Recorder Forum Home Page › Forum › Recorder Makes, Models and Maintenance › Ecodear Recorders- How good are they?
Tagged: Relearner ecodear beginners
- This topic has 22 replies, 6 voices, and was last updated December 12, 2022 at 4:04 pm by Ken In Dallas.
February 27, 2022 at 5:24 pm #1621Jocelyne YendallParticipant
Hello everyone, I’ve decided to play the recorder again after a 20 year hiatus. I’m 90% sold on Yamaha Ecodear range, but just wanted to know how good they are for returning players? I know that after 20 years I am back to being a ‘beginner’ but I’d like to start with a nice sounding recorder that is ideal for re-learners such as my self.
When I played recorder all them years ago, I played on wooden recorders which I remember sounding so much nicer than cheap plastic school recorders. I’m not anti plastic recorder though! If a plastic recorder is of good quality and value for money, then I’m all for it. Is the ecosesr such an instrument? How does it compare to other plastic recorders and also to wooden recorders?
My plan is to start with a plastic and once I’m back to the level I was years ago (I hope I can get back to that level!) then I’ll look to getting a quality wood recorder.
Apologies if my questions have been all over the place I’m just so excited to play again after such a long time!April 3, 2022 at 5:20 am #1629
Nobody answered? Okay, here’s my 2¢. During this pandemic I’ve purchased way too many resin recorders. I think the Yamaha Ecodear is the best sounding of the plastic sopranos and altos. I wish they made a sapranino or a keyless tenor.
Its ‘con’ is its tight windway, which clogs sooner than most others. If you learn to mix your own anti-clog mild soap solution, it’s no problem. I get about two hours of no-problem playing once it’s set up. On the fly, I’ve applied the solution and then hit it with canned compressed air from the computer store. I don’t believe I’d try that with a wooden instrument as it might damage the voice. The voice of the Ecodear compares well against my decent mid-priced Pear and Maple instruments. (I don’t own any Boxwood recorders.) It’s “Reedy” in voice. The voices of my 30+ year old exotic woods are not comparable. The Yamaha is absolutely in tune. I wouldn’t be hesitant to perform with a properly anti-clog(ged?) Ecodear.
I know you’re not asking, but I’ll offer that though the voice is not as warm, the Alto Zen On is faster fingering for me… if you’re an Alto player. I practice on the Zen On and play for family after dinner on the Ecodear. I record myself on wooden recorders. Is that a sense of my take on things?
I don’t know how long it’s been since you played, but many new wooden recorders (to my ear) don’t compare well to their older siblings. Perhaps the manufacturers aren’t investing the time they used to. I just don’t know. but you just may find the Yamaha meets all your needs.
— kDecember 5, 2022 at 1:54 pm #1762LargissimoParticipant
Also eying up the Ecodear alto. At the moment, my alto is a rather elderly Aulos that doesn’t even have a model number! I’m speculating that a more recent plastic recorder design might be a bit more forgiving in the middle and upper registers – I certainly need the help!December 5, 2022 at 8:54 pm #1763
You’re an experienced player, but for what it’s worth the Zen On alto is the state of the art. I own the Ecodear Yamaha, Aulos Haka, and the Zen On. All are fine, but the Zen On truly stands out especially at the register extremes. All the best…December 6, 2022 at 12:05 pm #1765
Ken – How does the Ecodear compare with the Zen-On? I have the Zen-On treble – I agree it’s a nice instrument, very light and responsive. I bought it because it is a tad shorter than some of the others; however, I am still in search of the perfect plastic instrument as I’d like something just a little bit easier on my fingers without going keyed and wood… I’ve got the Ecodear descant and quite like it.December 6, 2022 at 6:32 pm #1766JacquiParticipant
Like Linden (above), I am hoping Ken has time to respond again on this.
To Largissimo- no advice re the merits of different manufacturers, but some shopping suggestions. There are actually two Ecodear alto models. Early Music shop only sells the YRA-402B which suggests to me it is the better of the two. Yamaha also sell many of their models in German fingering versions as well as Baroque. The Ecodear YRA-402B and the 300 series models are both described as ‘Rottenburgh’ which suggests they are very similar. However, the Ecodear tends to be £10 cheaper!
If you are not price sensitive it’s nice to get all the contenders on approval from EMS (if you are in UK). They charged me £10 approval service + about £9.50 postage for three plastic trebles and it cost me about £12 to send them back Special Delivery. EMS is an expensive shop compared with (say) Amazon or Thomann so I ended up paying a bit extra for the recorder I chose. So it cost me more than the price of the Ecodear, just to try a few out! Personally I thought it was worth it for the experience and to avoid amassing too many plastic recorders. A more price conscious alternative is Thomann who do a 30 day money back guarantee.
Descant and treble recorders.
https://www.instrumentalists.freeforums.netDecember 7, 2022 at 4:39 am #1769
My plastic alto observations for what they’re worth: The Ecodear has the best voice of the three. I’m not the only one online that’s found that. It clogs faster than the others, but treating it with some kind of anticlog makes it acceptable and pleasant to play.
The Aulos Haka is the most ‘reedy’ of voice. I find it too reedy to the point of distortion though played very gently it sweetens out. It’s the one I play the least. Interestingly the Haka feels the best just to hold. That’s not important? Maybe because it’s slightly larger? It’s silly, but I just like the feel of it.
The Zen On has a very good voice, doesn’t clog too terribly fast, but most importantly it’s the most articulate – fingering fast – and the most articulate – expressive of the players emotion. Just the best overall in a field of three, any of which a player isn’t going wrong by buying.
I don’t own a Zen On soprano. Your comments have me thinking to buy one. My Haka and Ecodear sopranos are fine to the point I don’t have a preference.
I don’t think it’s uncommon for manufacturers to give different model numbers to the same product being marketed in different parts of the globe. For the time being I’m assuming that the EU and US Ecodears are likely the same. Injection molding is too expensive to warrant different models without a good reason.
While I’m blabbing… I bought a Mollenhauer Dream alto in plum six month’s ago. Wow. I wanted something not Baroque looking for the Celtic, Klezmer, and Renaissance Dance Music I play, but didn’t want new fingerings. I thought I had some fine recorders, but the voice – of the Dream; is a dream. And the inexpensive Thomann plastic bass I couldn’t help but buy at the same time is now my first ‘go to’ bass though my Aulos is also plastic and maybe 50-years old. Nice to get rid of the clogging bocal.
Again… hoping my thoughts are of some help.December 7, 2022 at 8:27 am #1770
Ken – definitely of help and very interesting and hello! I guess I should have said that above somewhere. I have The Dream in descant – a present from my husband. I imagine the alto (treble) is wonderful – plum wood makes nice instruments! And I do like Mollenhauer recorders. I wonder if clogging is something the Yamahas do. I have another Yamaha descant which clogs when I look at it!
I found your comments about the Haka interesting. I love the Haka descant – it’s what I tend to practise on – but the treble is just a smidgen long for me so I struggle (even more) to hit bottom F.December 7, 2022 at 8:06 pm #1775
Hello to you too Linden. So to my experience persons over 5′ 2″ (157 cm) ‘usually’ can handle altos/trebles. Shorter than that and ordering without in-person testing generally requires a vendor with a solid return policy and good reputation. (Read: one of the long standing recorder shops) (and be willing to take the hit on postage.) My most recent purchase – a blackwood alto – required an extra 100 USD just for the back-and-forth postage/insurance on a three-instrument trial. I consider it money well spent though. What an instrument!
I’ve always thought the adjustable foot on three-piece instruments solved the ‘reach problem’ for many players on the cusp of the issue. That, and what I recommend for my students in telling them that a thumb rest placed so that their right pinky approaches the lowest hole
perpendicular to the instrument, generally permits many shorter adults to make the reach and play cleanly. Often their right thumb is exactly opposite their middle finger. On plastic instruments I secure the plastic thumb rest with water-soluable white children’s school glue.
My license says I was once 5′ 6″, but my age is now ‘ancient’ yet I easily play keyless tenors with thumb rests installed as said. I’ve had more than one petite person find they could reach on one of my keyless (thumb-rest installed) tenors.
I didn’t want to come down too hard on Yamaha, but I too find they clog way easily. I use a 1:5 ratio of clear dish soap to water just before bed through the fipple window filling the windway of the head. They air dry and are ready in the morning. If speed is needed I blow dry using canned computer-cleaning air, BUT! I only do this on plastic instruments. I fear the extreme cold from the compressed air might freeze and hurt the wood cells of a wooden instrument.
I think that covers the topics. Again, just my opinions and adventures. Bon Courage!December 8, 2022 at 9:21 am #1776
Ken – that’s very interesting! Thank you! I’ve suspected for a while that part of the issue of reaching for bottom notes is posture and how the recorder is handled. I’ve noticed that my reach appears to have ‘grown’. Since at my (also ancient) age it’s unlikely that my fingers have grown, I have to put it down to improved technique and getting used to the stretch.
The plastic instruments are very forgiving and I love them for practice. I don’t want to add a wooden treble (alto) to my collection until I’ve got past the stage of really abusing the poor things. It’s proving a slightly different experience from the descant and so far a much easier one – apart from the stretch!
Thanks again for your insights.December 9, 2022 at 1:17 pm #1785LargissimoParticipant
Jacqui – I was unaware of the two different Ecodear alto models – somehow I suspect my local music shop will only have the non-Rottenburgh variant….December 9, 2022 at 6:05 pm #1791
Since Thomann appears to be the only shop that sells both the YRA-42B and YRA-408B, I took the initiative to email them for their understanding of the difference.December 10, 2022 at 1:43 pm #1795PavaneParticipant
I have asked Thomann questions before and they have usually been good about answering, even if the answer is “don’t know”. In the meantime, you can see them both on Yamaha’s website. The descriptions are the same apart from the 402 having “Rottenburgh model” added to the end of the text. The only actual difference I can see is that the labium is a different shape: it’s longer and narrower on the Rottenburgh model, which should make some difference to the tone. There might be some bore differences but they are obviously not visible; the hole spacing etc looks the same to me.December 10, 2022 at 10:38 pm #1797
So I received an answer from Steffen Kettemer at Thomann about any differences between the Yamaha YRA-402 B and the YRA-48 B. He wrote, “…The two flutes differ only in design. The wind way and bore etc. are identical…”
Reading his email, I enlarged the two Thomann photographs and can now clearly see the slight differences in profile on the front-views.
Recorder makers often copy outside profiles of historic museum instruments they find attractive. Pure marketing. The important improvements are inside and nearly invisible. Copying the ‘looks’ is aimed at our wallets – not our hearing.
Remember how to get to Carnegie Hall, -k-December 11, 2022 at 6:29 am #1798
Ken – You’re a breath of fresh air! It’s interesting that Yamaha would ‘bother’ with that.
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