Get Help with Selecting your Bassoon Today

Choosing your bassoon is a very personal experience with many things to consider along the way. The material from which the bassoon is made, your playing environment, frequency of use, price, and your level of accomplishment just to name a few! While selecting a bassoon may seem like a daunting task, remember that our staff of highly trained bassoon specialists is here with a bassoon buyer’s guide below to help you through any questions you may have.

If you have additional questions, please provide us with your contact information and a brief message or call us at 1-800-926-5587 to speak directly with a specialist.

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    Bassoon Selection Guide

    Choosing your bassoon is a very personal experience with many things to consider along the way. The material from which the bassoon is made, the age of the instrument, its mechanical condition, your playing environment, frequency of use, price, resale value, your level of accomplishment just to name a few! While selecting a bassoon may seem like a daunting task, remember that our staff of highly trained bassoon specialists is always here with a bassoon buyer’s guide to help you through any questions you may have.

    Whether you’re a professional, an aspiring professional, a college student purchasing your first professional bassoon, or the parent of an aspiring bassoonist, we hope that the following information will serve as a starting point for the process of selecting a bassoon. Remember, bassoons are just as individual as the people who play them, and there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ choice when it comes to selecting your instrument. If the bassoon sounds good, plays well, and you feel comfortable with the purchase then gather your information and trust your own opinion; after all this is ultimately up to you!

    Student Bassoons:

    Student or beginner bassoons are typically made of plastic or maple.  These bassoons do not have all of the key work a professional would require and may or may not have a high D key.   Fox makes a short reach version, which is particularly helpful for younger students with smaller hands that want to get started on the bassoon right away! If you have a player with smaller hands, but their reach is ok, look for models that have the left hand third finger plateau key instead of the ring key.

    Intermediate Bassoons:
    Intermediate bassoons are a great choice for the developing student or serious amateur. They often have a high D key, high E key, whisper key lock and sometimes a a-whisper key bridge. Most intermediate bassoons are made of mountain maple, but there are some plastic models. These particular bassoons will serve the intermediate player well for several years until they move on to the top level or head toward music schools or conservatories.   They are also great bassoons for students pursuing a music minor, or amateurs playing in community bands and orchestras.  Fox intermediate bassoons have excellent resale value should you decide to upgrade at a later date.

    Professional Bassoons:
    These bassoons are fully equipped for professional orchestral, chamber, and solo playing. The most common material is mountain maple, however some manufacturers produce professional plastic models that are great for outdoor performances. These instruments can have a variety of key work, depending on the player’s needs.  Some manufacturers allow for a full customization of key work, while others offer a standard key work option.   Most pro bassoons will have extra rollers, trill keys, and other options.

    Wood Bassoons and Plastic Bassoons: Pros and Con

    When deciding to get wood or plastic, there are a few things to consider.   Will you be playing outside?   Is the instrument for a young player or a school program where it may not be swabbed properly after each use?

    While considering your options between wood and plastic instruments, the most important factor here should be how well the instrument plays and what your needs are rather than what the instrument is made from. There exists in today’s market a variety of very high-quality plastic bassoons that are certainly worth exploring.   Just because a bassoon is made of plastic does not mean that it will have a terrible sound.  Fox plastic bassoons are a great option for young players, school programs, and outdoor concerts!

    Wood – The majority of wood bassoons are made from mountain maple.  This will produce a nicer tone than plastic bassoons, however, more care needs to be taken.  If not cleaned properly, wood bassoons can develop boot rot.  They also require a regular oiling of the bore during routine maintenance repair appointments.

    Wood Pros:
    Sound quality & projection
    Higher re-sale value

    Wood Cons:
    Much more sensitive to environment: ambient moisture, temperature, humidity
    Susceptible to boot rot/cracks in tenons
    Requires more maintenance

    Plastic Pros:
    Will not crack – does not require a break-in period
    Less maintenance needed
    More durable for school programs and young students
    Withstands a variety of performance environments,i.e. – air-conditioning, heating, perfect for outdoors!

    Plastic Cons:
    Sound quality
    Lower re-sale value

    New vs. Used Bassoons

    Purchasing a brand new bassoon may not always be an option, but the good news is there are a wide variety of used instruments that may be just as good as a brand new one. We have a wide variety of used instruments here at MMI ranging from student bassoons through professional bassoons in both plastic and wood. These instruments are professionally maintained and kept up to peak playing ability by our repair shop and are ready for trials. When considering the purchase of a used bassoon, it’s generally best to speak with one of our bassoon specialists to help better evaluate your needs and what instruments best apply.

    Things to consider when purchasing a used bassoon:
    Price of instrument compared to price of a brand new instrument of the same maker
    The age of the instrument
    What your playing needs are – Student? Amateur? Professional?
    Frequency in which the instrument was played – Does it need a break-in period?
    Quality of the instrument when it was new
    Repair work – How much is/was needed on the instrument and the nature of the repairs

    The Trial Period

    It is never recommended that anyone should purchase a bassoon sight unseen (or unheard!). MMI offers a trial period on our instruments, new or used, in which you’re able to try up to 2 bassoons at a time for up to a week to play and compare to determine if the instrument(s) best suit your needs. At the time of the trial we HIGHLY recommend you collect as many opinions as you can about the instruments you’re trying. Most importantly if you’re a student, or the parent of an aspiring bassoonist, consider meeting with a teacher during the trial to get their professional opinion on the instrument(s). While it is important to get opinions, also remember to trust yourself and your own opinion when playing the instrument(s) as it ultimately comes down to YOU!

    We here at Midwest Musical Imports certainly understand that purchasing a new bassoon, for whatever your needs, can be an overwhelming task but we would like you to know that our highly trained staff of bassoon specialists are here to help when questions or concerns arise. We’ll be happy to help you every step of the way toward the purchase of your new basssoon!

    Looking for More Bassoon Services?

    Beyond our expert sales staff, we are proud to offer bassoon services to assist every player no matter what they are trying accomplish. With bassoon specialists on staff, you can be sure that the information we share with you comes from years of experience.

    Who We Are

    Since 1983, our goal has been to provide our customers with the care and expertise learned over our years as performers and teachers. We dedicate ourselves to finding customers the right instruments and providing the right resources to elevate their musical talents.

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