Saunders Recorders

Bristol UK.

These models date from the 1940's.

Even though the wooden one was sold as a 'Solo' model the bakelite one actually sounds better.

They play all the notes in tune, but the tone quality, particularly that of the wooden one, is very soft and 'fluffy'.


Schott descants picture

The voicing of this model is very unusual, and probably accounts for the unsatisfactory tone production. I have only seen the labium and windway curved to this extent on one other model. The resulting sound was better, but of similar characteristics. It was not a model that I sell.

  Old Schott Voicing

Here is another specimen. I think this is rare as it is the only one that I have come across. The labium edge is integral with the windway moulding.

  Another old Schott Voicing

I think these two recorders date from roughly the same period. The one on the right is a hand made Dolmetsch. The similarity is remarkable.

On the Schott model the white parts are plastic and the wood beech. The Dolmetsch is made of ivory and boxwood.

A lot of trouble has been taken in an effort to make the Schott work well and the joint is actually between black plastic parts keyed into the wood. The black spot is a plastic pin. There are six altogether, three to hold each part.

  Schott and Dolmetsch descants side by side.

The tuning of the Schott model above is good but the recorder has no tone at all.
Click the play button below to hear both recorders.
The piece is Rigadoon in C major, Z.653, by Henry Purcell.
The middle section is played on the Schott model.

Tone can be very difficult to describe and assess. The above recording was made at a distance of about 25cm. from the microphone and with no 'enhancement' (reverberation). The amplitude of the Schott model as shown by the voltage graph of the software is about half that of the Dolmetsch model. With reverberation the difference between the two recorders is much less easy to hear. Its true... distance does lend enchantment! Click the play button below for an enhanced version and you will hear what I mean.

Here are three more different Schott descants from the late 1940's / early 1950's.

The darker one with the prettier turning is the one that plays the best.

The original images were provided by Roger Oakes, who played these recorders at school.

You may also be interested in school recorders from Dolmetsch. Here is a link to a page on their plastic (ABS) models from roughly the same period.

           Old Schott Descants

Old Schott Descants


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