This oboe benefits from having a rich warm sound generated by the resin body. The strong silver plated keywork with plateau keys makes this a reliable instrument where a more natural position can be achieved. An adjustable thumb-rest also provides added comfort to suit most hand sizes. Having full dual system keywork, including a left hand 'F', is unique on a resin bodied instrument but consequently makes the JP181 lighter than comparable wooden models.
Never ones to rest on laurels, John Packers have recently furthered their JP181 project to bring the oboe to young, (or even not-so- young) beginners at a fraction of the cost to what would normally be associated with prohibitively expensive orchestral instruments. I reviewed the first example very favourably with just a few misgivings. Those now seem to have been tidied up and ironed out - the new JP181 is greatly improved.
The padding is now much more akin to that of an intermediate instrument with white leather pads on the low notes. These will give a better seal, are less noisy and will cause less trouble over time. The cork pads are thinner and less spongy and keywork has been vastly improved. The mechanism is now much neater and stronger with sensibly placed adjusting screws that don't require a screwdriver with the width of a leprechaun's finger nail and the leverage of a pickax to adjust, as some other makers of student instruments do... The JP181 also seem to be up to pitch now where previously they were a little low.
Still the triumph of these instruments is that they really ring. The natural sound of them encourages a warm tone and the scale is even and smooth. They slur all the awkward intervals effortlessly and feel nicely stable.
More innovations can be found in a pre-JP181 form with a brand new instrument specifically designed as an introduction to the oboe for the first few terms of study. The JP081 is very light-weight and I'm told will incorporate that all-important adjustable thumb rest, so essential for little fingers and hands. Keywork is the absolute minimum but will facilitate progress up to about grade III level. Designed with the local music education service in mind, these are retailing for half the price of the JP181 and so can offer a two- for-one option to authorities for introducing the oboe to young people. Acoustically, they blow almost identically to the JP181 and in fact, one very respected teacher who tried the example I had to review, thought it made a slightly better sound!
Exciting innovations then at the cutting edge of modern instrument manufacturing technology from John Packers. It is so refreshing to find a company who are really willing to listen to the professional players and then act upon their advice, and the improved results should keep this line at the forefront of instruments of this price range - surely the first choice for students and educational authorities alike.
The hard case is compact and comes with a pocketed case cover in order to store small accessories. A shoulder strap is also provided for ease of transportation and comfort. Also included is a pull-through and cork grease in order to maintain the oboe.