Topic: Hissing Sound from Finger Hole

Hi All:

This is a strange problem that I haven't been able to solve.  When my student plays the 1/2 hole G above the staff (in other words our 3rd octave G) she gets a hissing airy sound from the 1/2 hole.

Several others have tried it and we all get the sound.  It is only on this note and no other 1/2 hole notes.  We have tried different reeds and bocals to be sure too.

I have cleaned the hole out and it appears clean.  I don't see any leaks around the hole but I suppose there could be.  Or perhaps the liner is making a buzzing sound on this one note only.  If you cover up the hole while playing the G the hissing is less but not completely gone.

Can anyone think of anything I may have missed.  She may take it to a repair person who can check for leaks but I thought I would see if I am missing anything first. 

Thanks much, Kent

Dr. Kent Moore
Principal Lecturer In Bassoon and Theory
Northern Arizona University

Re: Hissing Sound from Finger Hole

Hi Kent:



      What kind of bassoon is it? and it does it have tubes in the fingerholes?

Taylor Bassoon Services
723 Steamboat Ct
Ottawa, IL 61350
PH-815-343-2492

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Re: Hissing Sound from Finger Hole

Hi Chad,

It is a Fox 220 and yes it has tubes.  My only guess so far is that there is a leak around the tube.  My student is home in CA now so I think she is going to take it to someone and I'll find out in a couple of weeks what the problem was. 

Thanks for your help.  Kent

Dr. Kent Moore
Principal Lecturer In Bassoon and Theory
Northern Arizona University

Re: Hissing Sound from Finger Hole

Wait, if you cover the hole completely it still hisses?

If you seal it up totally it shouldn't be able to hiss, even if there was a leak at the tube.

Are you sure the problem isn't coming from the G ring key pad?

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: Hissing Sound from Finger Hole

Hi Trent,

It is a very strange problem and it has been a couple of weeks now since I listened to it.  But in the master class we all put our ears to the first finger hole where the half hole is and it sure sounded as though it was coming from there.  The G ring key pad was my first thought too and there was no hissing from there.  We also tried closing this and other pads to see if there were changes.  When we covered the 1st hole so there was no 1/2 hole then the hissing was less.  I am not sure we were completely covering it.  But I see your point.  We really didn't spend a ton of time on it because it was jury time and I had to move on but many of us tried it and listened and it was the same thing for all of us.  Weird.  Different reeds too.

Dr. Kent Moore
Principal Lecturer In Bassoon and Theory
Northern Arizona University

Re: Hissing Sound from Finger Hole

Just pop an email off to Chip Owen, if it weren't a Fox and some off brand bassoon I would suggest it was a poorly made tone hole, ( angle, size, etc.). You could put a little patch (or patches ), of tape in the hole to see if it makes the problem worse. Also make sure the pad heights are not unusually low or high on the boot and long joint, they can greatly influence notes on the other end of the horn.

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

Re: Hissing Sound from Finger Hole

Hi Steve,

What is strange is that the hissing happened quite suddenly.  She bought the bassoon used a few months ago and then it just started making the noise so it was fine for quite some time.  I did check several pads and heights.  She has the bassoon with her in California at the moment but when she returns for the new semester I'll take a closer look if she doesn't already have it fixed.  And good idea on talking to Chip.  She was planning on taking it in to someone though so I should know what the problem was in a couple weeks or so.

Dr. Kent Moore
Principal Lecturer In Bassoon and Theory
Northern Arizona University