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 WWBW
Author: OboeDad 
Date:   2018-11-17 00:05

Hello all -

My daughter is considering a purchase (of an oboe!) from Woodwinds & Brasswinds. Any comments? Since they are mail order, and seem a bit impersonal, and not really oboe specialists, I wonder if the instruments are in good shape, ready-to-play?

thank you,
- Paul

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 Re: WWBW
Author: oboist2 
Date:   2018-11-17 01:44

Personally, I would be more inclined to go to a local professional oboist in the area you live in who may have instruments for sale, and can make a sound recommendation. Many stores, especially online, have one or two brands that they push, and are often cheap imported instruments of dubious quality. A good professional player and teacher has the experience to make sure that your daughter will end up with something that she will be happy with, won't limit her, and as she will need a teacher, will help foster a good relationship with that person.
What country are you in? I am sure that one of the posters on this forum will be able to make a recommendation of a good source of instruments in your area.
Best wishes to you and your daughter.

Geoff Pearce
Oboe
Sydney, Australia.

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 Re: WWBW
Author: Hotboy 
Date:   2018-11-17 03:09

As a private oboe teacher, I strongly recommend that she/you do not purchase an instrument from WWBW.

Is your daughter an oboe player already? If not, then I recommend that you do not buy an instrument until you get a private teacher for your daughter. If she already plays, then you should ask her teacher for recommendations based on her age, level of ability, and your budget. If she has no private teacher, then get a teacher first before thinking about buying an instrument.

If your daughter is an adult and spending her own money, I have to ask why she wants to buy from WWBW? The decision about which brand and model of oboe to buy is a personal decision based on playing a number of different brands and models before buying, and one cannot play on the instruments from WWBW. After deciding which brand and model the player likes, it is important to play on several instruments because each one feels slightly different.

WWBW is a good resource ONLY for schools who want to pay the lowest cost for an instrument and do not care what the instrument plays like.

In any case, the solution is the same: get a private teacher first, then get an instrument second.

If your daughter is an adult who already plays, I STILL do not recommend buying from WWBW. If you are in the US, I recommend Hannah's Oboes, who will send you trial instruments to play on before deciding. A lightly used instrument provides the best quality for the dollar because the depreciation has already happened. An instrument under five years old still feels new, and you can often get a better quality used instrument for the same price that you would pay for a lesser model new instrument.

Dane
Bay Area, California

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 Re: WWBW
Author: OboeDad 
Date:   2018-11-19 20:52

Thank you for your replies! I should have clarified that, yes, my daughter has been playing for several years, and that any purchase will be made in consultation with her teacher.

I was hoping to get opinions specifically about WWBW - they have some used oboes listed for sale. Reading between the lines, I think you have provided the info I was looking for.

Thanks again - any additional comments would also be welcome!

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 Re: WWBW
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2018-11-19 21:44

Only ever buy oboes from a reliable and reputable source - either directly from the maker or through a woodwind or better still, an oboe specialist as they will be able to determine it's all set up correctly before being offered for sale as well as having their own specialist repairers either on site or nearby, they can do any adjustments there and then if appointments are booked plus any further check-up or guarantee work.

Chris.

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 Re: WWBW
Author: OboeDad 
Date:   2018-11-19 23:57

Chris P -

I guess what I'm asking is: is WWBW a reliable and reputable source? They are not an oboe specialist, but then, neither are all the top-rank oboe manufacturers.

thank you,
- Paul

- P

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 Re: WWBW
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2018-11-20 02:29

They may sell stuff, but that doesn't mean they know much about stuff when it comes to dealing with any issues besides replacing like for like or offering a refund. For better service, only buy from specialists.

As far as I can see from wwbw.com site which isn't much besides a Vincent Bach cornet mouthpiece for $56.00 no matter what I click on, they're just another online seller. Even if they have used oboes listed (which I can't even view), is there any way of knowing these will have been serviced and set up prior to being sold or sold as seen and perhaps not playable without having any work needed doing to them? If there are any problems, have they got any in-house specialists who can they deal with them?

While it's always nice to shop around for a bargain, with oboes both new and used (and not just oboes), what may appear to be a good deal may be anything but a good deal if buying blind. And buying an oboe or any instrument is a personal thing and not like buying a telly or a fridge.

Please let me know which of the top ranking oboe makers aren't specialists.

Chris.

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 Re: WWBW
Author: OboeDad 
Date:   2018-11-20 03:03

Thanks again, Chris.

Their website is wonky. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. When I was on there recently, they had listed many Fox, Patricola, Bulgheroni instruments.

I do appreciate the points you make - that's why my original post asks about oboe specialists and expertise in repair/set-up.

I was thinking of oboe specialization when I typed "specialists," and of course many oboe makers (e.g., Marigaux, Howarth) also make clarinets, bassoons, and possibly other woodwinds. Also, Patricola, Buffet, and Fox and Yamaha, of course. Not sure about others.

thank you,
- Paul

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 Re: WWBW
Author: Hotboy 
Date:   2018-11-20 10:49

Here are the questions that spring to mind:

1) Why is your daughter buying another instrument? Is she dissatisfied with how her current instrument performs?

2) What about her current instrument is less than satisfactory? Tone? Scale? Reliability? Not having full conservatory keywork?

3) Does she not realize that buying an instrument without playing on it might be wasting money?

4) What does her teacher have to say about the process? Does he not have any concerns about a student buying an instrument sight unseen?

I'm guessing that you made an uninformed post asking about WWBW when you really have no idea about what is involved in the decision to purchase an oboe.

Buying an instrument based on price alone is a very bad decision, much like choosing a surgeon based on price alone. You may pay the lowest price, but you will be stuck with whatever you get, and that may be worse than what you already have.

Dane
Bay Area, California

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 Re: WWBW
Author: Hotboy 
Date:   2018-11-20 11:31

"is WWBW a reliable and reputable source?"

WWBW is reputable. That is, you pay money and they send you what you paid for.

WWBW is reliable. That is, you pay money and they send you what you paid for.

That begs the question "should you buy an oboe that you have not played on? My opinion is "decidedly no."

Which is better?
1) play on an instrument that you paid less for, but doesn't play like you want it.
2) play on an instument that was a few dollars more but fits your needs.

Dane
Bay Area, California

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 Re: WWBW
Author: OboeDad 
Date:   2018-11-20 19:21

Thank you all.

We would certainly not forsake thousands of dollars sight unseen. We have previously trialed oboes from more oboe-focused dealers (MCW, Woodwind Workshop, Oboe Chicago, etc.), and ended up making a selection in consultation with my daughter's teacher. I didn't post all this information previously, because I only had a small, focused question about WWBW.

I understand that WWBW does not have a nice trial policy, but they appear to allow returns for a relatively small fee.

- Has anyone had difficulty in returning an instrument to WWBW?
- Has anyone received an oboe from WWBW that was "out of adjustment" and thus could not be properly trialed? (This was actually asked in my original post, but I'm guessing no one has firsthand experience with WWBW?)

thank you,
- Paul

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 Re: WWBW
Author: mschmidt 
Date:   2018-11-20 21:44

You seem oddly fixated on WWBW. There are so many independent oboe specialists who have great reputations and great inventories: rdg woodwinds, Carlos Coelho, the Oboe Fairy, Charles Double reeds, Peter Hurd.

If you think there is something at WWBW that is too good a deal to be true, it probably is.

Mike

Middle-Aged Amateur


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 Re: WWBW
Author: Hotboy 
Date:   2018-11-20 21:56

Mike, the only reason to buy from WWBW is that you will save a few dollars compared to other vendors. I believe that it is penny-wise and pound-foolish to buy from WWBW when the return fees from trials will negate the slight discount.

Dane
Bay Area, California

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 Re: WWBW
Author: OboeDad 
Date:   2018-11-21 18:08

Mike -

I hope I'm not fixated on WWBW - although I do like the word "brasswind." :-)

Over the 9+ years that my daughter has been playing oboe, we've done trials, purchased an oboe or accessories, or had repairs performed by a number of other outfits, including some of the ones you mentioned. My daughter has also attended IDRS, where she interacted with others.

By contrast, I was unfamiliar with WWBW, so I started this thread in the hopes of hearing from someone who had first-hand experience with them.

thank you,
- Paul

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 Re: WWBW
Author: EaubeauHorn 
Date:   2018-12-29 22:02

Belatedly, my experience is not exactly what you are asking about but may be apropos. I have tried to get assistance on the phone (for something not oboe-related) and repeatedly got "assistance personnel" who knew absolutely nothing about what they were supposedly the expert about. I would not expect an oboe to be sent that had anyone having looked at it first; you at the very least would have to take it to a local expert to be adjusted and that would cost you enough to not be worth the effort. Someone who can do their own expert work might be able to get an instrument from an online source and be happy with it, but I doubt you would.

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 Re: WWBW
Author: OboeDad 
Date:   2019-01-02 19:57

Thanks, EaubeauHorn -
This is exactly the kind of first-hand feedback that I was looking for.

- Paul

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 Re: WWBW
Author: fromsfca 2017
Date:   2019-01-03 06:56

I first started buying from WWBW in the mid-90s.

At that time, they had a brick and mortar store in South Bend, or Elkhart and I was looking to replace my clarinet. They sent me 6 to try over two weeks. Their wind specialists were indeed, wind specialists: primarily graduates in music performance majoring in sax, or clarinet or flute or oboe.

I don't recall when, but it seems to be 5 plus years ago, WWBW was bought by the same conglomerate who also owned Guitar Center, Musicians Friend and perhaps other guitar oriented web sites.

Gone was the brick and mortar store. Gone was the wind specialists. Gone was the wide range of instruments and gone was anything approaching a full service orchestral/band store.

I still buy clarinet and sax reeds from them...and an occasional swab, or to replace a case...and find the majority of what they offer is more oriented to school music.

For oboes, I look to Midwest Musical Imports in Minneapolis (two guys on staff are professional oboe players), or Carlos in Indianapolis, who adjusts my Loree every year. I have never dealt with Hannah (of Hannah's oboes fame) so I have no opinion. I would also reach out to Peter at oboes.us, who has oboes he sells, though will frequently keep the best players for himself). MCW, Forrests and RDG are all oboe makers/players who sell instruments they know how to play or build (fun fact: I use to buy bassoon cane personally from Bob Gilbert 40 years ago).

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 Re: WWBW
Author: Jennetningle 
Date:   2019-01-07 00:34

I actually can speak to this exact question - shortly AFTER WWBW pulled up its roots in South Bend and became basically a warehouse with a phone room I bought a professional Bulgheroni Opera oboe from them. At that moment in time, WWBW was the only US importer for Bulgheroni, and I had played Opera oboes at several previous conventions and knew I wanted one.

It took a lot of phone calls and complexity to explain what I really wanted, which was to have ALL of the Opera Oboes in stock shipped to me so I could choose. I had to front ALL of the money for the multiple oboes, including sales tax, which meant that I had to use two or three different credit cards. I think I bumped into a trial cap, too, and ended up only able to try two oboes. And all of this took at least a week of calling and calling back.

But when I got the oboes, they were in great shape, totally playable, and I did not have trouble returning the one I didn't want. Maybe there was a restock fee?

The interaction was on the whole not good. The people in the phone room were yahoos for the most part. But I did ultimately get a great oboe out of it. If WWBW is your ONLY option for the oboe you want, as it was for me, I wouldn't fear using them. But I bet there's another, better choice.

My Two Cents

Jennet

_________________________
Jennet Ingle
<www.jennetingle.com>
<www.proneoboe.com>

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 Re: WWBW
Author: OboeDad 
Date:   2019-01-07 20:49

Jennet, fromsfca -

Thank you both. This is great information to have.

They had/have an "open box" Bulgheroni Opera listed on their website, and the price was much lower when we first saw it (something like $6K). But now the price is much higher, and it doesn't make sense to work with WWBW, given all that you've shared.

- Paul

- P

Post Edited (2019-01-08 18:11)

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 Re: WWBW
Author: EaubeauHorn 
Date:   2019-01-16 22:32

"Open box" means someone else play tested and rejected it.

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 Re: WWBW
Author: fromsfca 2017
Date:   2019-01-17 08:25

I just replaced my oboe: wwbw had nothing I was interested in, though I would have definitely tried the Opera for 6k. The list price on new ones has leaped from 7k to over 10k....and I was not able to find one used.

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