Yamaha v Aulos keyed tenor

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    Good luck, and merry Christmas!

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 3 months ago by Aulos303.

    You don't stop playing when you get old. You get old when you stop playing.


    I went mad and bought myself the Aulos Symphony in a pre-Christmas sale, so I thought it might be as well to report on what I found. In short, there is virtually no difference at all between it and the Yamaha. In fact, I would say I slightly prefer the latter having now tried both. There is very little difference in tone: the Aulos might be ever so slightly less bright, but there is not a lot in it. Both are brighter than my wooden instruments. It all comes down to taste really: some people pay a fairly hefty premium for instruments in grenadilla or ebony specially to get a brighter sound. A few points:

    • The Aulos has a separate hole for C# whereas the Yamaha has a C key that has a hole in the pad which is opened for C#. I think this makes the Aulos slightly easier to play and a slightly stronger note. They both operate with similar keys, plastic and fairly fragile-looking. The ones on the Yamaha look like they are probably a bit stronger, but overall there’s not much to differentiate them.
    • Finger hole spacing and key placement is virtually identical.
    • First octave G# on the Yamaha is 012-456- whereas the Aulos needs 6 to be half-holed. I prefer the Yamaha arrangement, but that comes down to personal preference.
    • The notorious E-D trill is really easy on the Aulos because 0123456- gives a good in-tune D (very flat on the Yamaha).
    • The 2nd register is more in tune on the Yamaha: it’s quite flat on the Aulos, especially from A onwards.
    • Both play a good high C# with Ø1-345-7 – it’s particularly in tune on the Yamaha
    • The Yamaha seems to have a very slightly better finish. They are virtually identical in weight at about 370g.

    Overall, they are both pretty good instruments for the cost, and which to choose comes down to small items of personal preference. Since I have both, I’d probably use the Yamaha more, but I’d use the Aulos for the E-D trill which is great! If I were to buy one, quite honestly I would get whichever was cheaper.

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 3 months ago by Pavane.
    • This reply was modified 4 years, 3 months ago by Pavane.

    Thank you very much for the update! Mine just arrived from a flash deal as well! I took a risk – Amazon had a single third-party listing called “Aulos Recorder”, one in stock, with a generic picture of a Symphony and no description, but it was within my budget and they have a good return policy. I looked it over thoroughly and indeed seem to be the owner of a genuine Aulos Symphony, which looks new as well! The reach is difficult but not too much more so than piano for me. I’ll look into buying the thumb rest made by Aulos. After it warms up from being outside in the winter, I’ll try playing it! I’ll update you soon!


    I love it when Amazon have those clearout items – I actually got my Yamaha that way and I’d swear it was new and unused. Anyway, do enjoy!

    Brian Thompson

    I own three of the plastic tenor models mentioned. I’ve owned my 300 Yamaha tenor since 1978 or so. I upgraded it a few years ago with a tail piece that had the C# key. The first years models only had a C key. I own both the 211 and 511 Aulos Symphony tenors and play two of these instruments regularly. My favorite is the Aulos 511 followed by the 300 Yamaha. My Yamaha is pulled out when I have to hit high C’s and D’s regularly. It is a little more reliable than the Aulos 511 but not much. I like to play baroque flute music on my tenors and flutes tend to play up a lot. My Aulos has a better tone in my opinion. That said I own two Aulos 511’s and they don’t sound exactly alike. There may be more than one mold being used to make these and of course molds wear over time and that will make a little different sounding and playing instrument. I own a Hottetere Moeck tenor which is a great sounding tenor and plays very easily on its highest notes. But I still play plastic tenors a lot because I love their playability, sound and reliability. The only problems I’ve had with these recorders is them wearing out their tenon joints. I eventually filed grooves around the tenons and fitted the appropriately sized O rings from the hardware store. This solved a bunch of problems because I now had airtight tenon joints. The instruments play much better with airtight tenon joints. I recommend both the Yamaha 300 series tenor and the Aulos 511 tenor. Buy one of each, they are some of the best and most inexpensive real instruments on the markey. I hope this discussion helps.


    It’s interesting that you also have a Hotteterre as I have one too (the A=440 model). My experience with it is quite different though: despite Moeck describing its extended upper register as a virtue, and one that makes it particularly suited to flute repertoire, I find the high notes harder than on any of my other instruments (all tenors). In fact, it was getting so difficult that I sent it back to Moeck and had it serviced. I think they fitted a new block. It is better than it was, but still not easy – I find high C in particular tricky to hit. Maybe it will improve with playing.

    As far as plastic instruments go, it’s strange how variable they can be. I have had two 211s and the second is much better than the first. I’m currently mainly using the 511 out of the plastic instruments, but that’s probably mainly because it’s the one that’s out. I don’t play it a great deal though.

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