Well it is an exiting time of my life... I'm finally returning to my beloved Bassoon after six years. I'm thinking (very strongly) of buying an Amati bassoon (second hand, but it will have any restoration work done by my very trusted music shop prior to purchase). I just wanted to throw this out to you guys on 8notes to see what your verdicts have been of the Amati bassoons.
I am looking for a basic, student bassoon for a very cheap price in bassoon terms. I am on a very limited budget. The Amati is the one I've seen and will be testing shortly prior to (hopefully) buying. I say hopefully, because all it rests on is it sounding nice in the flesh! I wanted to hear what you thought of it though, if you've ever played one or owned one. Are they nice? I know they aren't a patch of Fox, Schrieber etc... but I'm guessing they must surely be better than these terrible chinese exports that sell new for less than £1000
Also please let me know how long ago you played the Amati, because we all know manufacturers change as time goes by!
Thank you, thank you, thank you. I look forward to (hopefully) getting some replies soon.
With second hand bassoons THE most important thing is the condition and past upkeep of the instrument - more important than the brand name or the year it was made. This will determine how the instrument sounds and responds and will vary all over the place. When you are talking your price range it is even more the case.
Any kind of decent inspection and/or overhaul of a bassoon will cost you in the neighborhood of $500. Anyone who tells you that he can do it for less is not a proper bassoon technician. All the keys have to come off, etc.etc. Therefore, you should figure this cost into the cost of your horn unless it has just been overhauled prior to your purchasing it. I'm not saying there are no $1,000 instruments out there - I'm just saying it's that much more important to be sure what you are getting. The bocal should be free of dents and have no cracks in it. The bottom joint should be free of wood rot. If these two things seem right, then you have a chance of fixing most other things.
I'm in the UK so US prices will be very different. The shop I'm buying it from put every 2nd hand bassoon through their workshop so I know it will be fit for purpose... I'm just a bit more interested in what the tone is like etc... I havent tried it yet... it's not coming for approval til its came out of the workshop at Christmas :D
PS. I mean what the tone tends to be like on avarage from this model. I know it depends on the how the instrument has been looked after generally, but (as a former string player) everyone knows that Sky Lark Violins tend to be useless for anything much past the early grade - and the tone/quality is just generally bad... just like we know not to trust the cheap Chinese bassoon imports that cost £900 and fall to pieces straight away... I'm just trying to get a general idea of their reputation, I'm not judging my own instrument on it in the slightest, because that all comes down to what it plays like! lol x
Your comments about Chinese bassoons is correct in my experience - they have got better over the years but I am still not convinced about them. Also I have seen brand new ones which need at least half a days work to sort out mechanical problems before they it would be possible to assess the musical qualities.
I have never owned an Amati (or any of the other labels that they have been sold under over the years here in UK - Louis, Lafleur, Corton, B&H 400) but as a repairer I have seen many from about 1960 onwards. The general quality - manufacture, materials, sound & consistency of tuning etc - appears to have improved over this time. I have only had a brief chance to play & inspect a recent model at an exhibition & get the impression that this improvement has been sustained. This view is supported by comments from other players & repairers I know. However I believe they still do not reach the quality of other brands like Adler, Schreiber, Moosmann & Fox.
I personally would be very wary of any bassoon from this source over about 10 - 15 years old.
Happy hunting & welcome back to the great world of bassoon!
Thank you for this - that is very helpful Contra448! I actually used to play the B&H if my memory is correct, and I'll be very happy if my instrument is anything like that... because although not the best, it did its job well... I'm hoping this Amati proves to be like this. Realistically, it is only a short term fix... when finances allow I will invest in a better Bassoon, but I'm hoping I can get to the end of uni and a steady job before needing to replace it!
In terms of who is refurbing it, it is actually Howarth's of London - I know they are fantastic, and I trust them completely. I would have liked to have been able to afford the extra £500 for a Schrieber (I know the money would have been well spent)but I had already pushed it up an extra £500 - which in my terms, makes buying a Bassoon more expensive than a years worth of groceries, and thats without buying reeds or paying for lessons.
(Just off topic, but has anyone else noticed that reeds have doubled in price over the past six years? I used to pay £6 and now most are £12)...
Interestingly though, my music told me to steer clear of Adler, and that a lot of her young students had problems with their bassoons recently?
In the mean time though (whilst I'm waiting for the Amati to come out of the workshop) I am very excited, because my university have found me a Bassoon to loan!!! I pick it up on Friday (I need to go reed shoppign)! This gives me a few months to practice before the Amati is ready, and also will satisfy my craving! I am very excited to be returning to the world of the Bassoon... it has been far too long!
I must admit I've been hearing absolute polar opinions about the Adler (which means I've heard from people absolutely adore them as well), but I just decided it was safer to stay well away from it. Part of that is just the nature of any instrument though - there are no instruments out there that will suit every single player... one mans passion = another mans poison and all that.
But... I'm SO excited. I should be (if all goes well) be picking up my loan bassoon tomorrow! Woohoo! I've got the reed sat "pride of place" on my mantle piece, all ready and waiting! (My neighbours will hate me tomorrow!)