Reply To: Next step after Yamaha YRA-28B Alto (towards a Bernolin Resin)?

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Ken In Dallas

Why 415 Hz? Your Yamaha YRA-28B is an A=440 instrument, which would indicate that you’re not playing now with a bunch of authentic Ancient Instrument people. Off hand I can’t think of any Sheet Music that comes with a CD in 415 to play along with either. It seems like a lot of money to be in a lonely place.

As you’re asking for opinions on your next resin instrument, I’ll venture some observations based on my daily playing Altos made by all three major makers – Aulos, Yamaha, and Zen-On.

All my Aulos’ are easy to play and clog the least. They have a forgiving and pleasant voice for ensemble playing. The different registers have differences in voice, which is something I have no problem with having performed on recorder since the 1960s. It’s just what recorders sound like. I love Aulos, I’ve got a lot of’em.

My Yamaha is the Ecodear 400 series. I understand it’s a fairly new design. It gives the most wind resistance of the three and clogs the most. It doesn’t clog enough to be rejected. It does clog enough that I don’t want to be passing it around the circle during a Pandemic. Of the three it is the only one with a slightly ‘reedy’ voice. I find it blends well when I play with others yet it permits (tolerates?) my expressiveness in solo playing. The low and middle registers are about the same while the top end is somewhat flute-ish or most like a soprano recorder in sound. Nothing to reject it for… just its normal personality.

My Zen-On is the G-1A. It’s the newest design on the market. It’s the most expressive of the three, rates the mid-point for clogging, and is the most like a better wooden instrument. It’s the most in-tune playing up and down scales in various keys. The registers – if not equal – have voices that are close and blend well crossing their boarders. I would guess that’s as it has undercut fingerholes such as fine wooden recorders have. It is the instrument I’d be most happy being stranded on a distant Pacific island with.

To my thinking, there are ‘student’ instruments such as you have now, then $40- to $80 current state-of-the-art resin instruments such as I’ve described above and that are the mainstay of practice, rehearsal, and even performance, and then – for most people – a wooden instrument that you love and adore. (that’s got to be a ‘run-on’ sentence) I own a wooden Sapranino, Alto,and Tenor. You wrote a bit about not wanting a wooden instrument. I wouldn’t lock that door just yet. I won’t try to change your mind, but I’m thinking you’ll find your way. Best of luck! – k –