Topic: Thick Walled Bassoons and its high notes

Hi! im new to the forums so sorry if I make a duplicate thread or something. Anyway, Ive been having the curiosity of how thick walled bassoons work on the high register compared to a normal wall bassoon. Ive heard before that in thick walled bassoons (specially the 601s) its kinda hard to get those high notes to speak without having some special equipment or reed as opposed to the normal wall. Is this truth? I would like to get feedback if this happens on thick walled bassoons of all brands or if its just a myth and personal experiences.

thank you!

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Re: Thick Walled Bassoons and its high notes

I think you're misinterpreting what is commonly said about what happens with thick walled bassoons in the "upper" register. High notes generally are no more difficult to get to speak on thicker walled bassoons, especially the very highest notes. No different than thinner instruments. There tends to be a feeling of more resistance in the tenor register (say, Mozart concerto Bb up through the next octave) with thick walled instruments compared to thinner ones though. This is not to say they're more difficult to play, or don't speak as well, but they "push back" at the player in a different way. I like to describe the thin walled instruments as having a light and floaty quality in that register, whereas the heavier walled instruments have a heftier raw-power quality.

You would maybe make your reeds differently and use a different bocal on thin vs. thick instruments (although not necessarily so) depending on your taste.

There are other differences in how the instruments respond as well, and in how the intonation is balanced, how much "oomph" the bottom register has, stability of the middle register. Etc. If you have an opportunity to play several instruments next to each other at a conference like the IDRS, MQVC or TMEA, it can be pretty eye opening how different makes and models feel and sound.

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: Thick Walled Bassoons and its high notes

Trent has some good points, almost ALL of the instruments at the IDRS in 2012 that I tried had an easier high range than my 11,000 series Heckel. I think bassoon making has come a long way in the past 40 years. I still love my horn, but I do change bocals for high solos and have a standard Heckel C1 for orchestra. Even newer Heckel bocals have a better high range than many of the older non pre war types. I have a Wolf Grundmann T8 silver plated for solos, that is fine up to high F and G and an Allgood X1 that is a monster for punching out really difficult stuff, all the way to a high C an octave above the rite. I have to switch out the Allgood for anything normal because of pitch and stability in the normal range, the Grundmann doesn't have the finesse of the C1 but it is still quite good and I do not need to switch it out. Most new horns are just easier than the old ones, even the thick walled horns. Some horns have a better high range than others, always good to try them. I love the thick walled horns and did not notice difficulty with high notes. I loved the 660 in Oxford and am looking forward to trying the new 680.
I hope I didn't muddy the water too much,
Best,
Steve

Principal bassoonist, Orquesta Sinfonica de Galicia, A Coruña, Spain. Bassoonist, bassoon dad, bassoon husband, bassoon uncle, bassoon brother and bassoon son.

Re: Thick Walled Bassoons and its high notes

My Thick-walled Monnig Diamant bassoon has the best high range of any horn I've had.  And I've had Heckels from different vintages and a couple other brands as well. 

Just try different horns and see what you like.

Mark

Mark Ortwein
Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra
OrtweinWoodwinds.com

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Re: Thick Walled Bassoons and its high notes

Thank you all very much for this information. A rumor bug has been squashed! Im looking forward to this year IDRS to try them out then.

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