Archive for February 16, 2008

Bassoon crook gadget

February 16, 2008

bassoonboost.jpgMy friend Geoff has a section on his website devoted to his Latest Bit of Kit (LBoK).  One of these is the BASSOON BOOST – an apparently very simple idea:  you remove the cork from the end of your crook (= bocal, for readers in the US) where it fits into the top of the bassoon, and replace it with a tight-fitting bit of plastic.

My first reaction was sceptical – it seemed like re-inventing the wheel, or rather re-inventing waxed string, which was what provided an airtight joint in the old days (and was on my old lamented Heckel crook when I first got it).

My pro and semi-pro bassoonist friends were similarly unconvinced, and also expressed an understandable unwillingness to start taking a knife to the cork on their prized crooks!

However, Geoff plucked up his courage and took the plunge, Stanley knife in hand.  His comments are very interesting:

As far as the bassoon boost goes, yes, I have tried it. I’ve attached them to two of my crooks and they make a definite improvement. It’s quite hard to describe, but the “feel” of the notes is more solid. My first bassoon teacher used to describe how you might “aim” at a note and quite often the arrow goes in at the top or the bottom of an imaginary target circle, just squeezing into the gold, but actually you want it to hit dead centre. With the boost on, hitting the dead centre appears easier. Plus, no more cork or cotton to worry about!

As the cork on my favourite Soulsby F6 No. 2 is in need of attention (having somewhat overdone the ‘dampen and heat with a match’ trick to try and expand the cork a bit, it now has a black hole in it! – oops) – so I might just try the Boost and see what happens.

I’ll let you know…

On another tack, have a look at Geoff’s other amazing new toy – the Akai wind synth.

[I can’t seem to persuade WordPress to upload the YouTube video of it, but it’s here…]


picture from – thanks!