebay here.

Brands like Mendini, Glory and Amoon are a good start, just make sure they have a guarantee and shipping to your country, good reviews and if they don’t you can get them other ways

The size goes around 14 x 8 x 3 In (36 x 20 x 8 Cm) – 27 x 10 x 6 In (68 x 25 x 15 Cm) and has a weight from 2 Lbs (0.7 Kgs) to 3 Lbs (1 Kgs).

Accessories

There are a lot of accessories for example:

  • Thumb protector: this is also useful for the clarinet and saxophone, since you have to use your thumb so much, this can help you avoid bruising and blisters
  • Bag & Case: Bag for transportation and case for safety and transportation. If you don’t get one with your instrument check the sizes section to get a perfect one.
  • Stand: there are generic stands that work for a variety of instruments so you don’t necessarily need the specific one
  • Cleaning kit: a complete one should have brushes (short and extremely long), oil, microfiber and germinicide

Start playing   

To learn to play each note you need a finger chart (or position chart).

We recommend learning to read sheet music to get the basics. We review resources to help you choose how you want to learn. Now that you know how to read them, you need to get some. 
Sheets come in different notations so we recommend checking various versions of the same sheets, searching for “scores” to get all instruments and even the “song name for oboe to save on translations.

Don’t forget all the details that combined make a big difference like the way you hold it, efficient warmups, positions and techniques.

Remember,the oboe is hard to learn only at the start and it should take a couple of months before you become an advanced player, it’s also similar to the clarinet and saxophone, so you can combine those resources to help you learn.

Luis Gerardo

Musician as a hobby for +6 years, documenting every instrument in simple words for this website.

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