Thursday, 9 September 2010

Chapter 4. The first impression

It has been delivered today. The way it happened is probably worth a post on its own but for now the most important thing is that the bassoon has arrived and I was able to see, measure and examine it. Here are a few pictures of it.

My first impression is very good. When compared to what I'm used to it is a bit smaller and very light, dusty, here and there green and generally... old. It has an odd crack, small denture and a lot of small scratches but apart from that there is not much. There is virtually no sign of the usual wear and tear marks around holes and on keys so I don't think it has been used awful lot.

And as I thought it is the Buffet-Crampon system.

Obviously after sitting for 30 years in the attic all the pads will need to be replaced. Cork on the joints has fallen apart and so have all the cork pads in the mechanism. The bocal has no cork at all and looks like it has been never cleaned inside through out the entire 80 years. Few axles are slightly bent and one is missing one screw. On the upper part of the bass joint there is a small hole and a crack but it is not through the wood so it shouldn't be a problem. The bell has at least two cracks at the bottom but they are concealed in the metal rim and I don't think they go outside the connecting part. You can see them here (at just after 1 and at 6 o'clock).

Almost the whole instrument is very dry so it's surface is rather rough, full of micro cracks and all the metal rims are slightly loose. Only at the very bottom of the butt it's slightly rotten with a little bit of mold visible on the cork seal. I've never seen anything like that before so I will ask somebody first before I will open it but I am sure it will have to be opened and treated somehow. There is no lining inside the tenor joint or narrower bore of the butt but there is something sticking out from the wider bore.

I am no wood specialist so I have no idea what is it made of but I can see it was once varnished. With time the varnish coat has chipped off especially on the butt and the wing joint. Have a look here at the butt and the bell.

I still don't know it's pitch but I have measured it and hope that somebody will be able to predict it. Here are the measurements (excluding the bits that slide into other parts):
  •    Bell: 356mm
  •    Bass: 520mm
  •    Butt: 437mm
  •    Wing: 467mm
  •    Bocal: 290mm
So it is 1313mm tall (just below 51'' and three fourths ) it has 2217mm from the top of the bell to the top end of the tenor joint (just over 87'') and the total length from the very top to the end of the bocal is around 2507mm (almost 99'')

It looks almost exactly like this one from Horniman museum's collection.

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