Introducing… The Howarth XM Oboe

A new sound for Howarth…”

Howarth; professiona; oboe; pro; xm; new; model; 2013Howarth of London are proud to introduce the Howarth XM, a prestige oboe which fulfils the demands and expectations of the world’s finest players. The Howarth XM continues the tradition of the acclaimed XL oboe, and offers a brand new sound and response.

Making an oboe is never a matter of simply repeating what you have been doing for years already, even though the essential designs of what all oboe makers are producing today were originally developed in the late 19th century. It’s as creative as playing music, there are new sound palettes to be discovered, new ways of making different parts of the mechanism,  sometimes even new materials to be used.

In our manufacturing workshops in Sussex we are fortunate to have several staff with over 30 years’ experience of making Howarth oboes, and several more with over 20 years’ experience; many are musically active as well.

Keywork Howarth OboeThe resource of these experienced musical craftsmen, together with very modern engineering equipment and software, allows us to manufacture component parts and assemble them into oboes with a very high degree of accuracy and consistency. We felt we needed to make a complimentary model to the XL, with a different kind of response and playing character for musicians, with a more continental style of set up. Having recently developed models as diverse as the Junior oboe and the Howarth-Redgate 21st century oboe, we knew we were in the best position to design such an instrument.

What was the new sound picture in our imagination? After all an oboe is an oboe, what can be made different? Making an instrument can be likened to cooking – the maker has a number of ingredients at their disposal, which can be mixed in different ways, and the results will be musically different.

Tone Hole Drilling Howarth OboeThis is not simply a matter of good or bad mixtures, rather that there are a range of different outcomes, all of which can be good, but nevertheless different from each other. The ingredients include things like the shape and size of the bore, tone hole sizes and positions, and the body thickness. These will affect the sound, the response, the projection, the stability and tuning – all things that are critical to the discerning musician – and which will in turn also be affected by the player’s own reed/staple set up. The XL model is of course only one combination of these ingredients, and the new XM model is another, producing an equally rich and flexible sound capable of the good projection essential for solo and orchestral work.

Mike Dadson Oboe Maker Howarth of LondonWe also believe there are still differences of ‘sound imagination’ across the world.  It is far from the case that the ever closer links across the globe made possible by new technology and travel have led to a homogenisation of sound,  and as makers we need to ensure that our oboes can cater to these differences in taste (back to cooking!).

The gestation for the XM Oboe is already several years long.  It is based on our medium-thickness wood body design, which is lighter than the thicker body of the XL and affects the weight and feel of the instrument in the player’s hands. Beyond that….. all we can say is that it is a secret recipe, same  ingredients, different results!

so… ‘bon appétit’ – ‘guten Appetit’ –  Enjoy!

See the Howarth XM Oboe listed on our website here

For further information please contact our Oboe Department:

Howarth of London
T: +44 (0)20 7935 2407


About Howarth of London

Woodwind Specialists - Howarth are leading suppliers of oboes, bassoons, clarinets, saxophones and flutes. Makers of fine oboes, cors anglais & oboes d'amore.
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