News and Guides

How to put a bassoon together

March 10th, 2012

Four separate second hand bassoon joints ready for assembly at Double Reed Ltd.

The idea of putting a bassoon together can seem bemusing. However, once you've got the right technique, you'll always know how: 

• When inserting the wing joint into the butt joint, turn it to the side slightly so that the crook key link isn’t being pushed against the low E post or the top of the butt joint. It can easily get bent! Small twists are best. If you can’t easily push the wing joint into place, use some cork grease. Once the wing joint is in you can rotate it to the correct position by lining up the crook key link with the corresponding low E crook key link

• You should put the long joint on after the wing joint is in place. Again, small twists are best as the left hand little finger keys can scrape against the D tone hole on the wing joint and cause damage to the varnish

• The bell joint can be put on after the wing and long joints are in place. When carrying the bassoon do not hold it by the bell joint, as it often comes off and leaves your treasured instrument crashing to the floor

• The crook can go on last. Hold it just above the cork and lightly press into place with some gentle twists. Don’t hold it by the reed end as it will bend when you try to insert it

• When taking the bassoon apart, do the above but in the reverse order, starting by removing the crook, and watching that the vulnerable keys on the wing and long joint are not bent by over twisting

• When you have taken your bassoon apart after playing, always swab out the butt and wing joints. Use a silk pull through Hodge pull throughs work well. This removes excess moisture from the bore and keeps the wood in good condition. It is best not to keep the pull throughs with your bassoon as they will cause damp in the inside of your case and your bassoon. Pull throughs are best stored in an outer pocket of your case.

This is intended as a basic guide; please contact us if you have any great tips that we can add!

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 Article Author: Oliver Ludlow, In-House Bassoon Specialist and Director at Double Reed Ltd.

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