A fatal flaw!
Update Jan 2020: Unfortunately, I cannot recommend the Fox 920 Contrabassoon to anyone who wants to play at something approaching a professional level. I have a major case of buyer’s remorse and Fox has refused to perform the work required to fix it. Frustratingly, they have also informed any repair people associated with them to refuse to do this work as well. Very sad. Also the man who had made every Fox contra by hand, Chip Owen, has retired.
Update Oct 2021: I’ve gotten several inquiries about this page, and happy to continue corresponding with owners or prospective buyers. Note that another 920 was just posted on musicalchairs. I can’t say whether the owner has similar concerns to what I’ve detailed here, but Fox needs to give serious consideration to providing a “high D” key to the owners of these instruments, if they’re to be treated as a professional level instrument.
The Big Concern: After playing on this instrument in various ensembles for over two years I have determined that the Fox 920 has a fatal flaw. The high D is not reliable. Anyone who has played a Fox 900 knows this about Foxes. Even adding the extra fingers in left hand, on my contra the note is not even close to reliable. This instrument needs a high D octave key, and the only way you can get one on a Fox contra is to shell out the extra $$$ for the 10 pounds of extra keys that comprise the “Fast System”. Fox will flat out refuse add a high D key to a 900 or a 920. They’ve told all their affiliated repairpeople the same thing. Unfortunately for me and anyone else who purchased this instrument is that they have is an instrument that is not worth buying far as I am concerned since the similarly priced Mollenhauers have offered a D key standard for almost 20 years. Several professional players (who play Heckels) have concurred that this is a serious issue after playing my instrument.
Please submit a note via the comments form below if you would like to know the whole story or if you’d like to help propose a solution to this debilitating problem on what was otherwise a very promising contra design.
(Photos by E. Delchambre)