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Choosing A Recorder

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Your first recorder.

If you are a young child learning at school, then a good quality plastic descant recorder will be ideal for your needs.  We recommend the Yamaha YRS302B and the Aulos 205.  Both are consistently in tune, and have a good tone.  A good quality plastic recorder will be cheaper, and perform better than a poor quality wooden instrument.  They are also much easier to look after.

If you are starting to play as an older child or as an adult, you may prefer the tone of a good quality wooden instrument.  Our favourite is the Moeck Rottenburgh made of maple.


Once you have played for a while, it is quite possible for you to try out a selection of good quality recorders and choose for yourself.  But as always, consult your teacher first to see what they prefer.  Do you need an instrument designed to fit into a group or ensemble, or are you looking for an distinctive tone for solo work? As a general rule, maple and fruitwoods such as pearwood and cherry suit ensemble playing.  Rosewood, kingwood and other harder timbers make wonderful solo instruments.

Care & Maintenance.

Plastic recorders should be wiped through after playing with a recorder mop or pull through.  You would never dream of using a drinking cup day after day without washing it, so look on the recorder the same way.  Regular washing with warm soapy water and a thorough rinsing will keep your recorder hygienic.

Take particular care to ensure that the windway (where you blow) is free from any deposits, as the tone will suffer badly otherwise.

Wooden recorders have to be treated with much more care.  They should be dried out after playing using a cleaning cloth and rod, before putting the instrument away.  Normal use causes the bore of a wooden instrument to dry out.  To counteract this, the bore should be oiled occasionaly with almond oil.  You can use a soft brush or a cloth to apply the oil, and a dry cloth to soak up any excess.  The mouthpiece bore should also be oiled, but not the windway.  Wooden instruments do not like extremes of temperature or humidity, so avoid direct sunlight, or other extremes of heat or cold.

Always warm up the mouthpiece of your recorder before playing, especially when it is very cold.  This will reduce the amount of condensation in the instrument.  And finally, a new wooden recorder need to be played in gently, just like a car! Play for a few minutes at a time in the first week and avoid forcing high notes.  Increase the playing time slowly.  Your recorder should be fully acclimatised in 4 to 6 weeks.

N.B. If you need to play for long periods at a time, it may be worth while buying more than one recorder, as once they are completely wet through, the tone deteriorates and they need to be rested.

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