Untitled Document
Advertisement Click to advertise with us!

Recorder assistance please

Hi Folks,

I’m brand new here, this being my first post. I am an adult semi-beginner on the recorder, and I’d value some feedback on a couple of instruments I’m considering buying. I have a bit of a background in music; I’ve sung a great deal in choirs and musical, took a few lessons on the alto recorder (I had a Yamaha plastic 300 series) about 17 years ago, and alto sax lessons for a year (5 years ago).

At this point, after much contemplation, I've decided to begin on soprano. This has to do with both my budget limits, as well as my interest in playing jazz-type, standards. I've seen a few videos and heard some players play tunes like "Summertime" on the soprano, and I'm very inspired.

That said, I am interested in getting a good wooden soprano that fits my budget of around $100 – perhaps a bit more. I must admit that, while some people have recommended I stick with a good plastic instrument, either a Yamaha or Aulos, I am a bit prejudiced thinking that a plastic piece is not a "real" instrument. The recorder will be the main instrument for me, so I'd like to get a decent wood one. I have the following in mind, and I'd appreciate your feedback:

1) Mollenhauer Prima: A pear wood body piece and plastic mouthpiece. I heard Jean-Francois' CD "Spinnaker" on which he plays the Prima exclusively, and I love it. There is also a woman on YouTube, and she plays a number of tunes on a Prima.

2) Mollenhauer Canta: All pear wood. Someone else recommended this to me. I must admit, it's my least favorite of the three.

3) Mollenhauer Waldorf Edition: All pear wood. This is the one I'm leaning towards out of all these. I like that it says on the Mollenhauer website: "Fine and expressive: Strong, durable and clear – convincing as a solo instrument for all sorts of music from early music to Jazz...." And I must admit I'm quite attracted to the van Eyck design.

Any and all thoughts on these (and any others you might suggest) will be much appreciated.



Content Expert/Moderator
Staff member
Unfortunately one can't tell much about these instruments without having them in hand and blowing them, or you will want feedback from someone with some experience playing who has tried all three. If you get no joy here you might want to try the chiff and fipple forums, though they are mostly for whistles. I don't know a dedicated recorder forum.
Thank you, kymarto. I've posted my inquiry at Chiff & Fipple. I'll keep checking back here, though.


Admin and all around good guy.
Staff member
I have to say though, looking at your experience, that you would do fine with any of those instruments at this time of your development. Practice and learning fundamentals are more important now than the kind of refinements a pro could take advantage of. No horn is going to make you a good player--practice, good instruction and talent will.
I have not tried those specific recorders, so take my advice with a few grains of salt. Also, there will be meandering.

Both the Prima and the Waldorf seem good. The Canta is probably also good, but perhaps just doesn't appeal to me. You might add to your list on consideration a Kung Studio, and a wood Dream. Both are in the same price region.

I think the main thing I would say is that for recorders you generally end up with a quiver of instruments, possibly in all sizes. One reason is that wood recorders cannot be played too long in one day, or the labium can be damaged by moisture. So the decision now is moreso which one you get first. If you are going to stick with playing the recorder, you will get more instruments, and get more ideas about the kinds of things you are looking for in them.

Because of that, $100 might be spent on getting one of each of the good plastic sopranos. An Aulos, Yamaha, Dolmetsch Nova, Zen-On, all would be worth trying and comparing. You haven't mentioned how many instruments you have played before besides the Yamahas, so this may or may not apply.

I don't think there is anything lesser about the plastic instruments due to materials, but in the fabrication and design, which the makers mentioned above address in differing degrees. Regarding jazz specifically, Benoît Sauvé appears to primarily use plastic recorders.

Thanks, saxismyaxe. Yes, I'm getting some great feedback on Chiff & Fipple, as well.

Hi gurzil,

Great advice. Thank you. I agree. I'll probably end up with more instruments in time. I just acquired a Yamaha 312BIII soprano and I'm really liking it. I also ordered a Waldorf soprano and I'll have it in about 5 or 6 weeks. I'm going to focus on soprano for now, then check out alto and maybe tenor.

Thanks again, everyone.
Top Bottom