Bonna Case

I was shopping for cases after selling my Wiseman case with my Fox bassoon. The Heckel came with a Gewa case, but the tenor and long joint would rub together and was creating some wear to the varnish of the wood. The Gewa case also came with an Altieri case cover which was too loose and uncomfortable to wear. The advantage of the Gewa case is the outside pocket of the case cover was large enough to hold original parts and a folding bassoon stand.

Gewa Bassoon Case

So my first thought was to get another Wiseman case. I had enjoyed mine for many years and now Wiseman has more options for interior colors and a fiberglass version. The big hurdle was the price, which is sort of justified since its kind of on par with luxury travel luggage. Even though the tenor and long joints were stored together I never found that they moved or created damage. I didn’t even mind that the storage was limited. What bothered me was that the case was large and heavy, which made it hard to walk with for a distance.

Wiseman Bassoon Case

Some of my friends have the Bonna case and I was curious about it, I went to Forrests to look at them. What surprised me was that it was very light weight and held the bassoon securely in place. I ended up getting one to at least try for a few months, and so far I like it. The bocal storage is small pouches on the floor of the case, it conflicts with my french whisper key so I keep them in a bocal box in my bag. The tenor joint and long joint have a small amount of space between them so they don’t rub. This case doesn’t have a pouch to hold large original parts, so I use a music folder. This case is so far the easiest to use and walk with.Bonna Bassoon Case

Summer of ’69

Nicolas Lell Benavides is currently a composer in residence with the Elevate Ensemble. He recently wrote a piece titled ‘Summer of ’69’ which is a multimedia work involving projected video and chamber orchestra. This was fun to play and utilized a minimalist composition technique, by giving players short musical games that we would play when cued. This was also my first performance on my new instrument, I picked it up earlier in the week!

Franck Sonata

I finally got to perform the Franck Sonata, which I had just been practicing for fun. This was originally a violin sonata and was such a great piece that cellists began to play it as well. I am playing off of the Jules Desart edition of the Cello Sonata which works on the Contraforte just fine. The Pianist is Britton Day (who is amazing!)

Brahms Cello Sonata

Here is a recent performance of the Brahms Cello Sonata no. 1 in e minor. This was a recital at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music on October 25, 2015.

Contraforte Recital

SFCM Concert Hall

I am giving a Contraforte Recital at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music on October 25 at 8pm. This is in the main concert hall, open to the public, and free. The program will be..

Brahms Cello Sonata no. 1 e minor

Erb Red Hot Duets for two Contrabassoons

Franck Cello Sonata

Special guests: Britton Day and Shawn Jones

 

 

Making Plastic Reeds

Legere has been making some great bassoon reeds! but they left out us contra players. So this is a video on making plastic reeds from a commonly found item, a Slurpee!

Renting the Contraforte

contraforte

This contraforte is rentable! I have been so lucky in the last few years to get some great gigs but I can’t do every one of them. Many times there are enough bassoon players in the section to cover all of the parts but no one has a contra. So I rent out the contraforte on a short term basis. To rent the horn I need a few weeks notice and the player is required to come to the house for a brief lesson on assembly and maintenance. The rental is for use in California only, pricing is based on the project.

If you are interested in renting the contra just send me a message through the “connect” page

Tangential Bassoon

I was recently talking to my neighbor about what I do, and it turns out that he used to be a clarinet player. He said that he didn’t continue on to a professional level because he needed to invest so much in equipment. To be a pro clarinet player, he said, he needed to buy a whole family of pro clarinets and he just wanted to play Bb soprano clarinet. So this got me into talking about the bassoon tangents that people get into, in a professional or sub-professional way. Every bassoon player plays bassoon for a while and then there are a few different directions to go experimenting.

Probably the most responsible secondary horn is contrabassoon. This is very practical since it’s also used in the orchestra and most bassoon teachers can help with it. The only obstacle with contra is getting access to one since they are expensive and unpopular. As a student in college it’s becoming standard to take out extra loan money to finance a new instrument, but usually graduate programs are more lenient on addition loans.

contrabassoon

French Basson is mostly dead at this point. People play them out of curiosity and on a hobbyist level. I had one for many years and I was never tempted to take it to a gig instead of a Heckel system bassoon. That being said, french bassoon can be a cool thing to pull out on a recital or for chamber music. My high point was being able to play the Saint-Saens Sonate on it, but it never made it out to a recital. This scratches the itch of wanting to play a historical instrument but its also pretty easy to learn.

French Bassoon

Baroque bassoon is another route that some players go. Baroque orchestras¬†are becoming much more popular in California and New York, and so there are maybe a few more gigs for baroque players on top of regular orchestra gigs. Baroque is much more difficult to play well and isn’t as pleasing to listen to unaccompanied, so learning it can be tedious. When I have done “baroque” orchestra gigs, it usually ends up being some sort of mixed ensemble. The woodwinds and principal strings play baroque instruments, but the rest of the strings play on modern setups. I am not a baroque bassoon player but I do sometimes want to play historical literature on the authentic instruments. Baroque bassoon are also much much cheaper than modern bassoons.

Baroque Bassoon

The bassoon has recently been modernized even further with the addition of an electric pickup. With a modified bocal, players can plug into an amp and use the same filters and effects that an guitarist can use. There are so many great electric players but not so many gigs. This isn’t so much a career path as it is a way to bridge the gap and get into jazz or rock etc.

Electric Bassoon

Heckel 5751

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

Fox 601 For Sale

I am selling my Fox 601 bassoon. I am continuing to downsize my bassoon collection so that I can afford a new horn for myself. This is an amazing instrument that has been used in symphony orchestra for years. I have had this bassoon for 10 years now and it got me through the San Francisco Conservatory and many of my first gigs in San Francisco. My reason for selling this is simply that I like to change my sound every few years and I am looking for something new.

I have found that this bassoon is very flexible and change sounds with different bocals and reed shapes. I can blend with older Heckel bassoons and project for solo playing. I have been most successful with Heckel and Leitzinger bocals with Hertzberg and the Fox #2 shapes. I am selling this with 4 bocals and the Wiseman case; the horn has a little finger whisper key, A flick key to whisper bridge, Ab-Bb trill key and roller on thumb F# and Bb.

Selling for $18,500 or best offer. Feel free to send me an email through the Musical Chairs listing

Musical Chairs Fox 601

Fox 601

Fox 601
Fox 601