Oboe & Bassoon Buying Guide


Oboes and Bassoons at BMC

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Glossary of Terms

First Oboes & Bassoons

A beginner oboe is designed to be easily playable by a young student. Starter oboes are typically very basic, usually without left F, low Bb, and other key work. Though slightly more expensive, some student oboes offer a simplified conservatory key system, which includes the basics of a full conservatory system oboe. These oboes tend to be preferred since the student has more complex fingerings available to them. A student oboe should be made of plastic, resin, or wood. Resin oboes or plastic oboes are generally durable and can be played for several years. Wooden oboes tend to be more appropriate oboes for the intermediate player, since they should not be used outdoors and require slightly more care. Although some band directors and private music teachers will allow a student to play bassoon as a beginning instrument, most students will start with oboe, then move on to the bassoon. Student bassoons are usually made of plastic or resonite, but can occasionally be made of wood. Look for a bassoon with kid leather pads for durability, and Heckel system keys.

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Step-Up Oboes & Bassoons

Intermediate model oboes are generally made of wood, but occasionally are made of resin. Upper level oboes are often Grenadilla wood oboes, which feature a clear, clean tone. Step-up oboes generally include more advanced keys such as left F, low Bb, B natural-C# articulation, and F resonance keys, made of silver-plated nickel silver. This is called a modified conservatory oboe, which will suit most oboe players through the high school level. A step-up bassoon is usually made of hard maple or resonite. Intermediate bassoons also feature Heckel system keys and 2 bocals.

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Professional Oboes and Bassoons

Professional oboes are an investment in tone quality. A pro oboe should be made of Grenadilla wood, and have a slightly narrower bore than a student oboe or step-up oboe. All upper level oboes should have a full conservatory key system. Some professional level oboes include an ebonite lining of the interior. There are many custom options available for oboes, please speak to one of our experts! A professional bassoon should be made of hard maple or rosewood. Look for a rich sound that allows for the most subtle tone shadings. Pro bassoons, like upper level oboes, tend to offer many custom options, please call and speak to one of our experts!

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