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Di Zhao flute and piccolo issues and review

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Di Zhao flute and piccolo issues and review

Postby cosgrovestudio » Thu Sep 28, 2017 10:32 am

UPDATE: I have been in direct contact with the owner of the company, Mr. Zhao, and he has offered an amicable solution for the replacement of the piccolo mentioned below. I never expected to get a new one for free, and in fact would have been fine with having to pay for the repair. He is taking care of my student, so I am comfortable in continuing to recommend his brand. Despite the few flaws that I have noticed with the flutes, I still am happy with how they perform for their students. I may be hesitant to recommend the piccolo in the future, I'm still undecided. I have had a couple technicians tell me that plastic piccolos can break in a fall like that, but since it happens rarely, I would hope that the manufacturer would offer a solution if the instrument is fairly new. Di Zhao has stepped up and made it right.

I have been recommending the Di Zhao flutes and piccolos to my students for a long time. When I first became aware of the company, I was worried that they were an untested brand for the long term. I now have a student who just developed a major issue, Di Zhao is not accepting it as the inherent defect it is, and I don't see a lot of Di Zhao reviews online. I hope leaving this information will help the next teacher/student who is interested in this brand.

Upon first playing, these piccolos and flutes speak wonderfully. All of my students play tested several flutes, and always picked Di Zhao for ease of playing and gorgeous tone. I have been recommending the high quality of Di Zhao for years without any major problems. With that said, longevity is a serious issue for some of the instruments.

One student purchased a solid silver model with plated keys. After about 5 years of use, the plating started to wear off of several of the keys. I know for a fact that she had a higher acid level in her body chemistry, but I do also. She kept her flute relatively clean. The plating has not started to wear off on my Gemeinhardt until recently, and it is 25 years old.

For several of my students who purchased the intermediate solid silver model, keys did not stay in adjustment for as long as a Yamaha or other quality brand name would. I worked in a musical instrument repair shop for a couple of years, and I know how to fix flutes. I've had to do minor adjustments to the Di Zhaos more often than other brands. This could be a problem for the normal teacher that hasn't learned how to adjust the keys.
I've also noticed that the G# key bends out of shape more frequently.

The Di Zhao is just a bit more fragile than other intermediate models. This is an issue for middle school/high school students: their instrument is still knocked around a bit, and must take a little abuse. This is because the key action is so fluid, but for the type of audience that these flutes are attracting, I feel sturdiness is more important.

Now onto to the piccolo. I have a student that uses the plastic body with metal headjoint. Or she USED TO. She was negligent (hey, it's marching band), placed the picc on a stand, and it was knocked to the floor. The body was actually sheared into two right at the place where the headjoint sheath connects to the body. Under close inspection, it appears that where the headjoint sleeve attaches to, there is a plastic piece that has been routed out and glued in. There was a color difference between the piccolo body and the plastic cylinder that snapped off underneath the metal of the headjoint sleeve. Di Zhao does not acknowledge this defect, won't fix it, and my student now has to buy a new piccolo. It was less than 1 year old. (It should be noted that I had my Yamaha plastic piccolo dropped numerous times during my marching band days in the same situation, it never failed.)

If you have any questions, please feel free to send me an email. I take my recommendations seriously, and am quite upset with how latest piccolo issue was handled by Di Zhao.

Michelle Cosgrove
Last edited by cosgrovestudio on Fri Sep 29, 2017 5:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Di Zhao flute and piccolo issues and review

Postby pied_piper » Thu Sep 28, 2017 7:56 pm

I'm sorry to hear of the problems your students have been having with the Di Zhao flutes and piccs. As you noted, Di Zhao has developed a reputation for selling reasonably well-made instruments. However, some techs have noted that the plating of instruments made in China does not seem to hold up quite as well as those made elsewhere. I have not heard of any issues with the Di Zhao piccolo, but yours student's picc could possibly be an exception. Could you post a few photos here to show what you believe is the defect?

While it is possible that your students piccolo did have a manufacturing defect, any time an instrument is dropped, it is difficult to say conclusively that the instrument is at fault. Sometimes it is simply the misfortune of the way it strikes the ground, producing stresses beyond the limits of the material. The headjoint socket is the one of the thinnest and weakest parts of the piccolo body.

Even though the body broke, it may be possible to repair it. You may want to contact Pettry Flutes and Piccolos and get his opinion regarding whether it is possible and economically feasible to repair. Adam Pettry specializes in piccolo work and he is also a long-time and frequent participant here. He is an excellent flute/picc performer/technician who does great work and he comes highly recommended. https://www.piccolorepair.com/

I have a Chinese-made bass flute that is identical to the Di Zhao bass but it bears a different brand name. A side-by-side comparison though makes it apparent that mine was made in the same factory as the Di Zhao. I've had it for 3-4 years now and I've had no problems with it. I too am a flute technician (although part-time) and I've performed a couple of COAs on it but I've noted no problems with it. I have not observed any problem with the the plating, but in fairness, it does not get a lot of play time.
"Never give a flute player a screwdriver."

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