I am allergic to nickel. I come up in itchy bumps after contact. I would like to try playing bassoon but all the ones I have looked at have nickel silver keys, which isn't silver at all but is nickel. Does anyone make bassoons with a different metal for the keys?
Could you use clear nail varnish so your skin doesn't touch metal? This is common practice for brass players who would otherwise have an adverse reaction to their mouthpiece.
I also did a web search for bassoons and some of the non-student models do feature silver-plated keys. Looks like only the cheaper (no such thing as a cheap bassoon!) models feature nickel-silver keywork without plating.
Starting from middle price level, the mechanics of a bassoon is silver-plated. Two issues I know for sure:
- for a general maintainance (for non-professional use required maybe all 8 years) all metal is removed from the instrument to receive a new silver-plating
- to judge from the amount of darkening which can be removed with a silver-polishing cloth I would assume there is still silver present then, but the keys do not darken due to frequent contact with the fingers anyway.