Bernolin Resin Recorder: Choosing between 415 Hz or 442 Hz?

Home Forum Recorder Makes, Models and Maintenance Bernolin Resin Recorder: Choosing between 415 Hz or 442 Hz?

This topic contains 8 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  Malina July 24, 2019 at 5:20 pm.

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  • #792

    Malina
    Participant

    It’s been a year and a half since I purchased my Aulos 709B alto recorder, and I’ve not stopped enjoying the recorder.

    I’ve had my eyes set on a Bernolin resin recorder even since I learned about them — I like that they’re as easy to care for as a plastic recorder, but apparently the sound beats any injection-molded recorder.

    They’re rather pricey for me, but it’s something I’m willing to spend on since they have so many benefits. Particularly being able to pick it up and play and much as I want. (I’m very sporadic about how much and how often I play in a day.)

    My difficulty is deciding if I should get a 415 Hz or a 442 Hz. I’ve only played modern pitch. I don’t play in any groups or with anyone, so tuning wouldn’t be an issue by myself, but I know if I want to play with modern instruments it would be a problem. I think both sound nice, maybe I prefer the 415 by ear a little better.

    Would anyone have any advice or criteria I should consider when deciding between 415 Hz or a 442 Hz tuning?

    Instruments:
    Aulos Alto Haka 709BW
    Aulos Soprano Haka 703BW

    #797

    Richard Hureau
    Participant

    I don’t think there is any reason at all for you to get a 415 instead of a 442. As you said, if you want to play with any modern instruments (or most amateur recorder groups), you’d need the 442. If you were an advanced player and/or knew say some people who play on period instruments at 415, then sure, the 415 would be better, but otherwise I don’t see any good reason.

    One negative is that a 415 would be somewhat larger (lower pitch = larger), so if you have trouble with finger stretching even on an alto (as I do), the 415 would be less desirable. One of the things I like best about the Bernolin is the GREAT hole positions for both the left and right hands. Even though the 442 is large by alto standards (heavier by 2 ounces than most plastic Aulos or Yamaha instruments, and fatter too), its hole positions are about the most player friendly.

    Hope this helps. You asked this awhile ago, so maybe you have already bought it by now, I suppose.

    #798

    Malina
    Participant

    Thank you for your insights! 🙂 You brought up several good points. I ended up ordering the 442 today.

    Instruments:
    Aulos Alto Haka 709BW
    Aulos Soprano Haka 703BW

    #799

    Richard Hureau
    Participant

    Hey, that’s great! You’re in for a treat! The Bernolin resin alto is the best sounding recorder I have ever played (although I don’t have a lot of experience with high-end recorders). Its low and mid-range are soooo rich sounding. I do think you will be less happy with the highest notes, especially high C# and high F and G. As I understand it, the Stanesby, Jr model of recorder is deliberately designed to be best in the low and middle registers, with a little less emphasis on the high notes. Regardless, I think you will be very pleased. I’m crazy about mine. 🙂

    High Eb and G require the use of the right pinky finger, by the way; otherwise they are sharp. The G requires both holes to be covered with the little finger; I forget on the Eb whether you cover both or just one. You should experiment.

    #800

    Malina
    Participant

    Thanks for the advice! I’ll be sure to try things out when it arrives. 🙂

    On a side-note, do you know if there’s any care instructions that come with it? From what I understand, it has a cedar block and silk (?) joints, so I’m wondering how to best clean and maintain it. Especially the block/windway.

    Instruments:
    Aulos Alto Haka 709BW
    Aulos Soprano Haka 703BW

    #803

    Richard Hureau
    Participant

    Well, somehow my earlier reply has disappeared (after I made a small editing change). Fortunately I have it in the clipboard, so here it is again:

    It does come with a “Caring for your resin recorder” sheet. Generally speaking it tells you to leave it alone – do NOT grease the threads, for example. Also, do not remove the block (it will void the 1-year warranty).

    I can tell you that the joints on mine go together very smoothly – not too tight, not too loose. So I have never even been tempted to do anything to the thread.

    When you get the recorder, you will think that it never clogs, because it doesn’t – at least at first. This is because it has been treated with the anti-condensation fluid that Bernolin sells. You will probably have water run down the front of the recorder, exiting the windway, because the anti-condensation is working that well. But eventually this stops and then about say 3 or 4 weeks later it will start to clog like a regular plastic recorder. Yes, the cedar block does not seem to help the clogging, at least for me.

    Concerning the fluid sold by Bernolin, it works AMAZINGLY well, and lasts much longer than cheaper fluids. I bought 2 bottles. I suppose it depends on how much you play the recorder, but in my case (30 minutes/day), it usually lasts about 3-4 WEEKS. Regular detergent fluid treatments last about 2 DAYS. So it is definitely worth it and essentially stops the recorder (any recorder) from clogging.

    I think I am prone to clogging problems – it may depend on how much saliva you have in your mouth (some of that clogging is not just from condensation). I have talked with other players online who say they NEVER have clogging problems with the Bernolin, even without the fluid and months of playing. So who know? Anyway, let me know how you like it when you get it.

    You might like to watch some of Sarah Jeffery’s YouTube videos on the Bernolin. She has one that’s a review when she just got it, and the other later one is about how she always uses it for travel and also for her ALL videos that talk about alto Baroque playing (before getting it, she used to use a constantly changing group of alto recorders).

    Good luck!

    #807

    Malina
    Participant

    I got my Bernolin recorder today! I was very excited to get the package. 🙂

    I’ve managed to play most of the notes that I typically can play with a few hours of messing around with it. The high Eb and G are taking a bit of relearning, but it seems to be going well.

    You’re right about the high C#, that note is one that’s difficult for me to get right. At first I thought it was impossible, but the more I practiced and got used to the instrument, the note started to get a little easier. Though it’s still a bit hard to play confidently right now.

    The resin recorder does sound more “smooth” compared to my plastic Aulos Haka. I played the beginning of “Doen Daphne d’over schoone Maeght” on both recorders, and the Bernolin sounds very beautiful.

    Overall, I’m pretty excited! I’m hoping to play again soon to get better used to it. It’s wonderful! Yay!

    Instruments:
    Aulos Alto Haka 709BW
    Aulos Soprano Haka 703BW

    #808

    Richard Hureau
    Participant

    Glad you are liking your resin recorder.

    The secret to high C# on all recorders (and especially necessary with the Bernolin) is a gentle attack – i.e. tongue it very lightly, but with a good amount of breath pressure. It can be tricky. Sometimes it seems to improve as the recorder warms up from playing. I’m assuming that you warm the head joint beforehand, of course. You MUST do this, with any recorder!! I put mine under my armpit. I know some people recommend warming it for up to 15 minutes. I don’t do that usually, but certainly 5-7 minutes, with the area of the windway tucked into my armpit (yes, I have a shirt on – yuck, otherwise!!).

    If you are coming into the C# from below in a stepwise fashion (e.g. with a Bb, B, C or whatever), you can try gently slurring that note into the C#. This definitely makes it speak more easily.

    As far as maintenance, with most plastic recorders I do not take them apart and swab them out after playing, because the joints of regular plastic recorders can become loose over time as you assemble and disassemble them over and over. Once the joints get loose, you pretty much have to throw them away.

    But with the Bernolin, I take it apart after every session and swab it out with one of those plastic sticks with a small cloth in it. I take it apart because I’ve been told that with threaded joints, the thread itself can get wet from playing (although I’ve never detected this), and you want to air that area out and let it dry. You also don’t want the thread to flatten down from always being assembled. Also, there’s no worry about the joints becoming loose because that’s what the thread is for – you can replace (although I have yet to have to in the year that I’ve had my Bernolin).

    So, good luck with it!

    #810

    Malina
    Participant

    Great, very useful to know. Thanks so much for all your input!

    Instruments:
    Aulos Alto Haka 709BW
    Aulos Soprano Haka 703BW

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