Brands of woodwinds available in-store

All the instruments in this family used to be made from wood, which gives them their name. Today, these instruments are all made of wood, metal, plastic or some combination of them. They are cylinders or pipes in different widths, with holes, an opening at the bottom end and a mouthpiece at the top. They get played by blowing air through the mouthpiece (that’s the “wind” in “woodwind”) and opening or closing the holes with your fingers to change the pitch. Metal caps called keys cover the holes of most woodwind instruments.


Recorders are of the earliest wind instruments and the forerunners of the modern flute. You play the recorder by blowing directly into the mouthpiece, and then shortening or lengthening the pipe by closing or opening the holes that is on the flute. In the mouthpiece there’s a small wooden block directing air called a fipple. You get them in many voices. For more info check the recorder page.

Flutes ( C )

The flute was a natural evolution after the recorder and other basic flutes made from wood and bone. The flute is made from metal and in the 19th century flute makers started experimenting with key system. The current padded key system is called the Boehm system. The flute has just over three octaves. Flutes come in piccolo, standard and alto voice. The flutes mouthpiece or embouchure is part of the flute.

Clarinet ( B♭ )

The clarinet has a single-reed mouthpiece, a straight, cylindrical tube with an almost cylindrical bore, and a flared bell. It also has a padded key system like the flute. Clarinets have the largest range of common woodwinds. Clarinets are made from wood or hard rubber. The reeds come in different thicknesses, and a variety of cuts that create different tonalities.

Saxophone ( B♭ / E♭ )

A saxophone has a conical metal tube with about 24 openings controlled by padded keys; the mouthpiece is a single reed mouthpiece like that of a clarinet. Except for the sopranino and one form of the B♭ soprano saxophone, that’s built straight like a clarinet, saxophones have an upturned lower end and a detachable crook, or neck, at the upper end. Generally speaking you get a soprano, alto, tenor and baritone saxophone.

Oboe ( C )

The oboe is a 2 foot long black cylinder with metal keys covering its holes, and its mouthpiece uses a double reed, which vibrates when you blow through it. The vibration of the reed creates sound. It uses a padded key system to change the pitch of the instrument. Oboes are most commonly made form boxwood, vulcanite, rosewood or granadilla. The oboe originated somewhere is the 17th century in France.

Bassoon ( C )

The bassoon is a long pipe, doubled in half, made of wood, with many padded keys. The bend in the pipe makes it possible for musicians to play it comfortably. If it were straight, the bassoon would be around 9 feet long! Like the oboe, the bassoon uses a double reed, which is fitted into a curved metal mouthpiece. Bassoons come in two sizes: the bassoon, and the double bassoon or contrabassoon, which sounds an octave lower than the bassoon. 


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