Oboe/Grassi oboe


Hello Geoffrey,

I read with very great interest your answer to the previous query about a Grassi oboe. I had one in 1963, and loved it - it took me through Diplomas and Degrees - though now I realise that it was very basic keywork - not even semi automatic octaves and no F vent! At the time, it was just 'my' oboe. I reluctantly parted with it in the 1970s, and as you might say 'upgraded'. I've often thought about my old oboe since, wished I could have kept it, and imagine my amazement when one appeared on ebay; being foolishly sentimental, I made an offer and it was accepted - only to doscover from its number and the only small scratch I ever made on it, that it was indeed my own old Grassi - rather the worse for wear after 40 years in other hands, but still mine.  

After all this(!) can you tell me if the initials are J.M. or T.M.? J.M. were my initials before marriage,  and loving the oboe as I did, I always assumed that's what it was - but now, older and wiser, I'm not so sure!

Many thanks and best wishes,

Hi Jenny

Amazing to get back your old oboe after all those years. Good story!

I think that the name of Grassi was used by British importers in the 60s and 70s such as Bill Lewington and Rosehill iInstruments and also Boosey and Hawkes to source student instruments for resale during the boom years  in instrumental teaching in schools. Many of the instruments such as Howarth B model, Buisson and Lafleur were made in Italy by a couple of companies, Orsi, Santoni or Bulgheroni. Sometimes in Germany by Kohlert or in France by Cabart before 1974. These are known as stencil instruments.

Often the Italian origin was reflected in the name stamped on the bell such as your Grassi. Probably J.M. Grass Milan. Yours is likely to be from about 1965. And yes J M are the initials. I am not absolutely sure who imported them I guess it is Rosehill Instruments.

A Grassi company (Renzo Grassi) still exists in Trento as music and instrument retailers. They sell an oboe marked Grassi made for them probably by Bulgheroni who are in Como. The original oboe maker named  Grassi was in  business at the end of the 18th Century and into the 19th. His designs are copied by early oboe makers of the last century.

I do hope that you will rekindle your interest in playing this instrument and wish you well with that!

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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