Wood between rosewood and ebony

Recorder Forum Home Page Forum Recorder Makes, Models and Maintenance Wood between rosewood and ebony

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  • #571

    Hi, I’m new here!

    so, I’ve been looking around on the Internet and can’t find an answer. I have two recorders- a rosewood and an ebony. I love both of them, but the rosewood doesn’t project well enough and the ebony is a bit too edgy and airy. I’m looking for a sort of in between. Any suggestions?

    Thanks in advance,

    TL Zick

    I would suggest boxwood, although I haven’t any experience with it. From what I have read about its intonation and density, it may be a solution. You can hear sound files on The Early Music Shop homepage. (https://earlymusicshop.com/products/moeck-rottenburgh-soprano-recorder-in-boxwood) I have never heard ebony to be described as “airy”. That term is often akin to a maple recorder. Personally, I play a Moeck 539 Alto and find it far from airy. Could it be the brand (not stated) of your instrument? Although, seeing your question has been floating around for 4 years, I’m sure you have solved this problem… 🙂 It (your inquiry) is like a message in a bottle…

    • This reply was modified 2 years, 5 months ago by TL Zick.
    Richard Hureau

    It is also pretty much true that individual recorder characteristics make more of a difference in the sound of a recorder than anything caused by the type of wood used. So I don’t think I’d have a lot a faith in the idea that just getting a recorder made with different wood would give you what you want, even within the same maker and model of recorder. But I guess it’s worth a try.


    Regardless of wood type, any instrument that has an ‘airy’ tone gets it from the design of the windway. And to Richard’s point, there are more important characteristics to consider in the sound of a recorder (or any baroque woodwind for that matter) than just the material. Those suggest one wood over another for certain sound characteristics aren’t seeing the whole picture. Many other factors are involved.

    In the case of the original post, most often rosewood (and family breeds) are known for their fuzzy tone thanks to the grain of the wood. And this fuzziness is primarily found in factory-made instruments due to shortcutting polishing routines. Handmade ones are infinitely refined, but at a cost.

    Halfway between rosewood and grenadilla would likely be a boxwood. But it is also possible to get a poorly performing boxwood instrument, especially if it is factory-made. There’s more to this than just wood.

    • This reply was modified 2 years, 5 months ago by Christopher. Reason: Gr

    Mainly French & English baroque repertoire on an A403 Bressan, and an A415 DeBey. Recorder enthusiast since 1971. Early Music program at York University, French baroque instruction at Royal Conservatory in Toronto.

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