Whoof tones after playing a short time

Recorder Forum Home Page Forum Teaching and Learning Whoof tones after playing a short time

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    Brendan Collins

    Dear forum members. I’ve been a trombonist all my life and have recently fallen in love with the tenor recorder. I’m making progress but the sound becomes whoofy and unresponsive after 10-15 minutes of playing. Is this a condensation problem? Any ideas how I can deal with this?


    Welcome to the world of recorder playing. As for your problem;

    For condensation, take care to warm the head of the recorder before playing. For the larger recorders and wooden ones this can take twenty minutes in your armpit or longer in a pocket.

    Once the recorder is clogged you can either suck the moisture back out of it, or blow hard while covering the window with your hand (so you don’t make an awful loud noise). This latter method is absolutely fine for a plastic resin recorder, but if you do it on a wooden one you need to avoid touching the window area, especially the sharp edge of the labium/’ramp’ at all costs.

    If your recorder is wooden and new (or old, but hasn’t been played for a long time), take care to observe the manufacturers instructions for playing in and stop playing for the day when the instrument starts to sound hoarse.

    Descant and treble recorders.

    Brendan Collins

    Jacqui WoW it really pays to ask the experts. Many thanks for sharing your knowledge with me. Greatly appreciated


    Everything that Jacqui said; in addition:

    – You can also blow the moisture out of the windway by taking off the top joint, covering the end with your hand and blowing into the window. If you open your mouth and cover the window, you don’t touch anything at all so no possibility of any damage, and it has the benefit that you blow the moisture completely out of the instrument rather than further down it.

    – You can improve things by using soapy water in the windway to reduce the condensation. There’s lots of info about this if you google it. A plastic instrument can literally be soaked in soapy (washing up liquid) water and allowed to dry. Alternatively, I use Bernolin’s anti-condensation flued which seems expensive but a little goes a very long way and I have found that it works very well, better than the soapy water. A small caution is that it makes a slightly white-ish mark when it dries so with a wooden instrument it’s best not to spill too much of it.

    Brendan Collins

    Thanks so much. This information has been a great help to me. I really appreciate you taking the time to share your knowledge

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