Posted by Elizabeth on Friday, November 16, 2018 Under: everyday music
It seems the fate of oboists to be haunted by cracks. I'm gradually getting better at checking the instrument before assuming that I have just turned into a terrible oboist who can't tune to save her life...but I definitely failed this time. I believe my oboe has been cracking since October, when I foolishly played for around 10 minutes in an unheated practice space before realizing how cold it was (I had just come in from outside, and felt warm).

All the symptoms were there:
  • my low notes felt resistance, course, and FLAT
  • My top notes were weird and sharp
  • my midrange was unpredictable (THIS really should have been a tell) 
  • None of my reeds felt vibrant enough
  • Notes all over weren't speaking.
Unluckily, this crack fell in a really busy playing time for me, where I had rehearsals or performances every evening and little to no time to practice or sit down calmly with my instrument. When I did realize (finally) I ended up renting an instrument while mine was repaired (a Lorée as well, from L&M amazingly), which was unfortunately too new for the amount of reed making and playing I had to cracked between the trill keys mid show...and I apologetically "fixed" it with nailpolish out of desperation.

 I returned the Lorée, and rented a lined Yamaha 440 - and was shocked at the difference. I've been seriously spoiled by my instrument. The  scale is even...but it felt...dull, and the top notes wouldn't sing. It might be that my reed making doesn't agree with it, but I was not impressed. Although I had planned to play the rest of my musical shows on the replacement yamaha because the pit was cold and I feared re-cracking, I ended up playing on my own instrument because I just couldn't handle the sound of the intermediate yamaha; luckily the orchestra loft was fairly warm that night.

I have been looking into some possibilities for colder venue instruments though - ideally they would sound as good as my instrument, but we will see! One article I ran into was very thorough and I highly recommend anyone facing the same issues (oboists, all of us, probably) have a look: Stopping a Crack Habit before it starts

I would love to try the LAMI oboes by Josef, and am curious about Buffet's new Orfeo, but will probably just try to get some lined top joints for my current instruments for now.

In : everyday music 

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