Topic: G#/A ring key

I noticed in the classified section in the forum a Fox 601 for sale with this keywork added.  This was the first time I had heard of this.  I read the referenced article by Fredrick Moritz about this key, but I want to ask the forum readers if they have it or not and what are the pluses and minuses in adding this to your instrument (other than cost).  The Fox website also says it may improve intonation of these note.  I always am suspicious of the word "may".

Thanks,

Bryan Cavitt
Bassoonist, Elkhart (IN) Municipal Band; Bassoon Dad

Last edited by Bryan Cavitt (2007-11-21 13:46:02)

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Re: G#/A ring key

I had this key on my Heckel bassoon and it worked great.  I'm thinking of adding to my current bassoon.

Mark

Mark Ortwein
Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra
OrtweinWoodwinds.com

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Re: G#/A ring key

Christopher,

Bob Williams has it on his bassoons.   It is a ring for the 1st finger right hand that opens or closes an extra hole (above the 1st finger on the boot) .    It allows you to play High G# and A with the pinky on the F key instead of the 3rd finger.   So from Bb to A or G to G# you can keep your pinky on.  Makes some passages way easier.

Mark

Mark Ortwein
Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra
OrtweinWoodwinds.com

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Re: G#/A ring key

On interesting (an probably unintended) side effect of the A/G# ring key is it provides an alternate fingering for C# (in the staff).  Finger normal C and add pinkey F (probably the pancake E, too) key.  It can really simplify jumps from the low notes to that C# (i.e., in Sorcerer's Apprentice where Db octave jumps occur).  Intonation is quite good on my late 9000 Heckel -- tone quality suffers just a bit.  I also use it for B-C# trill in that octave.  Finger normal B and add pinkey F (+ pancake E ?) AND 2nd finger on the pad cup between 1st and 2nd finger hole (on the boot).  Trill 1st and 2nd fingers together. 

My bassoon has the low E-F linkage so the pinkey F and pancake E can be activated by just pressing the pancake key -- that's what I do in all these cases.

Tom

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Re: G#/A ring key

I've had this on two Foxes and one Heckel.  A caveat which I've found on all three of these horns:

The standard position for the C tonehole (the one you cover to get B) is often moved down-bore to make room for the extra vent.  If the maker or tuner doesn't enlarge that C tonehole then the C will be flat.  I've confirmed this with three different makers themselves and several repairman. You can probably lip it up, sure, but you might want to keep this in mind if you get a horn with one of these keys installed and find that your Cs are low.

Also, if that pad leaks even slightly it can really whack out the D above the staff.

Matthew Harvell
Richmond Symphony Orchestra

Re: G#/A ring key

I know this is an old thread, but I thought I'd post to it anyway, JIC any of this might be useful to someone.

I just added this key to my 601.

The main reason I had it installed is that I have trouble with passages that require rapid alternation of fingerings of my right ring finger and pinky, such as high G to high A. The alternating G to A figure near the end of the Milde Scale Study #1 is a prime (and intentional, I'm sure) example of this.

I'm discovering more and more uses for it, ones that may be old hat for people who have this key but are new to me.

Here's one really good example: the slur down from high Ab to Eb, such as in the Ravel Tombeau, now works. Using the standard fingerings, the slur doesn't work well or at all. Finger the Ab utilizing the new key, and then the standard slur Eb; the slur works just fine. No longer will I have to use some other, possibly inferior-sounding, Ab or Eb fingering to get the slur to work.

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Re: G#/A ring key

I have a really good fingering that I use for Ab4 to Eb4 without the ring key.
                 
                Eb
Ab4: 1/2 x x | o o o F
                w  Bb

For me, the Ab sounds good and has stable pitch.  The Eb is played with the standard fingering.

Last edited by Kevin Harris (2009-01-26 17:00:46)

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Re: G#/A ring key

I too have this gizmo on my present instrument Heckel-13049 and I had it on my previous Heckel-124**. I would not hesitate to order it again.

It is true that the C-sounding tonehole is moved down. Heckel (and I'm sure Fox does this too) always drills the C-sounding tonehole larger than normal to accommodate the positioning.

I use it in Tchaikovsky 5/iii in the B section, Stravinsky's L'histoire du soldat in the 5tet in the high range (Ragtime?), Bartok Dance Suite and Concerto for Orchestra, and tons of other works.

Heckel supplies this option with a connection that closes the high-G-vent and high-G#-vent when the low-G-key is closed. A (perhaps unintended) benefit of this setup is that one can finger C# above middle-C this way:  c# X X X / X O X F and produce a C# that is a little lower in pitch (great for A major chords and such) and more fluid in legato passages where B-natural is involved.

I was happy to read from Bob Williams about using synthetic pads for these two vents - I have cork and will probably have this changed. (Hi Bob.)

Michael Sweeney.

Prin. Bsn., Toronto Symphony Orchestra

Re: G#/A ring key

To avoid switching between RH 3rd & 4th fingers going from high G (G4) to A or A-flat, I've long used the following RH fingering for A-flat4 and A4:  ThB-flat o o F. (Left hand fingerings are the same as if using RH 3 on those pitches.)

Christopher Weait,
Principal bassoon, Toronto Symphony (1968 - 1985)
IDRS Honorary Member; Emeritus professor Ohio State University
www.weaitmusic.com

Re: G#/A ring key

There are times when a picture helps.  Terry Ewell was kind enough to post a picture that I sent him showing the G#-A ring.
http://www.2reed.net/Gsharp-A.jpg

Your looking at my late 9000 Heckel (very badly in need of key replating).  The ring key is at the left.  It has an adjustment screw and that is quite an important feature -- seasonal changes cause my pad height to vary a tiny amount, but just enough so that some leaking can occur (I need to adjust it maybe 2-3 times a year).  I use the key all the time & really like it.

Tom Schubert

Also seen it the picture are:
The vent closure linkage on the G-key mentioned by Michael Sweeney above.
Low E-F linkage (at bottom just to the right of the crutch post) that I mentioned above.
RH Eb trill key (just below G#-A ring pad -- the bassoon also has a LH Eb trill key)
very short alternate C# key (just to right and below Eb key)

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