I just want to share with y’all a neat project/investment I’ve made during this self-isolating time. I PURCHASED A BASSOON!
While this may come a surprise to some, I am sure most of you who know me, know that I love learning new things, especially when it comes to music. After a five year hiatus on oboe, I recently picked that up within the last year and decided I should go about learning more instruments within the woodwind family. I am quite comfortable with flute, oboe, and saxophone but have never truly played clarinet or bassoon.
Now with all of this free time, I have begun teaching myself clarinet with an old clarinet I was given but had no current way of learning bassoon…. So of course I had to buy one. Now, if you have never gone bassoon shopping, you wouldn’t completely understand how crazy this sounds. Bassoons are quite possibly one of the most expensive woodwind family instruments and for good reason: just look at the size and amount of keywork!
Most student model bassoons start around 5k (USD) new and professional models truly have no limit on price (the most expensive one I’ve seen recently was a used Heckel for 68k). Well as a recent college graduate wanting to expand his hobby of doubling woodwinds, I did not want to spend anywhere near that kind of money. So I scoured the internet for a deal. Thankfully, I was able to find an older Schreiber bassoon (1970’s) on Reverb. If you have never heard of Reverb, it is basically the eBay equivalent of musical instruments. This of course has its pros and cons with being able to trust individual sellers, condition based on descriptions and pictures, no option of playing it, etc.
Despite all of this, I was able to find this old wooden bassoon in what looked like decent condition. The wood and varnish looked surprisingly well maintained, but the keys were quite tarnished and their were clear signs of neglect with a broken bell ring, completely misshaped bocal, keys not fully moving (found this out after receiving the instrument), a receipt for the last maintenance (2003!!), and a lovely (not) collection of used bassoon reeds and cleaning swabs.
With all of this going on with the instrument, I was able to catch a pretty good deal of only $650 + tax! Now that obviously isn’t my complete investment cost. I needed to purchase a new bocal, a new case, new swabs, a full repad of the instrument, and a reed case along with some decent reeds. Now this made my investment increase pretty dramatically, but still kept me in a reasonable amount considering I was buying another instrument. My rough total after all my purchases, including shipping and tax, ended up being $1,718.35. That is less than half of the cost of most used plastic bassoons on eBay, not even the wood equivalents… So that’s a pretty darn good deal.
Now the time you have all been waiting for… the pictures!