Reply To: Bernolin resin alto/soprano recorders vs. Aafab/Coolsma polyester recorders…?

Recorder Forum Home Page Forum Recorder Makes, Models and Maintenance Bernolin resin alto/soprano recorders vs. Aafab/Coolsma polyester recorders…? Reply To: Bernolin resin alto/soprano recorders vs. Aafab/Coolsma polyester recorders…?

Richard Hureau

Hi Tim. One thing I want to mention right up front – you say, “I noted that Bernolin no longer uses the ‘ivory’ color resin for his instruments…” You are mistaken. Both colors are still available – look in the Store area. It does appear that the soprano is only available in black, so maybe that is what mislead you. The alto is still in both colors, and the ivory is less expensive (the black used to be 50 Euros more expensive, but he recently raised the price of the black, so the new prices are 400 vs 475).

My friend has a black one. There is essentially no difference in the sound, as far as I can tell.

The only advantage to the black that I can see is that the black is more “professional” looking (as mentioned on the website), because it is essentially indistinguishable from an ebony wooden recorder from even a few feet away. I have even seen YouTube comments asking people if the black instrument they are playing in the video is a Bernolin, and been answered that no, it is an actual ebony one (how’s that for a switcheroo!). As far as the white one, yes, it is VERY pretty and probably looks like an ivory one, but how often do you see a real ivory recorder? So people aren’t likely to be fooled into thinking you borrowed it from the museum for the afternoon.

If you can play a regular plastic alto recorder, reach-wise, you can play the Bernolin. As I mentioned above, “the Bernolin’s holes have about the easiest placement of any recorder I own… the right-hand holes are excellent too (I actually have to bring my fingers together some after playing a regular plastic recorder).” The larger and FATTER foot section of the Bernolin seems to work to bring the right-hand holes into easier reach than on standard plastic instruments. The hole spacing from the right-hand ring finger to the pinky is about the same, but the entire position is more comfortable.

So, I obviously recommend the Bernolins. As far as alto vs soprano, you are correct that there is much more repertoire for the alto. Myself, I cannot stand the shrill sound of a soprano, even in the hands of a professional. My poor ears!!

As far as the Ecodear alto recorder, it is the most unique sounding recorder I have ever played. It is much more mellow – muted – in tone than a regular Yamaha 300-series. Yamaha is saying that the the 302 and 402 recorders are the exact same design and that it is the “ecodear” material that makes the 402 sound and play differently than the 302. Just looking at the 2 models, yes, they appear identical except for the color.

I was kind of suspicious about this, because it doesn’t seem that altering the type of plastic should make such an apparent difference. Well, when I compared the windway of the 402 vs the 302, the 402’s is MUCH narrower (thinner, top to bottom). Mystery solved. It makes a big difference in the sound and feel. The good news is that the 402 doesn’t seem to clog any more quickly.

Having said all that, I think the Ecodear is nice to have because it is so unique in sound. But for a general-purpose alto recorder, I think a regular 300-series is better (or an Aulos model), especially for a beginner.

As far as the Coolsma polyester, I do see it for sale (I think) on the Courtly music website, described as the “Coolsma CAPL Coolsma Solo (Ivorine) Alto; Ivorine (ivory-like material), curved windway, Baroque turni.. $1,788.80”

If it weren’t for the ludicrous price, I might give them a call. But, um, no… 🙂 One wonders how/if Coolsma ever expects to sell one of these.