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Recorder Thread!


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#3781 elemimele

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Posted 26 November 2019 - 21:57

... what lovely things to play! The Telemann 7th Fantasie is scary... but they are all so beautiful (Telemann's an utter genius). Looks like you've hit a true treasure with your teacher. Have fun!


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#3782 Maizie

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Posted 04 December 2019 - 21:11

Just booked on to Jacqueline Sorel's recorder repair day at Cambridge Woodwind Makers on Feb 29th :)

 

Fantasia 7 ... there are bits where I think I may be starting to find a tune in the disjointed random notes.  But I haven't made it on to the second page yet :D :D [that's the second page of the first movement.  Second movement isn't even under consideration!!]


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#3783 Gordon Shumway

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Posted 19 December 2019 - 09:42

I remember a long time ago (late 70s?) a music teacher played the recorder, and her nice wooden sop cost £15 which was a reassuring price, but not a huge amount (a plastic oboe was about £300 at the time and a vinyl record £4). But it may have been a little earlier than that.

I mentioned it the other day and was told, to my doubt, that a good recorder can cost £1,000 now. I remember that teacher showing me how you use your thumbnail on the thumb hole and it cuts into it, and the recorder needs replacing every now and then. I suppose a £1,000 recorder (if that's a genuine price) has a bone lining to the thumb hole?

No idea. What's the sensible price to pay nowadays and what do you get for your money?


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#3784 Maizie

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Posted 19 December 2019 - 10:21

A fifteen quid wooden recorder is not worth it these days.  Get a good plastic (Aulos, Yamaha) over cheap wood (if you want wood, go for a Moeck or a Mollenhauer or a Kung or another solid brand - don't by Anonymous).

Yes, you can pay £1000 and plenty more - you can have factory made, factory made and hand finished or hand made, and each level sees the price go up.  Price is also dependent on the type of wood used, size of instrument, decoration, keywork, etc.  Bushed thumbholes are relatively uncommon (but can be added afterwards, if you wear down your thumbholes).

The (unbushed) thumbholes on my recorders aren't particularly worn - I'm guessing it's going to be a factor of what your nails are like (soft/hard), how long/short you have the nail, what wood your instrument is made of, and how many high notes you play!

 

Have a browse, e.g. here are descants at the Early Music Shop from cheapest to expensivest: https://earlymusicsh...price-ascending


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#3785 Gordon Shumway

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Posted 19 December 2019 - 13:02

Pearwood is surprisingly tough. Hohner harmonicas often have pearwood combs, and I filed the corners off one once. It was hard work!


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#3786 elemimele

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Posted 19 December 2019 - 21:41

"What's the sensible price to pay nowadays and what do you get for your money?". My personal answer is a sensible price for a treble recorder is between £20 and £35 and you get a decent plastic instrument, a floppy case, a cleaning rod, a fingering chart, and many years of great satisfaction.

But instrument purchase isn't about being sensible. There's nothing wrong with spending a lot more on a nicer instrument, or an instrument that just feels nicer and appeals to you more. If you want wood, you're going to have to pay a lot more for the same quality as you'd get in plastic. It's also going to require a lot more maintenance to keep the quality (the all-time worst two recorders I've ever heard were a Hornby plastic instrument made of some horrible waxy soft white plastic, and a Moeck Rottenburgh, which is supposed to be quite a decent wooden instrument. The example I heard was truly horrible, probably because it was owned by a gentleman who was inclined to go out busking, and probably just put it in his bag, wet, afterwards. I suspect it was full of crud and things growing.)

The other problem is that any recorder player who gets to the stage where they're considering wood is also going to be finding that their middle-of-the-road, Baroque-modelled, general plastic instrument doesn't sound right for Renaissance music, and maybe Van Eyck would sound better on something a bit earlier than Baroque, but sometimes you want to play alto and sometimes descant, and there's a recorder group who'd like you to play tenor, or even bass, and then it'd be nice to know whether A=415 actually sounds better than A=440 even if you dont' know someone who accompanies at that pitch... and of course there are Baroque recorders with different flavours... so you have a dilemma: if you're neither a consultant surgeon nor a bank-robber, you're going to have to choose between one really good instrument that can't play Van Eyck the way you want, or a whole spouse-angering array of different instruments for different purposes, which will have to be individually cheaper.


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#3787 Maizie

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Posted 20 December 2019 - 08:34

Third option: Have a spouse who is in to photography. I can't outspend his camera habit on recorders, and I get his little-used high-end cameras passed on to me :D :D :D

But, yes, what I meant to say but didn't was, you can spend £1000 on a descant; but there's absolutely no reason you have to spend £1000 on a descant.

 

I do remember a colleague who nearly spat out his coffee on discovering my main instrument (boxwood treble) cost me £750 (I see the currently price is in to four figures).  I pointed out that if you went for the equivalent level a lot of other instruments (e.g. a decadently luxurious utterly lovely and far beyond what's absolutely necessary violin), recorders are still loose change :D


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#3788 Gordon Shumway

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Posted 20 December 2019 - 09:25

Third option: Have a spouse who is in to photography. I can't outspend his camera habit on recorders, 

I know exactly what you mean - my brother (autistic and a compulsive spendaholic) is into professional DSLRs (he won second prize in an amateur competition 10 or 15 years ago and got big ideas) - my dream violin/bow/case combo would cost the same as one Canon mark IV body (£4,000).


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#3789 elemimele

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Posted 20 December 2019 - 10:24

yes, the analogy is good. It's true about the pricing; for what Maizie spent on her main instrument, you'd get a basic beginner oboe and a music stand to go with it! Don't even think about taking up the bassoon.

Following with the camera analogy, a professional photographer once reminded me that the most important setting, the one that makes the biggest difference to the final photo, is available on even the cheapest camera: it's which direction you point it in when you press the shutter! It's the same with recorders. There's no doubt that a good recorder will ultimately go further and sound better, but if you're obliged to stay cheap, or you choose to stay cheap, the nice thing about our instrument is that the biggest influence is the player, and a cheap recorder can still do very good things. We are soooo lucky.


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#3790 elemimele

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Posted 22 December 2019 - 12:00

Sarah Jeffery has made a video close to my heart. She's bought a lot of really cheap recorders from an online cheap things site, and reviewed them. OK, none of these are going to strike fear into the hearts of Mollenhauer or Moeck; I'm not cashing in my shares in aulos and Yamaha in a panic. But she was pleasantly surprised by a few of these items, and for those who enjoy grubbing around in the bargain bins, this is a good watch.

(It's a bit depressing how good she manages to make extraordinarily cheap instruments sound. It's also interesting to see how she looks at intonation; as someone who plays in consorts, it's super-important to her. And when she encounters a very sharp recorder, she gleefully declares "It's in A=463, Renaissance pitch!", which I'm sure was exactly what its maker was aiming for, as they reduced its size slightly when setting up the mould.)


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#3791 old_and_grumpy

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Posted 23 December 2019 - 13:46

I started learning on a plastic Aulos Haka alto, and  I really liked it.  A quality I did appreciate at the time, and do so even more now, is that it was pretty much a pick-up-and-play instrument.  I ended up falling for the lure of wooden recorders and - although I love them all - I find that it's more a question of playing them when they are in the mood, rather than when I am.  Maybe it's me, but they all seem to have good days and bad days: I can sometimes play happily for ages, but sometimes they clog almost immediately, refuse to play the high notes, or whatever.  I wish there was a Haka tenor - I'd buy one in an instant.  I have two plastic tenors but I don't like either as much as the Haka.


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#3792 Zixi

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Posted 26 December 2019 - 11:40

I learned on an Aulos and then Swing. I got a Haka as best. It's still my favourite despite having collected a number of quite nice wooden ones and some other plastic ones. I love wood. I love the feel. I like the grain. I like working with it. But I'm going to be a heretic now and say back there with what I know now I'd have stuck to plastic, given Bernolin some money and called it a day... But I'll never play with other people.  The thing is that expensive recorders can have a lovely tone but like expensive cameras you still need the expertise to get the best out of them! And wood needs care... I'm not sure I want to use up my life that way... :blink:  and when I started out all I wanted to be able to do was play carols...

 

On that note: Season's Greetings everyone! Thanks for putting up with me for the past year! :)

 

edited to add: Suggestions for next year's stocking filler - Goldberg Variations by Seldom Sene (Recorder Quintet)


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#3793 old_and_grumpy

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Posted 26 December 2019 - 16:58

I only really started recorder because it was something I could play without any messing about - I was sort of learning clarinet at the time and recorder avoided putting lots of pieces together and mucking about with reeds.  Now I only play recorder - much prefer it to the clarinet.  I completely get the point about sticking with plastic.  And yet... I do love the wooden instruments in a way, despite their many quirks.  I would like to have a good plastic instrument that I liked though.  I might get in touch with Bernolin and suggest he makes a tenor.

 

> Season's Greetings everyone!

 

And from me too.


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#3794 elemimele

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Posted 26 December 2019 - 18:21

perhaps one needs both, for different purposes/experiences? My problem is that with limited resources, very little time, and responsibilities that make it hard to leg it around the country, trialling new instruments is more-or-less impossible, and there are very few outlets where one can try different instruments. I don't mind taking a punt on a £30 plastic instrument, but buying something significantly expensive with no idea whether it suits me is just not sensible. Ah well...

I came across this quote in "The World of Romantic and Modern Musical Instruments" (Jeremy Montagu) which tickled me: "The dispute between the acoustician, who is convinced that its material has little or no influence on an instrument's tone quality, and the player, who is equally convinced that it makes all the difference in the world, is an endless one." Yup!


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#3795 Zixi

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Posted 27 December 2019 - 09:38

 I might get in touch with Bernolin and suggest he makes a tenor.

Tell him he'll sell at least two - because I'd be game for that one.

 

perhaps one needs both, for different purposes/experiences? My problem is that with limited resources, very little time, and responsibilities that make it hard to leg it around the country, trialling new instruments is more-or-less impossible, and there are very few outlets where one can try different instruments. I don't mind taking a punt on a £30 plastic instrument, but buying something significantly expensive with no idea whether it suits me is just not sensible. Ah well...

 

Life does that to some? most? people. I had my life filled with other people's ambitions. Money was at times rather short as there was only me. It was probably quite lonely (in that I wouldn't have wished it on anyone else). Then I got old. I retired. I got married. And suddenly there is time and money for things but I also got cancer... Luckily for me, I lived most of my life finding something positive in the moment while at the same time hoping that some aspects didn't stay like that... Kind of mindfulness with an eye to the future.... Your situation will change because it always does... :-) You'll have time and money to do that 'thing'.

 

What I like about plastic is I don't have to feel guilty about a tree that sacrificed *its* life for me to gouge and make a terrible racket... Maizie mentioned cameras and their expense. I used to be heavily into photography (must get back there) and I learned that the camera doesn't take the picture... One of my friends can take a absolutely wonderful picture with a pinhole camera, a brownie box camera - anything you give him. I've seen people with very fancy equipment who can't take a photo without heavily photoshopping it afterwards. I bet if I was recorded playing each of my recorders and then in a few weeks you played them back at me, I wouldn't be able to spot the wooden ones... Because I'm pretty certain my hearing is no longer up to it even if there is a difference... And I also bet if I gave Michala Petri the cheap plastic Swing I learned on it'd sound divine... A tool is just that... no more... no less...


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