Thomas Stanesby (c. 1668-1734)

A reconstruction of the only bassoon surviving from this famous London woodwind maker. The single example, in the Waterhouse collection, is the earliest known English bassoon – it’s design is apparently derived from the early French models, of which none survive, and provided the model for all the English makers of the 18th Century. The original is a handsome beast in good cosmetic condition, but some of the internal structure has been damaged during its busy life. I have reconstructed the acoustic design with the help of data from the one surviving bassoon by Stanesby Junior (Thomas’s son and apprentice), and two by Caleb Gedney, Stanesby Jnr’s apprentice. (These later instruments were made to a very similar design, though adapted to play at higher pitches).
The result is a very satisfactory, well balanced instrument. There is a noticeable evenness of tone qualities throughout the ranges, with a smooth transition from the good, rich bass to the singing high notes.