Identifying Your Plastic Model Fox Bassoon

May 7th, 2014 by

Fox bassoons can sometimes be difficult to identify by sight. With so many models, and with historically sparse labeling, it can be tricky to know exactly what you have in front of you. Some keywork options can make different models initially appear the same, so you can’t go with some of the more obvious features (like, high D key, for instance). With the plastic bassoons it can be easy to identify the model if you know what to look for.All Fox plastic bassoons are long bore design, and thin walled. They are all modeled initially after the model II bassoon. There are a total of four possibilities of what your plastic Fox can be. The model III, or IV, or the Renard models 41 and 51.

The easiest model to identify is the model III. It is the only one of the plastic models to have metal bands on the bell, wing, and boot joints. If there are bands in these locations you have a model III.

Since this is considered to be a professional model by Fox, it could potentially have any number of customized keywork options, but these are pretty uncommon.

The next most obvious instrument to identify is the model 51. This is a Renard model with keywork modifications to accommodate very young players with small hands. This identification is easy: look at the front of the boot joint for a front Bb key and a C# trill key. The model 51 doesn’t have them. It looks like this:

The arrows indicate where the C# trill and front Bb key would normally be. If you’re unsure, count the keys you see. There should be two open tone holes and only four total keys on a model 51. There will be 6 on any other model.

The Renard model 41 and the model IV can be the trickiest to distinguish, especially if you have a much older instrument. A newer model 41 will clearly have the Renard logo on the boot joint, bell, or both. A newer model IV will have only the Fox logo in either of these locations. However, some very old model 41 bassoons only have the Fox logo on the boot joint. Neither model has metal bands, and the default keywork on a model IV is very similar to a common feature set of keys on the model 41. The best thing to look for is a seam in the plastic along the front and back side of every joint except the boot. The seam is fairly obvious, and easiest to see along the audience side of the long joint. If there is a seam, you have a Renard bassoon, and if it’s not a 51 due to the keys, it’s a model 41. If there is no visible seam anywhere, even with no metal bands (and even if it has things like a plateau key for the third finger) it’s not a Renard, and so you have a model IV. This is one feature that is historically consistent.

So, in summation:

1. Look for a metal band. This indicates a model III
2. Look for short hand modifications to the boot joint. This indicates model 51 (Renard)
3. Look for a visible seam on the plastic running parallel to the bore. This indicates a Renard model.

And as always, if you’re still not sure. Call Fox and give them the serial number (inscribed on the U-Tube under the boot cap) and they’ll tell you what model and when the instrument was made.

1 Comment »

  1. Brilliant! This is a very clear set of instructions and worked perfectly for me to identify a model IV. From the Fox website I can see that the serial number puts it as a 1995 model IV. Now to find out how to value it for insurance…

    Comment by Lauren — May 26, 2014 @ 7:22 pm

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I definitely plan to send my oboe to the repair techs at MMI in the future. I don't think my oboe has played this well since I've purchased it!