Noelle Drewes specializes in repairing oboes and English horns.

Noelle Drewes specializes in repairing oboes and English horns.


Does your oboe or English horn need repair or maintenance? Contact Noelle by email at ndrewes@gmail.com or call/text her cell at 614.202.7088 to schedule an appointment.

Her home workshop is located in Bowie, MD, just outside of Washington, DC.

All clients are seen by appointment only. Appointments are only offered during business hours, Tuesday through Friday, and availability varies week to week.

* The shop entrance is located on the garage side of the house. When you arrive, please park on the street, walk up the driveway and knock on the side door.

Repair Services Provided

Every repair project is unique. Once Noelle has been able to take a look at the instrument in person, she will provide you with an initial estimate on cost and turnaround time. These estimates are free and the work won't begin until we agree on a plan.

Most appointments fall into one of two categories...

1. While You Wait

Quick projects (less than an hour of work) can be scheduled to be done while you wait. Fees typically range from $20 to $100.

Example: a customer needs a tenon cork replacement or the octave vents cleaned, in addition to the play test and adjustment.

2. Drop-Off

More involved projects (more than an hour of work) will need to be dropped off at the shop and picked up later. Fees can range anywhere from $75 to $800. These projects can take anywhere from a day to a couple weeks to complete. Noelle juggles a busy schedule, but works tirelessly to keep the turnaround time for drop-off repairs as short as possible.

Examples: a complete disassemble, clean & polish, or full re-pads, overhauls, crack repairs, tone hole replacements, etc.

Note that every instrument that comes through Noelle's Workshop, whether for repair/maintenance or as an instrument for sale/consignment, is play-tested and properly adjusted by Noelle to ensure an optimal set up.

* If you have an emergency, and/or cannot be without an oboe during the time your instrument is being worked on, Noelle has an oboe available for a small rental fee.

Lee Lachman Woodwind Services 

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Noelle was incredibly fortunate to begin her repair training as an apprentice to the legendary woodwind master Lee Lachman, at Lee Lachman's Woodwind Services in College Park, MD, starting in 2012. She went on to work at Lee's for nearly a decade as their double reed repair specialist, while additionally working on flutes, saxophones, and bass clarinets as needed.

Shop clients included members of the National Symphony Orchestra, Kennedy Center Opera Orchestra, and the DC premier military bands, as well as prominent freelance classical and jazz artists, show players, and countless schools, students and hobbyists throughout the region.

Oboe Maintenance Information

It is important to swab out your oboe after every playing session. I recommend a long silk swab with tail. To use it, turn the oboe upside down and drop the weight through the bell and pull it out through the reed socket. Always check for knots in the swab before use to prevent it from getting stuck in the bore. If it ever does get stuck, simply pull the tail back out the bell. And if it is ever really stuck, do not keep pulling! Instead, take it in to a repair shop where it can easily be extracted. Also, it is important to periodically clean your swab or replace it with a new swab.

Oboes have many adjustment screws that need to be precisely set, and periodically checked. If your oboe suddenly feels stuffy, or certain notes are harder to play, have your teacher or repair specailist check the adjustment of your instrument. You should not have to squeeze to get the low notes to speak.

To keep your instrument in good condition, it is recommended to have a yearly check-up. Annual upkeep should help you avoid emergencies as well as a costly overhaul down the road.

Wooden instruments require special care.  New instruments can be prone to cracking. It is ideal to brake them in slowly and gradually, and to swab out frequently. It will take at least a month of diligent conditioning before your new oboe is truly ready to go. It is very important that you follow certain guidelines to prevent cracks and keep your oboe in good working condition: