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Oboe/Low C# and upgrading my oboe


I have been playing the oboe for about 8 years now, having begun at the age of 40.  I have passed ABRSM grade 5 and I am taking grade 6 at the end of November.  My oboe teacher is encouraging me to replace my current (Buffet student) oboe, and I have already looked at a Loree that someone wanted to sell me for 2600.  My issue was that I was completely unable to play the low C# because the bottom hole that has my right ring finger on it was open instead of covered.  My teacher tells me that I have developed a bad habit and that my finger slips off that key when I play C#, but I get away with it on the current oboe because the hole is covered.  She doesn't seem to be able to help me to correct the issue though.  I have seen reference to an "articulated C#" on some descriptions of oboes.  Is that something that would help me?  Are some oboes easier to play than others in this respect?  Or any ideas on correct fingering of my least favourite note?!  I hope some of this question makes sense - I am getting a bit frustrated.

Dear Dot

Well done for passing your Grade 5 and starting late - ish!

The articulated C sharp is normal on modern oboes.
The term refers to the way the C sharp key opens under its own spring rather than being directly linked via a solid key to your finger. I presume that the Loree you have seen has plates with holes in them and that the D plate at the bottom where your ring finger right hand should sit centrally is dragged upwards slightly off the plate causing a leak when you play C sharp.

It would be preferably to train your finger to sit centrally on the plate but a temporary solution is to put a piece of cork into the hole in the plate so making it completely covered. You then sacrifice the E/Dsharp trill which will be rather flat but nothing else will be severely affected. At least this way you can get used to the new oboe.

Try to use as little pressure as possible in the fingers and experiment with the right thumb position. If you have the thumb too far under the oboe this claws up the hand and makes for lots of fingering difficulties.

There is a wonderful adjustable thumb rest by Ton Kooiman which helps relieve the pressure on the thumb joints and enables your oboe to be place nearer the end of the thumb as it has a complicated supporting system. Lots of people use this to correct problems such as yours.
See his website. Howarths and others sell them. They come in a cheap and cheerful plastic version and one in titanium or similar!! They have to be fitted to replace the existing thumb rest. This is an easy thing to do or have done.

Best of luck with this



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Geoffrey Bridge


Professional oboist with many years experience. Former pupil of Leon Goossens. Solo artist for Arts Council of Great Britain. Freelance recitalist/broadcasting/orchestras. Former Head of woodwind teaching in Hampshire, England. Questions on repertoire, playing styles, reeds, cane selection and processing.


St Andrews University Royal College of Music, Aberdeen College of Education Licenciate of the Royal Academy of Music General Teaching Council certificate Broadcast solo recitals/performed with major symphony orchestras/Music Club recitals/writings on double reed matters

Chairman and Trustee of the British Double Reed Society International Double Reed Society Association Hautbois Francais Orchestral Manager of Southern Pro Musica Orchestra/Aberdeen Sinfonietta

Double Reed News/Australasian Double Reed Society magazine/International Double Reed Society

LRAM, Cert Ed

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