Topic: Adding an Ab-Bb trill key/tone hole

I'm wondering if any performers or repair techs have any comments about their experience with adding an Ab-Bb trill key (with the new tone hole, not the articulated G key version, which I believe doesn't have the tone hole) to a bassoon. Is it a tricky procedure, how does it affect the instrument as a whole, and of course what good would any question be without opinions on if it's even worth it. smile Thanks!

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Re: Adding an Ab-Bb trill key/tone hole

I had the thumb Ab/Bb trill on my first bassoons.  It does give you the Ab/Bb trill in I believe three octaves, it is an awkward trill to use, requires its own new tone hole as well as fairly extensive keywork.  My last four bassoons have the articulated Ab/Bb trill.  It requires a small pin hole to be drilled under the third key right hand G key to connect to a new mechanism that will close the Bb key when the G key is depressed.  I have a clutch that disengages the mechanism when not needed on the G key.  The articulated key gives you F-Bb, F#-Bb, G-Bb shakes as well as the Ab-Bb trill in both lower octaves.  It is a bit tricky to keep in adjustment but so is the thumb trill key.  I believe the Ab-Bb sounds better and is easier to use on the articulated version.

Bob Williams

Last edited by rswbassoon (2016-05-04 18:01:23)

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Re: Adding an Ab-Bb trill key/tone hole

I'm not a big fan of the Articulated mechanism, although I know many people that prefer it over the added tonehole version. If the new tonehole is done right it can sound the same as the standard Bb fingering.

Puchner does a version of this on their 6000 series instruments where the tonehole is much larger and opens only the new hole, instead of having the lever open the regular Bb pad and the new hole together as is most common. On my bassoon you may remember I had the more usual method retrofitted to be automatic and combined with the regular Bb key:
https://tjbassoon.com/2014/07/20/an-aut … -retrofit/

Don't take this to someone that doesn't really know exactly how to do it all. Aren't you a Fox player Josh? The best thing is to have them install the mechanism. It's going to be the cheapest and most competent job since they have all the measurements and pieces ready to go.

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: Adding an Ab-Bb trill key/tone hole

I play on an 11k Heckel. An Ab/Bb trill would probably be the only hole or key I'd really have any interest in adding to the instrument at any point which is why I'm curious about what I'd be getting myself into if I did it. Wouldn't really want to go for it and then not like how the instrument sounds afterward. For that reason, perhaps the articulated mechanism is preferred since it doesn't require a new tone hole. But, I'm also aware that the Ab/Bb trill mechanism has some benefits for High D and other notes as well.

So, that's the dilemma and that's why I wanted to see if anyone has already taken the plunge before and perhaps has any feelings about the difference it made on their bassoon. I do very much like how you retrofitted your bassoon that way. I think if I did ever go through with the new tonehole I'd do it that way. My hands are probably too small anyway to make it down to the Ab/Bb trill key.

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Re: Adding an Ab-Bb trill key/tone hole

Since the tone hole is simply an add-on, and no other alterations are typically added to the bassoon that would be built with that key, I'd say the risk is seriously low as long as you go with someone that knows what they're doing.

I mean, everything makes a change in the bassoon, but the weather as much as anything else.

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: Adding an Ab-Bb trill key/tone hole

I have the articulated trill mechanism (standard Fox professional option, I assume), but without the clutch to disengage it.  The previous owner had removed the mechanism because he didn't like how it interfered with the long high-A-flat fingering, and I'm forced to agree.  Is the clutch something that can be added on relatively easily?  I miss this trill.

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Re: Adding an Ab-Bb trill key/tone hole

The clutch can be added fairly easily. Contact Fox for details.

I really like having the articulated trill mechanism. I used it in concert last weekend.

It's also nice to have the clutch. Although I don't routinely use the long high Ab fingering, it's also useful to be able to turn off the mechanism for the standard high D fingering, the claw C# fingering, etc.

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Re: Adding an Ab-Bb trill key/tone hole

Chip Owen recommended that I get the articulated Ab/Bb trill mechanism vs. the thumb key on a new bassoon I was getting for myself but it did not come with the clutch mechanism that could disengage the key.  I had the key put on one of my 601's and then sent it to Keith Bowen who came up with the design for a clutch mechanism for the key.  When Chip saw how Keith had made the clutch he came up with a little more user friendly version of Keith's clutch that is used on the present Fox bassoons.  There is basically a sliding plate under the G key that covers a hole in the key where the pin hits the key.  When the plate covers the hole the pin engages and closes the Bb key when the G key is closed.  When it is off the pin goes into the hole on the bottom of the key and does not affect the Bb key.  It works very well!

Bob Williams

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