Heckel Bocal Information

July 19th, 2012 by

Heckel Bassoon Bocal Information

Changing bocals can make a dramatic difference on any bassoon.  Many acoustic problems can be minimized or solved with the correct type of bocal.  Heckel is one of the lead suppliers of bassoon bocals in the world.  They offer many different types to suit each player’s style and set-up. (Click here for information on Puchner bocals)

Here is a “cheat sheet” of the primary characteristics of the bocals we typically stock:

C – “hard” German Silver alloy (“Z” alloy)

  • More high partials in the sound.

CC – “soft” German Silver alloy (“N” alloy)

  • More balanced set of partials in the sound
  • More blending and “warmer”

D – indicates Thin Wall construction – .5mm average thickness instead of .6mm

  • More immediate response, especially in the lower register.
  • Less stable with softer reeds
  • More vibrant sound

Vdifferently tapered bore version of the C bore

  • Adjusts intonation across range of instrument
  • Especially well suited to older bore designs
  • Tends to raise pitch of tenor register

XLlarger bore version of primary bore

  • Heckel’s modern version of the pre-war bocal bore
  • Excellent on Fox bassoons, especially Renards!
  • Specifically designed for <8000 series Heckels

R – new process for forming metal

  • Non-traditional brand and type stamping (below cork)
  • More compressed metal promotes properties of harder alloys

Silver or Nickel Plating

  • Silver (softer) or Nickel (harder) promotes the qualities associated with the softer or harder base metal types

Length

  • 1:  A=442            (roughly equal to Fox #2 length)
  • 2:  A=440            (roughly equal to Fox #3 length)

Still want more information?

If you still want more information, this is our “old” guide with more info on the types we carry, and on the other options available from Heckel.

Below is a rough guideline in choosing the correct bocal.  Bocal compatibility depends on many factors—reed type, instrument, the way an individual blows air into the horn, and the musician’s overall individuality.

BASE METAL

Most of our Heckel bocals are made of the German Silver (soft and hard). Other base metals can be special ordered upon request.  The labeling of the base metal is located directly above the cork.

Base Metal Sound Quality Labeling above the cork
German Silver, soft Standard Type N*
German Silver, hard Harder Sound than the soft German Silver Z**
Gold Brass Mellow and quiet sound for chamber music G
Sterling Silver 925 Bright and quiet sound AG
Gold 8 Karat (333) Mellow but direct sound AU
Gold 14 Karat (585) Noticeably mellower sound 14kt
Gold 18 Karat (750) Similar to the 14kt but even more mellow 18kt
Palladium Hard sound PD***

*Usually used with all thick wall bocals except the C type

**Usually used with all thin wall bocals and the C (thick wall) bocals

***Developed for people with allergies to the German silver alloy

WALL THICKNESS

All Heckel bocals are available in two thicknesses:  0.6mm (thick wall) and 0.5mm (thin wall).  All of the thin wall bocals will be labeled with the letter “D” as the second letter and thick wall bocals will have the letter “C”.  Thin wall bocals tend to have a richer sound, good response, and more flexibility, but are not as stable as the thick wall bocals.  They are usually made of the hard German Silver (Z).  The thick wall bocals are usually made of the soft German Silver (N).

A standard bocal with the CC bore is made of soft German Silver (N).  The standard bocal with the C bore is made of hard German Silver (Z).  Thus, the only difference between the C and CC bocals is the type of base metal.

Thick wall

Thin Wall

Properties 
C, CC CD Standard type for new Heckel bassoonsWell balanced intonation, good response
CE, CCE CDE Narrower tip opening
VC, VCC VCD Good high register, balances intonation problems in the middle range.  Works particularly well with older Heckel bassoons.
VCE, VCCE VCDE Combination of V and E types
B BD Very light and responsive high register, terrible intonation in the middle register!
BB BBD Light and responsive high register, terrible intonation in the middle register!

LENGTHS

Heckel bocals are available in different lengths to manipulate the overall tuning.  We typically carry lengths 1 and 2, but others can be special ordered upon request.

00

0

1

2

3

446 Hz

444 Hz

442 Hz

440 Hz

438 Hz

PLATINGS

We typically carry silver and nickel plated bocals, but others can be special ordered upon request.

Unplated Specific sound of the relevant base metal
Silver Plated Sweeter sound
Nickel Plated Brighter sound
Gold Plated Increased stability with gold brass bocals

R BOCALS

All Heckel bocals are available in R types.  With R bocals, the metal is compressed more strongly and evenly.  This leads to a better response and a wider sound spectrum.  R bocals have no visible stamp on the tube portion of the bocal, they are labeled exclusively on the visible strip of metal on the end of the tube below the cork.

XL BOCALS

XL bocals are specially designed to be compatible with Pre-War design bassoon, and improve response and resonance in the higher register.  They can come in any type, but we typically only carry CC-XL and CD-XL bocals.

BENDS

All bocals are made with the traditional S bend.  Flat bends (British bend) and custom bends are available upon request.  We only carry the S bend Heckel bocals, but can special order any other bend upon request. Contact MMI for help selecting and ordering a bocal.

About

Trent Jacobs received his bachelor’s degree from Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin and completed MM and DMA degrees from the University of Illinois. He is a member of the improvisational new music ensemble The Cherry Spoon Collective.

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