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plastic parts for the oboe tubes

This is it!
The only new thing about the Nissen Tube compared to what you already use, technically speaking, is this bit of plastic. The brass/nickel silver part of any tube is kept, only the cork is removed.

Watch an animation of the 'conversion' from standard tube to Nissen Tube.
Inspect the tube in Realtime 3D

Four demands has been met in the design of the plastic part:

  • all brands of conical tubes must fit inside
  • the reed, when finished, must fit tight in any oboe reed socket
  • there must be a seal at the bottom to send all air into the oboe
  • the rubber rings used must be standard items (called o-rings)

Plastic vs. hardwood or brass
If you have read the article from Alex Lubell through one of the other pages, you already know why plastic has been chosen. I have recently tried tubes made in solid brass from another 'alternative tubes' manufacturer, and like in the case with Alex Klein found them too trumpetlike, the oboe sound characteristics suffer. From my experience, a staple/tube in metal only takes out the "airiness" from the oboe sound. The delicacy of the oboe sound is lost.
As far as hardwood is concerned, it is much more expensive to purchase. It can't be manufactured to close tolerances, and it is simply not as durable as high-density plastic.

Plastic in classical music instruments turns many people off, but for this particular use it is just perfect. A small revolution in oboe tube design.

The rubber rings
There is a limit to ready-made rubber rings in the sizes required for the tubes, which at the same time allows the tube to fit in different oboes. This fact has a great impact on the design.

Unfortunately, oboes have very different reed socket diameters, so one size ring will not satisfy all 'customers'. Therefore, with each tube there are four sets of rings in different sizes.

  • The thick rings are 'carrier' rings, i.e. they are the main support for the tube.
  • The thin ring is a sealing ring, it will prevent air from going the wrong way. You only need one rings of this size.

Use the ring size that fits your oboe best. If you have a narrow socket, you start by mounting the smallest rings, if too loose you take the next size. Vice-versa for wide sockets.
The reed should fit tight in the socket, without being uncomfortably difficult to insert or remove.

Nissen Tubes set of two  tubes/staples/hülsen with rings
Two tubes, each with a set of rings

Once the rings are mounted, you will never want to change them again, unless you buy a new oboe, which has a different size of socket. In that case use some of the other rings (so keep the unused rings, they might be useful later).

Glotin/Lorée or Nissen Refit
The metal part of traditional oboe tubes from Glotin, Lorée etc. differ in length, diameter, conicity and thickness of metal. To adapt to this fact has also influenced the design quite a bit.
For the Nissen Tube I have chosen to use *only Glotin style or Lorée 47 mm tubes in brass or NS. Otherwise I would have to carry a stock of 15 different brands in various lengths and materials.

From December 2006, I use Chiarugi's Glotin style tubes instead of Glotins own. These years Glotin makes their tubes rather badly, and I find they can't be trusted - no two tubes are the same - and they are still expensive.
Chiarugi, one of the biggest tube manufacturers makes a design (no. 5) which is perfectly done and has the same dimensions as the "real" Glotin staple, or extremely close to. I would say Glotin taken to perfection. If however you still want the tubes from Glotin, it is of course possible. My advice though is: try the Chiarugi made version.

*Most other brands and lengths are also available. For orders below 10 items an additional charge may apply. Please inquire. See also Buy Tubes

If you insist on using a specific brand, and only want to try a few, it is not a problem at all. The solution is then the Nissen Refit.

The Nissen Refit is cheaper, because you send me your favorite tubes, even old ones, and I convert them to Nissen Tubes. In other words - you only pay for the plastic part and the rings, not for me purchasing tubes here in Copenhagen.

Is it expensive?
The plastic part must both adapt to a metal tube inside and the oboe reed socket and rings outside, and the whole thing is no bigger than 30 mm. This sets high demands for exact machining of the plastic parts.

Consider this though: Cork tubes are worn with time. Usually their life can be prolonged by using cigarette paper or heating the cork. But not for long. After a while it has to be discarded.
Nissen Tubes do not break apart, only the rubber rings will have to be changed, if they are worn.

They may cost twice as much as ordinary cork tubes, but they last a life time. If you fancy them, it will probably be the last tubes you'll ever buy!