Topic: Red Maple ,Yoguslav maple and moutaing maple which one is the best?

I´m in the process of buying a new "very" expensive instrument which is a Fox 660 red maple. I have heard very good things about the red maple from this forum and would welcome any coments from people that have played or owned this kind of instrument to compare it to the Yoguslav maple and mountaing maple. Is the red maple the way to go on basson making? Thanks Ebnezer

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Re: Red Maple ,Yoguslav maple and moutaing maple which one is the best?

I'm afraid that there is no right or wrong answer. Play on the instrument(s), and see what you think.

Fox currently offers two woods for its professional horns: red maple, and Yugoslavian mountain maple. (Others may be available by special order.)

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Re: Red Maple ,Yoguslav maple and moutaing maple which one is the best?

Well, Yugoslavian maple is the Mountain maple you usually hear about. Some manufactures get theirs from Bosnia, just down the road. There are also USA maple stocks that Fox uses, I think the Red Maple is maybe Canadian? I've never heard for sure. I am pretty sure they get the wood for their student bassoons from North America somewhere.

But yes, like William said, there's no "best" really. Heck, I've played a couple of Fox model III bassoons (plastic) that you would never know they weren't a wood of some kind. Personally I like the Mountain maple option for Fox pro bassoons, but that is just me. Doing a head-to-head comparison of a Red and Mountain maple 660 that were identical in age and keywork features Chris Millard preferred the Red. Could have just been that bassoon was simply better, regardless of the wood.

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: Red Maple ,Yoguslav maple and moutaing maple which one is the best?

I agree with everything above. I have to say the Fox 660'was my favorite horn in Oxford, and I think I must have tried them all. My kids have a 240 and a 222d and between the two instrument, my daughters 222d just feels better, and I think the 240 is the "better" wood. My sons 240 is also an excellent horn it's just the 222 is really excellent. My wife is also a bassoonist and was the first to say our 222 was better. I have tried instruments from many different makers and woods and I really felt Fox has it down. Fox bassoons are really well made and I love the 660"s.

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

Re: Red Maple ,Yoguslav maple and moutaing maple which one is the best?

Mr. Trent you says that mr. Millard prefered the red maple but isen´t he playing on the Bell bassoon? I also heard that the associate principal of CSO is playing on the red maple 660. Since the red maple is a "new" bassoon isen´t it out of the wall for professional be playing a completly new instrument? Not long ago peple asked what king of instrument you played in auditions and  used to be very difficult to ge it aAmerican orchestra with out a heckel.

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Re: Red Maple ,Yoguslav maple and moutaing maple which one is the best?

marydoob wrote:

I agree with everything above. I have to say the Fox 660'was my favorite horn in Oxford, and I think I must have tried them all. My kids have a 240 and a 222d and between the two instrument, my daughters 222d just feels better, and I think the 240 is the "better" wood. My sons 240 is also an excellent horn it's just the 222 is really excellent. My wife is also a bassoonist and was the first to say our 222 was better. I have tried instruments from many different makers and woods and I really felt Fox has it down. Fox bassoons are really well made and I love the 660"s.

Comparing a 222 and a 240 is like comparing a 240 with a 201. Completely different bassoons, both in wood choice, bore design, features, finishing attention at the factory. They're not a viable comparison. I prefer the long bore Renard bassoons but prefer the short bore professional bassoons (only considering Fox here). So I would probably like the 222 over a 240 as well, but it has nothing to do with the wood.

As for Mr. Millard, last I heard he was playing a Walter. But this was just a few years ago when he had a student trying bassoons and he wanted to try different Fox bassoons to compare the wood choices. He was not personally looking for an instrument.

Even now you get a lot of Heckel-Only snobbery, even coming from non-bassoonists. Clarinet players that snub you because you play a Fox, Moosmann, Puchner, or anything else, just because they've been told that the best players play Heckel. That's simply not true anymore. I don't believe for a moment that Heckel is the "best" bassoon out there. I have played some fantastic Heckels, but most have been just fine. I've played some fantastic Fox bassoons, Moosmanns, Puchners, Yamaha, Moennig, and some of those that have been just fine as well. But yes, my old teacher told me that once when auditioning for an American orchestra you had to tell them the serial number of your Heckel for them to even consider you. I don't own a Heckel and probably wouldn't even if I had had $35,000-$42,000 at some point to buy one.

Last edited by Trent (2013-02-24 14:26:06)

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: Red Maple ,Yoguslav maple and moutaing maple which one is the best?

Heckels are no longer required to win any audition. There are many good makes of bassoons, and many players that have gone from one brand to another. I used to play several Heckels, but got frustrated with the inconsistency of intonation, and response. I played a wonderful Walter bassoon that Chris Millard wanted me to try, and I have also played some very good Bell bassoons. I have also played some wonderful Heckels and some Heckels that Maxym would call "dogs". I've been playing a Fox 601 that I purchased through Marcus. I still use Heckel crooks though. To each his own!!

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Re: Red Maple ,Yoguslav maple and moutaing maple which one is the best?

'Even now you get a lot of Heckel-Only snobbery, even coming from non-bassoonists'

Well said Trent.

It's like the Loree snobbery with oboists - a load of nonsense.

Re: Red Maple ,Yoguslav maple and moutaing maple which one is the best?

Hello.  I tried the red maple and the mountain maple Foxes while I was at Oxford, and quite frankly, the best one that I tried was a friend's mountain maple 660.  Like many others here, I also believe that it comes down to personal preference.  I went to the Fox room and tried the differently wooded bassoon, and I found that the difference was not enough to say that one wood was better.  My impression was that the bassoons themselves were different and that the wood they were made of caused less of a difference than you would find between any two bassoons.  To me, finding 'your' bassoon is simply a matter of trying them all and picking the one that worked best for you, no matter what it was made of. 

Wolf Instruments also use different woods, using both maple and yew to make their bassoons.  Here, it was much easier to feel a difference between the two different types.  I tried them as well, and I found that the yew bassoons were far more nasal and that the maple bassoons had a deeper, darker tone.  I preferred the maples ones myself, but oddly enough, all of the people who were in the room with me at the time preferred the yew bassoon.  But don't forget, yew is far harder than maple, so it stands to reason that there would be a greater difference than there would be between two sub-types of maple.  Through it all, Guntram was chuckling at the lot of us, and he said the same thing to everyone who would listen.  The only difference is that you may have a preference for one, and that is the one you should take.

I realize that it is a bit off-topic, but I also have to agree that not all Heckels are created equal.  I have tried quite a few, and some of them are great, while others are very 'meh'.  In fact, I play a Takeda, and I have tried a few Heckels that were far more difficult to play than my Takeda, even though they are six times the price.  Many other bassoon manufacturers are now cranking out great bassoons that I believe are equal to Heckel's greatest bassoons, and better than the vast majority of them.  Bell, Walter, Moosmann and Fox are now making bassoons that are consistently excellent, something that Heckel is still having trouble doing.  Try them all, chances are that you will find one you like, and chances are that you will end up liking one of them far more  than that Heckel in the window.

Trent, the Walter that Chris Millard had you try:  Was that his personal instrument?  I don't know if he sold it, but I do know that he is now playing a Bell.  From what I hear, he ordered three and said that he would buy the best of them, and he did.  He is now playing it in the NAC orchestra.  I don't know about you, but the best bassoon that I tried in Oxford was one of the Walters.  It's a good thing I was not bassoon shopping, because I would have left a lot of money there.

Last edited by Dean (2013-02-25 17:50:45)

Bassoonist Ordinaire, all around nice guy.
If anyone needs a damn fool, I'm your man!

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Re: Red Maple ,Yoguslav maple and moutaing maple which one is the best?

Dean,

I did not have an opportunity to play on any of Chris' bassoons. I only sent him instruments to try. It was several years ago that I had heard he was on a Walter (2008 maybe?). I have heard that he goes through bassoons like I go through reeds, however.

not that there's anything wrong with that.

The Walters I have played have been excellent bassoons, for sure. Very stable, even, wide variety of tone color. Not exactly what I'm used to though, so it's hard for me to say that I like them as much as I know many players do. They're just SO very different from my current instrument that it's hard for me to judge. I'd probably have to take 3-4 years to really get to know one before feeling fully musically "with it" on one of them. It took about that long to really get to know my own bassoon.

Last edited by Trent (2013-02-25 21:09:39)

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: Red Maple ,Yoguslav maple and moutaing maple which one is the best?

I was the one that tried Chris's Walter bassoon, and I really didn't have enough time to really get to "know" it. All I know is that Chris was playing it at the time we met up again after several years, this was at the Banff Conference where I played at Fox's invitation. Chris changes bassoons as frequently as most of us change reeds. I was impressed though with ts construction. and would like to try some more. I just don't have the bucks to do it easily.

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Re: Red Maple ,Yoguslav maple and moutaing maple which one is the best?

Good point Trent about comparing the 222 and 240., they are different animals altogether. I am often not very clear about my meaning. I should have said that my sons 240 is a great 240, but my daughters 222 is a fantastic 222. The best is, as you said, to try the horn and pick what you like, every horn is different I am curious, are there other companies that advertise long and short bore instruments?
As far as brands go, I did love the 660 at Oxford and apologize for gushing, I was trying to be supportive since Ebnezer was about to purchase 660. I have had three students with excellent Walter horns, another with and excellent new Puchner, I enjoyed playing their instruments in Oxford. I also was pleasantly surprised by the Leitzinger bassoons, I have never had the opportunity to try them, excellent horns. The bocals are a little stiff on my Heckel, but are fantastic on their bassoons. Moosman bassoons have a nice resonance too and have been quite popular here in Spain, there is a very level playing field with modern instrument makers. I would have loved to have tried a Bell horn. The Wolf horns had a fantastic high range, especially with the Grundmann bocals, quite an experience. I notice that all of the new instruments had a certain ease in the high range that older instruments lack, without losing the depth of the low range. Another question for Trent and Dean since you both have a bit of experience and information. What is it that modern makers are doing that has improved bassoon high range so much? Larger bore at bocal tip or wing socket? I found that all of the instruments in Oxford were easy up to a Bb without using my teeth. I was using my standard reed that I used to finish out our season.
I also wonder how room acoustics would factor in with trying all of those horns? The lower floor was the noisiest area for trying horns.
The other question is about Yew, has Buffet ever experimented with yew? I found it has similar acoustic properties that Pallisander has. I tried a Pallisander Heckel quite a few years that had a similar feel that the Wolf Yew bassoon had. (Interesting about people preferring the Yew). ( Heckel calls Pallisander Jacaranda I guess). I know Buffet is back to trying Maple for the long joint and bell to improve projection, I wonder if Yew would help the wing and boot, or the overall instrument. I have read that Buffet preferred Rosewood over Maple for its acoustic properties. They did do a lot of experimenting over the years, I think Purple Heart, Tigerwood and Cocobolo amongst others. Anyway, sorry about being so scattered, I love talking about this stuff,
Thanks - Steve

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

Re: Red Maple ,Yoguslav maple and moutaing maple which one is the best?

If you liked a bassoon in particular, go ahead and gush away, there is no problem with that.  Just remember that there is someone else who will probably gush on your gushing about another instrument.  You loved the 660, I loved the Walters, so I gushed about them. In the end, it always boils down to personal preference and learning to really play the instrument that you have chosen.

I believe that all of the good modern manufacturers have studied the instrument and know even the smallest details of it.  They have also been very quick to adopt extremely precise methods of manufacturing that allow them to build bassoon after bassoon to tolerances that were unimaginable even 15 years ago.  This means that modern instruments have a bore design that allows them to do it all; the wings are optimized to make the high notes easier, the boots are very well in tune and the bass and bell joints allow the instrument to resonate far better than they ever have.  In addition, they can choose wood that has the same specific gravity to ensure that the entire instrument vibrates as one piece.  These two advances in instrument making have removed many of the inconsistencies that have existed for years.  It is now very rare that a top bassoon maker will make a lousy bassoon.  It used to happen all the time.

In fact, Benson Bell has even studied how the bore changes as the wood ages.  He builds his bassoons so that the changes that occur will actually make the bassoon better as it gets older.  Rather than the bore deteriorating with age, his are supposed to change in the way that the builder wants, so that they will naturally become ideal with age.  I have yet to hear many complaints about his bassoons, and around here, (Montreal, Canada) there are a lot of them.

Acoustics are always a problem for any buyer of any musical instrument.  That is why all of them offer trials, so that you have the luxury of trying them out in a variety of situations.  In the end, though, the best way is to try them in a large room with decent acoustics in front of a bunch of bassoonists.  Have them sit a fair distance away, and play different horns to see which ones sound better from their point of view.  One day at Oxford, I found a bunch of music students who were doing exactly this; they were sitting in one of the big rehearsal rooms trying different bassoons while their friends were listening on the other side of the room.  The results were quite interesting, as their perception of many bassoons changed as they listened from farther away.

Different types of wood is another subject entirely.  Many makers have experimented with different types of wood, and in the end they all come back to maple and palisander.  I also thought it would be a good idea to make the wing and boot out of a wood that cannot rot as easily and avoid the need for a liner, but every time someone changes the wood, they also change the sound.  I thought of the yew bassoon as an attempt to make a German bassoon sound more nasal, or more "pre-war", a sound that I do not particularly appreciate, but that thousands of others love.  (I prefer a deeper, darker sound)  From what little I understand on the subject, the harder the wood, the more nasal the sound, but that is based on my trying two yew bassoons and two French bassoons, and more maple bassoons than I can possibly count.  Quite a few makers always ensure that the wood that is used in any bassoon comes from the same tree to ensure that it will all vibrate in the same way.  Choosing two different woods will definitely not allow this, but I am unsure as to how that would affect the instrument.   

I was kind of flattered that you referred to my wealth of experience, but please remember that I am not a bassoonist, but rather an English teacher who has been buzzing annoyingly around the periphery of the double-reed world for far too long.  Keep that in mind when reading my posts.  Trent has far more real-world experience than I do.

Last edited by Dean (2013-02-27 07:03:16)

Bassoonist Ordinaire, all around nice guy.
If anyone needs a damn fool, I'm your man!

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Re: Red Maple ,Yoguslav maple and moutaing maple which one is the best?

Thanks for all the have contributed to this discussion.  I have done some research on diferent kinds of Brazilian wood using the recorder as a model. I have experience totaly difference in sound coming from diferent kinds of wood. My friend and older teache Mr. Hary Schweiser who makes bassoon here in Brazil also experience the same. That´s why I decide to ask about the red maple as a kind of wood which is been very well talked about here. Do any body here know who is using this kind of wood professionaly? Thanks Ebnezer
P.S let´s think about having our anual conference in Brazil!!!!!

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Re: Red Maple ,Yoguslav maple and moutaing maple which one is the best?

I know Chris Weait got a Fox model II about two years ago, I don't remember (or maybe never knew) if he got a red maple model though. He's the only forum member professional I can think of that may have a red maple Fox. (username ChrisW)

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: Red Maple ,Yoguslav maple and moutaing maple which one is the best?

Trent wrote:

I know Chris Weait got a Fox model II about two years ago, I don't remember (or maybe never knew) if he got a red maple model though. He's the only forum member professional I can think of that may have a red maple Fox. (username ChrisW)

Pretty sure Bob Williams has a red maple 601--with gold keys, no less!

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

Re: Red Maple ,Yoguslav maple and moutaing maple which one is the best?

Chris Weait's bassoon is a Red Maple Model II. He let me play it, and I have to say it is one of the easiest bassoons I have ever played, and in many ways it made me think I was playing a 5K Heckel that was in tune (I play a 5K Heckel)!

David Bell
Alexandria, VA

David Bell
Alexandria, VA
amateur bassoon and contra bassoon

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Re: Red Maple ,Yoguslav maple and moutaing maple which one is the best?

I have not entered this discussion before because I have a personal involvement in that Mr. DaSilva in purchasing a new bassoon from me.  I own two Fox 601 bassoons, one mountain maple and one red maple.  I have been playing recently on my older mountain maple because it seemed to respond a little quicker on the notes then my red maple when I played the John Williams “Five Sacred Trees” last November with the Detroit Symphony.  I had been playing the mountain maple bassoon since that time and loving it.  I had a small accident with the horn leaving the stage in a hurry during a recording session two weeks ago so the horn is now back at the Fox Factory getting some cosmetic work done to it and I am back to playing my red maple 601 and loving it also.  The red maple seems to play a little more like my 11K Heckel’s in that it has a bit more resistance to it than the mountain maple.  I don’t know if this is because of the wood, age or finish of the horn.  Both instruments are wonderful bassoons and I must confess I have a new horn on order in mountain maple.  The main reason for me ordering the mountain maple is the price difference between the two woods. 

Bob Williams, Detroit Symphony Orchestra

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Re: Red Maple ,Yoguslav maple and moutaing maple which one is the best?

Dear Friends, I understand some of you having a preference for this or that bassoon but my mind is made up on a fox bassoon which I am about to get it in june. My question is realy related to the kind of wood that is used for bassoon making. I understand that fox is using the red maple for they must have done some research on it. I hear that it is very dificult to build bassoon out of red maple and that a processs had to be thought out in order to achieve that. I Also have done some research on wood regarding the Cerejeira but even though it has a beautiful sound it would not be soutable for instruments that have keys on them.  I think that the fox company has developed a way of using sof wood for bassoon making and they are not about to tell us how it is done. That explaing the new bells that they developed. That is my only guess.  Ebnezer Da Silva

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Re: Red Maple ,Yoguslav maple and moutaing maple which one is the best?

Different bassoon makers have usually used woods that they were able to easily get from their area. Now, they usually go to wood brokers and get the woods that they want delivered to them.  Different makers have used Yugoslav mountain maple, Bosnian mountain maple, Canadian sugar maple, palisander, yew, US maple, maple from the Chinese / North Korean border area, and probably a few others that I do not know about.  in the end, most of them seem to prefer European mountain maple, but in the end they will use whatever works.
The wood has to have certain qualities, these being the sound they produce, their ability to hold screws and posts, and their ability to change dimensions as little as possible when the humidity levels change.  Maple has been the wood of choice for quite some time for German system bassoons, and palisander has been used in the same way for French system instruments. 
Fox has changed the way that they treat their wood.  All of the makers have their own proprietary methods of treating their wood with oils and waxes so that they are sealed, do not rot and so that they resist humidity better.  The newer Fox treatment is supposed to allow the wood to be more 'resonant' and according to many bassoonists who have tried their 'before and after' instruments, the new treatment method does make the bassoons better.  Others claim that even a newer bell will change the sound of the bassoon to a degree that many bassoonists are willing to go out and buy one.
In the end it is up to you.  If you like the sound and feel of the instrument, by all means, buy it.

Dean.

Last edited by Dean (2013-03-08 16:02:17)

Bassoonist Ordinaire, all around nice guy.
If anyone needs a damn fool, I'm your man!

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Re: Red Maple ,Yoguslav maple and moutaing maple which one is the best?

This has been an interesting subject. Since we are still on wood, I remember years a friend of mine talking about a treated maple ( baked?) bassoon, that had no liner in the wing or boot, I think by Moenig? I was in Santiago for a Ludwig Frank demo with bassoons and oboes and saw
He had what I think was a baked maple oboe, it was almost white and from what my friend said and I heard, had a subdued, but pretty, dark sound. I guess the bassoons didn't work out? I know some people had them, but I have never tried or even seem one.

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

Re: Red Maple ,Yoguslav maple and moutaing maple which one is the best?

Moennig makes a bassoon with no liner. I believe it is their "del Sol" model. I don't know if it is this "baked" maple though, never heard of that...

Last edited by Trent (2013-03-06 08:46:24)

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: Red Maple ,Yoguslav maple and moutaing maple which one is the best?

Thanks Trent, I think you are correct, the "del Sol". I think my friend must have read the description and misunderstood it. http://english.moennig-adler.de/nav_f.htm
It says "flamed" maple and he saw it as "baked" . The photo looks like the instrument is also varnished, he had mentioned his teachers horn was a blond color like the oboe I saw, maybe his teacher had a prototype and the marketable product has varnish?

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

Re: Red Maple ,Yoguslav maple and moutaing maple which one is the best?

Trent, I just realized I may have tried the "del Sol" at the conference. Moennig had a booth near yours and if the "del Sol" was there I think I preferred their Diamant bassoon to the other Moennigs, there may have been three horns.

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

Re: Red Maple ,Yoguslav maple and moutaing maple which one is the best?

We're digressing, but yes, they had one at their booth. It was nice, but not as good as the other pro bassoon they had at their booth, which is probably the Diamant you were thinking of. I think again that just comes down to individual instruments. But it seems you and I at least agree with the individual instruments at the booth at that time.

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