Contrabassoon in a Funk Band!

I never would have guessed that my first “rehearsal” post-Covid would be playing in a Funk band, but I got an invite to sit in with the horn section of Sinister Dexter for their rehearsal that was scheduled next door. Made great use of the “solo peg” so I could stand up while playing and did my […]


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Contrabassoon – “Solo Peg”

When I had my Mollenhauer contra, I made an elongated peg out of aluminum so I could play recitals and small ensembles standing up. For my new Fox 920 contra, I fabricated one out of wood which looks way nicer. The material is oak for extra strength, and the metal rod is stainless steel for […]


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Bassoon “Low A” Extension

The important thing about this extension is that it does not effect the intonation of your instrument. Using a cardboard or plastic tube to lengthen the bassoon is a nice and cheap way to do it, but other notes (surprisingly some of the ones in the staff) tend to go flat. This extension is not […]


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The Google Orchestra – making music with my coworkers!

One of the unexpected pleasures of working at Google has been the ability to make music with my coworkers. I’ve assisted the group since they were incarnated back in May 2016 and watched it grow from a small chamber orchestra with about 30 musicians, to a full fledged ensemble with over 65 performers. Here we […]


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New Instrument in my Collection: a 110 year old Mandolin Zither

I have just finished restoring a “Mandolin Zither”! It dates from 1900 but despite its age and the interesting history behind the instrument, its not worth very much. Even so, the curious reader or woodworker might enjoy the story below: This type of instrument was actually invented by Friederich Menzenhauer a German who patented it […]


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Letter from Heckel – 1994

I recently discovered a letter I received from Heckel about a contrabassoon I was playing at the time. I was impressed at the time that they took the time to write me back since this was well pre-email. I remember the instrument to be pretty basic and a bit clunky with the huge metal bell. […]


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Update on the Fox Contrabassoon Model: 920

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 […]


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The Google Bassoon Quartet!

One of the neat things about working in a big company is the varied interests you’ll find amongst the people who work there. But where else but at Google could I find not one, but THREE  excellent bassoon players? After discovering each other, we’ve been playing together and working up a repertoire. We’ve performed a […]


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Did famous conductor Fritz Reiner really fire a musician for using binoculars in rehearsal?

Its well documented that Fritz Reiner, one of the most well known conductors of American classical music led ensembles with a baton that barely moved. In Conservatory, many of us shared an apocryphal story about how he once fired a musician for bringing binoculars in a rehearsal when to help “find” the beat. One afternoon, […]


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Music: Homage to Donald Erb

For my junior recital I commissioned a new piece. The piece was written by composer Geoffrey Petersen for solo bassoon. I performed the premier in the spring of 1997. I was honored to have Mr. Erb present for the performance. It touched me very much that he stayed for the entire concert.  


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