Do we have any oboe experts here?

My mom is thinking of selling her oboe (don’t ask why she even has one, I have no idea - she played flute and piccolo).
Anyway, the information she has is nice but since we know nothing about oboes, it doesn’t really direct us anywhere and when I search on LeBlanc it just talks about clarinets.
Here is the info she has from the oboe itself:

On the bell it says G Noblet Paris (in an oval with a lyre above it). Under the oval is something indecipherable.

It says 695 (which is the serial number according to her purchase info) on all 3 parts.

The middle section says Made in France

The purchase info says:

Leblanc, all grenadilla wood construction. SN 695.

Repaired (pinned) crack in upper joint, done very well and barely noticeable. No other chips or cracks.

Range is to low B-flat on the bell key.

Woodwind shop tested and adjusted and is in great playing condition, no work is needed (this was 10 years ago. She has never used it, I don’t know if disuse would cause a problem but I’m pretty sure it has been sitting in its case in a closet for most or all of those 10 years).

Silver keys look beautiful and have no silver wear.

Pads, springs, and cork in excellent condition (again, after 10 years of no use, would this be the case still).

Original vintage LeBlanc case (not sure about this since the tag from the music shop is in New Mexico and that’s the only mark anywhere on the case.

Case isn’t in the best condition inside.
So, this information all comes from the eBay seller she bought it from and while it sounds complete, neither of us knows anything about oboes so we don’t know if he was telling the truth about it being such a great thing. He also mentioned that Noblet in an oval on the bell is LeBlanc’s symbol for the model 40 - the best model (but for clarinets). Again, I have no clue if this is correct or if it even pertains to oboes.

She paid $450 10 years ago and she would like to know if she has any chance of making her money back by selling it and where would be the best place to sell it (is there a site dedicated to selling oboes? A music shop? craigslist?)
Any information you have (including history of the manufacturer because I’m a nerd and I like history) would be much appreciated.

<snip>“Leblanc, all grenadilla wood construction.”
The finest clarinets are made from Grenadilla wood. (Buffet, for example)
And Leblanc has a reputation for quality instruments.
That’s about all I can add right now.

Jake, professional clarinet player.


I have to leave RIGHT NOW for rehearsal, but when I come back I will give you places to sell on consignment, suggestions for pre-sale fixing, a site for some history… lots of stuff!!

unless someone beats me to it while I am away playing my own oboe.

<off topic, but since help is on the way…>
I just had to pop in and comment…when I saw the original question, I thought “Of course. This is The Dope. We have an expert for everything!”…and POOF! **obeolady **shows up.


Honestly I was astonished that it took this long to have an expert pop in! I’m glad to know we have an oboelady. This place feels complete now. :smiley:

Frankly, if I had time and any musical talent, I’d like to learn to play oboe because I love the sound but right now it’s more important that I learn chemistry and unlike my mother, father, and uncle, I have no musical genius (or chemical genius).

Moved to Cafe Society.

General Questions Moderator

Couple of things right off the bat:
I have my own favorite places that I get supplies from, and I would love to give you a list of sites to look at (that sell used oboes) but I am not sure what the guidelines are for suggesting specific stores. Can anyone help me out here?

 Your oboe is not a "brand name" oboe.  It's not even an "off brand name" oboe.  Clarinets are not the same as oboes, even they are sometimes confused for each other (mostly by people looking at the oboe and saying "I know what that is!  It's a clarinet!").  Oboes are horribly complicated little beasties.

 Sitting in a closet does not help the wood, or the glue that holds the pads on, or the oil in the rods that hold the keys on.  The changing humidity (we try to keep it fairly even by putting in humidifiers) means that the posts which are screwed into the wood could get wobbly as the wood shrinks and expands.

 On the other hand, where you live may or may not help.  I live in the great southwest desert and leaving an instrument alone in the closet would mean a major overhaul.  Your climate may be more forgiving.

 Most of us will not let the local shop work on our oboes (horribly complicated little beasties, indeed!) because most local repair people, while they work hard at their craft, do not play oboe themselves, and so they do not really know if the instrument is working well enough.  I had a friend who used to get the odd oboe to work on, and when he thought it was in great shape he would bring it to a rehearsal for me to try.  Once I played for a few minutes I would tell him what still needed fixing and off he would go again.  This is not to put repair people down - I wish I could do what they do! - but just to reiterate that oboes are darned hard to get right.  They are full of little adjusting screws, and everything interacts with other keys.  Fixing a flute is easy in comparison.

So, what do we have to work with? An instrument which seems to have been - at least 10 years ago - a good student model instrument in good repair. What would it be worth right now? I don’t know. I have nothing to compare your oboe to. I looked at a site which always has used oboes for sale, and found one which I consider to be a pretty bottom line oboe for $800. Could you get your original price back? Probably, if the oboe is really still in good condition. The original crack is not a problem. It’s quite common, and a good repair person can make the oboe airtight again. If sitting in the closet caused more (tiny) cracks, it may not be possible to make it airtight again.

My mind is beginning to wander… I gotta go to bed before I fall asleep on the keyboard… but I would like to know what part of the country you live in. Then I can give you some advice on getting that poor lonely oboe out of the closet (carefully) and where to go for help finding out its worth and maybe a place that will sell it on consignment for you.

Poor lonely oboe! I am glad that it will be getting out of its lonely closet.

“Who was that oboe I saw you with last night?”

“That was no oboe, that was my fife!”

Hey, where else am I going to use that old joke?

oboelady! And perhaps Jake! Please recommend some pieces that feature slow, wandering oboe lines.

I’ve got a fever, and the only cure is some melancholy oboe!

Here’s a start, at least.

Gabriel’s Oboe from The Mission (great movie!). Absolutely beautiful!!!

Ok, so I should have been able to figure out on my own what part of the country you are in.

I feel better about cracking and general drying out of wood and glue since you are in a pretty high humidity area. I would still try to have someone who can play the instrument play it for a bit to see how it acts. No more than 15 minutes or so, though, because it needs to be broken in again. But in that time, you should know if it needs adjusting or if a pad will fall out while it is being played.

Once you know that it will play, I would try a coupla things:
Contact the local high schools to see if a student is after an oboe.
Call the local wind shops and see if they will do an appraisal for you. I have no idea what this oboe would be worth, and have not seen one in action. Even a student model costs several hundreds of dollars these days, though. They might sell it on commission for you, too…?
You can always sell it on ebay, but most people know not to buy complicated instruments without trying them out first, and that entails sending it for trial and setting up some process for neither party getting ripped off.
I don’t want to get your hopes up for getting a lot of money for this oboe - but new students often get oboes that will only last for a few years until they need a good one. Parents love to spend only a few hundred dollars instead of the thousands it will cost for a good oboe when the student falls in love with the oboe sound and starts wanting to really play well. My beginning oboe was really (I’m trying to be nice here - it was my first oboe) not very good, but it lasted for a few years until it was obvious that I was going to continue to play and needed a good one. But this oboe of yours is maybe a good one for someone like your mom who thought she was going to play and then ended up realizing that oboe was not for her!

There are a LOT of ex-oboe players out there.