How Much Does a Bassoon Cost?


Written by:  Howmuchisit.org Staff
Last Updated:  August 14, 2018

A bassoon is a woodwind musical instrument that first appeared in the 19th century.  This type of instrument is found in orchestral and concert based bands and is known for its color, wide range, and its character.  The bassoon has six distinctive parts and the cost will vary depending on the brand, the quality, and other factors.

Bassoon by stephanie.lafayette, on Flickr
Bassoon” (CC BY 2.0) by  stephanie.lafayette

How much does a bassoon cost?

A new bassoon can cost anywhere from $4,000 to as much as $20,000+, making it one of the most expensive musical instruments on the market today.  Student/basic models will be on the lower end, while the higher price range includes rarer instruments made of quality wood materials.  The average bassoon will fall into the $5,000 to $11,000 price range.  Do keep in mind that purchasing this instrument won’t come cheap and you will really want to ask yourself a few questions before investing in one.  BandDirector.com notes that most students purchase a bassoon because their school’s instrument isn’t up to par.

At Woodwind Brasswind, the top-rated bassoons retail for $6,000 to close to $30,000.

A plastic bassoon, ideal for those starting off with the instrument such as children, can cost $1,900 to $4,500.  A wood bassoon can cost $3,000 to $9,000, depending on the brand.

A used bassoon can cost as low as $650 or as high as $12,000.  For example, the Orpeho Bassoon that comes with a case can cost $1,600 to $2,900, while the Fox Model IV Bassoon can cost $5,000 to $6,200.

A Heckel Bassoon, which can often have a waitlist, can cost upwards of $30,000 to $50,000.  The higher price will be due to the customization since each one is customized and the extras you add to your instrument.  One member on Reddit.com said the wait list is close to eight years and the last one he knew of that sold was close to the mid $50,000 range.

BrandPrice Range
Fox Bassoon- Fox Renard Model 240: $8,500
- Fox Model 222 with High D: $6,000
- Fox Model 660 Professional Made From Red Maple: $29,000
- Fox Model II: $29,000
- Fox Renard Model 220: $7,700
Fox Renard Bassoon- Model 240: $9,000
- Model 220: $7,800
- Model 680: $30,000
- Model 601: $30,000
- Model 660 Professional: $28,000
- Model II: $29,000
- Contrabassoon: $30,000
Heckel Bassoon- Hunter C with Modified Key System: $2,000 (used)
- Fox Renard Bassoon 220 High D: $8,500 (used)
- Heckel Biebrich No.5264 German Bassoon: $13,000 (used)
Linton Bassoon- 7K: $1,500 (used)
Puchner Bassoon- Original: $4,000 (used)
- Model 1000: $13,000
Schreiber Bassoon- Model S16: $9,700
- Model S31: $11,300
Yamaha Bassoon- 812 Custom: $21,000



Bassoon overview

The bassoon is a woodwind instrument, developed in the 16th century, to add a stronger bass to the wind band ensemble.  Coming from the double reed family, this instrument will play in a tenor range and below.  It’s known for a distinctive tone with a wide range.

Six main pieces will make up the bassoon, including the reed.  The bell, which will extend upward; the long joint, which connects the bell and the boot; the boot, also referred to as the butt, will be located near the bottom and will fold over itself; the wing join, which extends from the boot to the bocal; and the bocal, which can be referred to as a crook, attaches to the wing joint to the reed.

A bassoon will often be made of either plastic or wood.  Wood instruments will be preferred for private ownership, while plastic should be considered in a school environment because it could take more abuse.  Plastic bassoons are known to tolerate more abuse when compared to wood.

Most bassoons come with roller keys, whisper keys, bocals, straps, a swap and strap.  Some instruments may come equipped with a customized case that fits the instrument.

What are the extra costs?

Customizations can be made.  For example, a common customization adds a range key, such a high D key.  Something like this could cost an additional $300 to $700, depending on the key, at a reputable music shop.

A case will be required to make sure the instrument is protected from wear and tear while transporting it around.

A seat strap and/or stand may be necessary in order to hold the instrument while playing.

Tips to know

Players who want to master this instrument must learn three different clefs:  Bass, Tenor and Treble.  The range will begin at a B-flat and will extend upwards of three octaves, similar to the E on the treble staff.

The range is Bb1 to E5 and can even be higher than that.  It can also reach as low as A1, but in order to do so, it will require a tube.  If an extension is used, the low Bb will be unavailable.

Oboe vs bassoon

Both of these instruments are considered to be double reed woodwind instruments, but they do have some differences.

The bassoon is much larger than the oboe, measuring seven to eight feet of tubing bent in an uneven U-shape.  The hooked mouthpiece will be on the shorter side about halfway up the instrument.  The oboe will be a single, straight instrument that flares out in a bell shape at the bottom, with a mouthpiece attached at the top.

The bassoon is able to play a sound that can play in a lower register, while the oboe is able to play higher notes, similar to sounds of a duck.

Most bassoons will be made of maple, but it can be found in other varieties, while oboes will be made of African Blackwood or grenadilla wood.

Each instrument will have its own keying system, the keys used to place your fingers over to produce notes.  The bassoon will have fewer keys, while the oboe will have 45 complex pieces of keywork.

Lastly, each one will be held differently.  Due to the larger size, the bassoon will be held to the side, often with a neck strap, while the oboe can be held in front of their mouth.

How can I save money?

Consider looking for a higher quality bassoon on eBay or Craigslist.

If you want to see if you will enjoy the instrument, consider renting it from a local music shop; however, keep in mind that it can be very rare to find a shop offering this instrument for rental purposes.  The cost of renting one often doesn’t make sense to most shops.

Some students attending college stated they were able to use their financial aid toward purchasing a bassoon.

If your school can provide a satisfactory bassoon, take advantage of it because as you can see from the prices mentioned above, it could cost you close to five figures to invest in a quality instrument.

Some online retailers often hold sales, such as open box clearances, or may have coupon codes available.  Compare a few reputable retailers online and in person before deciding on your instrument.


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