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Thomann's Cool Online Guides: Recorders

9. Care, Maintenance & Correcting Problems

Looking after an instrument will reduce the need for professional maintenance, although this is sometimes unavoidable. The most common problem after the playing-in period is a recorder becoming increasingly clogged or muffled in sound, due to the constant exposure to moisture. This makes the wood alternately expand and contract by tiny amounts, causing the block (inside the mouthpiece) to swell and sometimes reduce the efficiency of the instrument. Clogging is encountered more commonly with denser (darker) woods, and can usually be reduced with a few drops of anticondensant or a special detergent. The recorder should be held upside-down and the solution squeezed into the windway via the front ‘window’ or labium, then blown through to clear any excess.


Some maintenance and ongoing care is the responsibility of the owner. Keeping the cork (or sometimes thread) joints greased will ensure the recorder fits together and comes apart easily – small pots of cork grease are usually included with new instruments, but Vaseline works just as well. Broken cork or unravelled thread is not difficult to fix, and should not be allowed to deteriorate. On large recorders, springs, key mechanisms and pads will occasionally require attention.Revoicing, carried out by a professional, may also sometimes be necessary. The process involves removing and shaving down or reshaping the block, before re-inserting it, and clearing out any deposits at the same time. The recorder will then be re-checked for tuning before its return. Some makers will revoice at a reduced rate or even free of charge within the first year of purchase, particularly with more expensive models, as a certain amount of change is expected while the instrument is played in. Tuning inaccuracies can also be corrected professionally by carefully enlarging the fingerholes, or dripping and moulding wax to make them smaller as appropriate.

Regular oiling of the inside bore is essential. Depending on the wood and the frequency of playing, attention with almond oil roughly once a month will keep it in good condition. This can be a messy process and should preferably be carried out over a cloth or newspaper, with a dedicated recorder mop reserved specifically for the purpose, i.e. not the same mop used to remove condensation caused by playing. The aim is to prevent the inside of the recorder from becoming too dry and therefore prone to cracks - only a thin film of oil should be applied, and it should not be allowed to collect in the fingerholes. The labium surface should also be lightly oiled with a paintbrush, and any excess oil wiped away with a cloth. It’s vital that the recorder is absolutely dry before oiling - it should not have been played for one to two days beforehand. After oiling, do not play it for at least another day, leaving it outside the case to allow the oil to seep into the wood. Almond oil is often available from larger chemist stores.

Recorder (almond) oil

After several years of playing, the thumbhole may begin to wear away. The initial stages of this type of damage are not harmful to the recorder and can be mended, but extensive wear will make the higher notes more difficult to reach and control. A professional can fix this using a process known as ‘thumb-bushing’, where the back hole will be gouged out to a larger diameter in order to insert a plastic ring, thereby recreating a thumbhole of the original size.

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Conditions of participation
Terms and Conditions for participation
in online competitions

Note: Participation in an online competition runs independently from any purchase at Thomann GmbH. The following Competition Rules apply when participating in any online competition run by Musikhaus Thomann:

  1. Competition

    1. The competitions are organised by Thomann GmbH, CEO: Hans Thomann, Hans-Thomann-Straße 1, 96138 Burgebrach, Germany.
  2. Participation

    1. Competitions are only open to persons of full age.
    2. To take part in the competition you must answer all questions correctly, fill in the registration form and submit your entry to Thomann GmbH by pressing the "send" button.
      By pressing the "send" button the participant accepts the aforementioned terms and conditions.
    3. The participant is responsible for entering their email and/or postal address correctly. Entries to the competition will be logged electronically.
  3. Qualifying Entrants

    1. Staff of Thomann GmbH and any cooperation partners and their dependants are excluded from participation.
    2. Should these conditions of participation be violated, especially by using illegitimate means, Thomann GmbH reserves the right to exclude persons from the competition. In case of such violations prizes can be withdrawn and claimed back subsequently.
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    1. The winners will be notified by Thomann GmbH by email or in writing and their names may be published on the homepage www.thomann.de. The winner accepts this form of publication explicitly.
      Should for whatever reason the winner not claim their prize, then a new winner will be drawn.
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    3. The merchandise prizes will be sent by Thomann GmbH or by one of its contracting delivery companies, per freight forwarder, courier or postal service to the postal address indicated by the winner.

      The delivery is free of charge. Only extra transport costs and customs/duties must be covered by the winner. In the case that the delivery has to be made through a freight forwarding company the freight forwarding company will contact the winner to arrange delivery timings.
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    1. The participant accepts explicitly that Thomann GmbH saves all necessary data for the duration of the competition and forwards them exclusively for purposes related to the winning process to the respective cooperation partner, who is also permitted to save the personal data only for the duration of the competition. The participant is free to withdraw his entry at any time. Please direct the withdrawal to:

      Thomann GmbH
      to the data protection officer
      Hans-Thomann-Straße 1
      96138 Burgebrach, Germany
    2. Thomann GmbH is obliged to consider the regulations for data protection according to the Federal Data Protection Law (BDSG) valid at the conclusion of the competition. In this context the general data protection regulations under notes regarding data protection should be noted.
  6. Liability

    1. Thomann GmbH will be released from any obligations by handing out the prize.
    2. Thomann GmbH is not liable for the insolvency of a cooperation partner and the resulting consequences for the implementation and processing of the competition.
  7. Other

    1. Legal proceedings are barred.
    2. The law of the Federal Republic of Germany applies exclusively.
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Recorders overview


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