Topic: Looking for things to buy

1. Bassoon case cover for under $35 (needs to have a zipper pocket that will hold music, nothing else needed but more is better)

2. Bassoon reed case (nothing fancy, i'm a broke student so....holds between 5-10 reeds, prices depend on material and quality)

3. Custom Bassoon Stand (I hear some people make their own stands because of the extreme prices, really, get a solid metal or wood platform and connect it to some sort of wooden shaft with a screw, get a velcro wrap, and your done! the $7 bassoon stand. i'm just to lazy to make one. also the best investment for an instrument is to keep it on a stand to let it dry out well)

4. Silk Swab that goes through all 3 joints ($5ish) can be used but please wash it in hot water -0-
5. Silk Swab for bocal (same comment on #4) $3ish?

6. reed knives, used lighted plaques (that $100 one that everyone's buying is retarded. there's a reputable dealer who sells almost identical copies for $30)

7. music stand (preferably wood)

8. comfortable crutch (the fox ones are ok but not great so i'm lookin for a better one. the bassoon is a heavy instrument)

9. bassoon yoke strap (these are GREAT!)

10. balance hangers

yes, well here it is. wanna get rid of bassoon stuff, sell it to me cause i'm DEAD BROKE. being a kid going on to college is NOT nice on your wallet


PS: send me PM's


Re: Looking for things to buy


As a poor doctoral student, let me first say that I feel your pain when it comes to how much things cost.  And we get the idea that you don't have much money, as you mention it in nearly every post.

As for what you need, you seem to have some unrealistically high demands.  Beginning with the case cover...the oboe one listed for sale for $35 has no relevance to bassoon covers.  Ours are at least twice as much material.  When you factor in stitching one together, the materials, the time, and the expertise it takes to make covers, $35 is unbelievable low.  And most people sell the case covers with the case when they sell either the case/cover separately or with an instrument.  From what I've seen as I've been around, people use their covers until they're basically worn out.  If your price is firm, then you may need to consider making it yourself, or with one of your parents' help if either of them sew.

Reed cases are the same situation.  If they are as simple as you say they are to make based on a previous post of yours, consider making one.  If finances really are a problem, get a couple of plastic Fox reed cases.  Drill some ventilation holes in them.  They're pretty reliable, last a long time, and are very functional.  Other than that, check out and (I think those are the websites).  One of them, and I forget which one, has a case that holds 10 reeds for around $40.  I've never seen an overall better value than that.  But it does not use mandrel tips for holders.  That bothers some people.  But I've had a teacher and a masters bassoon colleague that have used this case and they love it.

Bassoon stands are not cheap.  The expense lies in the molds that they use to make they pieces, or the high quality but lightweight metal they use, and the craftsmanship.  There are options out there.  Research them.  If you can't afford one, then you can't afford one.  I think I've only know two or three people that had a bassoon stand while they were still in high school.  Get over it.  And keeping a bassoon on a stand long-term is not the best idea.  Look up the IDRS article about Ron Klimko leaving his bassoon together while he went skiing.  If not being played, the best place for your bassoon to be is swabbed out and placed in the case. 

Swabs are also expensive for the amount of material you get, until you look a little deeper.  You need to know how much silk to use, have an idea of the type of pull through attachment you want, and to get the nicely put together look that we all like, you need a serger, which is a special type of sewing machine, which can run upwards of $1000 if you get an industrial model.  When I was just out of high school I made a swab with some help from a woman who could sew.  I bought cotton fabric, cut it to size, attached a shoelace to which I added a small lead or aluminum weight.  I used it for a couple of years, until the threading pulled so much that it became a problem.  At that point I bought a swab.  I think I recall seeing a bocal swab for around $10, but I may be remembering that incorrectly, so I suggest you look it up.  Until then, a brush swab (called a bocal snake) can be used.  I've also run warm water through the sink, added a tiny bit of liquid soap, shaken it up alot, and then flushed my bocal.  It may not be fancy, but it will do in a pinch.  And that is the most economical alternative.

Used tools can be found occasionally.  Keep checking on the classifieds link from the forum.  Sometimes people sell used tools there.  Also check ebay.  I regularly see mandrels, including throat mandrels, for sale there.  I bought a set a couple of years ago of one regular and one throat mandrel for around $15.  For me and my level of woodworking skills, I couldn't beat that bargain.  But remember that someone has to make our tools.  That also requires expertise.  Skills on working with the metal to shape it, sharpen it, and be good enough at it to market them for a relatively competitive cost.  Same for plaques, lighted or otherwise.  The lighted ones might be great, but I've only ever seem them at conventions or on websites, and I've had one in my had for about a minute.  If even $30 is prohibitive, don't buy one.  Regular plaques get the job done too.  If you really need to see through one, get a clear one from Justin Miller.  Held up to a strong light, you can see through them enough to make do.  And those are relatively new in the last few years, so most of us have used the good old plaques.  I think Justin's clear one is around $4, and the basic Fox metal plaque I picked up at a double reed day for around $10, but they might be more ordered from a website.

If you really want a wooden music stand but can't spend that much, consider making it yourself.  Or go buy one of those portable metal fold-up stands.  Those you might even come across at garage sales.

I don't happen to care for the shape of the plastic Fox crutches either.  Contact them through their website to order a different one (wooden even), or take your chances from ebay.  The players that use crutches usually have very specific ones that they use if they're not using a basic one.  Those are not likely to be parted with.  And it really does matter about the shape of you hand and how you hold the bassoon.  New, ebay or otherwise, is likely your best bet.

Regarding neck straps and balance hangers: there are a variety of devices to use while standing.  And you either buy it sight unseen or try someone else's or while at a display.  University level teachers might have several types that you could try, but most of us buy what feels right for us, and then we occasionally move on if we find something we like better.  Finding one used is really a hit or miss game.  I think in the years that I've been looking for stuff like this, I've only seen one or two balance hangers.  One was purchased and never installed, and one was a design that make me think buying a Fox balance hanger would work better on my Fox bassoon than that one.  And it really is about have to find what works for you.

An important thing to remember is that we have all been poor college/high school students at some point in our lives.  We know what that means.  You need to remember that most of us are not independently wealthy, and we save for what we want/need, make do, or do without.  I didn't get my own bassoon stand until my sixth year of my bachelor's degree.  And I lucked into a situation.  I didn't buy my first bassoon until after I had earned my bachelor's degree.  I bought used, and got one hell of a deal on it.  But I waited, and kept a meticulous watch on ebay,, and (but the last one no longer lists instruments for sale).  I checked these websites multiple times each day.  And it was close to a year before I found a bassoon that I liked that I could afford (with help).  All of these things are nice, but you do not need all of them now. 

A bassoon case cover needs to fit your bassoon case, and it may not fit the case to a different brand.  I even had a friend who, during my masters degree, was willing to lend me his old case since mine was having problems.  His old case fit his 240, but my 201 did not fit his case.  And the nicer cover he had didn't fit my case either.  If you don't own your own bassoon, getting a case cover might work but might not.  Do you want to take that chance?

What you need right now is probably a reed case or two (and I'm very impressed with a high schooler who has more than 3 or 4 usable reeds at one time anyway), a good swab for the tenor and boot joints (silk is good but cotton will do, and there's a newer material that I like better, but I can't remember what it is), and a basic set of tools: holding mandrel, reamer (maybe), forming mandrel (maybe), plaque, pliers, brass wire (maybe), wax (if you use it), a lighter for the wax, and a knife.  The maybes are in case you do not make your own reeds yet. 

Remember that you acquire tools a little bit at a time.  Get what you need, then add what you want, including upgrading to nicer tools.  Even though you've mentioned that your teacher is in college, he or she is in a better position to know how to help you with what you need.  That includes wire and reaming.  Try not to go over his or her head with your questions.  I've done that myself a couple of times, and I've been called out on it.  And that wasn't very pleasant.  Your teacher might also have colleagues who are upgrading their tools.  Those people might be willing to give you a deal.  Get the equipment you need and want a little bit at a time.  Save for it.  Ask for some of this for Christmas and birthday gifts.  This is how most of us get/have gotten what we need.  And learn to use spellcheck. 

I hope this is food for thought.



Re: Looking for things to buy

thanks a bunch for the thorough comment! as much as i love this forum, it's pathetic in comparison to SOTW and they have much less members as far as I know.

yes, I know my prices are a little extraneous. I'm looking for garage sale junk that people have stuffed in closets and don't use, but I'm on the track for either UCLA, UC Berkeley, or some really elites like Ivy Leagues (and this is not a fantasy, I've spoken to many professors and reputable expert counselors and they say I really should be looking at these schools) If I get a UC school, a little relief on my wallet, but a private school for $40 grand a year isn't so relieving but I will pay for the excellent opportunity, not to mention my brother goes to college 2 years later -0-

I'm learning to make my own reeds (and hate to be cocky and disrespectful, but I feel I have a talent for reed making that surpasses even my teacher) yes, with saying I have a chance at schools like Princeston and talking about me being a gifted reed maker I sound like a total (insert grotesque word here) but I say these with complete honesty and try to be as humble as possible. My teacher allowed me to borrow a book on reed making and I studied the proportions and the parts and shaved down and tested some of my own store bought reeds and have made them quite finominal in comparison to my teachers reeds which are great as well. I might start a reed business one day (who knows?)

well I notice I'm veering off the point, but yes I'm so very poor right now I can't afford new pads so I'm teaching myself the mastery of repair which is actually quite difficult, but I have the support of a few experts I know.

Bassoon things are expensive because, well supply and demand of course. Not too many double reed players out there. Also, bassoon items seem to be much craftier than other instrument accessories. I've decided to make my own tools (i'm pretty handy) because the prices are a joke.

it's quite a bit sad that I'm afraid of spending money on swabs haha, but I've got to save every penny. I'm really looking for worn out junk. Like really, the case cover could have holes in it and covered in sharpie and tomato juice. As long as it's fixable and functions, I'm good.

The more I think about it, I feel like I really should start making my own bassoon items and start selling them at reasonable prices. $40 reed case HA! $15 should be considered overpriced. I checked the price of making one and it's about $5 and takes about and hour for a fully functional just as good as expensive case, and 2 hours for an aesthetically appealing version. As for a forming and holding mandrel, reamer, the total price altogether would be about $20-30. Not too bad. As for bassoon case covers it would be like $1 because nylon is cheap, but unfortunately I don't know how to make a quality zipper hmm

Thanks, you've gotten me to think differently but if anyone wants to lesson the workload, tell me and I might consider buying

So many members yet so little activity! I see posts with 300 views and 1 reply and the replies are always from the same people. I'm not bashing this forum, I love it, but please promote the double reed world! IDRS is a supposed to be the greatest communication about double reed things yet SOTW gets me an average of 10 replies per day per post.



Re: Looking for things to buy

A most interesting post/reply. KC is spot on. As he pointed out, all us have been there as the poor student starting off. I was very lucky in the purchase of my first bassoon in 1963: I had sung in a paid church choir (boys and men) and was able to save enough in three years (with other odd job income) to purchase my first horn, a new Puechner-- I played that bassoon for 37 years, before purchasing a Fox and now an old restored Heckel. When I was starting, "store bought" tools were comparatively much more expensive than now, and one did have to improvise. I would say that you should check out Justin Miller's offerings-- he has a line of very inexpensive tools (2X, I believe) that are quite serviceable. IMHO, one should not skimp on decent swabs. Again, Justin carries the Koebl micro-fiber swabs that feel like, but work much better than silk. They are not cheap, but long-term a very good investment. I wouldn't be so hard on folks not posting so much on the Forum-- aside from the pros who are quite busy playing, teaching and auditioning, many of us are quite busy with our "day job" and/or raising a family! Good luck!

David Bell
Alexandria, VA

David Bell
Alexandria, VA
amateur bassoon and contra bassoon


Re: Looking for things to buy


Looks to me like SOTW has almost 10x the membership of IDRS, not to mention that a huge chunk of the IDRS membership are oboe/English horn players who won't be able to help with bassoon-oriented postings.  In my experience the people who usually reply on the IDRS forums are knowledgeable, helpful, and go out of their way to track down information to help other members.  Given the size of the double reed community, I think the IDRS forums are a great resource.

Oh, I second the recommendation for using spellcheck.

"There are 2 means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats" - Albert Schweitzer


Re: Looking for things to buy

mpartlow wrote:

$40 reed case HA! $15 should be considered overpriced. I checked the price of making one and it's about $5 and takes about and hour for a fully functional just as good as expensive case, and 2 hours for an aesthetically appealing version.

I felt the need to chime in on this particular point.

If you think your time is worth less than $5/hr to build reed cases by all means I encourage you to throw your hat into the ring.  Once you start seeing overhead from shipping costs and money transactions (paypal, credit/debit card transactions are not free to retailers) you'll think $40 is a bargain, especially if you're renting a storehouse, paying for a website, paying 15+ full time employees a reasonable wage and benefits, computer hardware and software required to run a business in the 21st century, and quite a few other expenses I'm not listing.

More generally:

I hate to see you become someone that is constantly being ragged on by other members of the forum, but please remember, you are still very young and inexperienced compared to most of the people on this forum.  You're talking not just with other high school students and college students, but people who have had professional music careers for decades.  You have a LOT to learn about the music world and right now you're giving off the vibe that you already know everything and that the rest of the forum is somehow ignorant.  To quote a cliche statement my high school band director was so fond of: You think you know all the answers, but you haven't learned any of the right questions.

You also seem to be incredibly ambitious.  I don't want to stifle it or diminish your enthusiasm in any way, but you need to approach one thing at a time here.  The people on this forum are trying very hard to accommodate and educate you on how things are in the bassoon world and you're getting top notch advice.  While we may not be as active as the many guitar forums and the sax forum you visit, I almost never see a worthless post here, and it's all on topic for a reason: this is a Professional forum.  We're trying our best to stay polite and honest with you.

And talk to me about being poor when you're one paper away from a DMA in bassoon performance and are sitting on six figures of debt from student loans.

M.M.A., D.M.A. University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign: B.Mus. Lawrence University
Bassoon professor at University of Wisconsin Eau-Claire
Maker of the Little-Jake electric bassoon pickup and Weasel bassoon reeds

Re: Looking for things to buy

I greatly have respect for you on this forum, but truly and honestly, I do not believe I know everything. I clearly know that almost everyone in the forum is probably much more proficient at the bassoon than I am. I am extremely large on music and play the Eb clarinet, Ab clarinet, bass clarinet (occasional), alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone, baritone saxophone, bassoon, flute, piccolo, guitar, and drums. Most of the instruments are student borrows from school because I clearly can't afford all those instruments. But beyond this, I definitely do not feel I am something special. I'm not the best flutist at my school, nor clarinet, I'm not the best at any of these instruments. I just love to play so many instruments and I find that something to be respectable, but nothing to brag about.
As for reed cases and other double reeds products, honestly, look on Forrests Music or any other double reed site. They are usually European beauty cases that are made of the finest materials, but this is definitely not necessary. I'm merely preaching for the understanding of the bassoon world. I may be young, but I believe all perspectives should be seen. Often, a perspective of someone like myself may actually be much better. I'm a guy whose not old enough for a job but is the biggest lover of music you've ever met and my wallet is empty because of it. From me, you get to see someone who can't get what he wants no matter how bad he wants it. I want my own bassoon, but I know it won't happen, whether I save up or not. You mention the bassoon world, but as a multi-instrumentalist, I've learned that the bassoon world, the flute world, the saxophone world, etc. are all dangerous places to be in. Take a look at Julliard School of the Arts. One of the most respectable schools for the performing arts as well as many other forms of arts. I recently read a book by one of the directors there who told his daughter to never be a performing artist. I found it strange and unexpected, but he pleads his case well. Julliard students become conceited and self-centered with the idea that people watch performances to see them, not the music. They live in the worlds of music and don't understand that they should live in the real world with an instrument in hand, not an instrument world with the Earth in palm of their hand. The director eventually required that students take studies on the humanities, how people think, how to world works, and since then, Julliard has only grown greatly. Students are even required to play at senior homes, schools, and that sort to respect music and not themselves. I don't want to drift to far off, but I feel every man has to learn this. Even the wisest people need to learn some of the easiest tricks. Face it, we live in a world where when we jump, gravity pulls us down, when we don't drink, we thirst. Though one might not expect it, a man who plays 2 instruments gains twice the knowledge of the music world as a man who plays one. I play many and now I look back to my ebay searches for a saxophone mouthpiece. I remember me saying, "$240 for a vintage Otto Link piece, fantastic price! It's so cheap!". I look back now with a hint of shame and embarrassment. $240 is not small money. Think of it this way. Let's say you make $50 an hour on average, a considerable amount of money. That's about 5 hours of work, and that's not including taxes, putting food on the table, clothing, and other needs. The bassoon world takes it a little too far. I don't feel $25,000 for a Puchner justifies, professional quality bassoons. Honestly, if I were Bill Gates I'd get a student model and send the rest to charity or do something smart out of it. I'm not planning on making it to Carnegie Hall (excluding performing with my school there, but that's a different story).
Regardless of what I said, I have to show my great respect for you Trent. If anyone's had the answer to a question, it's been you. And if I can recall anyone who has been there to help people out, it's been you, even above the administrators.

As to replies about the forum activity:
Actually I believe the IDRS forum is exponentially larger in numbers than the SOTW forum. This is because IDRS forum is clearly the one to be at for double reeds and for saxophone there are a handful that are popular. When you look at the IDRS posts you often see 800, 1200, etc. views while SOTW posts average around 100-200 depending on what the target of the subject is. Put up a Coltrane tribute or a Kenny Gorelick hate group post and you get 500 views and 86 posts per day. I hate to be a critic but the forum layout isn't as nice to use but I have a love for this place. Sponsorships for students are here, and I really don't see much hate here compared to SOTW in general. It just seems people look and leave. People clearly see a post that has nothing to do with them and ignore it while SOTW people seem more free to show what they know. Regardless, I love this place and wouldn't trade it for Morelli as a source of double reed information.

As for spellcheck, well I haven't much to say to that. The post was quick and I zoom through these except for a few posts.
I'd rather not have this post continue on and please I would prefer there be no more replies. You can feel I'm a fool or a genius but this forum is about helping each other and clearly, my post was a little off with most people. I encourage you to go on and help people around the forum, not to debate posts like this one.

Regards and best wishes,
Michael Partlow


Re: Looking for things to buy

I'll leave this alone after this, but as far as activity of the forum, Oriole2023 is correct.  You should have different expectations for this forum compared to SOTW.

IDRS forum vs. SOTW forum:

    Total number of registered users: 1916
    Total number of topics: 2838
    Total number of posts: 9012

     Members: 29,324
     Active Members: 7,145
     Threads: 111,153
     Posts: 1,197,354

And I'm sorry to say that I feel you completely missed my point when it comes to the cost of products.  There is a reason a pro bassoon costs as much as it does as well.  I encourage you to research how a bassoon is made from the point of where the tree is cut to final tuning and testing.  Not only will that impress upon you (if you see it with an open mind) how much specialized work goes into one of these things, but it's also just darn cool to see the process.  Fox has a video about it.

M.M.A., D.M.A. University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign: B.Mus. Lawrence University
Bassoon professor at University of Wisconsin Eau-Claire
Maker of the Little-Jake electric bassoon pickup and Weasel bassoon reeds

Re: Looking for things to buy

Thanks trent, well I guess I missed out on the forum info big time. I guess that does make this forum a little more impressive than I thought. I still have to argue about a pro Heckel being $40,000, when a borgani saxophone (only 360 made per year and only 4 workers who hand hammer everything from start to end) is $5,000 but I do know bassoons cost a lot of money to make and with supply and demand it's hard to make a living otherwise


Re: Looking for things to buy

Well, you also have to understand that a saxophone is made almost entirely of metal (except for the pads and cork).  The material needs to be formed, but the process takes very little time compared to wood instruments.  It's also simply a cheaper material raw.  A bassoon is made out of wood (typically a variety of Maple) that needs to be harvested, cured and dried over a period of over a decade for pro level instruments.  The storage and treatment of the wood over that long period of time greatly adds to the cost of a bassoon.  From what I understand this is a process pretty unique to the bassoon, as most other wooden woodwinds are not made of maple or other wood that requires this kind of curing process.  Grenadilla is the most common wood for oboes and piccolos, and that wood does not typically receive that length of time of a curing process.  I think clarinets are the same way but I could be wrong.

Adding to that, the consistency of the metal used in saxophones means that the cost of a pro horn is closer to that of a student horn.  With bassoons, the choice of wood is often the determining factor between a student and pro level instrument.  The wood that is of the highest quality is more rare, and must be selected and very carefully processed so it's not wasted.  This also brings up the cost of the pro horns in relation to the student models.

I agree with $40k for a Heckel being excessive.  It's one of the few times in the orchestral music world that you're truly paying for the brand name, and not just the individual instrument.  It could be worse for us, we could be cello players!

Last edited by Trent (2009-08-16 11:25:19)

M.M.A., D.M.A. University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign: B.Mus. Lawrence University
Bassoon professor at University of Wisconsin Eau-Claire
Maker of the Little-Jake electric bassoon pickup and Weasel bassoon reeds

Re: Looking for things to buy

Your list looks good but it will be better of you include a cheap rambo knives aside from rende knives.


Re: Looking for things to buy

Trent wrote:

It's one of the few times in the orchestral music world that you're truly paying for the brand name, and not just the individual instrument.  It could be worse for us, we could be cello players!

I would say that it's the only time you pay for a brand name in the orchestral music world on any instrument, cello players don't buy brand instruments, ie. Stradivari, because you can't afford them as a private person. I don't know any other instrument, exept grand pianos perhaps where Steinway is so dominating, that are so brand focused, and where players are willing to pay BIG money for an used instrument.

- Hubbe


Re: Looking for things to buy

I know several professionals who use Altoids tins as reed cases. This has to be one of the cheapest options for reed cases. You can also make your own cotton swabs for cheap. Make sure they are cut to the right sizes. (You don't really need silk, since cotton is more absorbent). Good Luck.



Re: Looking for things to buy

Consider making your own case cover, that way it will fit with all the accessory pouches you want.  I have a Kim Walker style gig bag but I didn't like the bocal holder that came with it.  So I made a new one that fits four bocals all in the same direction and without touching.  I LOVE it.  It only cost $13 in materials.  But it took me a LONG time to hand-sew!!!  To me, it was worth it because it is exactly what I want.

I used Altoids tins as reed cases for years.  They work great.

Buy one "good" silk swab, then make a pattern for it and sew your own to match.  Though doing this isn't worth my time, I just pay for them.  They last a long time if you let them dry out properly between uses and clean them every now and again.

Paula Brusky, PhD
Bassoon Chamber Music Composition Competition, Founding Director