Some Thoughts on Howarth Oboes from our Oboe Specialists -
Since the company was founded in 1948, Howarth oboes have become known as some of the finest in the world. American professionals have recently taken an interest in Howarth oboes for their ease of playing and consistency of sound from oboe to oboe. The student models share many of the qualities of the professional oboes and are a great value. The professional oboes, the S5 and XL, are first-class. The XL has thick bore walls and has a sound that is immediately smooth and complex. The S5 has slightly thinner walls, making for a lighter instrument that still has plenty of projection. The keywork of all Howarth oboes is comfortable and maintains its adjustments.
S20c and S40c
Howarth’s student model oboes provide incredible bang for the buck. Both the s20c and 240c oboes are completely made of wood, with optional liner in the top joint. As intermediate instruments go, these oboes offer extensive keywork and great tone. We have had reviews from customers stating that they get even better as they break in. Recommended for any serious student or adult amateur on a budget.
The Howarth s50c is essentially the best value oboe around. With full conservatory keywork and an all-wood body with an optional lined top joint, the s50c is the most affordable full conservatory oboe we carry. These oboes are light-weight and have a silky tone which becomes almost velvety after breaking in. The s50c is the professional oboe designed for the younger, aspiring serious player.
The S5 is Howarth’s standard professional model. These oboes are thicker walled than standard Lorees and are available with a “thinwall” option. I ultimately chose a Howarth S5 because it gave me the best feedback as a player. The keywork is comfortable beneath my fingers, and the instrument responds to my musical ideas and projects them to listeners. I made reeds with all of the instruments tried. The Howarth responded to my reed making style, with subtle changes in scrape yielding subtle changes in tone and pitch. What really won me over was the overall pitch of the instrument and that the low notes respond without stressing and clenching down on the reed and the keys. As the oboe has broken in, the tone and character of sound has become deeper and more flexible without being out of control. I’m now able to achieve the rich sound and even intonation that I’ve always strived for but could rarely achieve on my previous instruments.
The XL is Howarth’s top professional model. This oboe is thick-walled and has a huge complexity of sound which is definitely worth exploring. The thick-walled bore allows for a deeper, richer tone and a more even projection. The XL oboes have become extremely popular in orchestras throughout the United States as well as in Europe.