Material – plastic versus wood: Contrary to what many people believe, not all professional oboes are made of wood. It’s a personal choice and both types of oboes have pros and cons. Wood oboes generally tend to have a distinct complex sound but there are many plastic oboes that sound equally well. Oboes that we made with wood tend to crack, require more maintenance, and age quickly. If you are looking for a durable oboe, then you might want to buy a plastic oboe. Also, make sure the wooden oboe you are planning to buy does not have a plastic interior. Another important factor is the quality of the keys and the metal they are made of.
Usage: Your decision also hangs on how long and at what level you intend to play the oboe. If you just need it for a beginner level short course, then an oboe with a basic key work would suffice. However, students who plan to pursue their oboe training at the intermediate and advanced levels should invest in an oboe with the complete set of keys. Some students who are not sure whether or not they are going to continue playing after their introductory course choose to use a beginner level oboe as a stepping stone. Wooden oboes are better suited to experienced and adult players who can handle this delicate instrument with care.
Oboe key work: Students who are just beginning their oboe training can make do with basic oboes as their course work involves tunes that can be played even with the most rudimentary key work system. Seasoned oboists need a full conservatory with advanced keys such as left F, C#, low Bb, B natural, F resonance, split E, split ring D, Ab – Bb right hand trill, and the 3rd octave to play complex concertos. The durability, integration, and placement of the keys should be considered as well. The keys you want on your oboe depends on how much experience you have gained and what level of training you are at.
Most people like to do some research before investing in an oboe since they are fairly expensive compared to other types of flutes. To help you with this decision, we have reviewed a variety of popular oboes. Here are some of the oboe reviews we have written in light of the factors discussed above to help you in picking an instrument that suits you best.