Sound Sweet: A Guide to Picking the Perfect Recorder for Beginners

Are you a beginner musician looking for your first recorder? Then you’ve come to the right place! Picking the perfect instrument can be daunting, especially if it’s your first time. But don’t worry—we have all the information and tips you need to make an informed decision.

In this guide, we will cover everything from how to pick the right size and type of recorder for your skill level, as well as which brands offer quality instruments at reasonable prices. So read on to find out more about sound sweet – A Guide to Picking the Perfect Recorder for Beginners!

All About The Recorder

The recorder is a beloved and versatile instrument that is perfect for beginners and seasoned musicians alike. As one of the oldest wind instruments, it has been used in various musical genres throughout history. The recorder is most commonly known in its soprano form, but it also comes in different sizes, including alto. With its sweet, mellow sound, the alto recorder is often used in a variety of ensembles, from solo performances to concert bands. Learning to play the recorder is an excellent way to develop musical skills and discover a new passion. Whether you’re a complete beginner or an experienced musician, the recorder offers endless opportunities for creative expression.

Flute or Recorder: Sources Of Confusion

Wind instruments can be a source of confusion for music enthusiasts, especially when it comes to the flute and the recorder. These two instruments share some similarities in their appearance. However, the flute and recorder have distinct differences in their sound and construction. While both were popular in classical and romantic music, the flute has a clear and bright tone, thanks to its metal construction and larger size. On the other hand, the recorder is made of wood and produces a softer, mellow sound. Despite their differences, both instruments offer unique qualities that can add to any musical performance.

Another point of distinction is the finger placement. The flute, also known as the concert flute, uses complex fingerings that require plenty of practice to master. On the other hand, the recorder has a simplified fingering system that is easy to pick up. So if you are ever confused about which wind instrument to choose, keep these differences in mind and make an informed decision that suits your style.

The 4 Main Types Of Recorders

When it comes to the world of recorders, there are four main types to know: alto, tenor, soprano, and bass. Each type has its own unique sound, and is distinguished by its size and range. The alto recorder is a popular choice for beginners, while the tenor recorder has a rich, warm tone. Soprano recorders are known for their bright and clear sound, while the bass recorder offers a lower pitch that is perfect for solo performances. Regardless of which type of recorder you choose, you can opt for either a plastic or wood material. While plastic recorders are more durable and affordable, wooden ones offer a warmer and more authentic sound. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned musician, exploring the world of recorder options is a great way to unleash your creativity and musical talent.

Which recorder should I learn to play first?

If you are ready to jump into the wonderful world of playing the recorder, deciding which one to start with can be a little overwhelming. The good news is that the recorder family is relatively small, with just a handful of commonly used sizes. The most frequently recommended recorder to start with is the soprano recorder because it is small, lightweight, and easy to play. Once you have developed basic recorder skills, you can experiment with other sizes, such as the alto and tenor recorder. Remember, the most important thing is to have fun while you’re learning and to enjoy the beautiful music that the recorder can create.

What is the difference between recorders in ‘C’ (soprano or tenor) and ‘F’ (alto)?

If you’re looking to learn the recorder, you may have come across terms like ‘C’ and ‘F’ recorders. Let’s take a closer look at the differences between the two. A recorder in ‘C’ is either a soprano or tenor recorder, while a recorder in ‘F’ is known as the alto recorder. One of the main differences between the two is the tone they produce. ‘F’ recorders have a slightly deeper and mellower sound, while ‘C’ recorders produce a brighter and more vibrant sound. The size also differs, with ‘C’ recorders being larger than ‘F’ recorders. Ultimately, the choice between a ‘C’ and ‘F’ recorder will depend on your personal preference and the type of music you wish to play.

How Do I Choose A Recorder?

Choosing the right recorder is important if you’re interested in learning to play this delightful instrument. If you’re a beginner, it’s best to start with an alto recorder, which is more comfortable to hold and easier to play than a tenor recorder. There are also many different types of recorders to choose from, each with its own unique sound and playing style. When selecting a recorder, it’s important to consider the quality of the instrument, as well as your own skill level and musical goals.

Next, consider the finger spacing and comfort level, particularly if you’re a beginner or someone with smaller hands. Finally, think about investing in a slightly nicer quality instrument as it can make a significant difference in the sound and tone produced.

Whether you’re looking to play the recorder for fun or pursuing a career in music, choosing the right instrument can make all the difference. So take your time, do your research, and find the recorder that feels and sounds just right for you.

Famous Recorder Players

Frans Brüggen – Frans Brüggen was a Dutch conductor, recorder player and flautist. He was considered an early music pioneer of immense importance and is widely regarded as one of the most famous recorder players in the world.

Maurice Steger – Maurice Steger is a Swiss recorder player who has been described as “the Paganini of the recorder” due to his virtuosity on the instrument.

Tabea Debus – Tabea Debus is a young British recorder player who has been praised for her modern approach to playing the instrument.

Michala Petri – Michala Petri is a Danish recorder player who has released over 40 albums and won numerous awards for her work with the instrument.

Dan Laurin – Dan Laurin is a Swedish recorder player renowned for his interpretations of Baroque music as well as contemporary works written specifically for him by composers such as Arvo Part, Steve Reich and John Cage among others.

Top Recorder Brands


Yamaha has a wide range of recorders for all levels of players. From the 300 Series recorders with a lightweight carrying case to the 800 Series Baroque Alto Recorders, Yamaha has something for everyone. The 20 and 30 Series recorders are designed to provide a perfect start to anyone’s musical education, while the natural wood 800 series is perfect for advanced and professional players. Yamaha also offers Three-Piece Translucent Soprano Recorders in a variety of colors, allowing you to mix and match and create your own unique look. With superior sound quality and craftsmanship, Yamaha recorders are sure to please any musician.

Yamaha YRS-302B Soprano Recorder, Baroque fingering, Key of C
  • 3 piece soprano recorder in the key of C
  • Made from durable and long-lasting ABS plastic
  • Arched windway gives experienced players more control
  • Plastic
Yamaha YRA-28B Alto Recorder, Key of F
  • Key of F
  • Baroque fingering
  • Double holes
  • Three piece construction
Yamaha YRT-304B Tenor Recorder, Key of C , Black
  • 3 piece tenor recorder in the key of C
  • Made from durable and long-lasting ABS plastic
  • Arched windway gives experienced players more control
  • Key of C
Yamaha YRB-302B Bass Recorder, Key of F , Black
  • 4 piece bass recorder in the key of F
  • Made from durable and long-lasting ABS plastic
  • Arched windway gives experienced players more control
  • Angled neck for a more comfortable playing position
Yamaha YRA-402B Alto Recorder, Ecodear plastic, Key of F, Brown, White
  • 3 piece Alto recorder in the key of F
  • Made from plant-based Eco dear plastic
  • Eco dear gives the recorder a rich, mellow tone similar to the sound produced by wood
  • Body design based on the popular Yamaha 300-series recorders
  • Arched windway gives experienced players more control


The EASTAR line of musical instruments recorder is the perfect choice for anyone looking for a quality instrument. Made from high-grade maple wood, these recorders are lightweight, durable, and have exceptional high-frequency vibration ability. The soprano recorder set comes with three pieces and includes a fingering chart, cleaning rod, and bag. EASTAR also has resin recorders with its nontoxic and eco-friendly design, this recorder is perfect for both kids and adults alike. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced musician, the EASTAR line of recorders will provide you with an enjoyable playing experience.

Eastar Soprano Recorder Instrument for Kids Beginners, German Fingering C Key Recorder Instrument 3 Piece with Cleaning Kit, Thumb Rest, Cotton Bag, Fingering Chart, ERS-21GP, Pink, School-Approved
  • ✨PERFECT FOR BEGINNERS — The Eastar ERS-21GP recorder is designed for beginners, easy to control airflow with stable resonator vibration. The mouthpiece fits comfortably, and the detachable thumb rest allows for better handling. In German style, the fingering of F remains consistent.
  • ✔️ADVANCED MATERIALS — Crafted from high-grade ABS material, the Eastar recorder is durable, lightweight, and safe to use. It is odorless, moisture-proof, and wear-resistant, ensuring strong frequency vibration and a penetrating sound.
  • 🎵BEAUTIFUL SOUND — The recorder produces a melodious, pure, and warm sound, making it the perfect choice for beginner. Its excellent high/low tune is suitable for both daily practice and onstage performance. Well-chosen by thousands of players and band-approved.
  • ❤️ELEGANT DESIGN — Characterized by a well-polished surface and mouthpiece that are safe and comfortable to use. The colored ABS body with an elegant design is easy to maintain, making it a perfect choice for yourself, your friends, and your family.
  • 🎁COMPLETE PACKAGE — The package includes ERS-21GP soprano recorder, a fingering chart, cleaning kit, cotton bag, detachable thumb rest, and a 12-month product warranty backed up by our awesome customer support team ready to help.
Eastar Soprano Recorder Instrument for Kids Adults Beginners, Baroque fingering C Key Maple Wooden Recorder, 3 Piece Recorder With Hard Case, Fingering Chart, Cleaning Kit, ERS-31BM
  • 🎵EXQUISITE SOUNDS — Experience the pure and warm sounds with Eastar maple wooden recorder. Crafted from high-grade maple, this soprano recorder offers an exceptional tone quality better that plastic recorders. Each one is inspected to ensure top quality and accurate tuning.
  • ✔️PREMIUM MATERIAL — Made from high-grade maple, the Eastar wooden recorder is lightweight, durable, and has exceptional high-frequency vibration ability. The sound produced is bright, full, and has penetrating power, making it perfect for both daily practice and performances.
  • ✨PERFECT FOR BEGINNERS — The Eastar recorder has a 3 pieces structure that makes it easy to clean and allows for the adjustment of the C hole. The well-polished mouthpiece is designed to fit well with small mouths, allowing for easy control of the airflow.
  • ❤️ELEGANT DESIGN — With a natural and generous grain, the Eastar recorder has an elegant appearance. It's non-toxic, safe for beginners and adults alike. Also a great choice as a gift for kids, students, and beginners.
  • 🎁COMES WITH EVERYTHING NEEDED — The package includes Eastar ERS-31BM Recorder, Fingering Chart, Cleaning Kit, Hard case, and a 12-month product warranty backed up by our awesome customer support team ready to help.


NUVO instruments are designed to bridge the gap between recorder and band instruments. They are made from lightweight, durable materials that make them easy to hold and resistant to drops. The range of NUVO instruments includes flutes, clarinets, recorders, and more. Each instrument is designed with a focus on form, mechanisms, and materials to create an enjoyable playing experience for beginners. Additionally, the “First Steps” series provides the foundation for playing all NUVO instruments. With Nuvo’s innovative design process, learning how to play a musical instrument has never been easier!

Recorder+ Black/Blue with hard case (6)
  • Unique silicone key system - easy to cover holes
  • Larger tone holes - mellow sound
  • Adjustable thumb rest for comfort
  • 100% waterproof - easy to clean
NUVO recorder, White/Green (N430TWGN)
  • Newly designed with Silicone key pads
  • Interchangeable lip plate system
  • Lightweight and durable
  • Made in the key of C
  • Replaces original toot

Wooden Recorders

Have you ever wondered what makes wooden recorders sound so unique? Wooden recorders have been around for centuries, and their distinct sound has captivated audiences for generations. From the bright, airy tones of a soprano recorder to the deep, mellow sounds of a bass recorder, there is something special about the sound of wooden recorders that sets them apart from other instruments. Whether you’re an experienced musician looking to upgrade your instrument or a beginner just starting out in music, understanding the sound quality of wooden recorders can help you make an informed decision when selecting your instrument.

The history of wooden recorders dates back to the Renaissance period when they were used extensively in classical music. While modern plastic recorders are often seen as more affordable and durable alternatives to wooden ones, they don’t quite capture the same level of nuance and richness that wooden recorders do. Wooden instruments also tend to be lighter than their plastic counterparts, making them easier to hold and play for extended periods of time.

When it comes to selecting a recorder, it’s important to consider both the technical aspects and features as well as its overall sound quality that each wood produces.

Hohner 9550 Pearwood 2-Piece Soprano Recorder model 9520
  • Soprano Intonation
  • Pear Wood Specially Seasoned and dark painted
  • Baroque Fingering
  • Well crafted 2-piece wooden C-Descant/Soprano
  • Ergonomically formed mouthpiece makes lipping easier
Eastrock Recorder Instrument for Kids Adults Beginners Maple Wood C Key Soprano Recorder German Style 2 Piece With Hard Case, Joint Grease And Cleaning Kit
  • ♪ Special Design -- Two pieces construction: It is advantageous to adjust the position of C hole according to the size of the hand shape. Hand-polished mouthpiece can fit well with your mouth,German fingering is very suitable for beginners. Help your kids to improve their sense of hearing for music and their motor skills.
  • ♪ Easy to Clean - For cleaning, it's much easier to clean the inside of the soprano recorder with cleaning rod, ensures the cleanness of it. Come with a appropriate storage bag, You can also take it with you.
  • ♪ Good Material -- Selected from the north , high grade maple for special musical instrument , high hardness, high strength, light weight, has excellent high frequency vibration ability,hence bright and sound is bright and filling with penetrating power,Suitable for performances in classroom, stage, and band.
  • ♪ Package Contents -- Maple Wood 2 Piece Soprano C Recorder German Style Fingering, Joint Grease,Cleaning Rod With Hairbrush , Hard case,Carrying bag.
  • ♪ No-hassle warranty - If the instrument ever fails due to manufacturing defects,We promise, for as long as you own the instrument and have proof of purchase, we'll provide you with parts for free ,feel free to reach us by message to contact our support team.
Aulos Aulos Classroom Recorder Alto 3 Piece English Woodgrain Finish A709Bw
  • Classroom Recorder Alto 3 Piece English Woodgrain Finish A709Bw
  • Aulos recorders are a great value instrument; with excellent intonation and ease of playing in all registers, these recorders are excellent for students in the classroom or ensemble setting
  • Beautiful wood grain finish, available in a variety of pitch orientations
  • Aulos recorders are a great value instrument; with excellent intonation and ease of playing in all registers, these recorders are excellent for students in the classroom or ensemble setting
  • Beautiful wood grain finish, available in a variety of pitch orientations

How to Choose a Recorder: Your Extended FAQ Guide

What is a recorder?

A recorder is a wind instrument that is played by blowing air into a mouthpiece and covering or uncovering finger holes to change the pitch. It is commonly used in orchestras, ensembles, and for solo performances.

What are the different types of recorders?

There are several different types of recorders, including soprano, alto, tenor, and bass. Soprano, alto, and tenor recorders are most commonly used in music, while bass recorders are more rare. Additionally, recorders can be made from different materials such as plastic or wood.

What is the difference between a flute and a recorder?

While both instruments are wind instruments, a flute is played by holding it horizontally while a recorder is played vertically. Additionally, flutes typically have a larger range and a different tone quality than recorders.

What type of recorder should I learn?

The type of recorder you choose to learn will depend on your skill level and musical goals. If you are a beginner, it is recommended to start with a soprano recorder or alto recorder. If you want to play in an ensemble or orchestra, it is important to choose a recorder that is appropriate for the type of music you will be playing.

Should I choose a plastic or wooden recorder?

Both plastic and wooden recorders have their advantages and disadvantages. A quality plastic recorder can be less expensive and more durable than a wooden recorder. However, a wooden recorder can have a richer tone quality and can be preferable for advanced players. It is ultimately a personal preference and depends on your budget and musical goals.

What is a recorder community?

A recorder society or community is a group of recorder players who come together to share their love of the instrument and enhance their skills. These groups often hold performances, workshops, and provide resources for players of all levels.


Recorders are wind instruments played by blowing air into a mouthpiece and covering or uncovering finger holes to change the pitch. These instruments come in different types such as soprano, alto, tenor, and bass, and can be made from either plastic or wood. When choosing a recorder for learning it is important to consider skill level and musical goals. Additionally, there are recorder societies or communities that provide performances, workshops, and resources for players of all levels. With the right instrument and resources, learning how to play a recorder can be an enjoyable experience!

Recorder image licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International: Baroque alto recorder after Bizey by Fred Morgan Nikolaj Ronimus. Photo by Óscar Romero. Modification: added background (