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

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Katia J

I think it’s interesting that Sarah Jeffery says that it is easier to play the inexpensive plastic instrument than the higher priced wooden one, but that the wooden one is more flexible. This kind of fits in with what I think about the Bernolin with regard to the high notes. It is easier to play a plastic recorder’s high notes than the Bernolin, IMHO. But the Bernolin is MUCH more flexible on all notes and once you get the hang of playing the high notes is also more flexible on them (but it takes some practice and I do wish they would “speak” more easily).

I’ve heard that they have improved Moeck Rottenburg recorders in recent years. But just FYI, I have several older Moeck maple Rottenburgs and while they are pretty nice instruments, they do not sound nearly as good as the Bernolin. I mean, the Bernolin was a revelation to me, sound-wise. So you cannot spend say $300 – $800 (depending on the type of wood) on a mass-produced wooden recorder and hope to get one that sounds as good as something like the Bernolon resin. Just my opinion.

I think this is common to what I’ve heard about wood vs. plastic… the plastic is “easier” (due to exact mass-production), which I guess is another good reason one might wait until one is a bit more experienced in playing before moving on to wood (or, Bernolin resin). The reviews I read said the Bernolin has a rather difficult high F in particular.

A couple reviews I had seen had compared the Bernolin to wooden instruments around $1000, which could be one more reason it might make more sense to spend $500 on it rather than $300-$400 on a lower-end wooden instrument. Then it’s not the huge wasteful outlay of money some people seem to think, if it’s true that you’re really getting more instrument for your dollar (if you don’t mind the “plastic” part; as mentioned above, to me it’s a selling point because of easy care and durability).

The thing I’ve always wondered, though, is… why no middle ground? I’ve seen the videos of how a few lower-end wooden instruments are produced still with some hand-work (Sarah Jeffrey has one video of a visit to Aafab and there was another I once watched, perhaps from Yamaha), and it seems these instruments have less hand-work than the Bernolin but obviously still turned unlike an injection-molded plastic recorder. So I’ve wondered, why not resin recorders turned in this way, that might provide a “turned” instrument but with less cost than the Bernolin, to create perhaps a resin equivalent to the lower-end wooden recorders? (Or might these simply be considered the current injection-molded plastic instruments, hence why there’s not seen to be any need to bridge the gap?)

Now, I know Irish flute makers sometimes do not expand into also making resin instruments because sometimes there’s additional setup cost (especially if the chosen resin needs additional safety precautions or is harder than wood, either needing different tools or wearing out tools faster– IOW, you don’t just take a rod of resin, smack it onto your lathe/current setup like you would with a piece of wood, and go to town), so perhaps this is why, especially if people simply aren’t wanting a middle-of-the-road resin/plastic instrument… it could be that once people “graduate” from the injection-molded plastics, they want wood and wouldn’t “upgrade” to another plastic instrument? (I would, but I’m weird.)

All speculation on my part, as I’ll probably never progress to the point where I “outgrow” my plastics to begin with to look into even a $300 wooden instrument*, but I’m not sure how other people who *are* advancing past that point might think.

*Although in the video above, I do prefer the Moeck over the Ecodear. Do I prefer it enough to spend the extra, if I were looking to buy one or the other (would I prefer it over other plastic instruments? Would I prefer it in my hands since the player makes a difference?)? In my current playing situation (mostly for myself; I have nowhere else to play though if I get any pieces good enough to be performance-ready, maybe for church), perhaps not, but if I were playing with a group or as a soloist regularly, probably?