Buying a new bassoon is usually prohibitively expensive, so buying a used bassoon is often the best option. This is a great option for beginners because it requires a smaller initial investment. When looking for an instrument, there are four major factors to consider. These include the instrument’s overall condition, as well as the pads, bocals, and tenons. Examining these aspects of a used bassoon in depth should assist the buyer in locating a high-quality instrument.
The overall condition and appearance of the bassoon is usually the first thing to look into. Any visible damage, such as discoloration or large scratches, should be considered a red flag. While a few dings and dents are to be expected, deeply visible scratches are a problem. Furthermore, the instrument’s major discoloration indicates that it was not well cared for. Because bassoons are prone to moisture damage, it’s also a good idea to look for mildew.
The pads are the next area to inspect on a used bassoon. It’s critical that these are in good working order because they’re responsible for taking notes. Fingering the pads is an easy way to check them. The pads will move back and forth with minimal noise if they are in good condition. If there is a problem, however, they will be quite noisy.
Cracks along the seals of the pads should also be checked. Cracks that are visible are a problem that can jeopardize the instrument’s overall performance. Furthermore, when pressing the pads, there should be a moderate amount of resistance. When the pads press down with little resistance, this is a common sign of moisture damage.
Another component to inspect in a used bassoon is the bocals or mouthpiece. The most important sign of a well-functioning mouthpiece is usually a dent-free surface. Instruments with structural damage to the bocals, such as scratches or dents, have a higher chance of producing a poor tone and should be avoided.
The tenons of a used bassoon are another component to inspect. It’s critical that all tenons are securely fastened and show no signs of looseness. In addition, none of the tenons should have any cracks or splits. Otherwise, a restoration may be required to achieve the desired sound.
It’s ideal to bring along an experienced bassoonist if at all possible. He or she will have a trained eye and ear, which will greatly simplify the process. It’s also a good idea for the buyer to try out three or four different bassoons before making a decision.