Topic: exotic wood (rosewood) oboe VS. Grenadilla

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Last edited by eiler (2006-09-20 17:03:27)

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Re: exotic wood (rosewood) oboe VS. Grenadilla

I wish that manufacturers would say which kind of rosewood they use. There are at least 15 different varieties of rosewood. I have a "rosewood" Yamaha 841T. It's made of Violetwood, aka Kingwood, a variety of rosewood. It projects just fine.  Most people are of the opinion that Grenadilla does project better than the rosewoods. I think that if I were playing principal in a large orchestra I'd probably want a Grenadilla oboe. The softer rosewood does, everything else being equal, have a mellower tone. Some will say darker as well, but I think others would argue with that. I think that the differences between INDIVIDUAL oboes matters FAR MORE than whether the oboe is Grenadilla or rosewood. I personally wouldn't want to "order" an oboe but would rather try out as many individual oboes as possible, oboes that are already out there on the market.  The exception would be if I were ordering something like a Laubin or a Hiniker. BTW, Cocobolo is the heaviest of the rosewoods, so would be closest to the projection of a Grenadilla, if there is a difference, and it's GORGEOUS wood. Howarths come in Cocobolo. I have to admit that owning a drop-dead gorgeous oboe is pretty neat!

David Crispin
Crispin's Creations and Accessories
freelance oboist. Mississippi Symphony Orchestra
www.CrispinsCreations.com

Re: exotic wood (rosewood) oboe VS. Grenadilla

I agree with David regarding the characteristics of the different woods.  I used to play on a beautiful, very red rosewood Covey with gold keys.  When I was considering buying it, I thought it was way too flashy, but it was the best-sounding and easiest-to-play instrument available at the time.  It was also much lighter (physical weight) than most grenadilla oboes.  It served me well for several years.  I do believe that oboes made of grenadilla project more than those made of other woods.  Several players like rosewood instruments for chamber music.  It's interesting to note that all these woods, including grenadilla, are in the Dalbergia family.  One other note--I don't have specific data, but believe the incidence of cracking is higher for non-grenadilla oboes than for those made of grenadilla.  That Covey cracked twice (but Paul expertly repaired it both times).  My 7-year-old grenadilla Loree Royale has never cracked.

Good luck,
Ken

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