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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
If there was a sax system oboe on the market right now (low Bb up to high F# or G), would that tempt you to take it up?

I know there have been Boehm system and Sax system ones in the past, but maybe they became a thing of the past due most likely to conservatism (no pun intended) or snobbery, or due to other problems that caused players to ditch them and makers to concentrate on traditional designs.

But if such an instrument was made and did the job (and probably much easier for us doublers) would any of us sax players be swayed?

I can see no reason why they haven't lasted, and would like to see the re-emergence of them. I know technically it would make my life much easier, though it will mean I only have the reed to blame - though this could establish the single-reed oboe mouthpieces again.
 

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Y'know I've often wondered what those Vienesse oboes were all about. Anyone here know?
 

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I don't think it is so easy as just transplanting sax keying on an oboe body. You can't just scale things down that much because of non-linearily in acoustics. The oboe bore is extremely narrow at the top, it's a very different animal than the sop sax. For instance, there is a third octave vent for D2--you can't make the oboe sound that note without it, and there is no way in the world to put palm keys on an oboe body--it just wouldn't work acoustically. Once you get past C3 it's all altissimos, and they get extremely complicated very fast because of the venting necessities to get that tiny little reed to speak up there.

I haven't played any of the alternate oboe systems that you mention, but my strong hunch is that they were abandoned because they couldn't touch the standard Boehm keywork for intonation, response and general utility. Nor have I heard great things about those single-reed mpcs. At that point why not just get a sop?

And to be honest, the oboe fingering system is much superior to that of the sax--plenty of alternative fingerings and none of those dicey rollers, no need to slide fingers around, none of those weird cross fingerings like B-C on the sax, much better action, nice trill keys, the works. Actually what you would want is a sax with oboe keys, not the other way around ;-)

Toby
 

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kymarto said:
Actually what you would want is a sax with oboe keys, not the other way around ;-)Toby
100% agreed. Sax fingered oboes are dreadful. Steer clear at all costs. Same with single reed oboe mouthpieces. If you are really interested in an oboe, buy the very best model you can afford and above all take the advice of a good pro oboe player. There are maybe 10-12 good oboe makers, and about 6 absolutely top-class:-

Howarth
Loree
Rigoutat
Marigaux
Puchner
Buffet

come to mind, in no particular order. There are some excellent lesser known instruments and up-and-coming makes too, so this is not an exhaustive list by any means. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
kymarto said:
I don't think it is so easy as just transplanting sax keying on an oboe body. You can't just scale things down that much because of non-linearily in acoustics. The oboe bore is extremely narrow at the top, it's a very different animal than the sop sax. For instance, there is a third octave vent for D2--you can't make the oboe sound that note without it, and there is no way in the world to put palm keys on an oboe body--it just wouldn't work acoustically. Once you get past C3 it's all altissimos, and they get extremely complicated very fast because of the venting necessities to get that tiny little reed to speak up there.

I haven't played any of the alternate oboe systems that you mention, but my strong hunch is that they were abandoned because they couldn't touch the standard Boehm keywork for intonation, response and general utility. Nor have I heard great things about those single-reed mpcs. At that point why not just get a sop?

And to be honest, the oboe fingering system is much superior to that of the sax--plenty of alternative fingerings and none of those dicey rollers, no need to slide fingers around, none of those weird cross fingerings like B-C on the sax, much better action, nice trill keys, the works. Actually what you would want is a sax with oboe keys, not the other way around ;-)

Toby
Heckel did have the Heckelclarina which was a taragato/soprano sax type instrument with oboe style keywork, but oboes generally have Conservatoire system keywork, not Boehm - even though there were Boehm system oboes, these gave way to the Conservatoire systems that are now in use almost throughout the world (and vary from region to region) - then there's the Vienna oboe which still retains a lot of design, technical features and playing techniques from the Germanic oboes of the 19th Century.

As far as needing the half-hole plate for the D, this can be done away with (as it has on saxes) by relocating the lower 8ve vent slightly lower down from where it is. But I'd still have the C-D trill which is missing on modern saxes. Palm keys can be mounted in a similar fashion to MkVI sopranos - where the 2nd 8ve key is mounted.
 

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"There are maybe 10-12 good oboe makers, and about 6 absolutely top-class:-

Howarth
Loree
Rigoutat
Marigaux
Puchner
Buffet"

And then there's Fossati, Dupin, Laubin, Hinicker, Bulgheroni, Patricola, Josef, Yamaha, Tom Sparkes, Covey, Mark Chudnow, Ludwig Frank and Fox; all of whom make incredibly expensive oboes at the highest professional standard.

(I personally perform on a Bulgheroni, formerly a die-hard Patricola and Fossati player).

Also, as Chris pointed out, oboes do not use the key system devised by Theobald Boehm, but one perfected for the oboe by Fernand Gillet (called the Gillet or conservatoire system).

[Totally off-topic, but worth noting, is that Gillet, who basically single-handedly created oboe playing as we know it today, never made a single reed in his life. He always used reeds other people made for him. Makes me feel a little better about buying mine!]
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I buy ready made reeds as I can't be arsed to make my own, though I've no problem adjusting them to suit my needs.

One thing that will be improved on sax system cors is the lower register - they can have the correctly positioned and sized tonehole for E. At the moment, the E tonehole is too small and too high up the joint.

I've thought it through, and I think it's time to start drilling holes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
You're more than welcome to play the prototype and suggest what could be better, and I'm planning on it having a low Bb as standard when it's done. And an oboe d'amore as well.

And all with thick wall joints - I want to preserve as much of the character as possible, though obviously the top notes (high C# up to top F# or G) will probably be much brighter in tone colour, but should be much easier to get around.

As for me, I just want an easy life as a doubler.
 

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I prefer to get used to the fingering system and blowing properties of the modern oboe. The greater challenge causes me to work harder than I otherwise would (as I've done with other woodwinds) and thus become a more accomplished player than I would if I had some sort of shortcut instrument.
 

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Ummm, so what are those oboes that the Vienna Phil players use? They have a funny looking bulb at the top, and roller keys on the right pinky.
 

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Chris Peryagh said:
As far as needing the half-hole plate for the D, this can be done away with (as it has on saxes) by relocating the lower 8ve vent slightly lower down from where it is. But I'd still have the C-D trill which is missing on modern saxes. Palm keys can be mounted in a similar fashion to MkVI sopranos - where the 2nd 8ve key is mounted.
I'm not sure that things are quite that easy. The acoustics of the oboe are quite different than that of the soprano sax due to the very narrow bore. Perhaps you could do away with the half hole, but it would be at the expense of the sound quality of the D (ala all saxes) and perhaps create response problems for the G. I am not certain, but I seriously doubt that you could create decent palm keys because of the thickness of the wood at the top (which would make a very long side hole) and the extreme narrowness of the bore there (which would necessitate an extremely narrow hole). There are certain acoustical properties of side hole venting (super-complicated math which I don't fully understand) which come into play when those conditions are met which might really make high side vents to play good fundamental tones impossible.

If you tell me it has been done then I guess I am wrong, but I'm not drilling my Loreé to find out.

Toby
 

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Well, all I can say from personal experience is if your chops are advanced enough and you play a leaking alto sax, you will sound like an oboe. :) Speaking of no one in particular of course and do not recommend playing a leaking alto sax for any length of time.
 

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Kind of reminds me why everyone at my school decided to play the alto and bari sax: it had the same fingerings of the recorder they had to play in the fourth grade. :D
 

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Anyone have a fingering chart for one of those Zueglers?

Preferably in English. Reading in German makes my embouchre go all funny.Especially Austrian German.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
kymarto said:
... but I'm not drilling my Loreé to find out.
Me neither - I'm going to experiment with scrapped joints (ones with significant imperfections that won't find their way onto an instrument) to see what works by trial and error - no plans, no calculations, no graphs, charts, theories, etc. just pure trial and error. Toneholes can be filled and redrilled if needed, pillars and keys can be relocated, so rather than starting out with a plan of how it might be, I feel it's best trying things out and finding out how they will be. That way I can do adjustments and alterations as I go along, find the best solution in the prototype and then copy it.

Only then, if it's a success, copies and parts can be made.
 

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Chris Peryagh said:
Me neither - I'm going to experiment with scrapped joints (ones with significant imperfections that won't find their way onto an instrument) to see what works by trial and error - no plans, no calculations, no graphs, charts, theories, etc. just pure trial and error. Toneholes can be filled and redrilled if needed, pillars and keys can be relocated, so rather than starting out with a plan of how it might be, I feel it's best trying things out and finding out how they will be. That way I can do adjustments and alterations as I go along, find the best solution in the prototype and then copy it.

Only then, if it's a success, copies and parts can be made.
Good luck! Let us know how it works out.

Toby
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I'll be experimenting by building it from the bell upwards - several tonehole sizes and positions can remain unchanged (bell vent, low B,C,C#,D and Eb), but from the E tonehole upwards there will be some significant changes, except for the G# tonehole. All others will have to be moved around and diameters changed to find what works with the sax-style keywork.
 
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