Hello all. It's been quite a while since my first inquiry regarding Hiniker oboes, and a lot has changed (for me) since then. I offer this brief review of my current Hiniker "situation."
I am presently the owner of two Hiniker oboes. #33, in grenadilla, is now approx. three years old. This was the first oboe made by Tom with a PET plastic sleeve in the top joint. It has 24 karat gold plated keys, and includes a "long" left C-sharp in addition to all the standard French conservatory key work (including F and B-flat resonance, 3rd octave, "Philly D," etc.). After having played Loree "ak" oboes exclusively for more than 25 years prior to receiving this horn from Tom, I will never go back. I will forgo going into detail as to why this is the case, as I would undoubtedly resort to flowery subjective terms that would still come short of expressing my love for this instrument. It has been the best oboe I have ever played... until today.
Today... I am happily in receipt of Hiniker oboe #44, in cocobolo. The first of its kind. This oboe has the PET liner (as is now standard on all of Tom's wood oboes), and also has ABS liners on all tone holes down to the F resonance vent, and on the B-flat resonance vent in the bell. All key work is identical to #33, with the addition of a screw for adjusting the height of the pad over the C vent (top joint). This oboe is truly a work of art, as Tom's extreme attention to detail has been focused on one of the most beautiful pieces of wood I have ever seen. The sound is absolutely amazing. Dark, rich, supple, complex, flexible. These terms may mean different things to different people, but to me they mean that I finally sound exactly the way I have always wanted to sound, as a "main stream" American oboist, with much less effort. The response is immediate and full throughout the range, and the scale is as even as I have ever encountered. There is a comfortable resistance which allows for extreme dynamics on both the soft and the loud end, without compromising tone or pitch.
Suffice it to say that Tom has now convinced me -- twice -- that his oboes are by far the most beautifully made, and most beautiful playing instruments available today. My recommendation to any serious American oboist would be to add yourself to his wait list before he finally decides it is too long.
I will have both instruments with me at the IDRS conference in Tempe, in case anyone is interested in a brief test run (dependent on acceptable temperature & humidity conditions).
Meanwhile, I have taken a photo of the new cocobolo Hiniker (#44), and have placed it on my website. Here is a direct link to the image:
Owner, Marzluf Reeds