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My history as a recorder maker

All the way back in 1975, when I started at the Utrecht Conservatory as a seventeen-year-old, I took part in a two-day block-cutting course led by recorder maker Klaus Scheele. And so my career as a recorder maker began! Klaus Scheele not only taught me to tune a recorder, but also how to cut a new block for an existing instrument. What then took me by surprise was that the new block I had cut for my soprano sounded better than the original one. Beginners luck, obviously! I enjoyed the handiwork and contrary to my co-students continued cutting blocks for the multiple mass-produced recorders that circulated in my surrounding. It only took a little while for my co-students and other players to ask me to cut blocks for their recorders. Through trial and error, I learnt how to voice and tune a recorder. Often I would ask professional recorder makers for advice.

After five years and some 200 blocks, I finally bought my first lathe and other tools to make myself a complete recorder. So, in the spring of ’81 I made my first treble recorder after an original by Engelbert Terton and another Voice Flute after Johann Christoph Denner. Those became the recorders that I played during my solo final exam in Utrecht in the same year.

Over the last forty years I have made countless recorders after originals from the renaissance and baroque of various sizes and voicings and I have played some 150 historical recorders. To discover the remarkable diversity among those originals, and my attempt to understand each individual instrument from the inside out, has been a unique and rewarding experience.

My thoughts on making a recorder

Authentic recorders from the Renaissance and Baroque have unequalled acoustic qualities. It is my view that when one attempts to match their quality it is necessary to also match their building process. When the old masters, like Bassano, Bressan, Stanesby were at work, (small) accidental and unintentional acts contributed to the attributes that define their instruments.

This means that when making recorders, I do so without the aid of ‘modern’ tools. An electrical saw, drill sting, a milling machine or the tools developed in the twentieth century to make windways won’t be found in my workshop. Only the lighting, lathe and vacuum cleaner are electric. Of course, I am always scouting for that miraculous 300-year-old lathe…

This process means that no recorder will ever be a carbon copy of another. None of the six treble recorders made by Peter Bressan (London, 1663-1731), that I have had the honour of playing, sound the same and each and every one of them has made a permanent impression on me as a maker and player.

Such an impression is required to make a ‘successful copy’. This means that I’ve held the originals and have also played them, extensively. More recently, curators have started to forbid the playing of the original instruments under their care which means that today’s generation is unfortunately barred from such experiences.

Fortunately, I am the proud owner of two eighteenth century recorders, namely a soprano made by Hendrik Richters (Amsterdam, 1683-1727) and a treble by Willem Beukers (Amsterdam, 1666-1750). With their delightful, unique and wilful tonal qualities and their gorgeous, masterful form and turnery they are a continuous source of inspiration. Their presence in my home means that every day I am reminded of the fact that I do not know better than the old masters!

Price list for baroque recorders

The recorders are available in both the original pitch and a=415Hz. Additionally, they can be made with original or with Dolmetsch fingering.

Price list for renaissance recorders built in cooperation with Taavi-Mats Utt (Estonia)

  • After originals from Vienna and Brussels attributed to Bassano, a=463Hz

    G-alto (SAM 135) € 1100
    C-tenors (SAM 150, Brussel 1025) € 1300
    F-basset (Brussel 4358) € 2250

  • After originals from Vienna marked HIE•S, attributed to Bassano, a=463Hz

    A-alto € 1250
    D-tenor (SAM 144) € 1350
    G-basset (SAM 161) € 2250
    C-bass (SAM 168) € 3300
    F- subbass € 4200


Telephone: +31 6 27 59 8 007
Adress: Van der Leelaan 2, 3941RN Doorn, Netherlands

© 2021-2023 Heiko ter Schegget