A friend wants to make a tenor recorder from scratch (he is already a gaita maker), and asked me for the technical measures to do it, I searched through the web but couldn't found any complete reference on how to do it, its measures, etc.

So, what are the measures (in inches, cm, mm, whatsoever) of a tenor recorder?

  • 1
    I think your question isn't on-topic here. I'm not sure about questions about making musical instruments. You might have to spend more time doing web searches and looking for pages like this one: members.iinet.net.au/~nickl/tredenick Here's a whole list of resources: recorderhomepage.net/instruments/construction-design Here's a detailed diagram for an alto recorder in F: members.iinet.net.au/~nickl/inline/… Commented Jun 10, 2016 at 13:39
  • My first port of call would be to actually obtain one, and play it a bit, whilst trying to understand why it's like it is, and could it be improved/simplified. By then, I'd have all the measurements I need. It's not going to break the bank.
    – Tim
    Commented Jun 10, 2016 at 14:09
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    Buy a cheap plastic one. They're remarkably good, and will supply all the data required.
    – Laurence
    Commented Jun 10, 2016 at 14:22
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    Hard to answer: recorders date from an era, where standard pitch was not yet invented. While a=440Hz is obviously easy for playing with a piano tuned according to contemporary standards, it is noticably higher (meaning shorter) than baroque models.
    – guidot
    Commented Jun 10, 2016 at 14:49
  • I am sorry but I think everybody is a gaita maker. Do you mean gaida?
    – user52086
    Commented Aug 4, 2018 at 8:37

2 Answers 2


It seems there is a large recorder making community, with a vast and very useful set of resources here.

There are some links to technical plans, however a lot of them are for alto recorder rather than tenor, and even more still are stored on microfiche in libraries and not accessible online. Having said that:

This PDF has a graph detailing bore diameters of various tenor recorders on p8

Another link to 3 PDF and CAD files, two with plans for soprano and one for alto recorder

A very informative website (in French and English) by a recorder maker, with a discussions on bore size and photographs of making recorders lower down on the home page under 'documents'.

This is a picture of an alto recorder on top of a copy of plans by Thomas Stanesby, a maker of recorders in the 18th century, which might be useful (credit www.buyrecorders.com)

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Another copy of Alto plans, this time a French design from c. 1700 (credit J.-F. Beaudin, I found it on the first link, recorderhomepage.net)



This is an old thread, but I have just finished making a tenor instrument and it has taught me a little more about bore profiles that I would like to share.

The bore profile of a tenor deviates from a smooth cone so that the tone holes for each hand are closer together than normal and thus easier to reach. Holes 1, 2 and 3 are on a steeper section. The taper eases, then holes 4, 5, 6 and 7 are on a second steeper section. There is usually a narrow choke section near the bottom end, mainly in the foot joint.

The technique I used was to make a regular tapered reamer and ream the body bore as a smooth cone. The foot joint was then reamed with two short reamers to form the choke section. This resulted in the bottom C being almost a semitone sharp. I then used an internal sanding drum (fashioned from a dowel with a split at the head for the sandpaper) in a battery drill to increase the body bore diameter. I checked the diameter at 10mm intervals, comparing carefully against a known good instrument.

The internal diameter can be readily checked with a T shaped internal bore guage. These are readily available from various Chinese suppliers. Usually these are only 150mm or so long. It is a simple job make a handle extension from a length of dowel so you can measure right down the recorder body.

Once done, the bottom C should be within 15 cents of correct, and final tuning can be done as usual by varying hole size and placement.

Also, most tenor recorders require keys for the bottom C and C# holes. You need to have (or acquire) good metalworking skills to make keys that are functional and look good. I spent more time making keyword than doing woodwork.

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