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I have a performance tonight and my oboe has magically decided to have issues. When I'm playing in the upper register, using the upper register key with my left thumb, the notes want to go down into the lower register. I've tried cleaning all the pads and looking for other sticky keys or leaks but I'm at a loss.

Anyone have any ideas as to how to fix it?

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If it's trying to play lower octave notes, then that means the register key is not working. It simply shouldn't be easy to play in the first octave with the key pressed. If the key mechanism is working, the hole might be gummed up.

  • A music teacher once recommended I insert a dollar bill into the area between the bore opening and the keypad and press down to help get rid of the gunk. I think I've seen special light weight paper (similar to what would be used in a biology lab) specifically for that purpose too. – MtWoRw Feb 1 '18 at 23:01
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The only two things that come to mind are trying a new reed, your reed may be chipped (but, if you can play in the lower register, I doubt it (worth a shot though)) or that the octave key is not lifting the pad completely away from the hole (on an oboe, you'd probably have to take it to a repair person). Other than that, there might be a more complex problem and you'll need to take it to a repair person.

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