Topic: Fox-Renard 240

I am in the middle of trying a couple Fox-Renard 240 bassoons. For the past 6 years I've played on a 1992 Fox 601 which has served me well, but as a chemistry major in my senior year of college, starting Ph.D. studies next year, I don't have as much time to practice as I did freshman year, or while in high school. I am looking to get a bassoon that is a bit more free-blowing and flexibile, such as the 240. I would consider the Fox 201s as well, except I am trying to hopefully make some money by selling my 601 and buying a "cheaper" bassoon. I've heard tons of good things about the 240s so I have a couple brand-new red maple ones out on trial.

First, I love how easy and unresistant the tenor and high registers are. The projection in these registers is impressive. Volume-wise, I can scream high notes out a lot louder than on my 601. I feel like the 240 is a bit weaker in terms of projection in its middle and lower register. My reeds are not the best for low notes at the moment, but I am having some trouble playing loud and low on the 240.

Of course volume isn't everything, good timbre is goal #1 for me, but most of what I do these days is ensemble playing (symphony orchestra and wind ensemble) so it is still an important factor.

My observations are that the 240 requires a much bigger half hole on high G and high Ab than on my 601, so I've been squeeking or not getting these notes to speak a lot. I'm also squeeking more in the tenor register. After talking to friends that play 240s, the G and Ab seem to be finicky on a lot of 240s. Does anyone have experience with this? Is it something you get used to?

I've been squeeking a lot in the tenor register, not just on the Ab and G. Something that is disconcerting. My teacher said that it is the different bore, and that it took her a long time to adjust after switching to an older Heckel after playing on a larger bore Puchner.

The keys are pretty stiff and sluggish, and the tenons are tight, but nothing I couldn't get my bassoon repairman to fix. It feels like my hands (which are perfectly fine on my 601) are almost a little "too small" for the 240. I'm thinking this could just be an illusion due to the fact the keys are stiff, although I hope not.

The right thumb rollers drive me crazy after 6 years of playing on a 601 that does not have them. Were I to buy one of the 240s, I would almost certainly have them replaced with regular right thumb keys.

Any thoughts? All advice is welcome, especially from those of you who play on 240s as your primary instrument! I just want to make the right choice for my long-term bassoon enjoyment smile

Best wishes,
-Hunter

Bassoonist, Contrabassoonist, Composer.

Ask not what your reed can do for you, but what you can do for your reed.

Re: Fox-Renard 240

Also, what sort of bocals work well on 240s? And reed shapes?

I hope this post isn't too long!

-Hunter

Bassoonist, Contrabassoonist, Composer.

Ask not what your reed can do for you, but what you can do for your reed.

Re: Fox-Renard 240

If you're trying to make some money selling the 601, I don't think customizing the keywork on a 240 is very economical.  A lot of your issues with the keyword are standard problems when trying a new bassoon - I've felt exactly the same way and it usually takes me a few weeks to adjust to the point where it feels natural.  The rollers seem weird now, but I would bet that in six months, it would feel equally strange playing a bassoon without them.  Opinions seems to be divided as to how useful they are - however, I have found the low F# to be problematic on the Foxes I've owned, and the rollers there - or rather the flattening of the keys - make it easier to play the "muffled" fingering.

Regarding bocal choices, I've found that a Heckel VCD works with just about everything.  (I still don't care for Fox's bocals, but this may be another issue like keyword where I'd adjust if I had to.)  It might be worth trying bocals designed specifically for the "pre-war" (short bore/thin wall) style instruments.

Frankly the low notes are never going to be as nice as the 601.  I don't know what the intonation is like on the newer instruments but the low D is notoriously sharp on bassoons in general (although some of the new designs are huge improvements) and the short-bore design seems to make it especially problematic.

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