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Find the best recorder to suit your needs. Perfect for everyone from children to professionals!
Find the best recorder to suit your needs. Perfect for everyone from children to professionals!Browse our large range of recorders, spanning a variety of colours, sizes and materials. From bass recorders to whistles, you'll find your perfect instrument at Gear4music.
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The descant recorder (often called a soprano recorder) is the usual starting point for a beginner. Its smaller size makes it's more comfortable for children to hold, and the small airway means that it's nearly effortless to produce a clean note. The fingering is often closer to that of modern wind instruments (such as the saxophone) and you can be sure to find one at a reasonable price. It's also portable and easily stored. Most beginner sheet music is written for the descant, and it has the widest selection of learning materials.
One drawback of the descant is that it can often sound "shrill" if blown incorrectly. The usual alternative is an alto recorder, though these are often more expensive and there are less available resources for a beginner. These are also in a different key, so you cannot use the same sheet music.
With Baroque fingering, the fifth tone hole is larger than the fourth tone hole. With German, the fourth is larger than the fifth. This means that on German recorders the F is in sequence, and this is generally recommended for schools and beginners. It's usually only descant recorders that have German fingering. If you learn on another sized recorder it will usually be a Baroque tone hole sequence instead. This is why the fingering is often out of step between sizes. It is usually simpler to produce flats and sharps on a Baroque recorder.
While it's often claimed that wooden instruments are superior to plastic instruments, this would depend upon the make and model in question. On average, a wooden recorder would not have the same piercing tone that can come from a plastic recorder. It requires more care, however, as it needs frequent oiling and it must be cleaned after every use. It's susceptible to moisture, and if not looked after this could lead to the deterioration of the recorder resulting in splitting of the body. A plastic recorder is washable (perfect for young children!) and does not require the consistent level of care. They are more durable, resistant to moisture damage and usually cost less. It does, however, depend on the recorder itself and the player in question.