Monday, June 8, 2015

Nasty Habits -- Key Noise

As stated in a previous post, it's difficult to get a true picture of how you come across while playing.

The noise made by the mechanism of the bassoon can be very distracting. Sometimes the mechanism in general is noisy. Sometimes it's just one key. The loud clang of metal on metal when a particular note is fingered can be like hearing a piano with a key sticking!

Time spent going to a repair technician or dealing with the noise yourself can be viewed as time away from practicing.  With procrastination, the player can get used to the metallic sound.

I recall times when, after getting my instrument serviced, it seemed as if my sound were smaller due to the newly quieted mechanism. I had become so used to the noise that, to me, it seemed part of my sound!

Given the tough job market for musicians, it's wise to eliminate any aspects of your presentation that might detract from a positive impression. All things being equal -- accuracy, good intonation, good rhythm, musicality, etc., it could come down to a (stupid, yes) thing like a noisy mechanism, or other distraction.

In a day-to-day setting, listening to your clanging keywork can be annoying to colleagues around you!

So, do your colleagues a favor and get your bassoon to a repair technician or quiet it yourself!

In a previous post, my repair technician, Ken Potsic, recommended certain items to keep with you for on the job maintenance.

By the way, what's wrong with the photo above? Anyone want to venture a guess?


  1. Doesn't look like a picture of Bassoon Keys to me. Perhaps an Albert System Clarinet?

  2. Very good! Clarinet keys. Not sure which system?

  3. the noisy key problem (bassoon, bass clarinet, saxophone) will be solved by fitting the LC-bearings from the Wolf Company (Kronach, Germany). My repairtechnician Maarten Vonk, Amersfoort, The Netherlands installed this system of special screws and inner axle tubes on my 13000 Heckel. I entered a new world of bassoon playing, better key action, hardly any noise, and even better closing of the pads. And: it is completely stable.

  4. Dear Sluijsbassoon, this is intriguing. Could you share some photos? What is the cost of refitting the mechanism?
    The bassoonist must still take care to look after noise caused by worn or missing corks and felts, right?