Spring Savings!

Just in time for the arrival of Spring in Minnesota, we're offering up savings on Instruments, Bocals, and Accessories!  Check out our sale sections for oboe, bassoon, and single reeds for all of sale items!

And don't forget about our spring shipping rebate!  Now through May 31st, if you purchase an instrument from a trial we'll be happy to refund or apply your shipping toward the purchase of the instrument!

Our instrument specialists are always in the shop if you need to reach us for any reason - 800.926.5587.

Happy Spring!

Your Midwest Musical Imports Instrumental & Repair Teams,

Jessica, Trent, Steven, Jeff, Brandon, Eric, & Matt

Instrument Trial Shipping Rebate

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.

fox240In 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, or visit our Instrument Trials page for more information.

Reeds and Weather

objuliepaul-reedThe 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.

Brass Wire in Bassoon Reeds

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.

1/4 lb will make many 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!

Gift ideas for the bassoonist in your life

We don't sell many "kitschy" things here at MMI. We prefer to focus on the practical tools, materials, and references that a bassoonist needs to make music. So when looking for gifts for the bassoonist in your life you're not going to find bassoon neckties, tree ornaments, bassoon statues, or t-shirts. Not that there's anything wrong with those things, but if you're a non-bassoonist overwhelmed with a wide variety of tools and accessories you don't know anything about (and that's totally okay) but want to give a bassoon related gift, here are some suggestions on what many bassoonists will be quite thankful to receive in the gift-giving season. Read More...

Bassoon Care series: Swabs and caring for wood

In the next coming weeks I'll be offering some basic care tips for bassoonists. Following some basic care procedures can greatly enhance the look of your instrument and improve the performance of your bassoon between regular visits to your repair technician.

Swabbing your instrument after every playing session (or within a longer playing session) is the single most important thing you can do to keep your instrument in good playing condition. Excess moisture in the instrument while being stored can lead to water problems while playing, damaged pads, and extensive damage to the wood. Swabbing your instrument isn't a difficult task, but it has to be done properly to ensure the process is doing what it's supposed to do, and doesn't result in inadvertent damage.

Read More...

Bassoon and Bassoon Bocal Selection Procedures

If you've been here before, you might have seen this post discussing the various bassoon options that Midwest Musical Imports has available. You might have been looking to upgrade your bocal and found this information on Heckel bocals. But if you're buying for the first time, or upgrading to something new, you might not know for sure how to best make a selection from the choices you are given. Even if you have decided to try a Heckel CC1n bocal, or a Fox professional model bassoon, each bocal and instrument is a bit different and unique. So how do you choose? What process can you use to organize your thoughts and make a satisfactory choice that you know you'll be happy with for years go come? Here are my personal suggestions on methods for testing and selecting an instrument or a bocal to go with an instrument. Read More...

Choosing The Best Bassoon Brands

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
Takeda Bassoons
Wolf Bassoons

Read More...

Repairing extreme wood damage in a bassoon boot joint

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 More...