Oboe/old vs. new oboe


Hello Mr. Bridge,

I was wondering what your opinion was regarding purchasing oboes.  It's my understanding from my oboe instructor who plays in the local symphony and others that professionals buy a new oboe every 5 to 10 years.  I have read your past answers and perused various oboe websites and talk groups and discovered that many believe that older oboes, say 20 years old or older, can be very good oboes.  I realize that professionals play their oboes very intensely and this leads to the oboe perhaps wearing out...  My concern is that I want to upgrade in 2 to 3 years (I currently have a Rigoutat Delphine which is very nice but is missing a couple trill keys and the split D key), and I want to make the best investment possible in an oboe that will last 20 to 30 years because it will cost thousands of dollars, and I don't want to have to buy another one.  Thank you.


Dera Kate

The Jury is out still over how often to buy a new oboe. In the US it seems to be the practise to change quite often. Here in the UK not so much. There is always the grass is greener syndrome that affects everybody from time to time! I myself have accumulated oboes over the years because of this attitude iI am sometimes ashamed to admit although having a collection is good for me. I joke that I select the oboe according to how well it plays the reed that I have made.
Some older oboes are prized. Visit Peter Hurd's website and read what he says about older Lorees. In practise we don't buy used oboes to last for years we buy new. The problem with old oboes is that usually they don't wear well.  Much depends on how they have been used and we just don't know anything about their treatment during their lives. So my recommendation is go for a recent used obeo or a new one. The improvements made over the last ten years even have been marked. The tuning and response is better. The keywork is stronger and better made with computer guided technology. So go new girl!!!! Nora Post says would you want to cross America in a vintage car? Not really.

Go for a full pro model as you say you need, but confine your choice to the big makers perhaps and also find a dealer who will give you a choice of some examples of each brand if you can. Each oboe is different within the model range so that is important. Take someone else along who is a good player to help you. A second opinion is always helpful. Having said that make up your own mind and don't be influenced by teacher's opinions too much! Just because so and so plays an xxxxx model, does not mean it will suit you.

I am sure you will know the big makers their oboes last and last and nowadays are all very well made.

Best wishes



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Geoffrey Bridge


Professional oboist with many years experience. Former pupil of Leon Goossens. Solo artist for Arts Council of Great Britain. Freelance recitalist/broadcasting/orchestras. Former Head of woodwind teaching in Hampshire, England. Questions on repertoire, playing styles, reeds, cane selection and processing.


St Andrews University Royal College of Music, Aberdeen College of Education Licenciate of the Royal Academy of Music General Teaching Council certificate Broadcast solo recitals/performed with major symphony orchestras/Music Club recitals/writings on double reed matters

Chairman and Trustee of the British Double Reed Society International Double Reed Society Association Hautbois Francais Orchestral Manager of Southern Pro Musica Orchestra/Aberdeen Sinfonietta

Double Reed News/Australasian Double Reed Society magazine/International Double Reed Society

LRAM, Cert Ed

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