Adler is a respected name in the world of bassoons, with a history of manufacturing that goes back 130 years.
Adler bassoons are manufactured in Germany, and are beautifully made with a fine attention to detail across their entire range. They produce a lovely warm tone and are a solid investment for anyone in the market for a bassoon.
With the complexities of the instrument, it is not surprising to learn that they do not come cheap. But depending on your aspiration and ability, even one of the early student models from Adler can comfortably take you to the upper grades - even a shortreach model, designed for easy reach.
(Read our blog "What is a shortreach bassoon?" to learn more about short reach bassoons)
The first bassoon from Adler is the 1350P - which they class as their 'model for children'. This is an important distinction from the Adler 1356 shortreach model, which they describe as a 'model for small hands' (i.e. not necessarily just for a child).
While both share shortened fingering distances, the 1350P is made lighter with reduced keys and a composite resonator in place of a traditional wooden bell. Obviously with a reduction in keys there follows a reduction in range, but as a beginners' instrument, the novice shouldn't be affected in the early grades.
If a younger bassoonist is able to support the weight and the reach of the 1356 'small hands' model, they would find an instrument that would serve them much longer. In fact, the 1356 shares many common features found on the 'standard model' Adler 1357; the much-hallowed 'high D', 24 keys, five rollers, two bocals, silverplated mechanics and the same case and accessories. It's not surprising that with the easy reach ergonomic design, many find the 1356 much more comfortable to play than the 1357, or that with their similar specification, both instruments are able to support a player to the upper grades. Comfort is key!
So perhaps for those with an average hand span the Adler 1357 is a go-to investment, and we certainly won't argue. A new or well-maintained secondhand Adler 1357 is highly prized.
But how does the 1357 standard Adler, compare with the next model up - the Adler 1358? Adler describe the 1358 as their student model, and it's important here to note that 'student' means someone studying at degree level. There are notably double the rollers - enabling the player to move quicker between notes- , a high E key and 26 keys.
For the high-flyers that turn pro, the next model is the Adler 1361 which has 27 keys, 11 rollers, high D & E, and a gorgeous high gloss on its matured flamed Bosnian Maple wood body. We think it has the look of a tiger about it!