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Spotlight on: a Heckel 5000 series bassoon

January 19th, 2024

Spotlight on: a Heckel 5000 series bassoon

Spotlight on: a Heckel 5000 series bassoon

We are starting a series on selected bassoons we have for sale which we feel are worthy of a bit more information than the normal page on our website.

This 5000 series bassoon was originally sold by Heckel on 20 January 1920. Heckel don’t report where it went, but it spent at least some of its life being played professionally in Gothenburg in Sweden. When it first went on sale we were contacted by a previous owner who lives in Gothenburg, saying he recognised his old bassoon!

Heckel 5xxx

At some point in its life it was overhauled by Puchner who added the finger-hole liners in the wing joint. We are given to understand that Leitzinger added the high D and E keys (coincidentally, it also comes with a Leitzinger M1 crook) and the work, as would be expected, is of a high standard.

The current owner bought it just over 10 years ago, and has had many great playing experiences with it. Sadly, she no longer plays and is very keen for us to find someone who will enjoy and cherish it as much as she always has.

Our verdict: it plays beautifully, exactly as a well-restored and great-condition 5000 series should (and we have seen dozens over the years). It benefits from lots of upgraded keywork, bringing it to a modern standard – all well executed.

In our view it is an ideal bassoon for anyone looking for that perfect combination of the older Heckel sound with modern, easy-to-play keywork on a carefully-looked-after bassoon in pristine condition.

Oliver Ludlow comments:

"This bassoon reminds me very much of my own 5000 series Heckel. I particularly love how light this series is to hold. I have often played standing up in small ensembles and the lighter weight of the instrument is a big advantage I have over others of newer, significantly heavier bassoons. When the left arm gets tired, the technique of the left hand tends to get sloppy as those fingers are starting to support the weight of the bassoon more. Not so with the Heckel 5000.

"The keywork is also light and nimble compared to newer bassoons which tend to have much thicker, heavier metal. Lighter keywork reduces strain further on the fingers, and allows for longer playing periods with snappier technique.

"I also love the thin walled factor of Heckel 5000 series bassoons. The instrument responds immediately and with great resonance when needed, and has a woody, warm and round sound. There is no other sound quite like the old Heckel sound, which I often describe as golden. That freeness and rich tone quality also gives excellent scope for reed choice as you can play on softer reeds, with a relaxed embouchure and still sing out.

"I feel that the ratio between quality and price with a 5000 series Heckel is extremely favourable. This golden sounding professional Heckel bassoon is well within the reach of most serious bassoonists, and surely a Heckel dream come true as well.

"And, to top it off, this Heckel bassoon has 'that look' about it, which only really older Heckels have, such that you can see it is a Heckel from the back of the concert hall. The beautiful varnish on these old Heckels wears in a very specific, tactile way that is beautiful."

Take a closer look at this bassoon, for sale here: Heckel 5xxx