This list is by no means comprehensive and is purely the opinion of the author. No company sponsors this site.
If you would like to submit your own comments, questions or recommendations, please feel free to do so here.
There are many instrument makers to choose from and many of them are producing instruments of good quality. My recommendations here will based on 20+ years of experience teaching bassoon students of all ages, but do not represent a comprehensive survey of all the choices available. There are two instrument brands that I can recommend with confidence: Fox and Schreiber (a subsidiary of Boosey & Hawkes). Bassoons from either company have proven over time to consisently provide very fine performance for their owners.
For best prices, contact your local music store or check for prices online. The following sites are but two examples and are not affiliated with this site in any way: Chuck Levin's Washington Music Center or Woodwind & Brasswind.
Avoid the bidding process if at all possible. If you are required to purchase by bid, you may want to add some descriptive lines about features that you must have that can only be found on the instrument you want. For instance, if you really want a Fox bassoon, contact Fox and ask for ways to write your bid so that only the Fox instrument you want will satisfy the bid guidelines.
For middle school students, there are a few things to consider. First, it is very important for beginners to have an instrument that isn't going to frustrate them needlessly. Many of the lesser brand bassoons are so poor in quality that even the most enthusiastic student is going to be discouraged. So spend the extra money!
Options that are available on many student include extra trill keys, rollers, high d key, etc. Here are some suggestions. Rollers are good. Most trill keys are not necessary for middle school students, nor is the high d key.
Plastic (polypropylene) bassoons are fine, but again, only from the reputable manufacturers. A good Fox plastic instrument will sound excellent and is extraordinarily durable. Whatever extra money you put into this instrument initially will more than pay for itself over time.
Short reach bassoons. Fox also makes an instrument with the tone whole placement and keywork a little closer together so that students with somewhat smaller hands can reach everything. If possible, one of your middle school instruments should be a short-reach. They play well and give the younger students a chance to get started with less frustration. Once the student has grown and is ready to move up to a normal setup, the adjustment period on the new instrument is minimal.
Mostly the same recommendations as for middle school, but many high schools purchase at least one higher performance model to serve the needs of their best students. Rollers will be standard as well as the more important trill keys. Ab-Bb trill is not necessary. High d key is a good option.
If you have questions about a particular option, feel free to submit your question using the form in the left menu.
Other equipment and accessories
Acquiring a suitable instrument will do much to help your young bassoonists to be successful. There are, however, a few other equipment issues that should be considered as well. Click here to find out more!
Bruce Hammel. All Rights Reserved.