Buying a new flute; Help needed.

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Twilight91
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Buying a new flute; Help needed.

Post by Twilight91 »

Ok... So, I'm thinking about buying a new flute. I've been playing for about 8 years (on the same flute which has suffered many bumps, bruises, and other problems, and is also a introductory level flute) and am planning to be a music major when I go off to college. I'm only a sophomore in highschool so I still have a few years to go, but I have a few questions.

I was thinking of buying an Armstrong LTD 5 model flute which is only of intermediate level, but was wondering if it would be a wiser choice to purchase a professional instrument instead. I need something that will last me a while but isn't too terribly expensive. Do colleges look down on intermediate level flutes? I've tried out a lot of flutes and I really like this model. The particular store I may be buying this flute from also has two other professional model flutes, both plateau keys and one without a b-flat foot joint; I cannot remember if both have offset Gs but I think that they do. The LTD 5, on the other hand, is open-holed, french pointed keys, but with an inline G. LTD 5 also comes with a pretty little gold-plated engraved lip plate, which really isn't a big deal and I could give or take, although I've heard that gold lip plates produce a warmer tone?

So, if anyone has any suggestions, it'd be appreciated greatly! Thanks! :D
*What the heart makes cloudy, the head makes very clear.*

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flutepicc06
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Post by flutepicc06 »

Gold lip plates may or may not offer a warmer tone. That varies from player to player and flute to flute, and most people can't hear a difference in material. However, a gold-plated lip plate like this flute has will offer no difference. The plating involves too little gold for it to matter. Colleges do not usually look down on any flute. If you can play well, it doesn't really matter what you do it on, and while some teachers may be inclined to make you switch flutes in college, most will not. There are only 4 professional level flutes in my studio out of 15 players. If you're happy with the Armstrong, then definitely keep that option open. Don't limit yourself to what that one music store has to offer. For a purchase as expensive as most intermediate flutes, you want to be sure you're happy, which means play testing as many flutes as possible. Places like Fluteworld can ship you flutes that local stores may not have access to. I would strongly suggest you go this route. As for whether to go for the pro or an intermediate, that's up to you. It's a matter of budget, how far you think you can go musically (looking at your skill level and progression realistically), what you feel you need out of a flute, etc. Personally, I would opt to go for the intermediate if you feel it can give you at least a couple years of service and you like the mechanism. At that point, you always have the option of upgrading the headjoint. Your playing will change a lot through the last couple years of high school and college, and a pro flute that works for you now may not do it later, so best to postpone such a large purchase until you're sure you need it and it will continue to be a good match. I wouldn't be too concerned about the specs on the flute, as you'll rarely need a low B or French keywork. The B shows up in about 80 pieces of orchestral and modern solo literature, and the hole serve only for pitch shading, extended effects and some notes into the 4th octave. Most players won't do anything with those past the initial experimentation. Now, I suggested you try out additional flutes, so here's a list of brands I think would be worth looking at in the intermediate/introductory pro range. If you decide the pro is the way to go, let us know, and we can put together a separate list.

Emerson
Azumi
Amadeus
Sonare
Brio
Dimedici
Gemeinhardt
Jupiter
Pearl
Sankyo
Altus
Trevor James
Yamaha
Muramatsu
Miyazawa

Hope that helps!

MeLizzard
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Post by MeLizzard »

Once again, I'll wholeheartedly endorse the Muramatsu EX; a great deal at around $2700, and good for several years. Also, a nice body on which to put another head later, if necessary.
"There is no 'Try'; there is only 'Do'."--Yoda

fluteguy18
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Post by fluteguy18 »

I agree whole heartedly with both of you. A friend of mine has a pearl that is entirely gold plated. No matter how hard I try to convince her that the plating doesnt change the sound, she wont listen. But, it doesnt change the sound at all. Sound quality is largely dependant on the cut of the embouchure hole. Her headjoint has a cut that really compliments her playing [but she cant seem to understand that different cuts play differently :? ]

The whole french arms thing.... I have heard that it helps long term seating of the pad, but I have also heard that it is only a cosmetic thing. I personally reccommend a flute with open holes because there are many things you can do with them that you cant do with a plateau key flute [ some fine tuning in groups, quarter tones, glisses, certain multiphonics etc.].

If you like the Armstrong, and feel that it will suit you well, then get it, but make sure you try out ALL of your options. Dont box yourself in, by only looking at 1 dealer. The whole professional / intermediate flute thing is your choice. In my studio [ 5 majors] there are 4 pro flutes, and 1 intermediate. I play the intermediate flute in my studio. I like my flute a lot, but I can tell I have outgrown it. I play on an Armstrong 303BG. It suits me fine right now, but I am upgrading soon [just waiting for financial aid to finish up at school so I can get my student loan money]. But, it is really your choice. Armstrongs generally have well cut headjoints for the money. I still love mine, but can feel that it is holding me back. I can just feel, that for ME there is a better match out there. For you, the Armstrong may be your perfect match.

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Twilight91
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Post by Twilight91 »

I was looking at a few Pearls as well on "The Woodwind and The Brasswind" shop online. It is located in South Bend so I may end up taking a drive there soon to try out a few. Well, those Pearls, which I have heard from various people are extremely well-made and nice-sounding instruments, carry the same little details (and possible more) as the Armstrong, but those are all professional instruments. Another thing that I like about those Pearls is the fact that I could make monthly payments, and at the shop I may be buying from I can't. So, that's always a plus because I really don't have 1-2000 in cash right now. So, I guess I want to know also what y'all's opinions of Pearl Flutes is.
*What the heart makes cloudy, the head makes very clear.*

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flutepicc06
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Post by flutepicc06 »

Twilight91 wrote:I was looking at a few Pearls as well on "The Woodwind and The Brasswind" shop online. It is located in South Bend so I may end up taking a drive there soon to try out a few. Well, those Pearls, which I have heard from various people are extremely well-made and nice-sounding instruments, carry the same little details (and possible more) as the Armstrong, but those are all professional instruments. Another thing that I like about those Pearls is the fact that I could make monthly payments, and at the shop I may be buying from I can't. So, that's always a plus because I really don't have 1-2000 in cash right now. So, I guess I want to know also what y'all's opinions of Pearl Flutes is.
Pearl flutes are solidly built instruments, but don't automatically assume that it's a pro flute if it's a Pearl. They span everywhere from decent intermediate flutes to some of the very most expensive pro flutes available, so depending on what model you get, it may or not be consider "pro" (though the lines between the various levels of flutes are very blurry). You should be fine if you end up with a Pearl, but I don't usually recommend buying from WWBW. Their flutes are very rarely set up properly when new (I know others who have had similar experiences with this), and their customer service (at least in my experience) has been less than adequate.

fluteguy18
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Post by fluteguy18 »

I personally like pearl. Not my first choice in flute, but by the way that things are looking, I will probably end up with a Pearl Cantabile. I still like them though. The new ones are well made [ a few years ago there were some quality control issues], and have a unique sound. Some people like them, some people dont. I like them though. But just make sure that you make your decision based off of what YOU think. Not by what general consensis comes up on the board. We try not to sway people one way or another, but it sometimes happens anyway. When it comes down to it, all that matters is that you are happy with what you purchased, and that you feel it is the right one for you.

fluttiegurl
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Post by fluttiegurl »

I have had several student over the past few years with Pearls and I agree, you either like em or you don't. However, they are very well made instruments for the money. If you like the sound and feel and you have tried others, go for it. I too would no recommend wwbw to purchase a flute. If you actually go to the showroom, you may have better luck.

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Phineas
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Post by Phineas »

I own the Pearl Quantz 665, and a 501e. I would say the 665 is the most versitile flute I own, and one of the lowest price flute I have. Frankly, I could not see much of a difference between the 665 and the 765 to justify the price. Be advised that the Quantz is the bottom of their "Professional" line. The 500 series are the beginner and intermediate series. The prices of a 525 and the 665 are close together, but the 2 models are totally different. Be cautious!

For you information about WWBW, they just filed bankruptcy, and taken over by Guitar Center.

http://www.dmnews.com/cms/dm-news/catal ... 39124.html

Now that place will really start going down hill! Since the showroom is still open, if you can make it there, that would proably be the safe thing to do.

Phineas

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briolette
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Post by briolette »

I personally am a big fan of Pearls, but that's because I own one...it was a nice transition from the emerson when I was in highschool.
There's really not much that I can add to the above comments, but I just want to reiterate how important it is to try out a flute in person before purchase. Many online vendors will send out their flutes for you to try. Even between same makes and models, there may be some slight variances especially if several years have gone by between production time.

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woof
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new flutes

Post by woof »

I too am a Pearlie- which is irrelavant to the discussion, I have an Elegante that I really like- I often play along with various CDs as accompaniment (whether the artist likes it or not- my house my rules) and sometimes even take the lead- again my house my rules. The point is that the flute is intune pretty much through the 3rd octave so playing along sounds good. That said I agree with other posters that which flute best suits you can only be determined by you and trial. I would add, from my experience, that spending one hour in a store trying flutes may be helpful but you really need much more time than that to explore what you might be able to get out of a new/different flute and to make comparisons really valid. A tape recorder might also be useful in assessing what each flute sounds like from 10 feet away rather than right next to your ear. It is almost as good as a second opinion. Maybe even better since it will be your opinion.

concertino
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Post by concertino »

Some of the best Trevor James models are nicer than $10,000 Miyazawa's, although I haven't tried the lower end Miyazawa's. A Trevor James was going to be my second choice, but I decided to get a custom made Brannen model.
I do not really know that much about the lower end flutes, but I suggest at least getting a solid silver flute. I strongly do not suggest a Gemeinhardt
Best of luck with your choice

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flutepicc06
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Post by flutepicc06 »

concertino wrote:I suggest at least getting a solid silver flute. I strongly do not suggest a Gemeinhardt
Is there any specific reason you suggest solid silver and why you dislike Gemeinhardts?

fluteguy18
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Post by fluteguy18 »

flutepicc06 wrote:
concertino wrote:I suggest at least getting a solid silver flute. I strongly do not suggest a Gemeinhardt
Is there any specific reason you suggest solid silver and why you dislike Gemeinhardts?

Good question. Also, I would like to state, that Miyazawa flutes are fairly nice as well. Even though you may have found in your opinion that some trevor james flutes are better than some top miyazawa flutes, we need to clarify that it is merely opinion. See, my opinion of the two is the exact opposite.

So a comment such as "... Some of the best Trevor James models are nicer than $10,000 Miyazawa's" can be misleading if taken as concrete fact. I have no problem with your opinion--- each to his/her own. We just need to make sure that in assistance to this individual that we give advice that unbiased in regards to quality comparison between two different companies. Because, as we know, everyone plays differently, and everyone has different preferances, so it is almost impossible to state clearly that one company is better than another.

But, endorse Trevor James all you want. I have no problem with that. They are good instruments. I wasnt too impressed by them, but yet I am a completely different person and player than you. Let's just try to make sure that we dont end up saying that one company is better than another without solid concrete evidence. :wink:

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Phineas
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Post by Phineas »

Some of the best Trevor James models are nicer than $10,000 Miyazawa's, although I haven't tried the lower end Miyazawa's. A Trevor James was going to be my second choice, but I decided to get a custom made Brannen model.
I do not really know that much about the lower end flutes, but I suggest at least getting a solid silver flute. I strongly do not suggest a Gemeinhardt
Best of luck with your choice
1. Solid Silver is not always the best choice.
2. Gemeinhardt may not be the most prefered instrument, but I would not have a problem recommending one.

I would like to know what reason you would think that a Trevor James is better than a Miyazawa?

As a person who can afford to buy almost any flute I want, has made choices that you would not recommend. I have chosen the Miyazawa over the Trevor James many times. In fact, I liked my Miyazawa so much, I got rid of my Haynes. I also have a preference for Silver Clad bodies over the solid silver ones.(As many other pro flute players do)

I think this would be a good time for the elders on this board to put a FAQ together about buying new flutes. This way we can keep a neutral handle one discussions like this. Say the word, and I will start one. Between Flutepic06, Fluteguy18, Melizard, fluttiegurl, and a few others, we should be able to come up with a pretty good guide/FAQ.

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