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Putting It Together

The bassoon consists of 6 parts, namely: The reed, or mouthpiece; the metal crook, also called the mouthpipe, or bocal; the tenor, or wing joint; the butt, or boot joint; the bass joint; and the bell. For identification of all parts, see Fig. 46.

Before you start to assemble the parts, be sure all tenons or joint ends are well greased with cork grease or mutton tallow. Unless tenons fit well into tenon receivers and unless they are well greased, you are liable to break a tenon. To repair or replace a tenon is very expensive, so give them the best of care.

To assemble, first place the tenor joint and the bass joint side by side in the exact position as used when the bassoon is ready to be played upon. In most cases these two joints are blocked in the case so they they lie nested together in playing position. Hold these two joints firmly together in the left hand. Next, take the butt joint in the right hand and insert the two joints held in the left hand into the butt joint. Start them carefully and easily, pushing each joint into its proper position. Be careful not to snag the bridge key between tenor joint and butt joint. Then, place the bell in position on the bass joint, being careful not to snag the bridge key. Finally, place the crook in its position in the tenor joint, pushing it down all the way so that the small pad in the "whisper key" at the top of the tenor joint covers the tiny hole in the crook.

To take apart, first remove the crook, next the bell, then the bass joint, and finally the tenor joint. When putting the parts back in the case, usually you will nest the bass joint and the tenor joint together in their playing position and put the two in the case together.