After 10 years working on repairs with Frank Marcus in Toronto, Ben Bell started building his own bassoons in 1992. It seems that his passion lay more in making bassoons than repairing them. He took measurements of hundreds of bassoons and drew his own conclusions from these. He quickly appreciated that the great secret of a fine sounding bassoon lay in the bore.
Next to that he produce his own bocals. Quiet logical while the bassoon and the bocal must fit together.
Currently, four employees and Ben himself, produce an anticipated 15 to 20 bassoons per year. Current orders result in a 12 to 16 month waiting period. Serial #102 is the next to be completed with #128 the next available.(dated december 2012)
Bell builds a modern instrument with an equally divided long joint and bell. Two models are available, a thick wall and a thin wall. The thin wall is pitched at A-440. The thick wall is pitched at A-442.
Bell Bassoons speak easily, they are very flexible with an even resonance throughout. All keywork is silver plated.
The keywork is based on conventional modern key design. All custom keywork is available at additional cost.
Standard keywork on both models includes high D & E keys and the following rollers:
Boot Joint - little finger F, Ab, F#
Boot Joint - thumb Bb, F# and Ab
Long Joint - little finger Eb, C#; left thumb low C roller
We carefully choose the wood for its hardness, weight and specific gravity. All four pieces for each bassoon are carefully selected from the same tree. This guarantees consistent resonance throughout the instrument. The majority of our bassoons are made from highly figured, curly European maple. Canadian maple, while being somewhat heavier, is unparalleled in it's beauty and the denser tonal characteristics make it worthy of consideration.
The standard bell is made in one piece, with choice of metal or white end ring available.
Breaking in the instrument:
Most customers make the change to a Bell bassoon as their principal instrument very easily. It is not unusual for a musician to receive the bassoon in the morning and play it, in concert, in the evening. At the same time we design our instruments with an eye to the future. Our research shows that some areas of the bore get smaller and other areas larger as a bassoon ages. We take this into account so, like fine wine, the Bell bassoon improves with age.
Contact: FagotAtelier Maarten Vonk
Bell Bassoons Limited
2126 McCracken's Landing Rd, R.R. #2, Lakefield, ON Canada K0L 2H0
Phone: (705) 652-0088