Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Student Oboes – synthetic or wood?
A. The quality of an instrument is going to be largely dependent on the quality of the brand itself.  No matter wood or synthetic, a higher quality company is going to make a better instrument. Carlos Coelho sells and repairs only the highest quality instruments in his Oboe shop and the Lorée Oboe is the top selling brand in his Oboe shop. It is important to bear in mind that wood instruments are susceptible to cracking, where synthetic material will not crack due to changes in weather, temperature and humidity, etc.

Q. How long does it take to repair, service or adjust my Oboe or English Horn?
A. Each repair or service is unique and the time taken is dependent on the type of job. Some tasks take several minutes, whilst others such as a crack repair with inserts will take longer and need multiple stages and hours of work. Overhaul of an instrument will also require several hours of work and will need to be scheduled in advance. Please contact our Oboe shop to make an appointment.

Q. How often does my Oboe or English Horn need routine maintenance?
A. We recommend routine maintenance be performed annually. For professionals, students and other Oboists playing their Oboes or English Horns for several hours each day, we highly recommend maintenance every 6 months. We encourage you to book a late spring/summer appointment by calling our Oboe shop to get your Oboe/English Horn in top condition, when we can usually offer prompt turn around without the time constraints we experience in the fall and winter season as a result of urgent warranty and emergency repairs.

Q. What is included in a routine maintenance and service?
A. A thorough check of the Oboe or English Horn including the oil check, replacing necessary bumpers (the little corks that prevent the instrument from being noisy), checking all the pads, general tuning and adjustment. We will clean and seal both octave vents (generally due to normal wear and tear, you will need to buy 2 new octave pads) and we will also clean the wood and keys.

Q. Why and how should I oil the bore of my instruments? Which oil should I use?
A. We recommend oiling the bore and the outside of your Oboe or English Horn because it will keep the wood more pliable. Oiling will also help the water flow through the instrument, preventing water from getting into the tone holes.

We highly recommend that you use only totally natural vegetable oil, which is available from reputable Oboe stores. We have our own secret formula, created by Carlos (see our accessories page). We strongly advise that you avoid any commercial bore oil which includes petroleum.

When oiling the inside bore, we recommend using a feather or an old loose running swab to leave a thin layer of oil.  Use your fingers to apply oil to the outside of the instrument.  If you are not comfortable taking the keys off your instrument to oil, you can use a Q-tip to go around the keys.

Use only the smallest amount of oil and oil only when the instrument will not be played for several hours (preferably overnight).  The wood should have a sheen when it is adequately oiled.  If it remains dull, a further application of oil may be necessary. You can find more information in our press release.

Q. Do I need a humidifier?
A. Yes! We recommend using a humidifier inside the Oboe or English Horn case. There are several types available from Oboe stores. You should avoid humidifiers that will touch parts of the instrument when the case is closed. We offer a small humistat that is suitable for most Oboe and English Horn cases. Please see our Accessories page. If you are lucky enough to have a humidifier built into your home’s heat system, then consider yourself very lucky! Also remember that air conditioners make the air drier, and a humidifier is still needed.

Q. Do you do “drop-in” repairs?
A. Always feel free to telephone or email our Oboe shop and Carlos will help if he can, but there are no guarantees. We recommend that you schedule your appointments ahead of time to be sure of receiving the attention you need. If you make an appointment, we are always happy to see you and your instrument in person!

Q. What brands of Oboe and English Horn do you service and repair?
A. Carlos repairs and services all brands of professional instruments, Lorée, Howarth, Marigaux, Bulgheroni, and Fox to name a few, and also well-made, quality brands of student instruments.  See our Repairs page for more details on our services.

Q. Do you buy used Oboes/English Horns or do you accept trade-ins?
A. We do not buy used instruments or accept trade-ins, however we will be happy to advertise your instrument for sale on our website. When you purchase a new instrument from our Oboe store, this is a free service to you as our valued customer! Otherwise, there is a modest 10% commission charge. See our Consignment Sales page for further details.

Q. How do I ship my Oboe to you?
A. When sending an Oboe or English Horn to our Oboe shop, please ship your instrument by UPS or FedEx (NOT the Post Office). Please refer to our web page on how to package your instrument. We prefer that you use only packing peanuts and avoid using layers of bubble wrap and excessive taping which takes a lot of time to undo.

Q. Can you give me an appraisal for my instrument?
A. Yes, please contact us and we will be happy to provide a valuation for you.

Q. Do you have any specific concerns or problems?
A. We’ll be happy to discuss and address any problems you may have. Email us at This is our preferred method of contact. Carlos is proud to offer personalized service and looks forward to serving you.

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