Instrument Repair

At Charles Double Reeds, our commitment is not to just repair your instrument but to ensure your complete satisfaction. Uncover the unique and best personality of your oboe, oboe d’Amore, English horn, bassoon, or contrabassoon with our dedicated repair services.

Click below to view an example of our craftsmanship, showcasing one aspect of the rebuilding of a 60-year-old Mollenhauer contrabassoon.

Quality Craftsmanship:
We utilize the highest quality replacement parts and materials in every repair. Whenever possible, we incorporate original parts from the manufacturer. From the use of premium bladder skin pads, soft white kid pads, to cross-grain cut cork pads, our attention to detail is unparalleled. We even employ up to four different types of pad glue to align with the original makers’ intentions. Our extensive inventory ensures swift and reliable service.

All Inclusive Guarantee:
Rest easy with our commitment to the highest professional standards. We proactively address underlying issues for three months post-repair, addressing any concerns at no additional repair charge. Our goal is to minimize additional costs even beyond this period.

Versatility in Service:
We bring expertise with all major and obscure brands of double reed instruments. From rare antiques to those of questionable quality, we provide comprehensive guidance on your repair options. Send us photos in advance for a preliminary assessment. We don’t undertake repairs  beyond an instrument’s functional limit.

Transparent Estimates:
Brian Charles personally provides informal repair estimates based on photos or descriptions. Formal, guaranteed estimates are given only with the instrument present. We offer accurate estimates and ensure that costs stay within 10% of formal estimates.

Efficient Turnaround:
The time required for repairs varies based on the extent of the work. Simple repairs may take just a few days, while extensive ones will be quoted once the instrument is in our hands. Our turnaround times are tailored to the nature of the work needed.

Service Tiers:
These broad options are offered to give you an idea of what might be needed.

  • Playing Condition (basic yearly maintenance)
    Average cost: $160 – $320.
    The wood and keywork are hand dusted. The exterior wood is cleaned and the keywork is oiled. Pads, key corks, tenon corks, and parts are replaced if necessary at additional cost. The instrument is mechanically adjusted and play tested. Basic case cleaning is included.
  • Clean/Oil/Adjust
    Average cost: $400 (student instruments) $600 (intermediate instruments) $800 (pro level instruments).
    The metalwork is disassembled as needed, hand cleaned, buffed and oiled. The exterior wood is hand cleaned. The instrument is reassembled, mechanically adjusted and play tested. This level of service includes up to 2 pad replacements. Extra replacements and parts are charged only if needed. Basic case cleaning is included. If unexpected issues are found, they will be fully explained, options given, and we won’t proceed without your approval.
  • Overhaul (Complete Mechanical Restoration)
    Average cost: $800 (student instruments) $800 – $1,200 (intermediate instruments) $1,200 – $1,800 (pro level instruments).
    All removable metal work is fully disassembled, degreased, ultrasonically cleaned, reoiled, and hand buffed. All posts and attached metal work are degreased, hand cleaned, reoiled, and hand buffed. All cork and leather pads are replaced. All tenon corks, key corks, springs, and bumper felts are replaced. The exterior of the wood body is hand cleaned and polished. The interior bore wood is cleaned and oiled with a possible combination of sweet almond oil, walnut oil, vitamin E oil, and/or other oils as appropriate. Finish defects are examined and light repair is included. All of the tone holes are examined and cleaned. Any tuning material in the tone holes is replaced if it’s failing. If needed, light repair of the tone holes is included. The instrument is reassembled and fully mechanically adjusted for smooth operation, balanced feel, and correct response. Any intonation or tone anomalies are attended to as possible. I extensively play test your instrument. Basic case cleaning is included. If any unexpected issues are found, they will be fully explained, options given and we won’t proceed without your approval.

Additional Services:
Tenon cork replacement – $30 per tenon
Crack repair – $100 and up based on severity
Single cork/skin pad replacement – $15 and up
Straighten/solder bent rods or keys – $50 and up

These are estimates. Instruments will be visually inspected in person before an exact quote of costs. If additional service is warranted, the price will vary depending on which services or parts are needed. We will  discuss this with you and we won’t proceed without your approval

Meet Brian Charles:
Brian Charles, our founder, owner, appraiser, and repair tech, brings over 40 years of experience to Charles Double Reeds. Brian is an esteemed repair tech and advanced, conservatory-trained double reed player. He has worked with professionals, students, and teachers across the US. His memberships in IDRS and NAPBIRT, along with extensive coursework and workshops, attest to his commitment to excellence.
Brian started his repair training at Ponte Music Company in NYC. He attended Manhattan and Juilliard Schools of Music. Among his clients are members of major orchestras, doublers, professionals, students, and teachers throughout the US. He has presented workshops on double reed repair and double reed reedmaking throughout the country and overseas. Brian is available for workshops.

Contact Us:
For inquiries or to schedule a repair, reach out to Brian Charles at or call (603) 356-9890

Here’s a helpful guide on efficiently packing your instrument for shipping:

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