How to Buy a Used Oboe

When it comes time to purchase an oboe, upgrade from your student model, or just find a back-up for your main instrument, buying a brand new oboe may not be financially feasible. We certainly understand the constraints attached to purchasing an instrument and we are proud to offer a wide selection of used oboes in all levels and price ranges to fit your needs. While similar to trying brand new instruments, the process of trying used oboes is going to be different and there are a few things to consider a long the way. Hopefully these pointers will help you as you start the venture of finding a used oboe!
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Spring Savings!

Just in time for the arrival of Spring in Minnesota, we're offering up savings on Instruments, Bocals, and Accessories!  Check out our sale sections for oboe, bassoon, and single reeds for all of sale items!

And don't forget about our spring shipping rebate!  Now through May 31st, if you purchase an instrument from a trial we'll be happy to refund or apply your shipping toward the purchase of the instrument!

Our instrument specialists are always in the shop if you need to reach us for any reason - 800.926.5587.

Happy Spring!

Your Midwest Musical Imports Instrumental & Repair Teams,

Jessica, Trent, Steven, Jeff, Brandon, Eric, & Matt

A new selection of Lorees has arrived!

loree-c3-akJust in time for the arrival of spring, we have a wide selection of brand new Loree Regular Royal and AK standard oboes in stock and ready for trials! These oboes are just in from Paris and have been set-up and play tested by our repair team and oboe specialists.  These are truly wonderful horns.

Now through the end of May 2014, if you purchase an instrument with us we'll be happy to offer a shipping rebate on your purchase!

Loree has long been the industry standard for orchestral performance. In 1881, François Lorée, the ex-foreman of Triebert, founded his own oboe factory. His son, Lucien took over the firm at his death in 1902.

Supported by Georges Gillet, teacher at the Paris Conservatoire, Lucien Lorée modernized the oboe and realized several inventions. The famous "Conservatory Plateau System" was one of these, and in 1906 it was quickly adopted by soloists around the world. Instrument manufacturer Raymond Dubois acquired the firm in 1925 but Lucien Loree still took an active part in production. Robert de Gourdon, Mr. Dubois’ son-in-law, joined the firm in 1935, and had the opportunity to work in close cooperation with Lucien Lorée. In 1967, Robert de Gourdon began to share his knowledge and expertise with his son, Alain, now chairman of the firm.

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Instrument Trial Shipping Rebate

Now through May 31st, 2014 we're pleased to offer an instrument trial shipping rebate! We have a large selection of new and used oboes, bassoons, and clarinets in stock and if you purchase an instrument now through the end of May we're please to refund your trial shipping costs on all standard ground shipping!

Right now we have a vast selection of new and used oboes with a new batch of Loree oboes arriving from Paris. We also have brand new Howarth, Marigaux, Fox, and Buffet oboes in stock and ready to ship for trials.

fox240In the bassoon department we have new Puchner pro bassoons, Takeda, Wolf, and Fox pro and Renard bassoons. We have quite the selection of Fox 240 bassoons here and available!

We are also stocking a large selection of Buffet R13 Clarinets in both nickel & silver plating. These instruments just arrived to us from Buffet and are ready for trials!

Here at Midwest Musical Imports we are musicians serving musicians. All of our instruments are under the care of experienced musicians specializing in their respective instruments. We work hard to get the highest quality instruments for all of your performance needs. Contact our instrumental specialists in the shop at 800.926.5587, or visit our Instrument Trials page for more information.

Reeds and Weather

objuliepaul-reedThe weather in Minneapolis took an upward turn overnight last night. Our temperatures are now in double digits above zero for the first time in weeks! With a dramatic change in weather you might find a change in your reeds.

I don't know if anyone has come to any scientific conclusions on how reeds react to different weather changes, but for most of us we just know that when the weather shifts, so will our reeds. We just don't always know how they'll change. There are some things you can do to even out the bumps though. These tips might also help you when you travel to a slightly different climate or altitude than your home. Your Mileage May Vary.

Try soaking up your reeds briefly, then just putting them away. Give them a chance to adjust to the new weather pattern without stressing them by playing. You'll find they've acclimated to the new conditions the next day.

Long term, you can spend more days in the reed making process. I find that a reed that has some time to settle as a blank before beginning the finishing process, and given frequent but short playing sessions for the first week after finishing, will usually be more stable over weather changes (and last longer) than reeds made and finished in just a few short sessions. For single reed players, this translates to a gradual break-in process for new reeds out of the box.

For more tips, visit the Tips and Resources section of our blog.

Lorée and Rigotti Oboe Tube Cane

We're pleased to announce the arrival of new batches of Rigotti and Lorée oboe tube cane!  Two of our most popular brands of tube cane, the Lorée and the Rigotti cane are extremely consistent from batch to batch and provide reeds with warmth and stability.  We find little variation between batches - most of the cane is very straight, golden in color, light modeling, and easy to work with.  We continue to work very closely with our vendors to provide our customers with the best quality cane.  Each batch is hand sorted by our oboe specialists to ensure quality control.

Visit our webstore to order today or give us a call in the shop at 800.926.5587.

Still have additional questions regarding our tube cane selection?  Visit the Tube Cane Guide for a detailed description of all the varieties we carry.  And remember, Jeff and Steven are always in the shop to answer any additional questions you may  have!

Your Oboe and Winter- What you need to know

Fox335oboeAs most oboists know, the winter months can be grueling on our reeds and instruments - especially for those of us who live in cold, dry regions.  While there is no real 'preventative' measure to keep a wood oboe from cracking, there are things you can do to help significantly reduce the risk. Remember that wood instruments, just like anything wood (furniture, etc) are very susceptible to changes in ambient temperature, humidity, etc, and it's best to know how to help regulate these things in order to keep your instruments (and reeds!) happy through the winter!

First and foremost - never blow warm air into a cold instrument!  While this seems obvious, it should always be reiterated.  With hectic schedules and running from classes to rehearsals, gigs, and the like - there may seem like we don't have time to warm up the oboe before playing, but it is a crucial part of instrument care.  Always make the time, even if you have to miss the first few notes of the rehearsal or your second oboist has to give the tuning note.  The main culprit behind cracking is taking a cold instrument from its case and forcing warm, moist air through it.  This stresses the wood and does not give it sufficient time to acclimate to the room temperature.  The moisture then is able to get into the wood from the inside of the bore and force its way through the grains and cause a variety of cracks ranging from surface cracks to major cracks which require pins and tone-hole inserts.  The best way to warm-up the instrument is to hold it between your hands or place the joints underneath your arms. Anything you can do to bring the wood of the instrument up to an acceptable temperature to play.  During the winter months if you have to ship an instrument anywhere for repairs or especially instrument trials -  allow the instrument(s) to sit, cases open, in a warm room for at least 24 hours before attempting to play them.  Allow the instruments to reach the temperature of the room before playing them.
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Choosing the Right Oboe: Best Oboe Brands

Choosing your oboe is a very personal experience with many things to consider along the way. The material from which the oboe is made, the age of the instrument, its mechanical condition, your playing environment, frequency of use, price, resale value, your level of accomplishment just to name a few! While selecting an oboe may seem like a daunting task, remember that our staff of highly trained oboe specialists is always here with an oboe buyer’s guide to help you through any questions you may have.

Whether you're a professional, an aspiring professional, a college student purchasing your first professional oboe, or the parent of an aspiring oboist, we hope that the following information will serve as a starting point for the process of selecting an oboe. Remember, oboes are just as individual as the people who play them,  and there is no 'right' or 'wrong' choice when it comes to selecting your instrument. If the oboe sounds good, plays well, and you feel comfortable with the purchase then gather your information and trust your own opinion; after all this is ultimately up to you! Read More...

Bulk Oboe Cane Discount - Fall 2013

We're now offering specials on our hand processed, gouged oboe cane (Gilbert gouge only) for the fall season!  Rigotti and Pisoni Gilbert gouged oboe cane is now on special - both diameters (10-10.5 & 10.5-11).  Order 25-50 pieces and save 10%, order 51-100 pieces and save 15%, and order over 100 pieces and save 20%.  Call our shop at 800.926.5587 or visit the webstore to place your order.  Take advantage of the fall savings and stock up on your gouged cane!

New Howarth Oboes and English Horns - Savings Extended!

Howarths40cFor the month of October, we're pleased to offer special savings on all new Howarth oboes and English horns!  The English made oboes have gained steady success in the United States for their velvety tone and rich sound.  New Howarths have just arrived to the shop and we're pleased to offer savings up $1,100 through the end of the month!  Contact Jeff or Steven in the Oboe Department at 800.926.5587 for current pricing, specials, and availability.

We stock the following models of Howarth Oboes and English horns:

Howarth s40c VT - intermediate, 'graduate' level instrument which is full conservatory with the exception of the split-D ring key in the right hand.  These oboes come with the 'velvet lining' in the top joint which significantly reduces the risk of cracking.  Perfect oboe for aspiring oboists and amateurs alike.

Howarth s50c VT - The first of the full conservatory level oboes by Howarth - full key work including all auxiliary trill keys.  These oboes also have the 'velvet lining' in the top joint to reduce the risk of cracking.  Perfect instrument for all levels of playing!

Howarth S5 - the thin-walled, fully professional level oboe which has full conservatory keywork.  These oboes have a rich color palette and are known for their very fluid-like sound.  These instruments are made of Grenadilla wood.

Howarth XL - the thick-walled, fully professional level oboe which has full conservatory keywork.  These oboes have come to great acclaim in the United States and can be heard in many professional orchestras around the world!  They have a characteristic full-bodied sound and great projection.  Perfect for the aspiring professionals who need a 'big' oboe sound.

Howarth S5 & XL English horns - both professional level English horns, grenadilla wood.  These English horns are stellar instruments.  The XL includes the low-Bb extension and Howarth XL bocals.

The problem with metronomes...

MetronomeThere's at least a dozen jokes about metronomes, but they can be one of the most helpful tools for a musician to play with technical and rhythmical accuracy. There's more to using a metronome than just setting the metronome to performance tempo and attempting to keep up. Here are some strategies for using  metronome more effectively.

1. Start way slower than you think you need to. You'll clean up your fingering and embouchure technique greatly if you practice at VERY slow and controlled speeds. To make sure you're not speeding up, lock that metronome at a subdivided tempo and stay with it.

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