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PostPosted: Sun Jun 02, 2013 3:37 pm 
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Hi Folks,

Just have a slight itch to get an Alto Recorder. I'm not looking for concert quality-I just want to play one at home for my own amusement. Also don't care if the 3rd octave notes aren't accurate or hard to play. As long as the lower 2 are pretty good, especially in the first octave. Not looking for LOUD either! Mellow would be nicer! I'm not too sure my hands will take to it, though, as I did try one not too long ago, and my hands seemed to not be that comfortable playing one. That is why I would rather not spend much, besides being a bit on the poor side of things.

Therefore, I would prefer a wooden Alto, just for the tone quality to my ears (as the player). Can't afford a lot, so the reference to cheap! Though, I do have some NAF flutes that I would be willing to trade (most cost more than I'm willing to spend though), since I play them rarely these days, if you would prefer one to your recorder.

I do realize the excellent Yamaha 300 series (about $35) are superior to cheap wood flutes, but you'd have to convince me they sound the same as wood to the player's ear. I could be wrong though! But still, they probably are louder too than a cheaper wooden recorder. My sensitive ears, and many neighbors would prefer mellower and quieter, thank you. If I am wrong, I would certainly consider the Yamaha, or another brand (Aulos, Zen-on) equivalent made of the same materials.

Are there cheap recorders made in A 415 or other lower tuning? Might be something I would like.

Advice is welcome, of course too! That's why I've posted here as well as the UIE.

Thanks very much!

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 02, 2013 4:39 pm 
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greenspiderweb wrote:
I do realize the excellent Yamaha 300 series (about $35) are superior to cheap wood flutes, but you'd have to convince me they sound the same as wood to the player's ear.

Being a lazy basmati, I'm not going to work too hard at that. :P

But I've long recommended the Yamaha Rottenburgh woodgrain alto and soprano (YRA/YRS 312B). I think you'd be hard pressed to tell it from a intermediate wooden instrument in a blind test of tone and volume. I've used mine in concert, and my impression is that it's a popular extended practice instrument for many pros. And yes, at $35 - or $50 for the S/A pair from Courtly Music - it's truly a bargain and a half.

Size-wise, the Alto is about the same scale length and hole spacing as a low G whistle, if that helps to gauge the comfort.

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 02, 2013 5:37 pm 
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I don't regard you as any kind of lazy rice, not even Uncle Ben's, John! Don't get me wrong, I appreciate flutes made from Delrin, Ebonite, PVC and such, but still prefer wood overall (if it plays how I like, yes!) and when I can afford one in the type of flute I like.

And it's from your writings here that I learned the value of the Yamaha 312's, etc. Does it matter, woodgrain or not? Now you've made me wonder about that subtle difference! No doubt I'd prefer the look of the woodgrain, to regular plastic, but can it make a difference in sound? Just curious.

Thanks for the reference to the size, though I did have one in hand a couple of years ago, and for some reason it didn't feel comfortable, though it might just have been some muscle fatigue from it being new to my hands. I have messed up hands and wrists, and little things can throw them off and make them ache. But I'd like to try again, anyway.

Oh, and a new Chiff friend has kindly offered to send me one of that type for little outlay, so I will no doubt be finding out how I do with one in a little while.

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 02, 2013 6:05 pm 
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greenspiderweb wrote:
Does it matter, woodgrain or not? Now you've made me wonder about that subtle difference! No doubt I'd prefer the look of the woodgrain, to regular plastic, but can it make a difference in sound? Just curious.

Yes, I thought you'd pick up on that point. :-)

If you read the recorder boards, you'll find people who swear that the faux woodgrained Rottenburghs - and the faux rosewood in particular - sound better.

Being one of those who usually contends that material makes relatively little difference, I'd be hypocritical to think it's not nuts that a decorative pattern - which extends maybe 0.5 mm into the plastic - makes a difference.

But, you know ... The $10 difference seems a small price to pay for voodoo. :-)

Plus, the faux wood is pretty convincing from all but very close up. And because it's not just surface printing, it seems quite resistant to wearing off at the fingers. Whether the molds might actually differ from the plain brown 302 series instruments is anybody's guess.

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 09, 2013 5:02 pm 
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For what it's worth, I also use the Yamaha 300 series recorders. I have tried both the standard brown and the woodgrain versions and to me, the woodgrain sounds more reedy and complex (which is what I prefer). I've also heard good things about the Aulos 700 "Haka" series in woodgrain, though I have never tried one.

Antiques Sound Workshop (no affiliation) carries both of these models, and although they charge more than amazon or courtly, they play test each instrument and fine tune the tone holes to improve the intonation before they send them out.

http://www.aswltd.com/

Chris


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 10, 2013 9:59 pm 
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just get the denner mollenhauer pearwood alto, its a good piece of kit at a reasonable price, around $150, thomann.de, dont order though if ur outside EU, its 50 euro delivery charge.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 11, 2013 7:31 pm 
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MTGuru wrote:
greenspiderweb wrote:
Does it matter, woodgrain or not? Now you've made me wonder about that subtle difference! No doubt I'd prefer the look of the woodgrain, to regular plastic, but can it make a difference in sound? Just curious.

Yes, I thought you'd pick up on that point. :-)

If you read the recorder boards, you'll find people who swear that the faux woodgrained Rottenburghs - and the faux rosewood in particular - sound better.

Being one of those who usually contends that material makes relatively little difference, I'd be hypocritical to think it's not nuts that a decorative pattern - which extends maybe 0.5 mm into the plastic - makes a difference.

But, you know ... The $10 difference seems a small price to pay for voodoo. :-)

Plus, the faux wood is pretty convincing from all but very close up. And because it's not just surface printing, it seems quite resistant to wearing off at the fingers. Whether the molds might actually differ from the plain brown 302 series instruments is anybody's guess.


Yes, I can believe it possibly has an effect on the tone-a similar occurrance with Doug Tipple's dimpled bore flutes, from some odd dimples in the bore of a lot of pvc he found and used it until it was gone. The dimpled bore flute I had of his seemed to have some kind of voodoo too, that the smoothbore didn't have, at the time-to me. Even Casey Burns I believe has said before that he doesn't finish his bores to glass smooth, because he feels it enhances the tone of his flutes.

Sure, $10 isn't a lot extra to pay for the woodgrain. Interesting that there is a preference though, for the Rosewood version, over the Ebony-that just stumps my simple mind! But hey, maybe it's true, I sure can't say-haven't tried one yet! But my ears being as sensitive as they are, might be able to hear it, if it's so.

But as I said before, a nice fellow chiffer will be sending an alto along to me shortly, though I doubt it's a woodgrain model. First I need to see how I like playing the recorder, and how my hands adapt.

Thanks guys, for your helpful suggestions, they are much appreciated. :thumbsup:

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 11, 2013 11:05 pm 
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Keep us posted about your recorder adventure. :-)

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 25, 2013 1:28 pm 
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OK, I will, MT. This is what I've found so far-I got a Yamaha Alto in the rosewood woodgrain finish, for just over the price of shipping from a nice chiffer, and considering it was also said to having been tweaked by a good tweaker some time ago (and still looks new), I got a really nice deal!

From my ear's standpoint, and considering my ability on it as limited, it still sounds like a plastic instrument. Not bad, just not very mellow, or woody. I know this, since I also got another alto by mistake when I ordered a used wooden tenor from a trusted source (and got an alto instead). I wasn't happy about the mistake, but as it turns out after playing it, I was happy to hear it sounded better to me right from the start than the Yamaha does with a little time on it from me.

These recorders are very free blowing, the plastic being even more so, and I think it's harder to control and make sound as I wish than wood. Of course, in time, I will be able to sound better on it if I put the time in, for sure. But as I expected, I still prefer wood, and it wasn't an expensive recorder either-just an ordinary vintage maple recorder.

While I was waiting for any offers, I found a plastic Yamaha Tenor on Ebay, with the two low keys, and I am finding it similar in character to the alto, no surprise, I guess. But it's got a nice deep tone, which I seem to prefer hearing, if I'm going to be playing plastic. I was hoping I had found a decent Tenor in wood, but at least now I do have a decent wooden alto instead.

Oh, yeah, forgot to mention, I also picked up a very cheap and old soprano recorder in maple, and although I'm sure it was a cheap recorder to begin with, it still sounds very nice, and plays well too.

So, overall, I am happy to have found that you need not spend an arm and a leg on wooden recorders to have something that sounds and plays well-and so far, to my ears, better than the "good" plastic recorders by well known makers. It could very well be that there are some tuning issues that I haven't turned up yet on the old used wooden recorders, but my ears are at least happy for now.

I may have gotten lucky though, I am aware of that possibility. Or it may be all in my head, how they sound to my ears-but that's my problem, and no complaints from me if so, thus far. I just expected much more from the well known and widely recommended Yamahas. Like I said before too, the better I play them, the better they sound-so it may be partly down to beginner's quirks-though I don't think it's entirely all in my head or technique, as I'm pretty used to the sound of good whistles and flutes and have been playing them a while now. I did like the cheap wooden vintage recorders right off, with no time or experience with them, or any recorders much, for that matter.

Time will tell, no doubt. Thanks for all your advice and support-it's been an interesting time playing and learning more about these instruments. A nice musical diversion, for sure. We'll see if it sticks!

So, moderator, I guess we can call this WTB done now, thank you!

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