Heckel Bocal Markings:
a Basic Summary of What the Markings Mean.
 
We've done our best to compile charts from the original specifications published in German by Heckel

These are the factors that influence the sound and pitch characteristics of Heckel bassoon bocals. The numbers and letters are stamped on the bocal both near the makers name on the central area, and/or at the butt, just above the cork on the inner side.

The almost foolproof way to determine if your bocal is "Pre-War" is by examining the makers mark. If it is imprinted with a slightly spiral twist, it is not Pre-War. If it appears to be straight in a line and runs along the bocal without twisting, it is most likely a Pre-War bocal. The Heckel factory was physically affected by WWII. Despite all our research, we still can not determine the details on what actually happened during that period. The bocals they produced before that war are prized for their sound and rarity.


 
These letters indicate the internal dimensions and tip openings
  • CC -- average thickness and tip opening, good upper and lower range response
  • C -- like the CC but slightly thinner metal, enhanced overall response
  • B -- narrower bore than the CC, enhanced upper note responsiveness
  • BB -- similar to B with a smaller tip opening for enhanced upper and high note response
     
    These letters are modifiers for the letters listed above
    (ie. CCV or BBE will describe two aspects of the same bocal)
  • D -- slighter thinner metal to aid in low note response
  • E -- an even smaller tip opening
  • V -- special curvature for exceptional high note response
  • XL -- the newest style of curvature for added high note response
     
    The length measured from tip to butt along the spine.
    The numbers are representations of relative length.
  • 00 -- shortest length, raises the overall pitch the most
  • 0 -- raises the pitch less then the 00
  • 1 -- a popular bocal for slightly higher overall pitch
  • 2 -- standard with new Heckel bassoons for A=440 pitch
  • 3 -- slightly longer bocal, creates slight flattening of pitch
  • 4 -- longest bocal, creates most flattening of pitch
     
    The alloy or type of metal used in plating the body
  • G -- gold, described by Heckel as having a "medium-hard" sound
  • S -- sterling silver 935, somewhat brighter tone quality
  • N -- softer German silver, warm tone, needs little care, quite shiny
  • Z -- harder German silver, warm tone, needs little care, quite shiny, more durable

    Heckel bocals are generally made of a brass alloy with plating over the brass.
    The bocal may also be left unplated for a lustrous brass finish. If it looks like gold but has no "G" marking, it's probably unplated brass.


     
     
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