Oboe Troubleshooting

Why is something happening and how do I fix it?

This is not an exhaustive list of all issues that can arise from playing the oboe.

Questions? Contact us: OboeForEveryone@gmail.com

How do I tune my oboe?

Under no circumstances will you ever pull your reed out while playing. It is not a tuning slide. The reed must ALWAYS be pushed in ALL OF THE WAY. Tuning comes from reed adjustment (for more advanced players) and from the embouchure.

Why did I suddenly go flat?

Your reed might be cracked. If you hold your reed up to a light, that can help you find where the crack is better then just looking at with the naked eye. Here's our page on reed care and signs it's time to buy a new reed.

Why am I sharp?

Are you tired from playing? The longer you play, the more tired your embouchure gets. This causes you to clamp down on your reed and close down the opening. Revisit the lesson on embouchure to review proper shape, or just take a break (we totally understand if your embouchure needs a break).

How old are your reeds? Reeds go sharp as they get old (It might be time for new reeds.  Here are some possible sources for handmade reeds. 

Why is it really hard to blow through my reed?

Your reed  might be over soaked. If you soak your reed for too long, it will feel incredibly difficult to blow through it. Think of it like blowing through a wet sock. Let your reed dry out in your reed case and play on a different reed.

Why are notes not speaking?

There could be lots of different reasons for this.

Are your bridge keys lined up?

Are your fingers covering the holes all of the way?

Are you pressing/not pressing the correct octave keys?

Are you using your half hole?

Are you accidentally pressing extra keys not needed for that note?

How is your embouchure? 

Are you using enough air?

Why is one note making a gurgling sound?

There's probably water in one of your keys. Try swabbing your oboe. 

If you can locate the key with water, using cigarette paper or paper money, slide the paper underneath your key, press down and pull the paper out. You can also try blowing the water out of your key.

It's not gurgling, but why is there a weird noise?

Is your reed pushed in all of the way? Your reed should always be pushed in all the way; do not pull it out for tuning purposes under any circumstances!

Your oboe might have gone slightly out of adjustment. DO NOT TRY ADJUSTING YOUR OBOE WITHOUT MORE EXPERIENCED HELP!