Read online just now:

Oboes typically decline in quality after about three years (often less, depending on how much use they are put to), and most professionals buy a new one every year or two.

Really? Most professionals …?

You mean, once again, I’m different.

Okay … I really doubt most professionals replace their oboes every year or two. Who’d want to be learning a new instrument and breaking it in and all that jazz every other year anyway?

But maybe I just don’t know what it’s like to be real. I wonder.


  1. You may remember I sent you an e-mail regarding oboe buying kind of recently and I’ve been also shooting these to teachers at colleges I’m considering aplying to and it’s begun to fascinate me all the different things I’ve found that people have opinions on–and how much they can contradict each other.

    A friend of mine says her teacher buys a new oboe every year, but I don’t actually know who her teacher is. Not that I actually know a whole lot of professionals, but that’s the only other time I’ve heard of someone buying new oboes anually.

    That said, one of the people who responded me said all the students in his studio used instruments five or less years old. To maintain that would still mean buying a lot of instruments and it’s consistent with the belief that an oboe’s quality declines within a few years.

    On the other hand, a page on Peter Hurd’s web site is dedicated to oboe buying advice and he says that (at least Loree) has been using lower quality wood that hasn’t been aged as long as they’ve had to cator to more customers: the instruments are a lot more likely to crack. He also states clearly that he does not believe in “blown out” oboes that no longer play with the quality they used to. “One of the most beloved oboes in my collection is a well used Loree from 1927, now completed restored, gold plated. It has no cracks, and the wood is a dense as I have ever seen on an oboe instrument. It plays like the sweetest of dreams. I surmise that many generations of players after me will enjoy this oboe.”

    I’d be interested to know where exactly you found that. As I said, it’s all rather intriguing how strongly some people can disagree.

  2. The writer didn’t appear to be a serious oboist, so I didn’t want to post a link or anything.

    I’ve heard the 5 year thing and the 10 year thing, but I’d never heard 1 year before, and I don’t know many oboists who’d really be into doing that, but I’m not in one of the major symphony orchestras so what do I know? I have, though, been at this profession since 1974 and my instruments have served me well, and they aren’t young. (I’ve only owned a total of four oboes, IIRC.)

    Who knows what the truth is. Can’t say I really worry about it. 🙂

  3. As a PS … I say go with whatever your private instructor says to do! 😎