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Instrument | Paula Brusky, PhD

I play on a 5500 series Heckel.  My bassoon was ordered on 1 September 1918 and shipped to the California coast in May 1919.  I purchased the instrument in 1997 and am the fourth owner.  All of the key work is original with the addition of high D, E-flat, and E keys.  The key work and wood make my instrument noticeably lighter than a new instrument.  The entire boot joint is unlined which may contribute to the full, rich, velvet sound.  My instrument is in excellent condition and I feel lucky to own it!

I have tried and used many bocals on the instrument.  Currently I use four bocals for different situations.  All of my current bocals have a “straight” or “English” bend.

  • Heckel CD 1 silver-plated – great all-around bocal for orchestral playing, pitched at A441
  • Heckel CC 2 silver-plated – great all-around bocal for orchestral playing, pitched at A440
  • Heckel CD 1 gold-plated – fantastic for continuo or small ensemble playing
  • Yamaha Super Bocal – for crazy high parts

I always laughed at people who named their instruments.  But if you spend enough time alone in a room with an inanimate object, it is really just a matter of time before you start talking to it….and a bit longer before it starts talking back!  After many years and conversations, my bassoon now has a name; I lovingly call her “Princess Bitch.”  She usually goes by her first name!