What does a routine service of an instrument include?
An annual servicing of your oboe should include: cleaning and oiling of mechanisms, clean and sealing of octave vents, replacing worn/missing bumper and tenon corks, adjusting the fit of the mechanisms and maintaining the seal of the instrument.
My oboe feels fine to me does it still need work?
If an oboe specialist has not serviced the instrument in the last year, you can count on the fact that it would benefit from some special attention. It is a good idea to have other people play your instrument from time to time. Someone else may notice a problem that you have just gotten used to over time.
It is a new instrument why should it need work?
Unfortunately new in the oboe world does not mean it plays at its optimal ability. Most manufactures have only minimal standards when it comes the finishing and final assembly of the instrument. It is almost certain that your new instrument needs to be �set up�. Not only to correct problems in the manufacturing but also to personalize the instrument so that it performs the best it can for you. Keep in mind that although some dealers �set up� the instrument, their cost for doing the work comes out of their profit and therefore they may be biased as to the amount of work that the instrument needs.
My oboe was run over by a bus, could you fix it?
Not as uncommon as you might think! Well, honestly we have not heard this one so much, but many times instruments do experience trauma. Most common is the, �I dropped or fell on my oboe and now the keys won�t move.� Keys can be straightened and stuck swabs can be removed, although your ego may be damaged forever. It is best to not attempt these repairs yourself and do have the instrument repaired by a professional.
I have never had my oboe worked on in the 20 years since I�ve owned it. If it isn�t broke don�t fix it right?
This old saying has plagued many an oboist. If you have not had your instrument worked on in 20 years than you have lost any frame of reference on how a well-adjusted instrument performs. Most definitely that instrument needs work and probably a lot of it.
My oboe moves around a lot in the case, is that a bad thing?
The instrument case is the first line of protection your instrument has from the elements and bumps and knocks. If the instrument moves around a lot in the case it will never maintain a good adjustment.
How soon before an audition/major performance should I have work done to my instrument?
Don�t wait until the last minute. By then you have most likely compensated for any problems in the instrument with your reeds. Then when you do get the instrument sealed up you made not like your reed box very much. If possible have your instrument serviced about 4 weeks before that audition of major performance, so you have time to get reacquainted with your instrument.
How do I tell if the problem is my reed or the instrument or just me needing to practice?
It is important to keep a frame of reference with regard to how a well-adjusted and sealing instrument performs. Try as many instruments as you can and have other people try yours. Have your instrument adjusted every 4-6 months. If you think there is something wrong with your instrument, then there probably is.
Should I learn to do repairs myself?
Many oboists try to maintain their instrument by themselves. Although the average person can perform some of the necessary procedures, keep in mind that what you may do once a year an expert does everyday. We have tested our techniques over thousands of instruments and our well versed in many makes and models of oboes.
It is important for you to understand the basic screw adjustments on the oboe. These adjustment screws are a unique aspect of the oboe family. We have provided an adjustment guide for the basic adjustments. Please download this guide and keep with your oboe.