Oboe Care & Maintenance
Grease tenon corks with cork grease before assembly so that they work freely. Dry, tight corks may cause bent keys or broken tenons during assembly. Grasp the upper joint with the left hand near the bottom and the lower joint with the right hand near the bottom and carefully push the two joints together with a slight back and forth twisting motion. Line up the bridge keys carefully to avoid meshing them together and bending them. Grasp the lower joint near the bottom and attach the bell. If the bell has a key mechanism, be careful to line up the bell's key mechanism with that of the lower joint and avoid bending them. Insert the reed into the receiver at the top of the oboe holding it by the cork. NOTE: The oboe should NEVER be stood upright on its bell on the floor or any other surface! It will easily fall in that position resulting in very serious consequences.
The inside of the oboe should be cleaned after playing with feathers or an oboe cleaning swab. The reed should be stored in a vented case in order to allow it to dry. Note: Chewing gum, soft drinks, and other foods containing sugar are very harmful to oboe pads. Avoid these things whenever possible before playing or rinse your mouth thoroughly before playing the instrument.
Regular maintenance of the oboe will go a long way toward avoiding unnecessary repair bills.
RECOMMENDED ACCESSORY ITEMS: Swab, cleaning/dusting brush, cork grease, key oil, polishing cloth, bore oil (for wooden oboes only) OPTIONAL: pad treatment product such as "no-stick."
ONCE A MONTH (or as needed): Thoroughly polish the keys of the oboe with a treated polishing cloth. Commercial liquid, powder or paste polishes should be avoided, as they can easily get into the mechanisms and pads of the instrument. Remove greasy substance inside exposed tone holes with cleaning brush. Tone holes covered by keys will not accumulate this substance.
EVERY 3 MONTHS: Oil all mechanisms on the oboe using key oil and a needle. Before oiling, use the cleaning and dusting brushes to remove as much dust and dirt as possible from under the key mechanisms on the oboe. Then put several drops of key oil into the cap of the key oil bottle or other suitable container. Starting at the top of the oboe and working down, put one drop of oil into the space at the end of each key rod and between all moveable keys that share the same rod using the needle dipped into the key oil. Key rods are attached to posts, each of which has a ball shaped top. Put the oil into the slit next to each post. Work the keys vigorously to circulate the oil, then wipe off any excess oil from the body and keys of the oboe.
WOODEN OBOES ONLY: Using a second swab (for this purpose only), place several drops of bore oil on the swab and run it through all sections of the oboe several times. Do not use bore oil on the outside of the instrument. This should be done twice a year (Spring and Fall) to prevent cracking of the oboe. Avoid sudden changes in temperature and humidity.
* Run water through the oboe or submerse it in water.
* Turn the adjustment screws found on some of the keys--these are regulating screws and should not be tightened or loosened by the player.
* Use materials, oils, or other products not specifically designed for use in oboe maintenance.