Old Instruments


Unfortunately, oboes and clarinets do not improve with age as fine violins do. As the wood ages and goes through cycles of many seasons, it changes dimensions. Often these changes are so significant that it becomes a different instrument from the one the factory made.

The bores and toneholes become oval in shape and distorted. Years of moisture in the bore from playing can amplify these changes, and years of wear on the keys can loosen them badly. As the wood ages, the posts tend to loosen and become misaligned.

All of these problems cause older instruments to take much more time to repair. Often after all the extra work they can have a thin, sharp tone color that can make the work seem like a waste of time. Because they take so much time the cost of the repair can approach or even exceed the value of the instrument.

There are exceptions to this of course, and I know and respect many people who do not share my opinion. I will gladly take a look at your older instrument to evaluate whether it is a good candidate for restoration. Please contact me if you think you have a diamond in the rough, but expect it to cost significantly more than a newer instrument to get into shape.