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Old 03-05-2009, 10:21 PM
Samson2 Samson2 is offline
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Default Bassoon how difficult?

My wife plays a piano well but is interested in playing a bassoon in our little town band. I`m trying to find out for her some info on bassoon playing. Perhaps you would help?
- Is more air pressure and volume required than say for an alto saxophone?
- There seems to be a wide spread of fingers reqired to cover the keys (at least from pictures I have seen of players). Her hands are fairly small.
- She is a middle age lady. How heavy is a bassoon?
- There is a bassoon sitting idle in our band`s cupboard. Assuming it is in no great shape what what should we check for on it, I presume the reed first?
Thanks folks.
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Old 03-06-2009, 12:26 AM
Fabrizio - VSM's Avatar
Fabrizio - VSM Fabrizio - VSM is offline
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Hello Samson and thank you for your posting,
hopefully some bassoonist will reply to you here. I would suggest you to post your inquiry on the Musicians Page forums too (in the bassoon dedicated section), people there is very active:


Good luck to your wife!

Fabrizio Ferrari, CEO
Virtual Sheet Music, Inc.
Classical Sheet Music Downloads®
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Old 03-18-2009, 12:55 AM
David+Laraway David+Laraway is offline
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Default Learning Bassoon on old Bassoon

Actually, less air is used than on an alto sax but a little more pressure (oboe, however, takes a lot more pressure and a lot less air is used). There is a bit of a spread for some notes but if she is able to handle the spread on the piano for your standard piano literature then she should be able to do it.
The weight generally isn't an issue as you use a seat strap to support it generally. This is a strap, like a wide belt, that you sit on and then there is either a cup or a clip at the end that holds the end of the bassoon. You can also use a neck strap but it needs to be long enough and with wide enough cushion around the neck.
You would probably want a new reed, but the important thing to check for is if the pads are sealing or are they leaking. The easiest way is just to have a bassoon player check it out for playability. If no bassoon player is available you can check for leaks with a leaklight. I was going to go into more detail on that, but decided there wasn't much point. The reason I say that is that if there is a problem you will need to take it to a repair person anyway. So if you can't see any problems by just looking it over (all the pads are there and look intact, things look like they fit together properly, etc.) just try it out. If, in the process of learning to play it she finds that notes beyond a certain point just won't play, then it will need to be taken in for repair.
Hope this is of some help to you,
David Laraway
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Old 03-10-2010, 10:57 AM
ericdesouza ericdesouza is offline
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@Samson you tips are really helpful even I think the bassoon is somewhat harder to learn than other wind instruments, but learning any instrument can be difficult at first. With practice you'll find it gets much easier.
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Old 03-11-2010, 06:01 PM
Kurt12 Kurt12 is offline
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Default difficulty

The biggest challenge in learning the bassoon is the number of alternate fingerings that exist for various intonation purposes. The first fingering I learned for third-space E-flat is actually one of the worst for having a consistent pitch...but it's the one in many of the older method books because it is the simplest.

The second biggest challenge is the number of thumb keys. Depending on the quality of the instrument, you will see anywhere from 9 to 12 for the left thumb, and either 4 or 5 for the right thumb.

Is bassoon challenging? Definitely.
Can it be frustrating to play it in tune? Oh, yeah...but considering the basic design of the bassoon hasn't changed since the late 1500s... *shrug*

I hope you find someone in your area who can give you a few pointers to get going! Good luck!
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Old 12-03-2010, 04:41 PM
BilboBilly BilboBilly is offline
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Originally Posted by Kurt12
The biggest challenge in learning the bassoon is the number of alternate fingerings that exist for various intonation purposes.


The fingerings are the hardest part of picking up the bassoon. If she plays the alto then she'll definitely have a head start in learning.
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Old 12-15-2010, 05:39 AM
shallet shallet is offline
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I also think that the fingerings is the most hardest part in learning bassoon.
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Old 01-01-2011, 07:52 AM
jackport jackport is offline
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Well, of course, you need a little more. But it is the same principle, breathing with the diaphragm and a direct flight you need is greatest. efficient breathing is a bit 'more important than the oboe bassoon, it is necessary to fill greatest tool but the upside is a larger hole in the race to force through.

Last edited by jackport : 01-01-2011 at 07:55 AM.
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Old 01-26-2011, 02:45 AM
richardjoven richardjoven is offline
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Default bassoon

The bassoon is by no means the easiest instrument to learn, but it produces a lovely, deep, rich tone and is an important part of bands and orchestras. Once you start playing, you just may fall in love with the bassoon, and turn it into a hobby or even start performing.
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Old 03-28-2011, 06:59 AM
nicholasgage nicholasgage is offline
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Learning how to play an musical instrument is always a plus. Bassoons are famous for their staccato notes so learning to perfect them is well worth it. In my opinion, the hardest part is not always the how to play the instrument of your choice.
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