You are here:

Oboe/Breaking in vintage oboe?


I have a Loree that have been played professionally for about ten years, then only used as a spare for about five yrs, and recently purchased by me. It have had some cracks during it's first year that have been fixed, although I can see scratch-like marks under one of the cracks in the bore of the top joint (do you think that can affect the sound?)

How do you recommend me breaking it in? I have been told that I should play only short sessions (about 15mins) two times every day, and increase with 10mins every week. Then they say it should be "proberly broken in" after eight months to one year! I have to play it in orchestra projects in about six weeks, and will be playing more or less all day. Could this be too much stress for the instrument, or is it less of a problem with a used instrument - in contrary to a totally new one?

Another thing, my second octave E and F sharp is really sharp and the F in between is quite flat, along with some of the lower notes. Is this so,etching that could change after the oboe gets "back in shape" so to speak? Along with the sound, which some times feel a little tight or stuffy, will it change?

Regarding reeds, I make my reeds with a short shape, 47mm staples, tie on around 74mm and they end up being maximum  71mm, if longer they get too flat. Rc13 (sometimes rc12) shape and either loree standard brass or chiarugi staples.

Veronica, thank you for your email. Did you have the oboe evaluated by a reputable oboe repair technician prior to you finalizing your purchase? The "scratches" inside the bore underneath the crack repairs on the exterior may indicate that the oboe has cracked through to the bore. If this is indeed the case, then many of the anomalies you are asking about could be caused by bore damage. Have you had the oboe serviced? Oboes that have been sitting around need to have all the bumper corks, pads, and adjustments checked. Faulty adjustments can cause your low register issues.  It is always prudent to carefully break in an instrument that is new to you. 15-20 a session, dry and let rest is a good process for your break in. Thank you for sending your reed information along. It sounds to me that your acoustical problems are inherent to the condition of the instrument, and possible bore warping. Please let me know if you have additional questions.  


All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Hannah Selznick


I have the expertise to answer questions about all brands and models of oboes and English Horns. I will assist in providing information about the process of purchasing and selling an instrument. I know reputable oboe specialist repairmen to recommend. I give guidance on oboe and English Horn reeds. I offer guidance on maintenance and handling of oboes and English Horns and help owners troubleshoot instrument issues.


I have been an instructor of oboe and instrumental music for almost 40 years. I have taught all grade levels from preschool music to college oboe (double reed specialist)instruction. I perform with a professional symphony in the Phoenix area. I also have an active teaching studio. I love what I do, especially in regards to educating future generations of musicians.

International Double Reed Society

BS.ED (Music) University of Missouri MM in Oboe Performance University of Tulsa Post Graduate Work in Oboe at Catholic University of America

Awards and Honors
Who's Who in America

Past/Present Clients
I have public and private educational institutions as clients; as well as a national referral base of studio teachers and oboe instructors.

©2017 All rights reserved.