I used to play the oboe. For reasons that will soon be made clear, I recently took a look around to see what a decent intermediate oboe — i.e., a low-end professional instrument or high-end student instrument with all the keys — would cost. The last time I heard a quote was in the mid-1980s; things have gotten much more expensive since. A plastic oboe fulfilling these criteria runs about $4,000. A top-end instrument — grenadilla wood bore, silver keys — runs $5,000 to $7,000. About four times what I thought.

It’ll be a while before I oboe up, I think. Meanwhile, some links.

Oboe manufacturers: Covey; Fox (they also do bassoons and English horns); F. Lorée (they also do weird oboes, i.e., oboes d’amore, piccolo oboes and bass oboes).

God help me, an oboe blog, with plenty of others in the sidebar to look at later.

An NPR story from 2006 about the New York Philharmonic’s new oboist, and what he goes through to make their own reeds. Yes: oboe pros make their own. It’s spooky to think that he spends as much time making reeds as he does practicing.