Thomann's Cool Online Guides: Oboes

4. Student Instrument

A new student model will generally cost in the region of £1,000, usually including a case and some accessories such as cleaners, but not including any reeds. Sometimes, funding can be found from charitable trusts if the cost is too high to be managed.

When considering which kind of oboe to buy, there are some factors to take into account which are common to all oboes. These are often a matter of personal preference, and a teacher will be the best person to advise. Firstly, the material - the large majority of oboes are made of grenadilla wood, however some student models are made of plastic. Plastic oboes tend to produce a harder sound, although they have the advantage that they will not crack in cold weather, and they can be lighter than wooden instruments. Secondly, the fingering system - English oboes are made with the ‘thumbplate’ system, whereas French oboes use the ‘conservatoire’ system. The different systems mean that some notes have different fingerings, but no one system is better – it is just a case of getting used to whichever one you have. The system can have either ‘covered’ or ‘open’ holes. Open holes are thought by some to allow greater resonance in the instrument, but covered holes are easier to manage, especially for small fingers, as less accuracy is needed to cover the key. Thirdly, octave keys - in general, student models have only two octave keys – the third which appears on more advanced models is to help with the extreme high register which will not be required when starting out. Octave keys are described as being either ‘semi’ or fully automatic. Semi-automatic means that there are three octave keys, each activated individually as necessary, though the second key automatically puts the first key down as well. Fully-automatic combines the first two octave keys into one key, which sounds easier, but in practice needs considerable accuracy with the G key to activate properly. Semi-automatic feels more natural, while fully-automatic is a more complicated mechanism which can add significantly to the price of the instrument.

All the major makers have models designed specifically for students. Some have gone so far as to make them ergonomically designed for smaller people, either by putting extensions on some keys to make the stretch easier, or by making them from lighter materials. Lighter weight of the instrument itself is very helpful, but the type of case, and the practise of carrying bags on alternate shoulders are equally important in preventing back and shoulder problems. (Some brands of case are now designed as backpacks and are very lightweight indeed.) Most oboes now come with adjustable thumb-rests, but if not, they can be added easily.

Every oboe is different, and so they should always be tried by both pupil and teacher using a variety of reeds to check that they suit – Thomann offer a 30 day money back guarantee in order to facilitate this. All the keys should move easily and seal the holes properly, and every note should be easy to produce, with none that are obviously difficult or out of tune. A new oboe will need time to settle, but even so it should be possible to get a good idea of its sound straight away.

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in online competitions

Note: Participation in an online competition runs independently from any purchase at Thomann GmbH. The following Competition Rules apply when participating in any online competition run by Musikhaus Thomann:

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Oboes overview

Arturia DrumBrute Impact Daslight Light Rider Wifi DMX Interface Gator iMac 27" Tote Bag Arturia KeyLab MkII 61 Black Korg D1 Aston Microphones Swift Audient iD44 EQ Acoustics Spectrum 2 L5 Tile Black Universal Audio Apollo Thunderbolt 3 Card Cameo Studio PAR DTW IK Multimedia UNO Synth Presonus Studio 1810
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Arturia DrumBrute Impact

Analog drum computer; 10 sounds: Kick, Snare 1, Snare 2, Tom Hi, Tom Low, Cowbell, Cymbal, Closed Hat, Open Hat and FM; 64 patterns with up to 64 steps each; accentuation and switchable color tone coloring per instrument and step;...

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€299
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Daslight Light Rider Wifi DMX Interface

Daslight Light Rider Wifi DMX Interface, Tablet-based DMX control, intuitive operating concept allows quick access to all functions and simplifies use, free App "Light Rider" for iOS, Android and Amazon Fire Tablet, perfect for DJs thanks to beat synchronization via...

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€277
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Gator iMac 27" Tote Bag

Nylon bag for 27" Apple iMac Good hold and protection with adjustable foam blocks and hard-panel reinforcement in the front cover, Foldable sun and dust protection, Double zipper, Cable bag inside, Outer accessory pocket for keyboard, mouse, SD cards...

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€134
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Arturia KeyLab MkII 61 Black

Arturia KeyLab MkII 61 Black; USB Midi-Keyboard with 61 Keys; velocity and Aftertouch; 16 RGB-backlit performance pads; 9 fader, 9 rotary knobs, LCD-Display; Category Function; Pitch- and Modulation-Wheel; Chord and Transpose Function; Transport Buttons; Connections: 5 Expression Control Inputs; 4x...

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€499
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Korg D1

Digital Piano 88 Keys weighted RH3 keyboard (Real Weighted Hammer Action 3), 5 Sensitivity curves, Stereo PCM sound generation, 120 Voice polyphony, 30 Sounds, 30 Demo songs, Key-Off simulation, Damper resonance, 3 Effects, Metronome, 2x Line out 6.3 mm...

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€575
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Aston Microphones Swift

Aston Microphones Swift; Universal Mic Mount without Rubber Bands; fits Mics from 40 bis 60 Diameter; two quick release spring clips; made of Aluminium, grade glass-fill nylon polymer and medical grade latex ("ShockStar" suspension); Dimensions: 145 x 60 x 170...

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€55
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Audient iD44

20-in / 24-out desktop audio interface Fully metallic desktop housing, Control knobs made of solid, hand-milled aluminium, 4 Class A Audient console mic preamps, 60 dB gain, AD / DA converter of the highest class, 2 ADAT inputs and...

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€568
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EQ Acoustics Spectrum 2 L5 Tile Black

Acoustic Absorber Material of the absorber's core: 100% polyester with textile cover, Very robust, Non-allergenic and doesn't contain irritants, Odour-free, Good efficiency in the medium and high frequency ranges, Wall and ceiling mounting is possible with the flexi-system (hook...

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€163
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Universal Audio Apollo Thunderbolt 3 Card

Universal Audio Apollo Thunderbolt 3 Card; Expansion Card for Apollo Rack Interfaces; two Thunderbolt 3 Ports, 5 W bus power for all connected Thunderbolt 3 peripherals; up to 40 Gbit/s; System requirements: macOS Sierra/High Sierra or Windows 10 with Fall...

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€499
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Cameo Studio PAR DTW

White light LED PAR With variable colour temperature and dim-to-warm function, Professional LED PAR for use on theater and drama stages or for object lighting, Dim-to-warm function ensures a dark orange light colour in the low brightness range by...

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€325
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IK Multimedia UNO Synth

Monophonic analog synthesizer with step sequencer, arpeggiator and effects section Classic setup with 2 VCOs and noise generator, multimode filters, amps, 2 envelopes and LFO, Waveform VCOs Triangle, sawtooth and variable pulse width rectangle, Multimode filter with 12 dB...

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€229
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Presonus Studio 1810

18 x 8 USB 2.0 audio interface 24 bits / 192 kHz, 2 front combo inputs Mic / Line / Inst (XLR / jack), 2 front combo inputs Mic / Line (XLR / jack), 4 XMAX Class A mic...

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€399
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