Hiniker English Horn Bocals

Hiniker English Horn Bocals

Posted by Nancy Huang on

Hiniker English horn bocals are produced by the famous instrument maker Thomas Hiniker.  These silver bocals are rolled from sterling silver sheets.  Hiniker bocals are developed for Loree instruments but may also work well for other brands.

All Hiniker bocals are assigned three numbers, for example 2 B12 12.  What does each number mean?

- The first number is the overall length.  These bocals are available in length 1, 2, and 3, with 3 being the longest.  There are different lengths to accommodate everyone.  Most people play easily in tune on a 2, but some need a 3 to get low enough while others need a 1 to get high enough.

- The second number is the bore size.  Hiniker bocals are available in a variety of sizes ranging from 11-13.  The smaller the number, the smaller the bore.  Sometimes there is a B in front of the second number, which denotes a different bore style: "brilliant", for improved projection.  

- The last number is the distance from the tip of the bocal to a scored line farther down the bocal, typically 11 or 12 mm below the tip.  This is the tip length.  This line shows how far down the bottom of the reed should reach.  A smaller bore is generally coupled with a shorter tip.

Every bocal is engraved with the letters "TH" for Thomas Hiniker.  Under the letters are the first two numbers that designate the overall length and the bore size, as explained above.  The final number, tip length, is not stamped on the bocal.  

What's the best way to test a new bocal?  Start by playing some slow scales or excerpts with the bocal you're trying.  Note the sound characteristics and intonation of the bocal and instrument together.  Next, you can do a simple compatibility test: play the middle C and diminuendo on that note.  Assuming the reed is working well, if the middle C drops abruptly during diminuendo, the bocal is not a good match.  If this is the case, go down in bore size and/or up in tip length.  It's a good idea to test several bocals at a time, checking for compatibility and then ultimately choosing the one that has the best intonation and sound.

Hiniker bocals are also available for oboe d'amour and bass oboe.  English horn and oboe d'amour bocals are available for trials at RDG Woodwinds, Inc.  Give us a call to set up a trial!

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