Choosing The Best Bassoon Brands

November 6th, 2013 by Trent

Choosing the Right Bassoon: A Guide

Picking a bassoon can be a daunting task. Prices range from $3,000 for the most basic models to well over $30,000 for the most in-demand professional instruments. There are also more options for keywork and bore designs than probably any other woodwind instrument. We hope that this guide will give you a more clear picture of what we have to offer as you seek the right instrument for you. We are always happy to speak with you over the phone, so please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-800-926-5587. Click on the model number of each listing below for a link to our store page for that instrument and a bassoon comparison chart.

Midwest Musical Imports is proud to offer:
Fox Bassoons
Heckel Bassoons
Puchner Bassoons
Wolf Bassoons

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Donating Musical Instruments Changes Children’s Lives for the Better

November 5th, 2013 by Trent

Today we invite Minneapolis native Ian Felton to write on a non-profit organization he has founded helping young musicians across the country make music. For more information on the program, or on how to donate, visit marchingmountains.org

Take it over Ian!

Ian Felton is the founder of Marching Mountains, a non-profit based in Minneapolis. The goal of Marching Mountains is to create a network to supply public school band programs in distressed counties in Appalachia with donated new and used musical instruments. Read the rest of this entry »

Repairing extreme wood damage in a bassoon boot joint

September 24th, 2013 by Trent

We recently encountered a student bassoon that had an extremely bad case of rot in the boot joint. Here are some pictures of the affected area when we received the instrument and after our repair tech Matt was done with replacing the rotted section of the boot and cleaning up the bracket. The bore has been lacquered, so it reflects the light in unusual ways. There is also some sealing wax visible around the area. You can see the line where the new wood meets the old all the way past the G tone hole (the one that is closed when you depress the F key)! Nearly 5 inches of the bore was replaced. Read the rest of this entry »

IDRS 2013 Interview – Peter Wolf of Wolf bassoons

September 6th, 2013 by Trent

Peter graciously took some time out of the usually hectic conference to speak with bassoon specialist Trent Jacobs about Wolf bassoon design philosophy, and new innovations from his firm in Kronach, Germany. For more information on Wolf bassoons and bocals call or email Trent or Jessica.

Video Transcript:

Trent: “Hi, this is Trent Jacobs at Midwest Musical Imports. I’m here with Peter Wolf of the Wolf Bassoon Company.  Peter, could you tell us a little bit about how you make your instruments?  You do something a little different than other manufacturers, I believe, yes?”

Peter: “Hi, yes, I would not say, I think every kind of bassoons are made in a very similar style, all the works on it.  We have one advantage I would say, we came not over a hundred years old tradition, we come more from the side, and that’s the reason why we do some things a little different. Like we start very early with, for example, with milling machine, or, I don’t know, C and C technology to reproduce very exactly the parts of a bassoon.  Works like this make, it’s the process after the, making a body, the other works on it much easier, much more exact that way.”

Trent:  “Yeah.  Instead of using reamers and tools that you have to make, that create the bore, you tell the computer what, or you can, you’re more flexible?”

Peter:  “It makes you more flexible, but not with all works on a bassoon.  I would say bore is a special thing, and normally you make the bore in the traditional way, and the traditional way is normally you use reamers for the long joint and bow, and for parts of the foot.  Sorry, yeah.”

Trent:  “Okay, and now this year, you’ve been making bassoons out of different woods than other different manufacturers, the Birdseye maple instrument, and you make a bassoon of yew, but now you have a new bassoon, the Redline.  Can you tell us what’s different about the Redline from your previous offerings?”

Peter:  “The Redline is now a new series from us where change a little bit the treatment of the wood, and additional key work on it, and the Redline LT is an instrument which is very new to the music fair in Frankfurt; we represent it the first time.  It’s a lightweight instrument with a very light mechanic on it.  The wood is the same, like the normal Redline, but the mechanic is complete made by lighter materials.”

Trent:  “Yeah, so you have carbon fiber and some kind of aluminum alloy in the key work. I wish that you could hold this bassoon, it weighs so, it weighs like an English horn.  Can you tell us what is the exact weight difference between the normal and this, do you know?  You said it’s about, that’s okay . . .”

Peter:  “I don’t know in your English or American.  In Germany, it is, you can say this one, the weight from this one is around three kilogram, and the weight of this is around two kilograms.  You see it’s a little. . .”

Trent:  “A third, one-third.”

Peter:  “. . . a third from this, because it’s very much, yeah . . .”

Trent:  “Yeah, and it may not seem like much, but when you actually hold it, it’s really quite amazing.  So, and you’ll always use the carbon fiber, or do you have, people have concerned about how you would repair such a thing if you don’t know the metal, can you say anything about how it’s, how you connected it together, how that would make . . .”

Peter:  “Good.  Normally when you use new materials that the way is different, sure, it’s normal.  All the changing in doing something, this is the normal way, I think, sure.  You can not use the traditional things for repair work now, but this is normally not a problem.  It needs for some repairment a little time, but to ask us, or I don’t know what they have to do.”

Trent:  “Yes.”

Peter:  “Normally you can not bend a mechanic, which is made from parts like carbon, because you know it’s from a tent or something, they can not broken, not really, you have to work very hard that it can broke.  And you use different kind of glues and yeah, sure, it is a little different the way of handling this instrument, but not for the player, for the player it’s the same.”

Trent:  “Yeah.”

Peter:  “The player only, the . . .”

Trent:  “It only feels . . .”

Peter: “. . . positive effects from the lightness, yeah.”

Trent:  “Feels so much lightweight.  Well, thank you very much, Peter, always innovating, with the Contraforte, and the Lupophone, and now the Redline LT, thank you very much.”

Peter:  “Yeah, thank you very much too.  You’re welcome.”

IDRS 2013 Interview – Renaud Patalowski from Marigaux oboes

September 6th, 2013 by Trent

Oboe specialist Jeff Marshak had the opportunity to interview Renaud Patalowski from Marigaux at the 2013 IDRS conference in Redlands, California. We’re very happy to carry Marigaux oboes. For more information on Marigaux oboes call or email Jeff or Steven.

Video Transcript:

Jeff: “Hi guys, Jeff Marshak, one of your oboe specialist with Midwest Musical Imports, here the 2013 IDRS conference.  I’m here with Renaux Palowski and Jean Marc of Marigaux. Thank you, first of all, for taking the time to meet with us today.  We’re please to be carrying Marigaux’s oboes again after a while, and our customers would like to know a little bit more about Marigaux.  So what is it that you pride yourself in as a firm of one of the world’s leading oboe makers?”

 Renaux: “So, Marigaux was created in Paris in the 1930s.  So it’s a company which has been building musical instruments, oboes and also clarinets, flutes at the beginning, and even saxophones, for many decades.  Now we are only concentrating on the family of the oboes.  As you just said, it’s a brand which is played by mostly professionals in every part of the world.  We are very proud of that.  We have musicians from very famous orchestras from Paris, in Sydney Australia, in Tokyo, in Los Angeles, in South America.  It’s a very famous brand, and I would bet that every oboist in the world knows Marigaux.”

 Jeff: “Can you tell us a little bit about the history of Marigaux?  How you developed the instruments that you’re playing today?”

Renaux: “The instrument that is the most famous of them all is called the 901.  It’s the standard Marigaux, it’s the one which was the origin of everything.  Now we have a range which is his brother, the 2001.  The 2001, is for instance, is played by Peter Cooper, who is normally here at IDRS with us.  We have created a very innovative oboe, which is the M2, which was launched in 2004, so almost 10 years ago, and it’s a very successful oboe.  We’ve very proud to be the only maker in the world to make such an oboe.”

Jeff: “You were telling us the other night at dinner a little bit about the success of the Marigaux oboes around the world, and how a lot of competitions across the country actually, most if not all the finalist, including the Gillet competition this year, four of the five finalist were Marigaux players.  What would you say attributes to the success of the Marigaux oboes?  What do you think makes it stand out from the many oboes that are on the market today?”

 Renaux: “First, just to take your sentence, it’s true that we have been proud and lucky that among the prestigious competitions around the world, we always have many Marigaux players in the finals and many Marigaux players winning the competition.  The best example is today, we just learned that Lin Shing, who is a Chinese musician, has just won the Gillet competition with a Marigaux M2, the oboe I just mentioned.  So if you take the various competitions which exist around the world, famous ones like the Sony in Japan, you had like five or six finalist who were all Marigaux players.  You had a very famous competition in Switzerland in Muri, which just took place a few months ago, all the finalist were Marigaux players.  We are very proud.”

“I would never say, and nobody on the team would say that these are good musicians because they play Marigaux.  But I think that they rely on Marigaux to be good artist.  They like what the instruments provide.  I think they like what we try to bring to them.  Marigaux is a very small company.  I feel that every player who plays a Marigaux is part of the family.  And if the musician who play the instruments feel that way, then we are very happy about it.  I think it’s a success.  This is what we are looking for.”

Jeff: “Well, thank you Renaux. I really appreciate it, and Jean Marc, thank you for taking the time. We’re pleased to be part of the Marigaux family once again at Midwest, and enjoy what’s left of the conference.  Thanks guys.”

The problem with metronomes…

August 15th, 2013 by Trent

MetronomeThere’s at least a dozen jokes about metronomes, but they can be one of the most helpful tools for a musician to play with technical and rhythmical accuracy. There’s more to using a metronome than just setting the metronome to performance tempo and attempting to keep up. Here are some strategies for using  metronome more effectively.

1. Start way slower than you think you need to. You’ll clean up your fingering and embouchure technique greatly if you practice at VERY slow and controlled speeds. To make sure you’re not speeding up, lock that metronome at a subdivided tempo and stay with it.

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Back-to-School Audition Prep

July 31st, 2013 by Trent

Back-To-School Audition Prep

For many of our customers the beginning of the school year means audition season, for high school band chair placement, or screened auditions for the college orchestra. Besides making sure you get your instrument out to practice the audition material, here are some things you can do to make sure you perform your best at an audition.

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IDRS Conference 2013 Recap in Photos

July 3rd, 2013 by Trent

We took many pictures at the conference of our friends and colleagues at the conference in Redlands, CA. We enjoyed seeing and meeting with you all and look forward to working with you through the year. You can see a few more pictures on our Facebook page that we posted during the conference.

Our Bassoon Reeds

June 20th, 2013 by Trent

Bassoon ReedsUnlike your local music store, MMI carries mostly hand-made bassoon reeds, made by bassoonists that test and finish each one to their precise specifications. We select reed makers that provide a reed that we think is something our customers will enjoy playing on and will give good results to beginners and advanced players alike. Because selecting a reed from MMI is a bit more complicated than “soft,” “medium,” and “hard,” you can refer to this guide when making your first selection, or if you’re considering a different reed than the last time you ordered.

As always, feel free to call us and speak with a bassoon specialist about your needs, experience level, and preferences in a reed, and we can try to make a suggestion for you. Read the rest of this entry »

A special memorial

June 14th, 2013 by Trent

We sometimes have quite unique and touching experiences with our customers. Recently a gentleman that hadn’t played his bassoon in over 25 years had his Puchner completely restored in our repair shop and was so thankful for our help and guidance through the process (and it was a great bassoon!). Another customer had some unusual hand problems that we were able to help her accommodate through ergonomic adjustments and adaptations to her instrument.

Most recently I had a very humbling and touching experience on the power of music and how much one woman can effect those around her. The connection reached beyond my job, so I wrote about it on my personal page. Read about it here:

A Memorial.

I've only heard great reviews about this trial procedure with [Midwest Musical Imports, it was very convenient.