Does your woodwind instrument need maintenance or repair?

Call Noelle at Lee Lachman's Woodwind Services to set up an appointment. Tues-Fri, 10-4.


Phone: 301-345-3389

Noelle specializes in providing maintenance and repair for double reed instruments: oboes, English horns, and bassoons. The shop performs everything from adjustments, padwork, and cork replacement, to balancing spring tension, cleaning, and custom key modifications, as well as crack pinning and tone hole replacements for all families of woodwind instruments.

Noelle began her training as a repair technician assistant to Lee Lachman in 2012. She has continured to work at Lee Lachman's Woodwind Services since, and currently serves as the double reed repair specialist at the shop. Her clients include 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. She has additionally appeared as a guest repair specialist at double reed events at the University of Maryland and Shenandoah Conservatory.

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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: