It all started in the library at Trinity College of Music. I was doing some research and in the dictionary I was using I saw that William Waterhouse had written the bassoon entry. As I had met him previously I was curious to see what he had written. I saw a section on famous bassoon players and noticed Paul Hanson's name under the jazz heading. I looked him up on the internet, listened to one of his tracks and I was completely blown away by it. I knew there and then I had to try this out for myself.
I contacted Paul who helped me get the right equipment to get started. (Thanks Paul for all your help!)
So armed with my new pickup that had been attached to my crook (bocal) and a shiny new Line6 pod (amp simulator and effects) I gave my first performance on the electric bassoon.
Since then I've had composers write for me, including one piece by Henry Ng called 'Extension or perhaps the medium'. It's a classical contemporary piece with a real difference. Henry placed six speakers in a circle around the audience to sound could be heard from virtually every direction. Then he took the sound I was making with my electric bassoon and spat it out all around the concert hall using several delay lines that where controlled by a foot pedal I was using on stage. The result was amazing and we were even invited to play the piece for the Digital Music Research Network's annual convention.
I've also gotten a band together which you can hear on the 'Demo' page. It's a genuine thrill to play with these guys who are all very talented and have high hopes for the future.
Over time I've invested in other
technologies including a Boss GT-8 effects processor. This little
beast gives me greater flexibility to control the sound. I program in
all my sounds, edit them and have them available at my feet in the form
of a pedal board. I can use many different effect at the same time, everything from many simple distortion to acoustic simulators and synth pads. I recently used it when I was invited by the Birmingham Bassoon Choir to play at their annual convention. Judging by their reaction and comments they were really impressed.
There's still a lot more to discover as new technology is always being developed. So I'll keep looking for new gizmos and gadgets I can use to enhance the bassoon.