Instrument Repair

Our goal is to bring out the unique and best personality of your oboe, oboe d’Amore, English horn, bassoon, or contrabassoon. Our job isn’t complete until you’re happy.

Click below to view an example of the work we do. In this case, one aspect of the rebuilding of a 60-year-old Mollenhauer contrabassoon.

Quality of the Work
We use the highest quality replacement parts and materials in the repair of your instrument. When needed, original parts from the manufacturer are used whenever possible. The highest grade bladder skin pads, soft white kid pads and cross-grain, cut cork pads are used. We employ up to four different kinds of pad glue to closely match the original makers intentions. We have an extensive inventory of replacement parts and repair materials on hand at all times.

All Work Guaranteed
We want your instrument to function well for a long time to come. We guarantee that all our repairs have been done to the highest professional standards. We attend to problems which may not be initially noticeable and we make our best effort to proactively attend to all repair issues needed.

Any problems that come up within 3 months of the repair that are linked to repairs made will be attended to at no charge. If problems arise that are not linked to the repairs done during that period, we will do our best to keep additional costs to an absolute minimum.

All Brands Serviced
We have experience with all major brands of double reed instruments and many, many obscure brands as well. We hesitate to work on instruments which appear to be beyond their functional limit of usability. If your instrument is an antique, severely damaged, or of questionable initial quality, we will explain various options, and help you choose a reasonable course of action. We recommend you send photos of your instrument to us in advance if you have any question about its suitability for renovation.

Estimated Cost
Brian Charles will personally make informal repair estimates based on photos or descriptions of repairs needed. Formal, guaranteed repair estimates will only be made with the instrument here at our shop. We give accurate estimates of repair costs and stay within 10% of those estimates.

Estimated Time Needed
Time needed can vary based on the extent of the repair and our work load. Simple repairs can take a few days. Extensive repairs will be quoted when the instrument is in our hands and can range from a week and up, depending on the nature of the work needed.

Repair Details
These are broad options to give you an idea of what you might choose.

  • Playing Condition – between $80 and $240 on average for oboes, English horns, oboes d’Amore, and bassoons.
    Wood and keywork are hand dusted, exterior wood is cleaned, keywork oiled. Pads, key corks, tenon corks and replacement parts are replaced as necessary at additional cost. Instrument is mechanically adjusted and play tested. Basic case cleaning is included.
  • Clean/Oil/Adjust – Student instrument: $400, Intermediate instrument: $500, Pro instrument: $600 (on average)
    Metal work is disassembled as needed. Metal work is hand cleaned, buffed and oiled. Exterior wood is hand cleaned. Instrument is reassembled, mechanically adjusted and play tested. Includes up to 2 pad replacements, $15 per additional pad replacement, parts as needed. Basic case cleaning is included.
  • Overhaul (Complete Mechanical Restoration)
    • Student level: oboes, oboes d’Amore, English horns,  bassoons: $600-$800
    • Intermediate level: oboes, oboes d’Amore, English horns, bassoons: $900-$1,100
    • Professional level: oboes, oboes d’Amore, English horns, bassoons: $1,100-$1,400
    • All the 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 as needed. The exterior of the wood body is hand cleaned and polished. The interior bore wood is cleaned and oiled with a combination of sweet almond oil, walnut oil, and vitamin E oil. Finish defects are examined, and light repair of the exterior finish is included. All the tone holes are examined and cleaned. Any tuning material in the tone holes is replaced if it’s failing. Light repair of tone holes is included. The instrument is reassembled and fully mechanically adjusted for quietness, balanced feel, and correct response. Any intonation or tone anomalies are attended to as possible. I then extensively play test your instrument to assure it’s in top condition. Basic case cleaning is included.

Additional Services
Tenon cork replacement – $20 per tenon
Crack repair – $50 and up based on severity and location of crack
Single cork/skin pad replacement – $15 and up
Straighten bent rod/key – $20 and up
Solder broken key – $50 and up
Cleaning and polishing – $160 per hour

These are estimates. Instruments must be visually inspected in person for an exact quote of costs. If additional service is warranted, the price will vary depending on which services or parts are needed. We discuss this with you before service is rendered.

About our technicians
Brian Charles is founder, owner, and repair tech at Charles Double Reeds. He is both an experienced and well regarded repair tech and an advanced, conservatory trained double reed player. His 40 plus years of experience working on all levels of double reed instruments started with his training at Ponte Music Company in NYC and continues through coursework, seminars and membership in professional associations. Among his clients are members of major orchestras, doublers, professionals, students, and teachers throughout the US. He is a professional member of both IDRS and NAPBIRT and has presented lectures and workshops on double reed repair throughout the country and overseas.

To inquire or schedule a repair
Phone (603) 356-9890

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