Introducing our newest repair technician, Brian!

We are happy to announce that we have a new team member!  Brian DeGayner has joined MMI in the repair department.  He graduated from Southeast Technical in Red Wing with a diploma in band instrument repair in 2016. Prior to joining the repair team at MMI, Brian worked for Twin Cities Instrument Repair in Edina, focusing on flute and double reeds. He is a member of the National Association of Professional Band Instrument Repair Technicians, and attends state and regional conferences. Brian spends most of his free time outdoors, or playing in local orchestras.

We asked Brian a few questions to get to know him better!

What got you started in repair? 

"After a few years of playing horn, I realized my love for working with my hands could be applicable to the industry. After talking with Greg Beckwith, I dropped everything and went to Southeast Tech in Red Wing."

What groups were you playing in prior to going to school for repair?

"I have played for several orchestras around Minnesota. Mankato Symphony, St. Andrew’s, Bloomington Symphony, Minneapolis Civic, Wayzata Symphony, and currently St. Paul Civic."

Any favorite pieces? 

"I love Mahler’s symphonies, especially 3, 4, and 5. Ein Heldenleben, Holst’s Jupiter, Sibelius....basically anything horn-heavy. Otherwise, I’m usually partial to playing in small ensembles, such as Daniel Baldwin’s Landscapes for Clarinet, Horn, Bassoon and Piano, Martinu’s Quartet for Clarinet, Horn, Cello and Snare Drum, or Barber’s Summer Music."

What is your favorite repair to do?

I love a challenge. My favorite work to do is overhauling instruments: breathing new life into an instrument is very rewarding, and hearing an instrument I fixed on stage always makes me smile.

Any hobbies at home?

I would consider myself a maker. I’ve used my machining experience to make plenty of hand tools and a few machines to help with various projects. Currently, I’m refinishing my tool chest, painting models, and working on my jewelry making skills. I wouldn’t mind getting into watch and clock mechanism repair...

You’ve mentioned your love for the outdoors...

I go hiking and camping as much as I can, year round. I am an Eagle Scout (Troop 494, White Bear Lake, 2009), so I basically grew up outdoors. My family moves a lot of timber every year, and I hunt and fish whenever I can.

 

Please join us in welcoming Brian to MMI!  We are so happy to have him part of our team!

Darrel Hale Bassoon Masterclass

Mini-recital with works by Bach, Mignone & Winstead
Masterclass
Reception following the class
Large selection of bassoons and bocals for trial
Free small repairs

Darrel Hale is the Assistant Professor of Bassoon at Louisiana State University and the Principal Bassoon of Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra. An avid chamber musician, he also performs regularly as a member of the Timm Wind Quintet and the Conundrum Reed Trio. Before joining the faculty at LSU, Mr. Hale serviced as the Acting Principal of the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra and the Principal Bassoon of the Kentucky and Springfield Orchestras. His teachers include Dr. Yoshiyuki Ishikawa, Per Hannevold, and William Winstead.

We look forward to seeing you at this great, FREE event!!

Virtual Tour of Our New Location

We absolutely love our new location and think you will, too!!  The store has doubled in size!!  We've added practice/lesson rooms, a recital hall, increased the size of our repair shop and sales floor.  Please stop by for a visit!  We'd love to show you around!

Our repair staff working hard in the new repair shop!

Our new recital hall with seating capacity of 60!

One of our new teaching/practice studios!

A street view of our new space.

We look forward to welcoming you in the store soon!

Thank you for attending our grand opening celebration!

I would like to extend a very heartfelt thank you to everyone that came to our grand opening celebration! For those of you that came, emailed, sent flowers or called with your best wishes, we are extremely grateful. Below are some photos from the event.

A big thank you again to our generous sponsors/vendors: Buffet-Crampon, Fox Products, Loree, Puchner, Heckel, D'Addario, Peak, and Clark Fobes.

We look forward to many more events and please keep an eye on our calendar for updates!

Best wishes,
Jessica Nelson, General Manager

Owner and founder, Mike Aamoth gets a thumbs up after the Friday night reception from long-time customer, David Braslau.

Katie with customers at the Friday night reception.

Friday night reception.

Friday night reception.

 

Friday night reception.

Eric thanks a customer after work in the repair shop.

Our first customer during the celebration on Friday!! Jessica with her friend and oboist, Siri Garnaas

Friday was repair technician, Matt Reich's birthday! We surprised him with a cake.

Julie Gramolini William, Chris Marshall, and Greg Williams, of the MN Orchestra during their trio performance
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Heckel Bocal Information

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.