Loose Block: What To Do?

Home Forum Recorder Makes, Models and Maintenance Loose Block: What To Do?

This topic contains 6 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of Mae Dickson Mae Dickson October 21, 2016 at 9:17 pm.

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  • #424
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    Anonymous

    I just bought a complete set of new Mollenhauer Denner recorders from an online retailer in the U.S. I’ve got all six sizes from the sopranino in F to the great bass in C. I’m breaking them in slowly, five or ten minutes a day to start. I discovered right away that the block for my bass in F is seriously loose. I thought I noticed a little rattling when I moved the instrument, but when I opened the case to find the block had completely fallen out of the head, it seemed like something was definitely wrong. For the record, I am playing the bass with the cap and bocal, as opposed to direct to mouth.

    I contacted the shop I bought it from and he told me that this occurrence was not unusual and is likely due to the change in climate between where the recorder was made or stored at the retailer’s warehouse and where I live (the climate here in San Francisco is milder than in Germany or New England, so it’s not like we’ve had any temperature extremes lately). I’m not sure if this would account for the block becoming so loose that it literally falls out when the head is turned windway end down. And the fact is that the other five recorders I bought (same maker and model line, all brand new) are not having any similar issues. I checked Mollenhauer’s site and apparently they make all their blocks out of cedarwood. And both my bass and great bass recorders are of pearwood. The great bass block seems to be snugly sitting in its proper place (I’m not going to try to push it out to see, I’m leaving well enough alone).

    So the seller told me to do one of two things. One, leave it alone and do nothing, or two, simply put a piece of tape around the cylindrical face of the block and put it back in the head. I don’t know if the wood is going to expand that much with playing in, so the block might eventually fit properly, but in any case right now the recorder is not playing optimally with a loose block, since the current of air going in the windway is leaking infinitesimally and the block sometimes rattles. So I carefully put a strip of plastic tape around the block (not touching the windway of course), and I pushed the block back in. It seems to be fitting snugly now.

    But is this a sensible long-term solution? It seems to me that after paying $1300 for a high-quality German-made wooden recorder, the instrument should not be literally falling apart. I suppose a hack solution like taping a loose block would be acceptable with an old instrument, or to avoid repair bills on an out-of-warranty instrument. But I’m feeling like maybe I ought to have the instrument serviced by the dealer or maker. Maybe they ought to replace the block or the head or both. I suppose I might insist on this, since it is a brand-new instrument. It’s just a hassle to pack it up and ship it across the country (and then maybe he will ship it back to Germany) and I’m left waiting for another bass, for weeks.

    So my question to forum readers is: Is this problem unusual? What should I do? I’m an amateur player and I don’t have a lot of experience, so I don’t know if I’m making a fuss over a minor matter. Thank you.

    #437
    Profile photo of Red Hoplite
    Red Hoplite
    Participant

    I’m an mater myself and have just got my first wooden recorder by molenhauer too.
    I myself would not worry. A expensive wooden instrument will not guarantee leas problems but more I think. It will need more care, cleaning oiling and yes servicing and revoicing.having had 3 plastic Aulos recorders for a year I did not go into this expecting g it to be easier. But it will sound better

    All music is an inspired creation. All creation is made and held by sound and music. It all has one source and with our music we merely mirror his beauty. Martin
    #438
    Profile photo of Red Hoplite
    Red Hoplite
    Participant

    I’m an amateur myself and have just got my first wooden recorder by molenhauer too.
    I myself would not worry. A expensive wooden instrument will not guarantee less problems but more I think. It will need more care, cleaning, oiling, reconditioning, wear on the thumb hole and yes servicing and revoicing. I think none of these issues would happen as much or at all on a plastic recorder.
    Having had 3 plastic Aulos recorders for a year I did not go into this expecting g it to be easier. But it will sound better!
    So it may sound or look nasty but it’s probably very easy to fix or might swell and fit tight naturally as you break it in.
    By the way since you are still breaking them in I suspect they are new. if they are newly bought and I expect you have a receipt then why not send it to molenhauer for repair? They come with a 2 year warranty and it should be free?

    All music is an inspired creation. All creation is made and held by sound and music. It all has one source and with our music we merely mirror his beauty. Martin
    #440
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    Anonymous

    I talked to Mollenhauer and yes, they agreed to repair it free under warranty. But when I found I would have to pay for shipping to Germany from California I decided against that option because shipping it would cost me $100 USPS uninsured or $325 with insurance from UPS. Then I talked to the retailer again and he agreed to fix it for me so I sent it to him. I am hoping he actually does a proper repair job rather than sticking some tape in there to hold it in place like he told me to do. This guy has had 50 years experience playing and servicing recorders so I have to trust he will do an acceptable job of fixing it.

    I understand that a wooden instrument requires more care and maintenance than a plastic one, nevertheless, a new instrument costing $1450 ought to have been thoroughly checked out by the seller before he shipped it off to me. A block that rattles and falls out of the head is clearly unacceptable.

    For the record, I’ve owned and played four wooden recorders for over twenty years (Dolmetsch tenor, Kung alto, Moeck soprano and Adler sopranino) and none of those instruments ever required any repair beyond replacing the cork periodically. I’ve taken good care of them and they’ve never cracked and the blocks have never got loose.

    #441
    Profile photo of Red Hoplite
    Red Hoplite
    Participant

    Wow that does seem expensive for you to send then! I think you did the best thing by sending it to the retailer, I’m sure he’ll do a good job.

    You seem to have more experience in wooden recorder than me then! Im surprised you’d class yourself as an amateur having owned and played them for over 20 years!

    All music is an inspired creation. All creation is made and held by sound and music. It all has one source and with our music we merely mirror his beauty. Martin
    #442
    Profile photo of Red Hoplite
    Red Hoplite
    Participant

    For the record, I’ve owned and played four wooden recorders for over twenty years (Dolmetsch tenor, Kung alto, Moeck soprano and Adler sopranino) and none of those instruments ever required any repair beyond replacing the cork periodically. I’ve taken good care of them and they’ve never cracked and the blocks have never got loose.
    [/quote]

    BTW could you let me know if you prefer the Moeck or the Mollenhauer in tone quality and of course build? I plan to get an alto next in pearwood and have got the mollenhauer canta soprano.

    All music is an inspired creation. All creation is made and held by sound and music. It all has one source and with our music we merely mirror his beauty. Martin
    #487
    Profile photo of Mae Dickson
    Mae Dickson
    Participant

    For future reference, there is a more local dealer if you live in the San Francisco Bay Area. Here’s his website (he’s in Mountain View, and worth checking out):

    http://lazarsearlymusic.com

    I happened upon this forum just now looking for something else, so I just joined!. Good luck on getting your recorder fixed, though, to be honest, they should not have sent it to you like that. Bill Lazar, the owner of above shop, once told me that he stopped carrying certain lines at times because of the company’s shipping practices, which caused harm to the instruments. So, sometimes instruments do get shipped to the states in poor condition. I just took a risk on a vintage bass recorder from eBay, mostly because it’s a Roessler, which have been bought out by Mollenhauer, and I collect them. Cost me less than any one of the nicer sopranos I own. So we’ll see if this works out. I don’t own a bass recorder yet, so this came along at a good time. I’ll have to get it into condition before breaking it in again. *crosses fingers*

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