Topic: Has anyone shortened a bassoon bocal?

I have a #2 length bocal and after a year and a half, I still find I like the qualities of the bocal, but I really do need a #1 with my instrument. I'm not interested in changing my reed style to raise pitch from there, as a #1 bocal simply solves the issues and my reeds play just fine in tune on other instruments and setups.

So I'm torn between leaving it as it is, just selling the bocal, or attempting to modify it in some way.

Wondering if any of you have shortened a bocal or modified it in some other way to raise the pitch. Would one be better to cut from the cork side or the reed side or both? Where would the length difference between a #1 and #2 bocal come from normally?

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: Has anyone shortened a bassoon bocal?

I'm also very interested in hearing some opinions about it!

Bassoonist and contrabassoon solo in Royal Opera House "La Monnaie" Brussels

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Re: Has anyone shortened a bassoon bocal?

I hesitate to answer because it is only a memory.  But if I recall correctly, my teacher Bernie Garfield had a bocal that he shortened and it was shortened at the tip end.  Trent, if you are interested in shortening your bocal, I wonder if you should call Marvin Kranz or other experts who might have some experience with this.  I bet Marvin would know and also be able to do it for you.

I am not sure this is still good.

Marvin Kranz
St. Louis Woodwind & Brass Instrument Repair
1773 North New Florissant Road
Florissant, MO  63033
(314) 921-0012

Dr. Kent Moore
Principal Lecturer In Bassoon and Theory
Northern Arizona University

Re: Has anyone shortened a bassoon bocal?

Marvin is still there. I've worked with him fairly recently from MMI. If I decide none of my other options will work, I'll make sure he's on my "to call" list before I make any decisions.

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: Has anyone shortened a bassoon bocal?

My Heckel pre-war CC 3 was shortened to a #1 length before I acquired it.  It was shortened from both ends.  The tip diameter is a bit bigger than usual because of that (the last bit of taper was cut).

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

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Re: Has anyone shortened a bassoon bocal?

I've done several with great results!  If you shorten at the tip end you will change the way the bocal plays.  I did this on one bocal - a Heckel CD2 that had a smaller tip than usual.  I cut it to match the tip opening of another Heckel bocal I had.  It made it a #1 and played great. 
The other bocals I have done were all at the cork end - which didn't change the playing qualities, just made sharper. 

Mark

Mark Ortwein
Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra
OrtweinWoodwinds.com

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