When and where to take your oboe to the shop; an ever growing list of great repair techs
Below is a list of over 25 experienced oboe repair techs across the USA. They have been recommended to me by professional oboists and though I have not worked with all of them they are reputable enough to be trusted. They are organized by state, and I have done my best to make sure their information is up to date. Click here to jump to the list.
Whether you need to get your oboe repaired or maintained it is important that you take it to an experienced specialist who will know how to handle the instrument with care and precision. Avoid taking your instrument to a generic band instrument shop if possible, and remember to get maintenance done on your oboe every 1-2 years.
The following are common questions my students ask about repairs:
What is the difference between oboe maintenance vs repair?
Repair- must be done by a specialist with appropriate tools. Regards stuck swabs, bent keys, or anything else that renders the oboe virtually unplayable.
Maintenance- should be done periodically to keep the oboe playing like new. This might be changing bumper or tenon corks, or changing a worn out pad. Irregular maintenance work will make repair jobs more severe and urgent.
While it can be tempting to only take your oboe to a specialist tech when something is not working at all neglect on this front will leave you compensating for a leaky oboe with your reeds or hands and your technique will suffer.
How much can I expect to pay to maintain/repair my oboe?
Repair work is charged by the hour. If you are in need of a simple swab removal it probably won’t cost very much and in case of emergency you may be fine not using a specialist. For annual maintenance I might expect to leave to the instrument in the shop for a week and pay between $100-150. If more needs to be done the cost will be greater as well.
Keep in mind the price of keeping your instrument in good condition is dwarfed by the price of a new instrument or the anxiety of playing on an instrument that is not in top condition. The cost of maintenance should be about 5% the cost of the oboe. I discuss this in my article about oboe shopping which you can read by clicking here.
How do I know if my instrument needs to be serviced?
Check the suction of the top joint by closing all the keys and covering the bottom with your palm/ thumb muscle. If there are leaks your oboe may need to be looked at by a technician.
Another simple indicator is if the joints are wobbly when you put the instrument together. Additionally, if your first octave pad starts to stick, you may blame the spring but springs are seldom to blame. More often, the pads need to be changed. If you have skin pads on the low notes, low B and Bb, for example, look for discoloration and fraying on those pads. It may be time to change other pads as well or switch to cork.
Take a look at the bumper corks between the keys, they will wear down over time and eventually have holes in them where the adjustment screws make contact,or they will have just fallen off. This will make the oboe hard to adjust and seal. There may also be keys where the action is delayed or slow; this has lots of different possible causes and a technician will be able to solve the issue.
Should I learn to do repairs on my oboe myself?
First, when in doubt: take your oboe to a specialist! There are some simple repairs that experienced players can accommodate themselves and your teacher may be able to show you some tricks to get your oboe working again in the short term. College bound musicians need to be familiar with the basics of the oboe mechanisms and be able to do simple adjustments with a screwdriver, of course ask your teacher first.
For everything else please use the list below to find a trusted oboe specialist near you.
Many people have requested that their trusted double reed repair person be added to the list, and I am happy that the responses and request volume is high. However, I will not be able to add them with out the adequate information so please fill out the form below with all the required information of the repair person and I will be happy to add them to the list.
Also sells oboe accessories and reeds
Eugene S. Gordon Woodwinds
Fine Arts Building
410 S. Michigan Ave., Ste. 709
Chicago, IL 60605
Claire Cutting/Cutting Edge Repair
firstname.lastname@example.org 1522 Greenleaf St. Suite C Evanston, IL
Midwest Musical Imports
1621 E. Hennepin Ave. Suite 100
Minneapolis, MN 55413
TOM HINIKER (MINNESOTA)
227 15th ave SE
Rochester, MN 55904
12 Lees Ave. Collingswood, NJ 08108
Deals instruments for Lorée, Yamaha, Howarth & Moennig.
New York City
Kristin Bertrand’s Woodwind Workshop
In Flushing, NY, and is easily accessed from Manhattan, LaGuardia, Long Island, and Westchester.
Kirsten Kulma and Tim Burdick
Cleveland Heights, OH 44118
Bellingham Wind Works
2405 Meridian Street
Bellingham, WA 98225