Heckelphone Information

Last update:  02/10/2012 23:25:10


So much detailed information about Heckelphones has been provided by Peter Hurd that I feel special credit is due to him on this page. Mr. Hurd is the acting secretary of the North American Heckelphone Society. Thanks Peter!

Heckelphone model designations

The model number 36 is used by Heckel to designate the Heckelphone.

Model 36b
"German system", upper joint left hand C is played with middle finger as on the saxophone. It can also be played with the B fingering (left index) plus the upper right hand side key. Bb is played with A fingering (index+middle finger) plus lower right hand side key, as on the saxophone. The lower joint (right hand) is fingered like an oboe, EXCEPT: left hand cluster for little finger (Eb, low B, long F) has almost completely different key positions from what one would expect on any other model Heckelphone or oboe.
Model 36i
A precursor of the Conservatory system. It has a single right hand side key which activates vents for C (B sharp) and Bb (A sharp). The bottom joint is fingered like an oboe. The left hand small finger cluster is conventional Conservatory pattern.
Model 36k
A basic Conservatory system. It is fingered like an oboe throughout, except that F# key (right hand) is a split plate (this is standand on models 36k, 36 cons, and 36 voll cons). The upper part of the split plate is employed when playing upper joint Bb, the full plate is employed when playing F#. The purpose of this plate is to overcome the lack of an A resonance mechanism on the Heckelphone (A resonance is standard on English horn and oboe d'amore). Since the Heckelphone joints are separated above the G# key cup, it would be exceedingly difficult to engineer the inclusion of an A resonance mechanism.
Model 36 cons
Like 36k though somewhat advanced. This model has F resonance mechanism, articulated Eb, left hand cluster has low Bb key which on previous models was played (along with low A) by a right hand thumb key. Lower joint ring and lever keys for E and D replaced with solid keys.
Model 36 voll cons
Same as 36 cons except that a C-D trill has been added (upper joint key as well as lower joint key). The recent Model 36 voll cons instruments (since c. 1958?) have plateau solid keys throughout. Also, an articulated C# is now standard.

Heckelphone Notes

Pattern instrument
A prototype or experimental instrument, not intended to be sold as production work.
Heckelphone wood and finishes
The older Heckelphones all seem to have a dark brown finish. Later model 36 voll cons instruments (at least post 1963) have a bright red finish. The wood is the same as they use for bassoons: Austrian or Yugoslavian mountain maplewood.
Muting bell
A separate bell which mutes the sound of the instrument.
Stencil instrument
An instrument built with no labelling intended to be "branded" and sold by another company as their own instrument.
Wall thicknesses
The earliest Heckelphones (some model 36b, and a few [perhaps] model 36i), have extremely thin walls. Later, beginning 1921(?), a medium-thick wall instrument was produced (models 36b, model 36i, and possibly one or two model 36k). In 1932(?), a truly thick wall instrument became the standard which persists up to this day.

Heckelphone Serial Numbers

There is a great deal of uncertainty about how many Heckelphones have been produced. There are at least 2 known that have no serial number, and one "stencil instrument" with no serial number.

Serial NumberDateKnown OwnersPicturesDescriptionHistoryKnown Sales
Terz Heckelphone in Eb
Piccolo Heckelphones in F
0063 1905
0076 1905
0086 1905
0119 1905
01210 1905
0152 1906
0162 1906
0172 1906
43082 1933Model 36o. Apparently all other piccolo heckelphones were model 36m. The only difference between the two models has to do with the layout of the right hand little finger cluster.
48742 1955
48762 1955
Heckelphones in C
none?Model 36b stencil instrument built for Mollenhauer
none1925Model 36b
0101905Used in the premier performance of Strauss' Salome on Dec 9, 1905.
0131906Model 36b
0191907Model 36bModernized in the 50s by Franz Groffy at Heckel to become closer to a model 36i.
0211908Model 36aIn the Frankfurt Museum Vidriana
0221908In Stuttgart (ex-Budapest Opera)
02519081Model 36aMinor keywork done on the instrument years ago by Albert Laubin, the oboe manufacturerer. There is a bridge mechanism that allows the player to play b-flat and c using the regular conservatory fingering instead of the side keys.
02619081Model 36a
All joints
Full length
Top joint
Top joint (side)
Bottom joint (front)
Bottom joint (back)
Bottom joint (damage)
Top of all joints
Bottom of all joints
Sat in an attic where it received extensive water damage12/2010 (eBay)
2/2012 (eBay)
0331910Model 36bUsed by John Ellis for his famous recording of the Hindemith Trio.
0431908Model 36a (to Low Bb)Lisbon National Instrument Museum
05019111Model 36iRebuilt keywork to become close to a 36i. Used in the Hoffnung Concerts for Arnold's .11/2001 (eBay-sold)
05110 1911
05210 1911
32837 19101Model 36bStolen in Detroit
34147 1912
342712 1912Flame maple
343211 1912
34762 1913
36289 19191Model 36bPossibly was on display at Ponte's Music in NYC circa 1970.
none1920Model 36i, pattern instrument
37561 1923Conservatory, high pitch
37701 1923Conservatory, high pitch
37797 1923Silver plated
38051923Believed to be a model 36b
38091 1923Model 36b, High pitchUsed by the Chicago Symphony on occaision.
38102 19231Model 36b, high pitch
38817 1924
389610 1924
39155 1925high pitch
39165 19251Model 36b, high pitchUsed in the Detroit Symphony.
39175 1925high pitch
39227 1925high pitch
39237 1925
39289 1925Conservatory
39299 1925Conservatory, high pitch
39501 1926Silver plated
39512 1926Model 36i, Conservatory, high pitch. This appears to be the first instrument to have the three-hole bell with perforated bottom plate and center floor peg.
39704 19261Conservatory
39859 1926Model 36i, high pitch
40081 1927Model 36i, high pitch
40102 1927Model 36i, high pitch
40133 1927Model 36i, high pitch
40145 1927
In Case
Left Side
Right Side
Model 36i, high pitchUsed in the 2003 Milwaukee Opera Orchestra's production of Strauss' Salome.1/2004 eBay
401810 1927Model 36b
40191 1928Model 36b
402612 1927high pitch
405110 1928high pitch
405210 1928high pitch
405310 1928high pitch
405410 1928Model 36i, low pitch
405511 1928Model 36i, high pitch
40977 1929Nickel plated
41078 1929Model 36i, Nickel plated
41324 1930Model 36k
414110 1930Model 36i, nickel plated, muting bell
41421930Model 36kUsed in the Utah Symphony
41439 1930Model 36i, nickel plated, muting bell
41452 1932Model 36i, nickel plated
41464 1932Model 36k, nickel plated
42441 19341Completely restored to new condition by Thomas Hiniker. Full conservatory system, has f resonance key added by Heckel circa 1960. Articulated F#-G# mechanism added by T. Hiniker. Gold plated by Anderson 2002: 1 copper strike , 2 silver, three layers gold.Used in the MGM Studio Orchestra from 1962 until 1996. Veteran of many film score recordings, including Spartacus.6/2002 (bassoon.org)
10/2002 (bassoon.org and idrs.org)
sold 2/2005
45309 1937Model 36b
470112 1940Model 36i
47021 1946Model 36i
47201947Model 36iStockholm-Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra
47735 19502Model 36k
47755 1950Model 36k
47775 1950Model 36iThis is a Heckel rental instrument
47845 1951Model 36k
47865 1951Model 36k
47885 1951Model 36k, special [this is a factory notation]
48642 1955Model 36k
49003 1955Model 36k, to low B
49185 1956Model 36k
49207 1956Model 36k
49353 1957Model 36k
49373 1957Model 36i
49619 1957Model 36v
49639 19571
In case
Top joint
Bottom joint
Close-up of bell
Model 36 Voll Cons with muting bell, to low A, with all possible keys, including C# articulation, and right hand G# key, F resonance. Silver plated.Used in the Edmunton and Calgary Symphonies.5/2002 (bassoon.org)
10/2002 (bassoon.org)
6/2002 (ebay)
6/2003 (idrs)
7/2003 (IDRS)
49717 1972Model 36v
49737 1972Model 36v
49757 1972Model 36v, to low B
49767 1972Model 36v, to low B
497712 1978Model 36v, to low B
49788 1980Model 36i
497911 1982Model 36i
498011 1981Model 36v
49812 1982Model 36vUsed in the New York Philharmonic
498211 1982Model 36v
498310 1983Model 36v
498412 1983Model 36v
49857 1984Model 36v
498612 1984Model 36v
49879 1986Model 36v
49875 1987Model 36v
498910 1987Model 36v
49904 1989Model 36v
49919 1989Model 36v
499210 1990Model 36v
499312 1990Model 36v
49947 1991Model 36k
499512 1991Model 36v
50006 1994Model 36v
50016 1995Model 36v
50028 1995Model 36v
500312 1996Model 36v
50043 1998Model 36v
50054 1999Model 36v
50066 1999Model 36v
500710 1999Model 36v
50082 2000Model 36v
500910 2001Model 36v
501012 2001Model 36v
50111 20031Model 36v. Model for new keywork design changes. Oboe-like key cluster for the little finger, left hand replaced with a lever system reminiscent of the earlier Heckelphones.
50122002Shown at the 2002 IDRS convention at Banff Canada.
50132004Confirmed as first Heckelphone shipped in 2004 by the factory.
50219 20101

Summary statistics for Heckel Heckelphones in our database

Instruments by Series
SeriesNumber of Instruments
Instruments by Decade
DecadeNumber of Instruments

Last update:  02/10/2012 23:25:10

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