A Contrabassoon has entered my life recently and I am very excited to start using it. This instrument was owned by Steve Braunstein. He ordered it from Heckel while he was playing with the Toronto symphony, it was finished 1984. Over the summer I trialled 2 other Heckel contras and this instrument was by far the standout. I am very lucky to be the custodian of this horn for a few years.

I get asked about the Contraforte vs. Contrabassoon and I mostly stay quiet. But I think that the entire repertoire is accessible to either instrument. I would like to experiment with using both instruments this season, choosing the instrument that fits the character of the piece.

Heckel 5751

This week I had Heckel 5751 on trial from RDG woodwinds. This bassoon was made in 1922 and has been modernized with a high D key, E key, rollers, and tone hole inserts. The stain and lacquer is in amazing condition, maybe part of the restoration.

Heckel 5751

The new keys have been added in a tasteful way and the key casts match the originals. However this bassoon still has the original ivory bell which makes it difficult to travel with.

Heckel 5751

This bassoon has a lovely sparkling voice and is still available at RDG

Heckel 5751
Heckel 5751

Heckel 5751

Heckel 5751

I have started to develop a bit of a bassoon collection and I don’t get to play some of them.


Bassoon Collection

My high school bassoon is usually rented out to students, but it has been sitting in my closet for the last year. So I’m going to sell it! It’s up on eBay if anyone is interested. This is a King Symphony Bassoon made by Schreiber in Germany and stamped by King, the America instrument manufacturer.

King Symphony Bassoon

Heckel Bassoon


A few months ago I had my first correspondence with Heckel. I am looking for my next bassoon and I have play tested a few new Heckels that I really liked. After emailing back and forth to find out what options were possible, they sent me a mail packet with an order form. I thought that I knew the bassoon options that I wanted, but seeing all of the options layer out on a list was overwhelming!

I am going over the new instrument piece by piece to figure out how it will all look together. I don’t EVER want to buy another instrument after this so I need it to have everything on it that I would need for the rest of my career. Like how high E was a standard key for a while but in the past few years the high F key is becoming normal.  I haven been able to make decisions about most things, except for the bell options. The French and Italian bells look great and then the gentleman vs. regular bell lengths…

Italian Bell Gentleman (current favorite)

Italian Bell Heckel

German Bell Gentleman

German Bell Heckel

French Bell Regular

French Bell Heckel