We recommend the Yamaha Alto Recorder, model YRABII. The Yamaha YRTB II plastic tenor, shown below, has a lowest hole key to reduce finger. They have a serious interest in classical music, classical recorder music in particular. Solutions like keys are not so effective as you might expect. How to choose your first WOODEN recorder? This video is for people who already have a basic instrument, and.
What happens when you blow it hard, does the note fly away and and go unacceptably sharp? Do any of the notes "burble" unacceptably? Are you prepared to adjust any of your standard fingerings to accommodate a note or two with wayward tuning? Consider these things before you look at the price or colour. Bear in mind also, that if you are a competent player, a good instrument will, to some extent, grow to like you. I hesitate to mention this, it could be used as a catch all answer to criticism and I do not use it as a sales line, but, in general, it is true.
The player and instrument come to work together. This is particularly so for wooden instruments speak to a violinist about it and also happens with metal. I have found in the past, as a flute player, that if I did not like to way a player played, I would not like the feel of their instrument, even if it was nominally the same as my own.
Having bought such a flute, am happy to report that I believe that I have retrained it, though it took me a while. You have a right to expect a cheap plastic recorder to play all the notes well enough in tune to be musical and pleasant with a properly tuned piano and in recorder groups. The better ones will have a well focussed sound and will be less critical of breath pressure. Poor quality recorders, if they play in tune at all, do so only at very low breath pressure with its attendant quiet sound.
Low priced wooden recorders should sound at least as good as the better plastic though perhaps not as good as the very best plastic. If you discard the cheapest, which are generally badly tuned, the sound may be a bit weak or a bit hard depending on the make.
I do not stock recorders in the "cheapest" category. For detailed comments on different woods refer back to here. Recorders with plastic heads are an interesting compromise between price and performance. They are robust and can be a good choice for children.
Better wooden recorders are well tuned and have a focused sound with character. The balance of tone depends mainly on the maker, but also on the wood. Some design features have attracted more attention than others. In particular there is much store set by narrow and arched wind ways. Most modern production has these features. Many older C20 instruments do not. I do not believe that it is possible to rank a recorder in terms of these features alone.
There are many other visible subtle aspects of the design that are at least as important and even more that are not visible, and more important. The best machine made recorders are serious musical instruments, fit for serious players, and are made of better timber, generally referred to as "hardwood", which is longer lasting.
Some are hand finished. They are much more stable in pitch with breath pressure and loudness and have what most agree is better "tone" than plastic and cheaper softwood instruments of the same general design. The very best recorders are individually hand crafted from selected high quality, often exotic, woods. They are made with subtle features not possible to produce with machinery and their playing properties are adjusted individually by a player.
They are freely available, but sometimes subject to long order times on account of demand. Often you deal directly with the person who actually makes them. Whether these recorders sound better in your hands than a cheaper mass produced instrument is up to you, they certainly should.
If you were to give me a Stradivarius violin and a bow I would only be able to produce sounds like my cat when I stand on its tail and my efforts on a cheap mass produced violin might well be less hard on the ear. I don't profess to be any sort of violinist. What to Look For. The following pointers may serve as a guide. Mid-price instruments of very low quality in nice packaging are appearing here in the UK.
They are also being heavily promoted on the internet. They do not live up to what it says on the box. I am not going to name names, though I do know a few. Even the uninitiated should be able to spot some of these undesirable features. Rough finish to the inside of the recorder or any other part, like the wind way exit.
Wind ways that are like letter box in cross sectional proportion. They should be much thinner than this. Features that do not 'line up' perfectly. Anything other than a finger hole that is skewed from the axis of the recorder. Flaws are often combined, as here: Labium slots that are narrow, deep and cut at a shallow angle.
Here is a Labium or window that I regard as producing the best quality of sound. These images are to the same scale. I might have some fun producing some really bad recorder sound files. Here is the first link to demonstrate the difference between good and bad. You can find a bit more about the value of recorders by clicking here. Back My 'Smiley' Choices.
To qualify for a smiley a recorder has to satisfy me that it comes up to a good standard in the following aspects of playability. I have only used them for lower priced instruments and, inevitably, these recorders do not meet the highest standards of the more costly models.
They are, however, worthy recorders and, within their limitations, will satisfy the needs of a player who appreciates good musical qualities.
The smiley marks, when considered in price order, show my choice in order of quality and value for money. If you arrived here from a link please have a look at the rest of the page above. The sound of the recorder should be 'focused'. The notes should be clear and settle at a well defined pitch with some variation of breath pressure and loudness.
It is this aspect of performance that is the measure of intrinsic musical quality. My preference is for recorders that have a warm rather than cold or hard sound and I prefer the lowest notes to be strong and smooth.
The green smileys mark those recorders which have a more robust sound quality that suits folk music. The very highest notes can be difficult for a beginner but are impossible on some recorders. Most are adequate, some are good. This is a separate issue from the recorder itself.
I do not have a prejudice against plastic or any particular wood. To a large extent this issue is taken care of by the price. Where there are similar models of different materials at roughly the same price I give the smiley to the one that I think plays best.
Quick Guide to Price Bands and Features I do not stock bad recorders so even using a blindfold and a pin will select a good instrument from my list.
To avoid getting bogged down in the minutae of detail this may help some who have preferences that are difficult to resolve. These are made of plastic or a low priced wood, maple or pear by machinery. These woods are not durable.
There are bad and inadequate models but the low priced recorders I sell are all very playable, if unsophisticated, instruments. Wooden sopranos are made without separate foot joints and the cases provided are basic. These features keep the price down. The wood is almost always varnished and the joints may be an O-ring or cork. There are some 'eco' models that have an oil finish.
At the top of this range are better looking instruments with more elaborate turning and more refined tone. I think that these are better value than cheaper 'mid price' models made of maple and pear wood. While the lower price instruments may be regarded as expendable, these are made to be kept and cherished by their owners. They look good and play well. Prices vary widely according to the wood from which they are made. The lowest priced instruments are made from low priced wood, maple and pear wood, as above.
The higher priced ones are made from unsusual woods, usually a tropical hardwood. The different woods have slightly different tonal characteristics but the overriding factor is the design and execution of the maker. It is my opinion that the maple and pear wood models are not a wise choice for an up and coming young player. Low priced woods are not resistant to mould growth and wet rot. Heavy use will destroy them.
The tropical hardwoods are generally regarded as the best materials and they can be very expensive. European boxwood is even more expensive.
There is no concensus on which is best and I think some of the factors quoted are not relevant. Fashion and the choices of prominent players are influential.
There is more detail on my site here. There are some negative issues. Tropical hardwoods, particularly the aromatic palisander, often known as 'rosewood' are a well known, but not common, cause of irritation and swelling of the lips and tongue as the result of an allergic reaction in the player. If you experience this you should avoid all timbers of this general class. Some hardwoods are regularly varnished and finishes vary periodically. Varnish is sometimes used to mask differences in the colour of the wood.
This practice is now not common. More makers are taking the trouble to make their recorders from a single billet of wood and the wood is polished. Varnish does not resolve the sensitivity issue. The supplied cases are generally more elaborate. However I think olive is overpriced and I have heard negative comments regarding allergy issues.
European boxwood is very different from the South American 'mock box' timbers and does not produce adverse reactions in players. These are produced with more hand finishing and individuality. They are often associated with a particular player or designer and are available at special pitches and with customised voicing.
Resin recorders can be washed in one piece using a neutral kitchen detergent. For instruments equipped with keys, take care to avoid allowing the keys to become wet. Grease should be applied to any cork joints when assembling a recorder, but it is not necessary to wipe the grease away every time.
Everyday care Always store your recorder safely in its case, and take care not to store it in any locations such as those described below. Locations exposed to direct sunlight Close to naked flames from sources such as cooking stoves Locations affected by flowing water or rain Locations with high humidity Locations with high levels of dust or dirt Also, as the labium is a part of the instrument that is particularly important in terms of producing sound, exercise care to ensure it does not become damaged.
When the windway becomes clogged If condensation forms in the windway while the instrument is being played and the timbre becomes muffled, like the voice of someone who has caught a cold, use a finger to cover the window of the instrument lightly and blow into it forcefully to expel any clogged moisture. While the finger is covering the window, clear a passage through the condensed moisture so that sound is restored.
If the edge is touched directly with the finger, the condensed moisture will block the airway through the instrument, so this is not effective. If doing this during a performance, take care to ensure the sound of blowing cannot be heard.
Also, by sucking a little as though using a straw, moisture that has adhered to the interior of the windway can be reduced. Photograph of blowing into the instrument while covering the windway with a finger. Modelled by Minoru Yoshizawa recorder player Another method is to position the head joint so that the front faces upward, hold the palm of the hand against the joint the part that connects to the middle joint as it is held horizontally either left or right hand can be used , then blow into the window with a short, strong breath.
When this is done, moisture that emerges from the mouthpiece can then be removed. This method may be preferable for those who would rather avoid touching the labium directly. Blowing hard into the window If the joints of the recorder become loose? With a recorder, everyday handling is important. With an ABS resin recorder that has become loose, apply recorder cream generously.
Repair wooden recorderby replacing the cork that surrounds the joint, or winding fine thread around the cork from the base. As musical instrument stores that can make such adjustments to the cork using a spool of thread are limited, it is best to confirm whether this is possible. For plastic recorders, ensure that the joints are always adequately greased, so that plastic parts in direct contact with one another do not chafe and wear.
Handling and care of tenor and bass recorders Care should be taken regarding in following additional areas when handling and caring for tenor recorders and bass recorders. Joint fittings Take care not to grip the keys tightly while putting the joints together. If held by the keys, the alignment of the pads could be damaged, causing air to leak during play. Care of keys and pads Remove dirt and moisture from pads When the pads are moist after or during a performance, place absorbent paper that is about as thin as tissue paper such as cleaning paper between the pad and the tone hole, and lightly press the pad.
Repeat times, moving the paper each time. Key care Apply key oil from time to time where the key posts are attached to the keys. This is beneficial to the movement of the keys, and improves resistance against rust.
While applying oil, take care to avoid soiling the pads with oil. Also, be sure to fasten the key screw before playing the instrument. When loose this can cause noise, which can be detrimental to the performance. Key oil viscosity Key oil with a viscosity of around is appropriate for tenor recorders sold separately for use with clarinets.
I have deliberately chosen an ambiguous title for this page. I hope to cover both the attributes and prices of recorders. My lists have 'smiley' markers against lower priced recorders that I consider to be good value. My reasons are explained at the bottom of this page. If you do not already play the recorder the question of which which size to get or start on looms very large.