The Fred Morgan Recorder Catalogue

I see God in the instruments and mechanisms that work reliably.

Richard Buckminster Fuller, 1895–1983

Frederick G. Morgan (1940–1999), recorder maker extraordinary, always made interesting choices when selecting original Baroque instruments on which to base his famous reproductions. They often reflected his search for —and awareness of— specific characteristics such as those offered by different recorder models from different makers, their voicing qualities and bore profiles. Thus, in addition to the usual list of recorder models and prices, his catalogue included a brief description of the instruments. Fred’s descriptions contained a sometimes fascinating mix of useful information1 and the occasional observation that revealed his insightful understanding of the instrument.2 I believe that these brief observations alone are worth transcribing and sharing his catalog information here. This article is part of a series of articles about Fred Morgan that I’m writing out of pure admiration for his work as a recorder maker.

1. Fred Morgan recorder catalogue, 1987–2002

The data collected here is based on two different versions of his original catalog, supplemented by a later list of instruments —or, rather, bodies, since it refers to partially finished instruments— from 2002 (see below, The Frederick Morgan Workshop in the early 2000s):

  • The first one is marked “1987, ’89, ’91 & ’93,” which means that it remained unchanged during all these years.
  • The second one is from 1997 and includes some new soprano sizes: 3rd, 4th, 5th & 6th flutes and a sopranino.3

Below is the collected data from the three different catalogs mentioned above, which is very revealing, for example, in showing how he kept his price list the same for at least twelve years before his passing (people say that the prices of recorders around the world went up right after his death because Fred was not holding the price at a stable point any more), and in tracing the new recorder models and pitches he kept adding to his catalog over the years. The prices were originally given in Swiss francs, to which I’ve added an approximate equivalent in today’s Euro (€). Where available, I’ve also added links to some photos of the instruments in the catalog, which can be found on

The Fred Morgan 1987, ’89, ’91 & ’93, 1997 & 2002 catalogues

a) Baroque recorders
Pitch is A415 unless indicated otherwise.
Standard wood is boxwood.*

Baroque recorders Price (CHF, 1987, ’89, ’91 & ’93 catalogues) Price (CHF, 1997 catalogue) Body price (CHF, 2002 catalogue)
1. Alto after Bressan 3,675 [€3,400] 3,675 [€3,400] 1,325 [€1,225]
1b. Extra centre joint (A409) 900 [€830] - -
1c. Extra centre joint (A392) 1,200 [€1,110] - -
1d. Alto after Bressan (A440) - - 1,325 [€1,225]
2. Alto after Jacob Denner 3,675 [€3,400] 3,675 [€3,400] 1,325 [€1,225]
2b. Alto after Jacob Denner (A440) 3,675 [€3,400] - -
3. Alto after Thomas Stanesby Senior 3,675 [€3,400] 3,675 [€3,400] 1,325 [€1,225]
3b. Alto after Thomas Stanesby Senior (A440) - 3,675 [€3,400] 1,325 [€1,225]
3c. Extra centre joint to give A392 - 900 [€830] -
4. Alto after Bizey, A392 3,885 [€3,590] 3,885 [€3,590] 1,396 [€1,290]
5. Alto in Eb, after Bressan - 3,885 [€3,590] 1,396 [€1,290]
6. Alto after Debey, A415 - - 1,396 [€1,290]
7. Alto in g’ A415, English type after Bressan - - 1,325 [€1,225]
8. The Michala Petri Denner, A440 - - 1,325 [€1,225]
9. The Bressan and Stanesby Altos are also available at A440 - - 1,325 [€1,225]
10. Voiceflute in d’ after Stanesby and Bressan 3,885 [€3,590] 3,885 [€3,590] 1,396 [€1,290]
11. Sopranino in f” after Stanesby and Hallett - 3,150 [€2,915] 1,150 [€1,060
12. Soprano 6th Flute in d” after Stanesby and Hallett - 3,300 [€3,048] 1,200 [€1,110]
13. Soprano 5th Flute in c” after Stanesby & Bressan* - 3,450 [€3,190] 1,250 [€1,155]
14. Soprano 4th Flute in b’ flat after Stanesby and Bressan - 3,600 [€3,330] 1,300 [€1,200]
14b. with Extra centre to give a 3rd Flute in a’ - Extra 900 [€830] Extra 333 [€307]
15. Soprano 3rd Flute in a’ after Bressan* - 3,600 [€3,330] 1,300 [€1,200]

b) Ganassi type recorders

Ganassi type recorders. Standard wood maple Price (CHF, 1987, 89’, 91’ & ’93 catalogues) Price (CHF, 1997 catalogue) Body price* (CHF, 2002 catalogue)
16. Descant/Alto in g’. In one piece, A466 2,550 [€2,360] 2,550 [€2,360] 1,300 [€1,200]
16b. Jointed with brass ring, A466, A440, or A415 2,700 [€2,500] 2,700 [€2,500] 1,300 [€1,200]
16c. With lower joints for 2 pitches 3,150 [€2,915] 3,150 [€2,915] 1,300 [€1,200]
16d. With lower joints for 3 pitches 3,600 [€3,330] 3,600 [€3,330] 1,300 [€1,200]
17. Soprano in c”. In one piece, A415, A440, or A466 2,550 [€2,360] 2,550 [€2,360] 1,300 [€1,200]
17b. Jointed with brass ring 2,700 [€2,500] 2,700 [€2,500] 1,300 [€1,200]
17c. With lower joints for 2 pitches 3,150 [€2,915] 3,150 [€2,915] 1,300 [€1,200]
17d. With lower joints for 3 pitches 3,600 [€3,330] 3,600 [€3,330] 1,300 [€1,200]
18. Ganassi F Alto with 3 joints - - 1,300 [€1,200]
19. Tenor in c’, A466, design almost ready. No key for c’. Derived from an original tenor in Vienna. Maple, in one piece - 2,700 [€2,500] -
19b. Jointed, with a brass ring - 2,850 [€2,630] -
20. Van Eyck Soprano - - 1,300 [€1,200]

*Thanks to Nikolaj Ronimus for the information about the Bressan models, which was not originally specified in the catalogues.

2. Instrument descriptions

The following is a transcription of the instrument descriptions found in the 1987, ’89, ’91, ’93, and 1997 catalogs. The following text accompanied the instrument and price list above:

The next pages give some detail about the instruments listed above, and about ordering and delivery. Delivery time at present (1996) is between one and two years. The sopranino, 6th flute, 4th flute and 3rd flute are instruments which I have made very occasionally over the years, but now wish to include in my regular list.

*Though boxwood was so widely used for Baroque recorders, many surviving instruments are of maple. Any of the Baroque sizes can be made in maple, which can give a broad and colourful sound well worthy of comparison with the more centred tone quality associated with boxwood. NB All the instruments, Baroque and Ganassi type, in either wood, are fitted with a deerhorn or bone thumb ring.


Alto after Bressan. Derived from the original Bressan instrument owned for many years by Edgar Hunt, and now in the Bate Collection in Oxford. European boxwood, stained dark brown. Normally made with double holes, but single holes can be made on request. A415.

The 1987, ’89, ’91 & ’93 catalog adds:

An extra centre joint is available to give the lower pitch of A409.
Low French pitch, A392, can be obtained with an extra long centre and foot.
A box to take any extra pieces for other pitches is included in the price.

Alto after Denner. Derived from the Jacob Denner alto now in the Music History Museum in Copenhagen. European boxwood, usually stained. Double holes, A415. Single holes available on request.

The 1987, ’89, ’91 & ’93 catalog adds:

NB. This instrument is also available at A440.

Alto after Stanesby. Derived from the alto by Thomas Stanesby Senior in the collection of Frans Brüggen. European boxwood, stained dark. This instrument is of the long foot English type, and has a slightly broader sound in the upper register than the Hunt Bressan, which is the short foot type. A415 with double holes. Single holes available on request.

The 1997 catalog adds:

Extra centre joint to give A392.

French Pitch alto after Bizey, A392. Derived from an original instrument in the Dayton Miller Collection in Washington. European boxwood, stained dark brown. Single or double holes.

The 1987, ’89, ’91 & ’93 catalog adds:

The combination of the lower pitch with an unusually shallow windway gives increased expressive possibilities.

Alto in Eb. In bore profile, this instrument closely follows the Bressan f’ alto, giving the full Baroque compass. Some adjustments have been made to hole positions to make the instrument easier to finger. Surviving instruments in Eb by Bressan are to be found in the Grosvenor Museum in Chester, England. (Notice that Eb at A415 is the same absolute pitch as D at A440, so that this instrument can also be used as a voice flute in d’ at A440.)

Voice flute in d’. This instrument has features of both Bressan and Thomas Stanesby. Available in boxwood or hard maple, stained dark brown. Single or double holes, A415. Full Baroque compass, d’ - e”’ plus the higher notes.

Sopranino in f", A415. This instrument is derived from a surviving example by the English maker Hallett, with adjustments to the bore in the manner of Stanesby to help the tuning. The simple and elegant external profile of the Hallett is kept, and the instrument is made in unstained boxwood. The sound is clear and firm, with an easy slur between d”” and e””. Available with single or double holes.

6th Flute in d”, A415. This recorder is a larger version of the sopranino. Therefore I have kept the same Hallett profile, but, like the sopranino, the bore owes more to Stanesby. The bore and windway proportions are in the manner and within the limits of several old instruments, including in particular the ivory Stanesby Junior 6th Flute in the collection of Frans Brüggen. Available with single or double holes.

5th Flute in c”, A415 (Baroque soprano in c”). This instrument is a development from the Stanesby type soprano that I made in the 1970s and 80s. It is essentially the same, but has some minor bore adjustments to help the tuning of some of the 8ves. Boxwood, standard with double holes, but single holes can be made on request.

4th Flute Soprano in b’ flat. The well-known original Bressan 4th flute in the Bate Collection in Oxford, formerly owned by Edgar Hunt, appears to have been shortened to sound at about A440, probably rather early in its existence late in the 18th century. Because of this, it is not so suitable as a model. Therefore I have kept some features of both Bressan and Stanesby (who also made 4th flute sopranos) in this new instrument. Boxwood, or maple, standard with single holes (because the low b’ natural and c#" are seldom called for), but with double holes available on request.

Extra Centre to give a 3rd Flute in a’ at A415. This extra centre works with the 4th Flute head and foot to lower the instrument to sound in a’, hence it becomes a 3rd flute, a few examples of which size do survive. The instrument can then also be used, of course, as a 4th Flute at A392. Standard with single holes, but with double holes available on request. The tuning is good in both 4th and 3rd flute configurations.

3rd Flute in €a’ at A415. This instrument is designed after Bressan, and differs from the extended 4th flute described above in that it has the normal proportion of length to bore diameter, rather than the narrower proportion necessarily resulting from the use of a head and foot joint common to both pitches. For this reason, the sound is somewhat fuller.


Derived from a recorder in g’ in the Vienna Art History Museum, these instruments have fingerings which follow the principles detailed by Sylvestro Ganassi in his ’Fontegara’ (Venice, 1535). The XVth in particular requires Ganassi’s fingering of ø1234567. They are made in c” and in g’, in one piece or jointed, and at several pitches. All hard maple, with a thumb bushing of bone, ivory, or horn (as available).

Tuning can be equal-tempered, Aron meantone, or with thirds adjusted as requested. Please inquire if you have a particular requirement for the size of the thirds.

3. The Frederick Morgan Workshop in the early 2000s

It is well known that after Fred’s untimely passing, the Morgan workshop made an effort to continue offering instruments (or rather blanks, or bodies, as they called them since they were not finished instruments) using his same tools and measurements (and even the same woodturner, Dieter Mücke, for several years). Thus, the workshop was able to produce recorder bodies “up to approximately a third of the finished state,” according to Ann Morgan (Fred’s widow). These bodies could later be finished (i.e. tuned and voiced) with the help of several makers who offered to work with the workshop. Fortunately, this clever idea of Ann Morgan’s has made it possible to continue producing stunning Morgan instruments — notably those finished by the great Danish recorder player and maker, Nikolaj Ronimus, whom I’d like to thank again here for the great job he has done on my instruments and the immense amount of care with which he has treated them with. Chapeau!

Fred Morgan workshop plaque

Ann Morgan explained it better herself in this text, originally published around 2003 and still available at

Following Fred’s death in 1999, it became apparent that the recorder playing world was still eager to obtain any Morgan design work that was available before the workshop closed.

Orders began to flood in from customers who wanted the chance to own types of recorders from Fred’s order list that they hadn’t previously owned. And so it became obvious that in a positive way, the workshop was still of great value.

Many of you will know well what we are capable of providing from the workshop – but for those who are new to this I will explain.

With the help of Dieter (Fred’s woodturner of ten years) the workshop is capable of producing recorder “bodies” up to approximately a third of the finished state. These are turned, stained, the holes drilled, and most importantly, the bores reamed. This can all be done to Fred’s specific designs, with tools he designed and used daily. Colleagues state that the reaming done in this way is of enormous value.

My clear aim in all this is to provide only that part of the instrument that Dieter had been trained to make, using only Fred’s design figures. So to this point the work is “purely Morgan” as it were.

The recorder is then finished, i.e. voiced and tuned, by the builder of your choice.

Several builders have told me that they would be honoured to finish these instruments for you. Their names can be seen below. Of course, you are free to choose any other builder you wish to bring your instruments to fruition.

In order to speed the finishing process and hopefully save the finishers’ valuable time, Dieter is now capable of fitting blocks undersize to the recorders at our workshop. I stress that he does this to the finisher’s specifications if the client requests it. This is a process that takes approximately three hours – and we can currently do this work for you for CHF: 220 in addition to the cost of the instrument.

Also, you will notice from our order list that we can now produce Fred’s earlier Debey and F Ganassi models with his reamers. (We are obliged to Nikolaj Ronimus for development work on the F Ganassi).

Customers have described the workshop as “invaluable”! I had no idea that we had the capacity to make Fred’s ideas available. The response for his design work has been unexpected but wonderful!

There is presently a two month waiting time once an order is placed. If you wish to specify your chosen finisher, I can send the instrument directly to him/her.

For all your requests, including current prices you may contact by email

Contact details


With all best wishes

Ann Morgan.

And again, you can hear Ann Morgan describing the activities of the workshop after Fred’s passing in a fascinating 2008 interview by Amanda Smith for Australia’s ABC Radio National:

What we do now in the workshop is we do what the wood turner used to do when Fred was alive, which is make about a third of the instrument to Fred’s design work. So this person turns the outside of the instrument and, very importantly, he reams the inside of the instrument with the tools that Fred designed, the reamers that Fred designed. He places the holes, he stains the instruments, he underfits the block, and we send that instrument off to a team of finishers in Europe. So the workshop keeps going to some extent. But we do put a special stamp on the instrument, a little stamp of the Sun, which shows this instrument was made after Fred died. So yeah, we’re very clear about that. So the buyer knows they’re not getting an original Morgan by any means, but they’re getting quite a deal of the design work in there.

4. The Frederick Morgan Workshop today

After Fred’s original woodturner retired, there were, to my knowledge, two other woodturners trained at the workshop: Brendan Stemp and Owen Watkins. But the current situation, as far as I know, is that the workshop is once again training a new woodturner. According to Ann Morgan, this happens every 6 years or so and must be a very time-consuming (and expensive) process. Woodturners seem to be in short supply in Australia, so it’s probably difficult to find people with these specific skills. Also, machines are being used more and more these days, and woodturners sometimes become “artists” in their own right and don’t want to do fine repetitive work.

As a result, they’re still able to take new orders, but for the reasons mentioned above, delivery times are very long at the moment.

Ann Morgan:

I do hope to keep the workshop open. I believe our intellectual property is of use — and that there is an interest out there still in Fred’s design work. Unfortunately I can’t put a date on this…

Of course there is still interest in Fred’s design work. By making partially finished bodies to Morgan’s original specifications and reamers (later voiced and tuned by a number of today’s recorder makers), the Morgan Workshop has produced some of the finest recorders I’ve ever tried.

With this piece, I hope to make a small contribution to bringing renewed attention to the valuable, priceless work that I hope can still be done at the Morgan Workshop. And if we want to continue to get recorder bodies and with shorter delivery times, we should probably make sure that Ann and the people working at the Morgan Workshop know about it.

  1. For example, the provenance of the original recorders he used as models, or the different options available in terms of fingerings, woods, and pitches. 

  2. “with adjustments to the bore in the manner of Stanesby to help the tuning;” “The bore and windway proportions are in the manner and within the limits of several old instruments;” “[this instrument] has some minor bore adjustments to help the tuning of some of the 8ves.”

  3. The sopranino, 6th flute, 4th flute and 3rd flute are instruments which I have made very occasionally over the years, but now wish to include in my regular list.”