Monday, April 8, 2013

Electric Bassoon

I purchased an S-29 Telex Pickup from Forrests Music several years ago, which I had soldered into one of my less-valuable bocals. I've had a lot of fun playing with it, though I'm ready to get more equipment to take it to the next level. If I were to purchase a pickup again, I would not go with the S-29 Telex because the seal is poor and I have to hold it tight to the bocal with a velcro loop that I've added to the setup. I would recommend purchasing the "Little Jake" instead. Note that you will also need a pre-amp if you want to use effects pedals. (I have included the list of available pickups and preamps from Forrests below). 

Paul Hanson is well-known for his jazz improvisation within the bassoon world. He has posted a great video in which he walks up through his electronic set-up: 

Paul Hanson’s Setup:

  • Frap pickup
  • Bassoon, chord looped for strain releaf
  • Preamp box made by Garry Hall. (stomp box. One tap button)
  • Digitech Harmonizer…Vocalist….he has programmed harmonies into here. (looks like a DVD player)
  • Super shifter stomp box….is a harmonizer that adds an octave up. (green pedal)
  • AdrenaLinn II (made by Rodger Linn) blue multi-effects unit
  • Line 6 Line Modeler/Delay
  • Amp (200 watt)

If you are wanting high quality tone, then individual pedals with true bypass is what you want.

Electric Bassoon without Pedals:

One of my students borrowed my pickup bocal, which we plugged directly into an amplifier. We turned the gain up to make the sound dirty. She is accompanying herself on high hat while she plays "Blues for Contra" by Michael Burns. A nice performance. Go Beth!

Forrests Guide to Bassoon Electronics Options

S-29 Telex
  • Least expensive.
  • Doesn't require a pre-amp.
  • Best choice if you are just starting to experiment with amplifying your bassoon.
S-32 "Little Jake"
  • Better sound quality.
  • Requires a pre-amp.
  • Best choice if you want the best sound.
OK, I want a "Little Jake", which model should I buy?
There are two "Little Jake" models, one mounts to the bocal adapter with a push fit like the Telex, the other screws (10-32 thread) into the bocal adapter.
The two models are the same electronically, the only difference is how they attach to the bocal adapter.
Standard S-32 "Little Jake"
  • Push fit in the bocal adapter, like the S-29 Telex.
  • Best choice if you have an S-29 setup and want to upgrade to the "Little Jake".
Threaded S-32 "Little Jake"
  • Screws into the bocal adapter to avoid any chance of it popping out.
  • Best choice if you don't already have an S-29 Telex, or are willing to replace the adapter also.

Dr. Elaine's Wishlist:

(last updated spring 2010.....needs revision) 
  • Line 6 DL4 Delay Modeler & Loop Sampler (Be sure to get one with power supply and metal casing).
  • Expression pedal (which can be used along with the Line 6 DL4)
  •  Dunlop 95Q Wah pedal (It iliminates the need to 'click' the wah on by being activated by movement of the pedal, also has volume boost and adjustable sweep.)
  • MXR Distortion 3 or Distortion +
  • MXR Phase 90
  • MXR Carbon Control Analogue Delay
  • Boss ME-50 (For multi effects)
    • the X3 is the newest model - the XT's are still good
    • the latest Boss is the GT-10, then GT-8, then GT-6.
  • POD XT-Live or the Boss GT-8.
  • Might want to look at the Pfeiffer Phaser instead of MXR phase 90.

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