General Information

The Instruments
All instruments are supplied with a fingering chart, one reed and a sturdy case. Reedmaking instructions are included, and additional reeds can be supplied at extra cost. The instruments have an oil finish, and the bores are sealed to resist moisture damage. Shawms are made of big-leaf maple. Oboes are made of sugar maple. Curtals and bassoons are made of silver maple or big-leaf maple. Wind instruments are most likely to require minor adjustments in the first year, and may be returned for such work, which will be performed for a nominal charge.

Some of my older instruments may benefit from an upgrade operation performed in my shop. These upgrades involve minor items such as a new staple, or in some cases, substantial alterations. Upgradeable instruments include: Treble shawms, serial numbers 9531 and earlier; alto shawms, serial numbers 504 and earlier; and tenor shawms, serial numbers 404 and earlier.

How to

Waiting list
A ten percent deposit will secure your place on the waiting list. You will be notified when the instrument has been completed and is ready for delivery. For institutional customers, a purchase order will be accepted in lieu of a deposit.

Domestic customers may pay by personal check, cashier's check or money order. Foreign customers have several options:
1. International Postal Money Order in U.S. dollars. Available from your Post Office.
2. Check or draft in U.S. dollars drawn on a U.S. bank. Available from your bank or bureau de change.
3. U.S. dollar traveler's cheques. Make sure that these are properly countersigned.
Checks, drafts or money orders should be made payable to Robert H. Cronin.
4. Western Union money transfer.

Wire transfers are possible. Please write for instructions.

Instruments must be paid for in full before they can be shipped. If the instrument is unsatisfactory in any way, it may be returned within one month of receipt for a full refund (excluding shipping charges), provided it has not been altered or mistreated.

Shipping and Handling
Where possible, instruments are shipped, fully insured, by United Parcel Service. I will try to accommodate special shipping instructions, but please do not ask to have instruments undervalued to avoid customs charges.


Treble Shawms
Alto Shawms
Tenor Shawms
Tenor Oboes
Baritone Oboes
Bass Curtals
Baroque Bassoons
Classical Bassoons

* Please contact my successor, Rufus
 Acosta at

Quick delivery    
Used in stock
Quick delivery
Quick delivery

        Asked Questions

Q: Why do you make treble and alto shawms in D and G instead of C and F?
A: The quick answer is because that's the way they were made in the 16th century, but the real reason lies in the sound. One of the reasons we play 16th century music on shawms and sackbuts, is to recreate the original sounds. Remember that the pitch in the Renaissance was generally around A-460, about a half step above modern pitch. Remember also that the use of shawms in D and G usually requires the players to transpose up a step, both for reasons of range and to avoid the F-naturals on the treble shawm and the B-flats on the alto. So, if you play without transposing on C and F shawms, the music will sound a minor third lower than it did originally. This represents a significant difference in tone color. Any difficulties relating to the transposition are very minor.

Q: Why don't you make a bass shawm?
A: I would like to, but I don't own a lathe big enough to do the job. Fortunately, the bass curtal makes a very good substitute in the shawm band, and it's a much more flexible and versatile instrument.

Q: What kinds of wood do you use?
A: I use bigleaf maple for the shawms, because they have very thick walls. It is rather soft, but makes a very light instrument that is comfortable to hold. I also use bigleaf maple and sometimes silver maple for bassoons and curtals, again so that these large instruments will not be too heavy. The tenor and baritone oboes, on the other hand, have thin walls. They also have more decorative turning and finer details than the shawms and bassoons. For these reasons I use sugar maple, a harder and denser wood, for the oboes.


I would like to put in a plug for The King's Trumpetts and Shalmes, which is not only a fine shawm band, but also a publisher of excellent, performance-tested music editions for recorders, crumhorns, shawms, brass and oboe band. Write to:
The King's Trumpetts and Shalmes
1720 19th Avenue
San Francisco, CA
or e-mail the editor, David Hogan Smith at

Hans Mons has published an extensive site dedicated to the curtal or dulcian. Check it out at

Interested in baroque flutes? Simon Polak is making some very fine instruments in the Netherlands. Visit his web site at

The organization Musichicago has a comprehensive web site of interest to lovers of early music. Visit this site at

Back to Home Shawms Large Oboes Curtals & Bassoons Bocals
Free Web Hosting