For over a quarter century, MMI has been serving musicians around the world with expertise in a careful and thoughtful manner. Our staff of conservatory trained instrument specialists and highly skilled repair technicians are here to provide you with the care and expertise that comes from years of performing and teaching.
Midwest Musical Imports Blog
March 6th, 2014 by Jeff
Experience a night with the Grammy Award winning Minnesota Orchestra with Osmo Vänskä at helm conducting Sibelius Symphonies Nos. 1 & 4. We are giving away 2 tickets to the concert on Saturday March 29th, 2014 at 8pm at Orchestra Hall. These are floor seats and are extremely hard to get at this point in time. These concerts will surely be an unforgettable evening of amazing music!
Entry is simple, here are the rules – (see below for official rules)
1 entry per person/family
No purchase necessary at the time of entry
The drawing will be held on Monday March 24th, 2014 – we will select a winner and runnerup. Make sure you’re in Minnesota or planning to be in Minnesota for the concert on the 29th.
To enter: Email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Our instrumental specialists will have all additional information, you can reach as at 800.926.5587 for additional information and to enter by phone.
We’re so excited to have the Minnesota Orchestra back on stage and bringing music to Orchestra Hall once again. Join us in welcoming the musicians back to the stage!
Official Rules for Drawing -
NO PURCHASE IS NECESSARY – MAKING A PURCHASE WILL NOT INCREASE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING THIS GIVEAWAY
HOW TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY: No purchase is necessary. Enter between March 5 and March 23, 2014. Limit one (1) entry per person. Multiple entries, if discovered, will be disqualified.
ELIGIBILITY: Open only to legal residents of any one of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia who are 18 years of age or older at time of entry. THIS GIVEAWAY IS INTENDED FOR USE IN MINNESOTA ONLY. DO NOT ENTER THIS GIVEAWAY UNLESS YOU ARE LOCATED IN THE UNITED STATES AT THE TIME OF ENTRY.
Void where prohibited by law.
PRIZE: 2 main floor tickets to see the Minnesota Orchestra “Osmo conducts Sibelius” on March 29, 2014, 8pm.
Winner is responsible for any costs associated with using the prize, including but not limited to transportation and parking. Prize is nontransferable, is not good for cash, and cannot be exchanged for other merchandise. Winner will receive delivery of the prize as arranged by Sponsor. Tickets and gift certificates must be used in compliance with venue’s policies.
SELECTION AND NOTIFICATION OF WINNER: Every eligible entry will be included in the drawing. Sponsor will randomly draw the winner and back up name from all eligible entries on the date specified on the online entry form. Winner will be notified by e-mail or phone.
If Midwest Musical Imports is unable to reach a winner or a winner is unable to accept the prize within 24 hours of notification, then that unawarded prize will go to the first available back up thereof until the prize is awarded. The chances of winning are dependent upon the number of eligible entries.
GENERAL: By participating in this giveaways, participants agree to be bound by the Official Rules and that Sponsor and related organizations, their agents and employees have no liability whatsoever for any injuries, losses, or damages of any kind which result from use of the prize, or by participation in the giveaway. Sponsor or its related organizations may use winner’s name and likeness for advertising, fundraising, promotional or publicity purposes without further compensation. Expenses as a result of winning this prize are the responsibility of the winner.
RESTRICTIONS: By participating in this giveaway, a participant agrees to be bound by these Official Rules, and by all decisions of the giveaway sponsor.
SPONSOR: Midwest Musical Imports, 2021 E Hennepin Ave., Ste. 374, Minneapolis, MN 55413, 612-331-4717
March 5th, 2014 by Jeff
Now through May 31st, 2014 we’re pleased to offer an instrument trial shipping rebate! We have a large selection of new and used oboes, bassoons, and clarinets in stock and if you purchase an instrument now through the end of May we’re please to refund your trial shipping costs on all standard ground shipping!
Right now we have a vast selection of new and used oboes with a new batch of Loree oboes arriving from Paris. We also have brand new Howarth, Marigaux, Fox, and Buffet oboes in stock and ready to ship for trials.
In the bassoon department we have new Puchner pro bassoons, Takeda, Wolf, and Fox pro and Renard bassoons. We have quite the selection of Fox 240 bassoons here and available!
We are also stocking a large selection of Buffet R13 Clarinets in both Nickel & Silver plating. These instruments just arrived to us from Buffet and are ready for trials!
Here at Midwest Musical Imports we are musicians serving musicians. All of our instruments are under the care of experienced musicians specializing in their respective instruments. We work hard to get the highest quality instruments for all of your performance needs. Contact our instrumental specialists in the shop at 800.926.5587!
March 5th, 2014 by Trent
In 2010 Fox introduced a new line of their already very popular double star bocals, the R2. These bocals are even in tone color and responsive across the range. There are some variables to look at when considering a Fox bocal.
All of the Fox double-star R2 bocals start with the letter C, followed by two letters that indicate first the thickness, then the bore type.
T – “Thin-wall” These are similar to the Heckel CD bocal line, roughly .5mm thick throughout the wall of the bocal. The thinner wall means greater flexibility of tone character and typically an easier responding lower register.
V – Standard thickness. Similar to the Heckel CC thickness, with an average of .6mm through the wall of the bocal. Best for stability and more projection.
C – The standard bore. This is most commonly a match for thick-walled instruments like the 601 or 660. This bore offers the best core to the sound with a consistent response.
X – Slightly larger bore. This bore has a tendency towards ease of response in the extreme registers, and is a favored match for the thin-walled Fox bassoons like the 240 and 201.
Material is not indicated by letter markings on the bocal. Most commonly Fox bocals come in silver-plated nickel-silver alloy, although an unplated brass alloy is also available. Gold-plating is available as an option for a cost.
Fox bocals are sold in lengths that are off by a factor of 1 from Heckel. A Fox #2 length is equal to a Heckel #1, and a Fox #3 is equal to a Heckel #2. Fox will produce lengths 0-4.
Fox produces a traditional S bend as well as British bend bocals. We have begun stocking more of the British bend *CVC* bocals in both standard metal and plating as well as brass.
March 5th, 2014 by Trent
Puchner is historically one of the most well-respected bassoon manufacturing firms in the world, with a history dating back to the early 19th century. Their bocals have undergone many revisions through the years, with modern bocals finding their way to many major symphony and concert halls across the country. While other manufacturers have dozens of variables, Puchner stays with only some options that suit the needs of most players.
The first letter will indicate the bore, which will be followed by a letter indicating the metal and thickness. All bocals are silver plated. Available in standard lengths 0-3 (equal to Heckel lengths)
There are three bores available:
C - the C bore is the standard bore that offers excellent response in all registers and makes for a good orchestral or chamber music bocal.
B – the B bore has a more focused sound with more “core”, suitable for solo playing.
A – the A bore is specifically designed for high note response, with some sacrifice for the lowest register.
Additionally, the two bores are available in one of three metal thicknesses:
D – German silver alloy; the D thickness is equal to the thin-walled Heckel bocals, of about .5mm average thickness. The thin wall allows for a lighter response especially in the lower register, and is the most flexible in tone color, with the possible sacrifice of some stability.
C – German silver alloy; the C thickness is equal to the standard thickness of Heckel bocals, of about .6mm average thickness. Well suited for players that don’t need anything out of the ordinary in terms of flexibility or projection.
XL – Germany silver alloy; these will be marked with the bore letter, followed by CXL, so CCXL or BCXL. This is the extra thick walled bocal, providing the most stability and power of the three thicknesses.
B – Brass alloy; these offer a more rounded and blending sound especially for a chamber music situation. These come in the standard thickness only.
S – Sterling silver alloy; offers a brighter sound. These also only come in the standard thickness.
We typically stock only the German silver alloy bocals in the C and B bores at the 1 or 2 standard lengths. Some limited selection of these bocals available in British bend as well!
March 4th, 2014 by Jessica
These have been very difficult to keep in stock for the last several months, and we finally have a healthy quantity in the store, ready to ship for trial. Call one of our bassoon specialists at 1-800-926-5587 and we can get you squared away!
February 12th, 2014 by Trent
The weather in Minneapolis took an upward turn overnight last night. Our temperatures are now in double digits above zero for the first time in weeks! With a dramatic change in weather you might find a change in your reeds.
I don’t know if anyone has come to any scientific conclusions on how reeds react to different weather changes, but for most of us we just know that when the weather shifts, so will our reeds. We just don’t always know how they’ll change. There are some things you can do to even out the bumps though. These tips might also help you when you travel to a slightly different climate or altitude than your home. Your Mileage May Vary.
Try soaking up your reeds briefly, then just putting them away. Give them a chance to adjust to the new weather pattern without stressing them by playing. You’ll find they’ve acclimated to the new conditions the next day.
Long term, you can spend more days in the reed making process. I find that a reed that has some time to settle as a blank before beginning the finishing process, and given frequent but short playing sessions for the first week after finishing, will usually be more stable over weather changes (and last longer) than reeds made and finished in just a few short sessions. For single reed players, this translates to a gradual break-in process for new reeds out of the box.
For more tips, visit the Tips and Resources section of our blog.
February 11th, 2014 by Trent
Puchner bassoons represent the pinnacle of bassoon design, manufacture, sound, and performance. Made of only the highest quality curly mountain maple that is seasoned for a staggering 18 years! You can expect a powerful and flexible sound with ease of response in all registers – and it plays in tune. The fully featured keywork is meticulously made to be ergonomic and fluid.
Call now for a trial.
February 6th, 2014 by Jeff
We’re pleased to announce the arrival of new batches of Rigotti and Lorée oboe tube cane! Two of our most popular brands of tube cane, the Lorée and the Rigotti cane are extremely consistent from batch to batch and provide reeds with warmth and stability. We find little variation between batches – most of the cane is very straight, golden in color, light modeling, and easy to work with. We continue to work very closely with our vendors to provide our customers with the best quality cane. Each batch is hand sorted by our oboe specialists to ensure quality control.
Visit our webstore to order today or give us a call in the shop at 800.926.5587.
Still have additional questions regarding our tube cane selection? Visit the Tube Cane Guide for a detailed description of all the varieties we carry. And remember, Jeff and Steven are always in the shop to answer any additional questions you may have!
February 4th, 2014 by Trent
Brass wire is one of the crucial components of a bassoon reed. Its placement and how it’s put on the cane have a profound effect on the way the finished reed plays. We offer several gauges of wire, and depending on many factors, you may actually want to try a mix of different gauges. You don’t need much wire for any single reed, so even a 2oz. spool can provide enough wire for dozens of bassoon reeds.
The gauge for brass wire for bassoon reeds will typically be between 21 and 24 AWG. The higher AWG (American Wire Gauge) number the thinner the wire. Thinner wire will take up less space on the reed and theoretically allow freer vibrations of the reed, especially when used at the first wire position. If, for your reed design, the wire is too thin, it may not support the cane enough, and it can more easily break if you need the wire to be tighter. Heavier gauge wire will be more supportive, but may dampen the vibrations of the blades, especially on the first wire position.
Some reed makers I have spoken with will use all the same gauge wire (I personally use 22 for everything), while others will use thinner wire for the first wire closest to the blade, while using heavier wire for the third and/or second wire. Feel free to experiment and see if you find enough of a difference to use different gauges!
As for where to put the wires, there is no consensus in the reed making community on where the wires should go. The wire placement is largely a component of the reed shape, as the wires create the support structure for the fulcrum of the reed that helps keep the tip open.
Once you’ve made your reed, adjusting the wires can be a simple way to alter the playing characteristics of the reed.
Happy reed making!
January 30th, 2014 by Trent
Those of us living here in the upper half of North America have been experiencing an unusually frigid winter. As a result, here in the repair shop we’ve been seeing some severe binding of keys and mechanisms with Grenadilla instruments. Wood is a natural fiber which will tend to “breathe” and either contract or expand depending on the weather. Cold and dry rooms will cause the posts that hold the actual keys in place to move closer together, causing keys to bind. This shrinking of the wood also has the tendency to cause rings on the tenons to become loose and sometimes fall from the instrument.
You can try to prevent some of these problems in the following ways:
- Store your instrument in a warm, humidified room.
- Always allow your instrument to acclimate to any indoor temperature prior to assembling and blowing warm air through it.
- As always, swab out your instrument after every playing.
By taking a few of these precautions, you may avoid problems with your instrument seizing up or even cracking.
Midwest Musical Imports Repair Department
Eric Anderson & Matt Reich