Reply To: Remove the block during cleaning?

Ken In Dallas

A Rosewood Soprano! How nice. My wooden Tenor is Rosewood, and I love it. I find Rosewood a balance of warmth and brilliance. Enjoy it in the best of health!

Pearwood vs Tulipwood vs Modern — wow. You must post your impressions.

Regarding ‘evaluations,’ Let me apologize in advance for the unrequested thoughts that follow, but my recent experience evaluating and purchasing a ‘blackwood’ Alto may be of some value. I had three sent to choose from: One handmade new, one handmade used, and a (1980s?) mid-priced factory instrument. Each day seemed to result in a new ‘first choice.’ In the end I discovered three or four important factors I came to focus on.

First was if an instrument’s voice was more flute like (pure) or reedy (complex.)

Two, how different sounding was the low G/G# from the nearby notes. Every Recorder seems to have issues with that hole to some degree. It may not be possible for it to be identical to the nearby notes, but I feel the less it ‘sticks out’ can be of help in blending and phrasing.

Third is the low F with its own two issues: A, how much quieter is it than the notes near it. (All lowest Fs are quiet;) and B, how easy is it to get a good clean F note, especially on a faster passage. I spent hours rotating the foot for a low F on one of the ‘try-out’ Altos. I could not get that instrument to consistently play a clean F. I chose to reject the instrument despite it having the most beautiful overall voice of the three. It hurt to send it back.

Regarding low F loudness: from what I understand, as you choose to make the foot ‘tube’ longer, the low F gets louder till it matches the nearby notes. The problem is that the right-hand pinky reach increases as well. This seems to be why the first key that’s added to some Altos and many Tenors is always on that last hole. But on a good instrument, F seems to be ‘acceptably’ close in volume.

No two Recorders the same; no two players the same. I hope it was okay to share these post-evaluation thoughts. That week seemed very, very short.