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

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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...

The problem with metronomes...

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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Used Instrument Warranty

When it's time to replace a musical instrument, sometimes purchasing a brand new instrument may not be an option. Midwest Musical Imports is pleased to offer a wide selection of high quality used instruments that will fit your needs.  We also offer a 1-year maintenance and crack warranty included with the purchase of select used oboes, bassoons, clarinets, and saxophones!

Call our instrument specialists at 612-331-4717 for further information and trial availability!

An unconventional orchestra

I'm a strong supporter of new music. After all, as they say on Composers Datebook, "all music was once new." For me, a thing I feel we have lost in "classical" music is the art of improvisation. Baroque masters frequently improvised, but it seemed to become unimportant for classical players. Jazz musicians frequently speak of the freedom they feel while improvising, a way of expressing themselves that can't exist when playing what is strictly written on the page. As a senior at Lawrence University a student composer wrote a piece for me in a modern classical style that included extended improvisational sections. The desire to improvise more increased through grad school when I eventually was turned on to the music of Paul Hanson. Paul, for those of you that don't know, is an improvising jazz bassoonist that uses a lot of interesting effects on the bassoon to transform it into something different: an electrified bassoon. Mind blown, as they say.

So I started to emulate his ideas, started practicing jazz music, and developed my own electric bassoon pickup that I now use with a wealth of effects, or "stompboxes" that are all primarily designed for guitarists. I even made the focus of my doctoral dissertation about elements of jazz in more standard bassoon literature.

This week I have the wonderful opportunity to play as one of the original members of a new improvising, new-music, ensemble in Minneapolis called The Cherry Spoon Collective. The "orchestra" consists of mostly traditional band and orchestra instruments: violin, cello, clarinet, bass, trumpet, trombone, saxophone, but also guitar, drum set, spoken word artist ("rapper" isn't quite the right term in this context), and I play not just bassoon, but electrified bassoon. The members of the group are modular, with no set instrumentation for every performance, and everyone is an improviser at some level. We perform all new music, most of it commissioned for this ensemble. Many of the works are incredibly loose in structure, requiring the musicians to play in contemporary styles of rock, R&B, and hip hop, follow unusual road maps, unusual harmonic structures, solo over chord changes (or over no chord changes). It's a far cry from Tchaikovsky, but just as listenable!

Cherry Spoon Collective, in rehearsal at Studio Z in St. Paul, MN

You can't see it in this photo, but I'm using a series of effects pedals to create some extra sounds, as well as provide some basic sound support for my instrument in order to be heard while a drum set is playing. In order to access the effects easier I stand to play.

The Cherry Spoon Collective is performing this Friday, April 26, at Studio Z in St. Paul, MN. We're performing the same set of music twice, at 7pm and at 9pm. It's free, and all-ages.

For more information on my electric bassoon, and on my other improvised and jazz related projects, visit my website.

Save on Instrument and Bocal Trials!

Save on instrument and bocal trials!  Now through the end of May, if you purchase an instrument or bocal through us, we will refund your instrument trial shipping charge.  Please call our instrument specialists to set up a trial and for further information.

We currently have a great selection of new and used instruments available with Special Spring Prices!

F.Loree oboes - Standards & Royals (regular and AKs) now on special

Fox 333 oboes - Fox's Protege model, beginner plastic oboes

Fox 240 Bassoons - The Fox Renard (short Bore), one of the most popular selling bassoons on the market!

Wolf s2000 & Wolf 2000+ Bassoons - These hand-crafted, German made bassoons are gaining popularity.  In stock and on special!

Yamaha CSG Bb Clarinet

Bliss Bb Clarinets

Yamaha 221 and 321 Flutes

Yamaha 875 EXHG Soprano Saxophone

 

Other special instrument pricing available - contact our instrument specialists for further details

Whatever your instrument or bocal needs, we're here to help.  We're pleased to stock a wide selection of new and used oboes, bassoons, clarinets, and saxophones as well as a vast selection of new and used bocals for Bassoon and English horn!

New Heckel Bocals

With our newest shipment of the most popular CC and CD bocals, our Heckel bocal inventory reaches nearly 100 new bocals! This is in addition to our currently rather large selection of excellent and gently used Heckel bocals.

We also have a new type in stock, a C-XL type. Only currently available in #1 length and silver plated, these are a perfect match for a Fox Renard 240, with more focus to the sound than a CD-XL, but more vibrancy than the CC-XL. Any of the XL bocals are highly recommended with any Fox bassoon.

Contact Trent or Jessica at 1-800-926-5587 to set up a trial.

Great Tips for Bassoon Reed Balancing and Adjusting

Jessica and I have long been fans of Christian Davidsson's really simple reed balancing guide.

Before you get to the finer details of the scraping points of the guide, if you're using Gouged, Shaped, and Profiled cane, the first thing you probably need to do is crape out of what Christian labels (18) on the reed. My strategy for scraping out of that area is to scrape against the grain of the reed from the center out towards the corner, like so: Read More...

Minnesota Bassoon Association presents Per Hannevold masterclass

World acclaimed bassoonist Per Hannevold will be presenting a Minnesota Bassoon Association sponsored bassoon masterclass on March 9, 2013 from 2 pm to 5 pm. The MBA inviting six people of any age or ability to play for him.
The masterclass will take place at the Lorenz Auditorium in the Fine Arts Center at Normandale Community College in Bloomington, MN. Please click here for detailed directions.
The Per Hannevold masterclass is free to paid members of the Minnesota Bassoon Association and their families. If you have not paid dues since September, 2012, please plan to pay at the door:  $20 general, $10 students, and you will be an MBA member until September, 2013.  Ask for Ye Yu or John Miller, who will be happy to accept your membership fees.
Per Hannevold

New Heckel Bocals

Silver and gold is overrated. We prefer silver and nickel!

This is what Christmastime looks like at MMI! Beautiful snowflakes of Heckel bocals. And each one is kind of like a snowflake: no two are exactly alike. That's why we have such a great trial policy on bassoon bocals. Our latest batch just came in, of our most popular types in either nickel or silver plating. Call Trent or Jessica at 1-800-926-5587 and we'll get you set up with a trial.

Not sure what kind of bocal is best for you? We're happy to help you pick from our selection based on our extensive knowledge of bassoons, bocals, playing styles, and experience meeting hundreds of customers' needs over the years.