Thursday, February 5, 2009

Last year I had a scary moment when my bassoon fell over and mangled my early 1900's heckel CC2 crook (bocal). Luckily my first teacher and bassoon expert extraordinaire (David Lock out in deepest Suffolk) has some magic "dent balls" that restored it to its original shape and it plays just as well if not better now. This experience led me to look for another crook as a back up. I had heard about Benson Bell bassoons and my professor from the Guildhall School of Music (Ian Cuthill) mentioned in an email that Bell made the best pre war heckel crook copies he had tried.  I emailed last summer to find out more and Mr. Bell is a busy man (understandably with the testimonials you can see on his site! 

To my surprise two crooks came through at the beginning of January. Confusingly the description on his site doesn't match the letters on the crook and his assistant tells me they need to update the site! The good news is that the pre war D crooks are very very close to a pre war heckel CC2 and the pre war C crooks are thicker walled and slightly more resistant (and thus more stable). The D type suits my pre war instrument. It is very even over the whole range of the bassoon right up to top E and although it lacks some of the character of the heckel the increase in reliability and dynamic range has me seriously looking at using it all the time. And increases my curiosity to try a Bell bassoon!

1 comment:

Andrew said...

Hi Tom,

I live relatively close to Mr. Bell (well, compared to you) and have had the luxury of trying a few of his bassoons. His bassoons are incredibly popular in North America and many university students are 'upgrading' to his instruments.
I've tried three of his bassoons, one in the #30s range, one in the 50s and one that was brand new in February of 2010: #80.

#80 was a real treat to play, it felt more comfortable in my hands than my Heckel and had a great sound. Too bad I have a bassoon already.