Bassoon crook gadget

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!

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3 Comments on “Bassoon crook gadget”

  1. jonathanburton Says:

    My friend Tom says:

    “The bassoon boost – the theory is good, I use PTF tape (plumbers) to really fill any holes/gaps/leaks between cork and instrument and what Geoff describes is what occurs. My issue with the bassoon boost is that it wasn’t easy to get in and out (rubber can stick) and I got my Yamaha crook stuck as the glue didn’t hold (araldite rapid rather than the old stuff which I couldn’t find anywhere) so my crook was swivelling around and around – had to use pliers to get the plastic out. Ouch.

    But when my shortened heckel crook came back 4mm shorter re-corked nicely I tried it and the response was not quite as I remember it…. put the ptf tape back to really make a solid, hard, seal with the bassoon and WHAM back to that “centred note” feeling. A harder sound but I think more projection. The tape moulds to the exact shape of the hole, whereas the bassoon boost doesn’t – you just have three or four rings making contact – i.e. LESS contact area than the tape or even the cork..

    I think you are right about the waxed string…”

  2. jonathanburton Says:

    I’m trying Tom’s PTFE tape trick — not the thick black stuff he uses, but the thin white floaty tape you get for sealing joints. So far so good — cheap, effective and easily undoable. Don’t know if it will glue itself into a soggy mess though. My sound feels firmer, projected and more in tune — and not SHARP as I usually am! Interesting.

    Tom, the old-fashioned Araldite seems to be called ‘Araldite precision’ (slow setting), if that’s really the same stuff.

  3. Tom Hardy Says:

    Mine is the thin white floaty stuff too! No black thick stuff so not sure where THAT came from. I just missed the “E” of PTFE in my first reply…Yep, we are onto a winner here. A good firm seal and off we go.

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