Best Inexpensive wood soprano Recorder?

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BobbieCB
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Tell us something.: I play several kinds of flutes and therefore would like to join your forum. I also like recorders and ocarinas. So Chiff & Fipple seems right up my alley. Cheers.

Best Inexpensive wood soprano Recorder?

Post by BobbieCB »

Any recommendations for a good wooden soprano recorder that's inexpensive? I'm mainly looking for a pleasing wood sound. Price range would be $20 to $100 US, with maybe 40 to 70 being ideal. (I already have plastic sopranos.)

Thank you for your recommendations.
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Re: Best Inexpensive wood soprano Recorder?

Post by Peter Duggan »

BobbieCB wrote:Any recommendations for a good wooden soprano recorder that's inexpensive?
To be blunt, no. You'll be lucky to find anything in your quoted range (and especially your 'ideal' range) to compete with a decent plastic model. Depending on what you're looking for, you might start to find interesting alternatives (e.g. pearwood Mollenhauer Dream) at, or just above, the top of that range, but the reality is that even there you're looking at relatively cheap models when you're paying for labour with wood.
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Re: Best Inexpensive wood soprano Recorder?

Post by jimhanks »

I agree with Peter. Cheapest option is probably Kung Studio but even those will run $125 or so. The next step up would be things like Moeck Rottenburgh or Kung Superior which are going to be in the $300 range. But you could give Bill Lazar a call and see if he has any other thoughts.
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Tell us something.: Played sax and oboe in high school. Years later, living in apartment, decided to take up recorder as I thought it would be easier on neighbors than oboe. Been playing recorder for a few years. Have sopranino (Aulos), soprano (Mollenhauer Prima, Susato), alto (Yamaha 300, Mollanhauer Prima, Mollenhauer Denner Pallisander, Zen-on Giglio), tenor (Adler) and bass (Yamaha). Also have a lot of whistles but never really cracked (ha ha) the code as whistle technique is quite different from recorder technique. I also have a lot of harmonicas and world wind instruments (Ba Wu, Dudek, Sipsi and Nose Flute (!).

Re: Best Inexpensive wood soprano Recorder?

Post by FrankPerrone »

I have to admit that I find a soprano recorder to be too small for my fat fingers. I do have one I can play. Mollenhauer Prima has a plastic head joint with a pearwood body. The plastic headjoint means no playing in and the wood body makes it sound better than an all plastic recorder.. I never have condensation issues with this set up .
Mr. David Green of Antique Sound Workshop (I have no business interest with him) has them for about $ 45 and he makes sure it in tune. It is a nice sweet instrument if you like soprano.
I can only play it when my wife is out though, she doesn't like the high soprano range.
I have just got a Kung cherrywood tenor and I can play soprano recorder music in a range my wife likes (and so do I). Tenor is the best recorder...if you can find (and afford) one you can finger.
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Re: Best Inexpensive wood soprano Recorder?

Post by Andro »

The Kung Studio descant (English term for soprano) is about A$150 over here in Australia. That's pretty close to USD$100. Mollenhauer make a Student Descant for about A$120. Both good, both wood.

Anything cheaper than that you may as well get a good plastic one.
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Tell us something.: I play several kinds of flutes and therefore would like to join your forum. I also like recorders and ocarinas. So Chiff & Fipple seems right up my alley. Cheers.

Re: Best Inexpensive wood soprano Recorder?

Post by BobbieCB »

Hey, thanks so much for the leads. I found a half dozen decent-looking Mollenhauer pearwood and plumwood sopranos in my price range over at Thomas-Mann based on your lead about the Mollenhauer Student Descant. Good selection, now I'll research how they sound. See -- http://m.thomannmusic.com/mollenhauer_recorders.html

@Peter and @jimhanks, I appreciate your honesty. Thank you for your feedback.
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Re: Best Inexpensive wood soprano Recorder?

Post by whistlecollector »

jimhanks wrote:I agree with Peter. Cheapest option is probably Kung Studio but even those will run $125 or so. The next step up would be things like Moeck Rottenburgh or Kung Superior which are going to be in the $300 range. But you could give Bill Lazar a call and see if he has any other thoughts.
Just a quick update: Bill Lazar is now retired and has sold his shop, so calling him won't do any good.

Martin Shelton now owns & operates Lazar's Early Music.

He does have some (wood) sopranos at the moment, but nothing under $300.
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Re: Best Inexpensive wood soprano Recorder?

Post by Kypfer »

If you're happy buying second-hand, I'd suggest a Moeck "Tuju". I've got a set, from sopranino to bass and only the bass would have been out of your budget!
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Re: Best Inexpensive wood soprano Recorder?

Post by Kade1301 »

I don't think the material matters as much for the soprano as for the bass - I hear more of a difference between my Küng Superio and the Yamaha plastic basses than between the Kunath Flautina wood soprano and the plastic ones from Aulos and Yamaha. That said, Kunath Instrumentebau makes good wooden sopranos well under € 100 - but you'll probably have to order directly from them (https://blockfloetenshop.de/). I had a handful of soprano recorders on approval to choose from and I picked a Flautina. But a Moeck Flauto Rondo came a very close second, and that's a make you might be able to find in the U.S.

Still, I don't think it's worth the bother at all...

Another general tip about buying from Thomann etc. My teacher has seen so many "bad" recorders bought from mail-order shops (i. e. places that do almost all their business by mail order as opposed to those that also have an active brick and mortar store) that he is convinced that the manufacturers send them their second-rate products. Because many people buy an instrument without bothering to return it if it does not live up to expectations. Therefore, if you are not happy with your recorder from Thomann (at a minimum it must play easily over two octaves at least - assuming you know how to play the notes), don't hesitate to return it.
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Re: Best Inexpensive wood soprano Recorder?

Post by Loren »

Kade1301 wrote:My teacher has seen so many "bad" recorders bought from mail-order shops (i. e. places that do almost all their business by mail order as opposed to those that also have an active brick and mortar store) that he is convinced that the manufacturers send them their second-rate products.
While it is possible that some manufacturers are paying people to play test and sort the good instruments from the not so good, for the purpose of favoring certain sellers, I seriously doubt that’s the case.

Now, that’s not to say your teacher’s experience isn’t valid, I believe it is, but for a different reason, let me explain: The better shops will play test all incoming stock and either return to the manufacturer those instruments that don’t play as they should, or they will have an in-store recorder repair person adjust the instrument to get it playing correctly. We did the latter where I worked: Cases of new wooden recorders would arrive from a manufacturer and immediately they’d be sent up to the shop for play testing and adjustment as necessary, until they played to spec or better. Of course this process has a cost to the business, so our price was maybe not the lowest you could find, but you also weren’t gambling on whether or not you’d be getting a lemon.

Because many people buy an instrument without bothering to return it if it does not live up to expectations.
Perhaps with some very inexpensive plastic recorders, but people certainly will return instruments that cost $100+. Those returns also have a cost the seller, obviously, and this is another reason it made more sense for us to sort things before selling. I suspect some other shops have realized this over the years as well. There really are too many downsides for the seller if they ship off an instrument that makes their customer unhappy. Of course some sellers just don’t care, and some customers have unrealistic expectations and therefore can never be satisfied, such is life.

Moral of the story: When buying a recorder, it’s worth trying to find a seller who tests the instruments prior to selling, even if it means paying a little more.
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Re: Best Inexpensive wood soprano Recorder?

Post by AuLoS303 »

Better off with a plastic recorder than a cheap wooden one.
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