Woodwind instrument maker

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The professional title of woodwind instrument maker (woodwind instrument maker) describes a manufacturer and restorer of woodwind instruments , including:

The group of woodwind instruments is determined by the oscillation of the air column by means of an air blade or reed during sound generation, not by the predominant material of the instrument. Today, transverse flutes are made almost entirely of metal, but are still counted among the woodwind instruments.

Some instrument makers specialize in one of the three groups or even on a certain instrument, other workshops also deal with brass instruments .


Primitive humans carved their first flutes out of wood or bone , and the Greek aulos was also made by the player himself. It stayed with this tradition for a long time.

It was not until the Middle Ages that carpenters and carpenters began to specialize in making instruments. As pictures of workshops from this period show, they mostly also made strings and other wooden instruments.

During the Baroque period and afterwards, manufacturers made major further developments in instrument technology: dividing the instrument into several manageable pieces (especially for the bassoon ), adding useful additional keys and looking for a shape for the instrument and the bore that had a beautiful sound and perfect intonation at the same time. Later, were with the modern methods of mathematics and acoustics reformed the handle and lift systems: 1847 built Theobald Boehm , a flute for a new system that is used to this day and is also applied to many clarinets. Woodwind instrument makers have also developed new instruments. The instrument maker Johann Christoph Denner is considered to be the inventor of the clarinet in 1700.


  • Flutes are made of a wide variety of metals , from aluminum to gold or platinum , but also plastic or wood . The choice of material depends primarily on the flutist's financial situation and tonal preferences.
  • Recorders are preferably made of plastic or a wide variety of hardwoods such as maple, pear, European boxwood, grenadilla , ebony or plum.
  • Oboes and clarinets will mostly be made of grenadilla, boxwood or ebony .
  • The lower instruments of the clarinet family are often made of rosewood .
  • The bassoons were also made of rosewood in the past; today, maple wood is mostly used . Nowadays, the mechanics are usually made of cast brass or rarely nickel silver. It is also galvanized (silver-plated, nickel-plated or gold-plated).
  • Saxophones are made of different brass alloys , sometimes there are also models made of special materials such as B. German silver or silver .


The wood is selected according to strict criteria and stored for several years in order to dry it gently and tension-free. Then the cut-to-size scantlings are drilled to the inside drilling dimension in several work steps in order to minimize the risk of warping. After turning and sanding on the lathe for external shaping, the flute parts are impregnated with oils or waxes to limit the moisture absorption of the wood.

Only then are the tone holes marked and carefully drilled and, if necessary, the keys attached. The exact positioning of the holes and the opening angle of the keys is what distinguishes a true master of the trade: Since when playing woodwind instruments the different tones are generated by a number of combinations of open and closed keys and tone holes, even a minimal deviation of the drilling angle can have fatal consequences for the intonation of the entire instrument.

See also