Review of new bassoon case: MB-2 by Marcus Bonna

I had grown unhappy with my BAM high-tech bassoon case and finally saw another case on the market that I thought would actually be an improvement. I like it better, although I still don’t think the perfect bassoon case yet exists. Nobody really has the best bocal storage I can imagine, and I still can’t keep both my hand crutch and balance hanger attached while the instrument is stored. Still, this case offers flexible bocal storage, a generously sized sheet music pouch, and a compact size with interesting and compact internal layout. View the entire video review here.

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Caring for your Little-Jake pickup

Over the years I’ve sold a great many Little-Jake pickups to players all around the world. On occasion I find out one of them fails or breaks and I repair them at no cost but the shipping. There are two ways that I typically see the Little-Jakes fail, and there are ways to prevent both from ever happening in most cases. Here are some things I do to prevent damaging my own pickups.

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Going Wireless!

With a lot of new really inexpensive wireless guitar options on the market now I thought it was to solve the mechanical problems of hardware mounting to be able to run the electric bassoon with a wireless transmitter that was actually viable. (more…)

Keywork choices on a bassoon.

I have a lot of bells and whistles on my bassoon. Of course, my bassoon came with a lot of “extra” goodies that are not common on a lot of instruments. Over the years of getting to know my own instrument, carefully researching keys and playing many different bassoons while working for Midwest Musical Imports, I added a few things, although with the bassoon there are more options than any other wind instrument for key customization. Below are some of my keywork choices, things that I wouldn’t mind having, and my rationale for these decisions. (more…)

A New Reed Making Video

After 4 1/2 years my original “The Making of a Bassoon Reed” video has over 37k views, and is one of the most watched bassoon reed making videos on Youtube. I’ve grown as a reed maker since then, and purchase new equipment to make reeds from the tube cane stage, as well as make my process more efficient. So with those changes I thought it might be worth making an updated reed making video. I started filming the process last summer but got interrupted before it was done by my cancer diagnosis and treatment. But I finally had an opportunity to finish filming the final pieces and do a narration of the process as before. Again, this isn’t a tutorial video and if you don’t know anything about reed making I’ll probably talk about things that won’t make any sense, but that’s not a big deal I don’t think.

I’m back in production

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Last week I received my bassoon back from Germany and I’ve recovered enough from surgery and chemo to begin working again. I don’t have the endurance to work as many hours in a day as I used to, but the reeds are coming out well.

I should have reeds available for sale by March first!

Order buttons will be active when I have reeds ready to ship with no wait.

I made a bassoon floor lamp

Finished product first:

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Oh one of these days I’ll post the building process.

Effects Pedals for Sale

I have several effects pedals for sale. All have been well cared for, work well, and have minimal cosmetic wear from typical use. I think all of them have velcro on the bottom. Reasonable offers considered.

Please contact me directly if interested.

EHX Frequency Analyzer ring mod, modded; added LED, CV input, Expression Pedal input, Input>CV Routing option: $175

EHX HOG with foot controller: $325

Optical Tremolo, single knob controls rate: $60

Heavy ThingsĀ  Box (Sansamp GT2 clone, amp simulator): $50? Make an offer

Subdecay Baby Quasar phaser: $170

Subdecay Spring Theory reverb: $100

MXR Carbon Copy analog delay: $100

Blakemore Effects Deus Ex Machina fuzz: $100

Liver & Onions (Lovetone Meatball clone with switchable fuzz): $300

Cancer diagnosis

If you missed the small notice on my shopping page, I was diagnosed with esophageal cancer on May 30, 2017. My wife also gave birth to our second child this last week (July 10) so my life is very occupied with helping with a newborn, my 4 1/2 year old daughter, and managing side-effects from chemotherapy.

I am still making reeds and teaching, however my reed delivery time is closer to 2 weeks as of this writing as a result of these circumstances. I hope to get a bit more ahead in preparation for the fall when demand for reeds will go up.

If you are interested in following along in my cancer treatment, my wife and I have set up a caring bridge page here. I will not post updates about my health to this blog.

So what’s it take to really practice effectively?

Michael Lowenstern knows.

This video is done in the same kind of vein as my reed making video I made a few years ago. After presenting the finished product, Michael shows an unfiltered (although sped up to avoid absolute boredom from the audience) glimpse into his practice method when working up a difficult passage. With the clock displayed clearly for all to see, he works up a passage using a metronome and builds the tempo close to performance level. It’s a bit more than 30 minutes of him practicing and shows beautifully what 30 minutes of focused, intense, and correct practice looks like.

Students of all ages should watch this. This guy does it right.

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