Tagged: Plastic Bass Recorders
July 27, 2018 at 3:17 pm #648
I started playing recorders seriously last Xmas (2017). I purchased a Yamaha YRB-302B as my starting instrument. I did that strange thing because I am a trained bel canto bass singer. After that I branched out to an alto also by Yamaha in Ecodear plastic. Once I was obviously advancing with both the Yamaha plastic recorders and because everyone said wood was better I decided to purchase a wood alto, a Mollenhauer Denner. I played that for about 2 months and seemingly I have developed an allergy to it, probably the cedar block. This is not an unwarranted assumption: I have a known allergy to wood dust which caused me to stop cutting wood permanently. Wood sounds better than plastic unless I want a Bernolin resin recorder. Problem with that is my heart is in a bass recorder. So all of you who care to respond to my question will be greatly appreciated. YoungWJuly 29, 2018 at 3:37 am #650
You didn’t say what kind of wood your Mollenhauer Denner alto is made from. I have read that palisander (rosewood) can cause allergic reactions in some people. I suggest that you make an appointment with an allergist (if you haven’t already done so) and get checked out for various wood allergies (not just dust) before you invest in another wood instrument. If the allergic reaction turns out to be indeed triggered by the cedar block rather than by the wood of the recorder itself, you might ask a reputable repair shop whether they can make a new block out of some wood that you are not allergic to (hoping that there is one).
Since very few people on the various forums post follow-up replies, I would like to ask you to keep us informed of your discoveries and decisions. While I am not plagued by allergies such as this, I am sure that there may be a few out there who would benefit from learning what you might learn.July 29, 2018 at 3:09 pm #651
Dick, Thanks for the excellent response. I first noticed my Wood dust allergy when someone used my wood lathe to cut and sand some cherry wood. That was more than twelve years ago. Since then I have discovered that more and more woods bother me when I cut them with electric tools. After the first incident I gave up most wood working other than very short projects around the house. I also have a known allergy to a couple of foods and one size of dust mites. None of these are immediately life threatening. However, as I am 81 years old I take a lot of care. To test if it was the wood or perhaps mold (I am sensitive to molds too) Bill Lazar suggested that I fill the windway with Duponol and hold for a couple of minutes then wash it out. I did that and then washed it out and let dry for a couple of days. To test I held the mouth piece in but not touching my mouth and breathed through my mouth. Symptoms returned. By the way, my Denner is in pearwood with, of course, a cedar block. I read somewhere that “all wood recorders” have cedar blocks. While I doubt that there must be a very good reason for the extended use of cedar which unfortunately out gases for years. Bill Lazar also suggested I wrap the mouth piece in Saran Wrap. However, my test proved it was an inhaled allergen. I do like your suggestion about another block but allergists have never been successful at helping me personally with problems such as my dust allergy. I am also rare in that I have problems with most synthetic drugs. I began having trouble with some of the medicines that they prescribed to inhibit my dust allergy. Also because I develop more and more allergies as I grow older I choose not to go on with a wood instrument. Yes they sound better but I do like the sound of plastic recorders though they are not as consistent throughout their range as my Denner is. I will live with that and be content.
One last point: I will continue to play recorders as long as I can because they are the only completely free blowing wind instrument there is. All others restrict the air flow in one way or another. The free blowing aspect makes recorders the best wind instrument to help you turn over lots of air. The more air you can turn over in a gentle way for more than just a few minutes at a time is an excellent health serving activity. Both my wife and I started this last Xmas and we have improved steadily. Bill YoungJuly 30, 2018 at 3:57 am #652
Hi Bill– Well, that’s quite a specific response. Thanks for all the info. Thinking about it all, I have a couple of suggestions that you might try. 1) Remove the head joint of the Denner and breathe in through the body by itself in order to see whether the pear wood triggers an allergic response or not. (See point #3 below.) 2) Call Bill Lazar and ask him to ask his repair person to send you a small, dust-free block of cedar so that you might try to see whether or not that is the source of your symptoms with the Denner. 3) Note: If I remember correctly, Bill will have oiled the body up to, but not including the windway, prior to shipping it out. So it is possible that either or both the cedar and un-oiled pear wood might be symptom triggers. 4) If, having determined that the oiled body does not trigger symptoms, you are brave enough to pop the block out, you might just oil the entire windway and block surfaces that are not buried inside the head joint. If you’re not brave enough to pop the block, just run a good amount or oil through the windway and on the end surfaces of the block (it could well be from the end grain that the bulk of the outgassing is taking place). I’ve heard of it being done with no adverse effects. 5) Alternately, at the same time that you talk to Bill, ask whether he thinks that his repair person might be persuaded to make a plastic block for your Denner should the cedar prove to bring on the symptoms. 6) Send the Denner back (or sell it on consignment) and stick to plastic–regardless of what “everybody” says to the contrary. You’ll be happier making music if you’re as healthy as possible. –Dick–July 30, 2018 at 1:48 pm #653
Dick, Again, thanks for the suggestions. One thing, I did not buy the Denner from Bill Lazar, I was lucky enough to trip over it at an estate sale in near new condition. After due consideration, I am going to follow your suggestion #6 and stay with the plastic recorders. I have spent a lot of time on the internet and have discovered that there are, as far as I can see only three plastic bass recorders available at this time: one by Yamaha and two by Aulos. One of the Aulos has a crook or bocal and the other a bent head similar to the Yamaha. My purpose in starting this particular thread was based on the premise (mistaken) that there might be quite a few makes out there. However, between the two of us we have provided a lot of information that might be helpful to others as you stated above. After deciding on staying with plastic I ordered an Aulos with a bocal to complement my bent necked Yamaha.
I have been away from this for about 1/2 hour. Someone I know just sent me a reference to another plastic bass. I looked it up. It’s a Thomann at about $130 including shipping from Germany. It doesn’t appear to be something I would want.
If anyone on this Forum ever hears of a plastic Great Bass I would certainly love to hear about it. That said I cannot conceive of any one going to the trouble of manufacturing one due to the startup costs as well as very few potential customers.
I talked about the healthy aspects of the breathing part of playing a recorder in my second post and you seconded the idea. Let me also mention that I think that making music also contributes to health and happiness. I believe that music is an inherent part of being human. It helps the health of everyone (in varying quantities) whether you are just listening or are playing it. As far as I am concerned the recorder is the best way to get the benefits. BillJuly 31, 2018 at 2:51 am #654
Hi Bill– You’re welcome. I think that, given what you’ve said, staying with plastic or a similar non-allergenic resin is your best option. Rather than just letting the Mollenhauer Denner collect dust, you might consider selling it (and, of course, putting the proceeds toward more plastic recorders). Consignment is an option. Advertising it on Facebook on the “Recorder Addicts Buy/Sell/Trade” page is another option. All the best. –Dick–July 31, 2018 at 4:05 am #655
Dick, I am trying to sell locally first as a way to find possible recorder players. If that does not work by September I will try other things including consignment with Bill Lazar who has said he will do it. Bill
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