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 Hawkes Bassoon
Author: Trident007 
Date:   2009-11-25 07:50
Attachment:  Hawkes 01.jpg (69k)
Attachment:  Hawkes 02.jpg (75k)
Attachment:  Hawkes 03.jpg (76k)

I'm new to the forum, I'm a student of middle age and decided to pursue my Bassoon interest further and purchased a bassoon.
I went and bought a bassoon from the big worldwide marketplace. An interesting bassoon to be sure.
A French Style Hawkes & Sons
She's old, the serial # is in the 3000 range
The inscription on the boot reads
"Excelsior Sonorous Class. Hawkes & Son Makers DenMan Street Picadilly Circus London." And underneath all that the serial.
She's dirty, but no splits or cracks or damaged joints All silver plated keys are there, no apparent mods, even what looks to be the original body lock. It has a whisper key, but the pad is odd shaped kind of like a egg.
Nice wood too, but as to what kind of wood it is I'm uncertain, Certainly does not appear to be maple. Is it Rosewood?
What kind of bocal should I use with this bassoon?
Any Info on this bassoon or it's maker and age would be welcome
There's Plenty of info about Boosey & Hawkes but very little on Hawkes & Son.
However I can find nothing on Hawkes & Son Excelsior Sonorous Bassoons.

Post Edited (2009-11-25 07:59)

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 Re: Hawkes Bassoon
Author: vboboe 
Date:   2009-11-25 13:16

... perhaps ChrisP on oboeBboard could help you with this quest

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 Re: Hawkes Bassoon
Author: Merlin_Williams 
Date:   2009-11-25 14:15

You may run into more than a few problems with that bassoon.

For starters, 99.9% of bassoonists in North America play on Heckel or German system instruments. The fingerings are different, and the so are the reeds.

As for the bocal, it's going to be difficult to find.

On the positive side, the Oubradous books include a fingering chart for French bassoon.

Jupiter Canada Artist/Clinician
Stratford Shakespeare Festival musician
Woodwind Doubling Channel Creator on YouTube

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 Re: Hawkes Bassoon
Author: Ian White 
Date:   2009-11-25 16:15

Also many of those Hawkes ones play about 1/4 tone sharp - made for A= 452 not 440.

Even in France many players have defected to the Heckel system - the only 2 makers, Buffet & Selmer, produce very few these days.

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 Re: Hawkes Bassoon
Author: Caroline Smale 
Date:   2009-11-26 20:37

I have a vitually identical instrument hanging on my music room wall !!! been there for at least 30 years but was in good playing condition at the time I hung it up.
I bought this over 50 years ago and it was probably at least 50 years old then. I know its definately High Pitch ( I paid £10 at Bill Lewington's in about 1958).

I have just measured the overall length which is :-
From top of bell to bottom of butt cap - 50.75 " (129 cm)
From top of tenor/wing joint (where bocal plugs in) to butt cap - 35" (89cm)

A Low Pitch instrument will be several inches longer overall.
I do have an actual LP French Basson but can't access it at moment to measure that one.

Don't let anyone put you off of the French Basson - in my opinion, when played by a really fine artist such as the late Paul Hongne, it makes a much more interesting sound than an equally well played German Bassoon. Try to get a copy of his marvellous recording of the Weber concerto, I've never heard another player come anywhere close to that.

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 Re: Hawkes Bassoon
Author: Trident007 
Date:   2009-11-26 23:31

The Hawkes is undergoing restoration. My repair technician also informed me that this old gal is definitely high pitch.
We have determined that the wood is definitely Rosewood, and as Norman noted with his measurements it's 50.75" long when fully assembled & 35" from boot cap to the top of the wing joint.

Exciting stuff! A musical mystery! Thanks to all you fine detectives here on the board, I'm getting somewhere!

Thanks to all

Now I'm off to do more research.

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 Re: Hawkes Bassoon
Author: Merlin_Williams 
Date:   2009-11-27 04:00

It's high pitch and you're having it restored?

If you actually want to learn how to play the instrument and eventually perform with other musicians, you're going to need a different bassoon.

Jupiter Canada Artist/Clinician
Stratford Shakespeare Festival musician
Woodwind Doubling Channel Creator on YouTube

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 Re: Hawkes Bassoon
Author: Trident007 
Date:   2009-11-27 13:04

Yes I'm having it restored.

I certainly can't see it turned into a lamp!

As for now I'll search for a decent Fox to continue my studies.

But I certainly would like to see and hear this gem in full song.
High pitch or not!

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 Re: Hawkes Bassoon
Author: Merlin_Williams 
Date:   2009-11-27 14:24

Out of cursiosity - who's doing the restoration?

Jupiter Canada Artist/Clinician
Stratford Shakespeare Festival musician
Woodwind Doubling Channel Creator on YouTube

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 Re: Hawkes Bassoon
Author: Trident007 
Date:   2009-11-28 19:01

It's being restored by Music Aid London.
They have restored many various instruments for me, and I've been most pleased with their work
It'll be a while, but I'm patient.

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