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Wooden Recorder Makes and Models

wooden recorder makes models

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#1 barkel



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Posted 03 February 2021 - 22:38

Hello to recorder players out there,

I thought it might be interesting to open a topic where we can discuss our experiences of different makes and models of wooden recorders. I know when I started out, it all seemed so overwhelming to see not just the number of makers but all of the different models.

What makes one model different to another, why is that one so much more expensive than this one and so on.


I am by no means an expert, but I have been fortunate enough to have been able to try a few out that I can share my experiences with you. But I won't bombard you with everything at once!


The topic that I would open with is my experience of finger spacings. All hands are different and so it seems are the spacings of finger holes on recorders. This has never bothered me with sopranos since there is no stretching and every one I have played I have managed to find the holes without problem.

It's when I progress to the alto size that I have noticed that some recorders I get on with and others I don't. The three holes in particular that I have noticed variations in are, the thumb hole, and the lowest two holes.


I won't go into Tenors now, but suffice to say, for me it's either "Comfort" Tenor or NO Tenor!


I guess that some of you will say that if you stick to one recorder long enough, you will get used to where the holes are. While I am sure there is a lot of truth in this, I feel that there is also an aspect of finding a recorder where the hole spacings feel more natural to the shape of your hand.


For simplicity, I will refer to the holes as (I am assuming a right handed player):


0 - thumb hole

1 - 3 - left hand top three holes going downwards

4 - 7 - right hand 

8 - bell hole


Regarding the hole 0, I have found some recorders seem to have this higher up and I keep missing it. Has anyone else experienced this and with which makes/models?

The Mollenhauer Canta I tried comes to mind here


Hole 6 - the make and model that comes to mind for me in particular is the Moeck Rottenburgh. When I first got one I was very excited since it seemed to be one of the more popular ones. So when I found that I kept missing hole 7, I was rather disappointed. I worked on this for months and I just assumed that it was me.

Then at some point I got a Mollenhauer Canta and tried that out and found that it was slightly different - not perfect though.

This then got me interested in trying out different ones and it wasn't until I got hold of a Dolmetsch "Bressan" that I finally found a recorder that seemed like it was designed for my hands. Since then I have discovered some others that seem to work for me.


Hole 7 - the foot joint of most recorders seem to have a very similar design, but there are a few exceptions such as the Fehr Model 2/3 and the Roessler "Meister" - these seem to have a nice deep bowl like hollow that seems to invite the little pinky in.

And it really works for me, I find that I can hit the low F# much more reliably with my Fehr Model 3 than with any other - particularly nice when playing B minor scale!


So that's enough from me for now.

I'd now like to invite anyone else to share their experiences and let's see where this goes.



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#2 old_and_grumpy


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Posted 10 June 2021 - 17:59

I've just noticed this, and I see you haven't had any replies.  Maybe there just isn't much to say, but I think you might get more of a response if you posted it to the recorder thread, since most things seem to get an answer there.  I only play tenor recorders so can't comment on any of the ones you have tried.  The one I play the most is the Yamaha plastic one.  The hole spacing, according to a couple of online charts of tenor fingering I have looked at, is pretty grim, but I have got completely used to it and find it no bother.  It's also not generally that hard to swap between instruments, except that I have one other tenor where the spacing isn't as "bad" as on the Yamaha, but the proportions are a bit different: hole 5 is relatively closer to hole 4 than usual.  I miss things a bit when I start, then keep missing 4 when I go back to the Yamaha.

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