Reply To: Wooden Keyless Tenor Impressions

Ken In Dallas

I’m aware of one shop here in the States that sells Fehr recorders – Antique Sound Workshop – which I believe is up in or near Boston. It’s gotten quite daunting to purchase mid- to high-end instruments due to the Pandemic. As a musician I would never consider a new instrument without playing it. Even when I commissioned my guitar, I had traveled the US trying perhaps 40 handmaker’s works. I read a review of one maker’s instruments in a magazine which ‘spoke’ to me. That maker later arranged for my playing two of his instruments which an owner graciously permitted. Only then did I place a deposit and was put on a list to wait nearly a year. While we’re not speaking to that level of instrument in the Tenor I’m seeking, as a good musician a new instrument is like a new family member. It’s never going to be perfect, and my job is to bring out its best. I’m not going to die tomorrow, but I am in my 70s and Pandemically shut in as I am, I’d like to proceed. I don’t mind paying some extra postage for any ‘back-and-forth’ needed, but the supply of instruments globally seems to have slowed. I did read that shipments from Japan are no longer being permitted by our postal service. All said, I think I’m beginning to understand why vendors are aiming me at ‘keyed’ Mollenhaures rather than the less common keyless instruments of other makers.

I’ve four plastic and one keyed wooden tenor in the house to play, so I’m good for the time being. By chance I’m scheduled for my Covid shot later this morning. My wife and I are retired and for the last perhaps ten years have hopped in the car and traveled as we say, ‘like leaves in the wind,’ for two or three months each year. We were on the Continent last November, so when things permit here, it’s time to tour in North America. I’m beginning to lean towards holding off on the recorder till then – maybe as little as nine months – and then driving up to the Boston area where many of the Early Music shops tend to be. In the mean time, a number of the vendors seem to have me on their ‘short list’ and are keeping me informed of availabilities. For a $1000-or-less instrument? These are different times, that’s for sure.

Your feedback on the Fehr instruments is greatly appreciated. I’ve no experience with them, and nobody’s suggested them before. Your words about them seemed well chosen. I’ll be open to them now. Antique Sound Workshop sells them here in the States if you want to compare prices and models to what you have where you are. I’ve heard much favorable from Moeck owners though the vendors keep steering me away from them. Again, it could be availability. Can’t tell.

Thanks so much for taking the time to post the info. It’s appreciated.

— k —