Topic: What would happen...

If you played a bassoon with a different wing joint? Has anyone ever tried? Would the keys not line up, the intonation be thrown out of whack? Just curious...

Philip
NYC

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Re: What would happen...

Depends on the wing joint! I've fooled around with this and gotten some very good results.  Depending on the lengths you will have keys not lining up right and would have to adjust intonation.  I shortened a wing joint on one bassoon I had because it was very flat and after doing the tuning and keys adjustments I was happy with the results. Hans Moennig would do this on Heckels that were flat.

Mark Ortwein
Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra
OrtweinWoodwinds.com

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Re: What would happen...

Maurice Allard would apparently go to the Buffet factory and out of 5 finished bassoons or so, would cobble together his favorite pieces, ending up with a bassoon that may have only two joints from the same original serial number instrument.

If you do this with any two contemporary instruments from the same manufacturer, you will probably get passable results, provided the joints physically fit together.

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: What would happen...

I've heard that George Goslee played a Heckel that was from two different horns. As Trent says, it's probably safe if the parts are from the same manufacturer.

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

Re: What would happen...

Several years ago at the Banff IDRS conference, I heard perhaps one of the most free sounding, wonderful bassoon tones that I've ever encountered - John Heard (formerly professor at Miami (OH) University) gave a recital there, and I LOVED his sound and flexibility on the instrument. After the concert, I asked him what serial # Heckel he was performing - he said that the bassoon was actually a Fox instrument, but the bell was Heckel!! Amazing what one can get with a bit of experimentation!  :-)

James Jeter, D.M.A., NYC Bassoonist
"To love human beings is still the only thing worth living for; without that love, you really do not live." Soren Kierkegaard
"Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it." Mahatma Gandhi  "Mach' es kurz! Am Juengsten Tag ist's nur ein Furz!" Goethe

Re: What would happen...

Needless to say, oboists have been doing this sort of thing for years. There's a flourishing 'aftermarket' for oboe bells--it's almost a given that your factory-supplied bell isn't cutting it, even on high-end horns.

Christopher Brodersen
Maker of Historical Keyboard Instruments
Reviewer/contributor - Fanfare Magazine
Amateur bassoonist, baroque oboist, baroque bassoonist

Re: What would happen...

Personally, I can't say I've switched out the wing joint. When I was trying out bassoons, I took the bell off of a 12k Heckel and put it on my Bell, and I noticed a huge change in response. Everything seemed so much easier to play and the instrument seemed much more resonant.

I've also heard stories of Ben Bell swapping bells when people picked up their bassoons. If he didn't like how they sounded on a specific bell, he'd put another one on. There are a few Bells out there now without the stamp on the bell because of this.

For wing joints specifically, I did hear from one of my friends how she would try out people's wing joints on her 7k Heckel. She was trying to figure out what was wrong with it, and she noticed that every wing joint she tried made a huge difference in a positive way, regardless of make. I agree with ortreed though, it all has to do with the wing joint you are putting on.

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