Topic: Good bocal for a 48xx Heckel?

Dear all,

I just pulled out my Heckel (48xx from 1909) again yesterday and played on it seriously (i.e. for more than 10 minutes) for the first time in years.  All the bocals I have are not good and long (Schreiber #2 & #3, Linton #3, no-name #2).  Even with the poor bocals, the instrument has a gorgeous tone.  It is almost at A-440 with a #2 and woefully flat (~A-436) with a #3.  I would like to bring the instrument to its full potential with a decent bocal.

What would be a good bocal for it?  I understand pre-war Heckel bocals would be great, but with the amount of playing I do (once every few years) it is hard to justify spending $1000+ for a pre-war bocal.  I play on my student's instrument during lessons (I don't travel with my Heckel to my student's house) and I don't play bassoon with orchestras.

What are cheaper alternatives out there?  The bore of my Heckel is small (feels much smaller than my student's Fox 222 Plus).  Should I get a bocal with a small volume to match it, or get one with a large volume to counter it?

Sincerely,
Wai Kit Leung

Last edited by wkleung (2013-01-07 14:47:20)

oboe (French, Viennese, baroque), bassoon (German, French, baroque), shawm, dulcian

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Re: Good bocal for a 48xx Heckel?

Pre-War Heckel C bocals are a larger bore. Heckel's modern answer to the prewar bocal is the "XL" type, but then you're spending $900+ for a new one anyway.

Guntram Wolf makes a "wide bore" version of his bocals. They are indicated with a "W" near the length demarcation. Less than $600.

The Fox CVX and CTX bocals are a wider bore than their CVC and CTC  bocals, and I find they often work quite well with pre-war design instruments. If you can find an older ** bocal used they go pretty cheap since the market is pretty flooded with them. The new R2 design ** bocals retail in the $750 range.

The Yamaha P bocals are, according to one player I spoke to that I think I can trust on these things, quite similar in terms of bore configuration to the Pre-War Heckel design. Not sure current retail, but you can surely find them for $500.

I'm sure one of the Leitzinger taper types is relatively wide, but I don't know enough about them to say. Those are nearly as expensive as a new Heckel though.

M.M.A., D.M.A. University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign: B.Mus. Lawrence University
Bassoon professor at University of Wisconsin Eau-Claire
Maker of the Little-Jake electric bassoon pickup and Weasel bassoon reeds

Re: Good bocal for a 48xx Heckel?

Hey Wai Kit,

I played on a 4000 series bassoon until my second year at Juilliard, 4635. I then jumped to a 10,000 that I borrowed from my father then my 11,000 that I play on now. Mr. Maxym sold me a fantastic bocal that we both agreed made the horn sing, it was just a Heckel cd2. The cd2 made the horn play so well that I wanted to use it on my 11000, but, I have to use a (c)1 the 2 was just too flat. ( in the end the c1 works better on my 11000 than any other bocal I have tried, so, it was best to leave the cd2 with the 4000. I have a pre-war bocal and pre-war bocals have benefits, but I think the modern bocals have a nice stability that also works well on old horns. Try out everything, you will find something, I do not think you need a Heckel pre war, but don't rule out a normal Heckel bocal, it is a Heckel bassoon after all. Leitzingers do not well on my horn but felt great on Leitzinger bassoons, ( I really liked the two horns they had in Oxford last summer). You can try and not buy until you are completely satisfied, Nielsen in Chicago has ( or had, from I have seen on line), quite a selection from what I have heard, and some pretty fair prices. Good luck, you'll find something, Steve

Principal bassoonist, Orquesta Sinfonica de Galicia, A Coruña, Spain. Bassoonist, bassoon dad, bassoon husband, bassoon uncle, bassoon brother and bassoon son.

Re: Good bocal for a 48xx Heckel?

I played for many years on a mid 5000 series Heckel bassoon,
using two Heckel bocals (CDV1 and CDV0) and a Mollenhauer bocal
that worked better for high notes. I also had a silver Howell bocal that
worked well. /Bernhard

Re: Good bocal for a 48xx Heckel?

Dear all,

I finally bit the bullet and paid top dollars for a pre-war Heckel CC-3 bocal that had been shortened to a #1 length.  Oh my god, it sounded so much better compared to the Fox #2 that came with my student's 222 plus.  Much bigger sound, good high range response and good and round low register either.  Simply no comparison.  Now I know why the hype about these pre-war bocals and why people would pay more for them than for Chinese bassoons (although I still prefer a Chinese bassoon to a pre-war Heckel bocal if I had nothing else!)

Sincerely,
Wai Kit Leung

oboe (French, Viennese, baroque), bassoon (German, French, baroque), shawm, dulcian

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