Clogged recorder...

Clogged recorder...

Clogged recorder...    06:37 on Monday, August 11, 2008          


When I play my recorder, it gets clogged up really easily. I try to warm it up before I play and clean it regularily.
I've decided to buy a more expensive recorder now and was wondering if anyone knew which recorder clogs up most easily; wooden or plastic?

Re: Clogged recorder...    00:01 on Tuesday, August 12, 2008          

(14 points)
Posted by mira191

Clogging is the result of water condensing in the windway. Your warm, moist breath meets the cool surface of the windway, and water condenses out. Warming the head of the recorder in your pocket or between your arm and body prior to playing will result in condensation forming more slowly, but it will still form. The room temperature will have some influence: Hot rooms, condensation forms more slowly; cold rooms, condensation forms more quickly. Condensation is something that is a normal part of recorder playing.

The most basic thing you can do is suck back the condensation when you have a rest in the music. You might have to do this with quite a bit of force. This is what I do. Some people don't like doing that, or don't have the muscles to do it. For them, a chemical way can be tried.

To understand how the chemical works, one must know that when the condensation (which is just water) forms, the windway does not just get wet, but rather the water forms a bead that sticks out into the air path and blocks it. The chemical works by preventing the water from forming a bead, so the water lays flat and does not block the windway. The general term for the chemical is "surfactant", and almost every soap or detergent has at least one surfactant in it. If you look at a bottle of shampoo, you might see an ingredient "sodium lauryl sulfate". That is a surfactant. Most recorder vendors sell "Duponol" which is just a bottle of sodium lauryl sulfate (perhaps diluted). A cheap way to get a surfactant into the windway is to dilute some dishwashing soap in some water and put a drop in the windway, then let it dry. I have not experimented with what might be the best ratio of soap to water. These surfactants can work pretty well. The disadvantage is that you will probably taste them, especially if you eventually have to suck the condensation out anyway.

As to the question of wood versus plastic: Slick, water repellent surfaces often tend to encourage water to form beads. Plastic certainly qualifies as such a surface. However, wood recorders made of the less dense woods such as pear, maple, sycamore, non-european boxwood, (probably others) have been pressure treated and sealed with paraffin wax. So they too are much like plastic in how they encourage water to bead. Even many of the dense woods, such as rosewood, are treated and sealed with linseed oil by the maker. So, there again, you end up with a surface that encourages the water to bead. In case you are wondering, the wood recorders are sealed partly to protect the wood and partly because it makes the recorder sound better.

My experience has been that clogging is not determined so much by wood or plastic but by the design of the windway. Some windways clog up easily, and some don't. Again, the easiest thing to do is to suck the condensation out at every rest. Do that even if it hasn't become a problem yet.

Re: Clogged recorder...    06:44 on Tuesday, August 12, 2008          


that was really helpful! =)

Re: Clogged recorder...    19:34 on Thursday, November 13, 2008          

(6 points)
Posted by Ange2000

I would have thought if it was condensation that was clogging it up, the easiest way to get rid of it would have been to put your finger in the top front 'hole' - not the one you put your fingers on, and blow. This blows all the moisture out without making a sound. I may have misunderstood the question, of course !

Re: Clogged recorder...    20:48 on Saturday, December 06, 2008          

(16 points)
Posted by awesomecoolgirl

or it might be ur playing the recorder too hard!


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