Could anyone recommend a flute model for me?

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L'Aquatique
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Could anyone recommend a flute model for me?

Post by L'Aquatique » Thu Dec 13, 2007 1:26 am

Hello, everyone...
I played the Oboe when I was in middle school- I was actually quite good, played in the community orchestra. I also played Flute on the side but never really got into it because a combination of my parents wanting me to use the instrument they spent over a grand on, and my overbearing music teacher. I ended up dropping out of orchestra and singing in a choir the rest of my public school career.
In any case, I'm all "grow'd up" now and I'd really like to pick the flute back up. I really miss that wonderful feeling you get from playing a musical instrument, but I don't miss broken reeds and mouth cramps from trying to hold on to that tiny little mouthpiece.
I'm looking for a good, solid flute that's more advanced than your "band student" model. Definitely want to buy new- I actually went through three oboes (two of which were supposed to be NEW) before I found one that didn't fall apart. (Imagine the trauma of your sister accidentally snapping in half your beloved musical instrument... :shock: Turns out it had been broken before and someone superglued it back together :roll: )
I'm not looking for something super expensive or overpriced with a bunch of features I do need, but I do have some money to spend on it (I'm selling my Oboe) and I want a good quality instrument that will last me a while and won't need to be "upgraded" any time soon..
Some features I'd like to see are... closed-holed, a b flat foot, curved lip plate, perhaps a silver head, etc etc.

Thanks in advance for your help-

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sidekicker
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Post by sidekicker » Thu Dec 13, 2007 6:34 am

Welcome to the board; we're glad you're here and hope you find something informative on this site. Please stick around.

You might try, if you haven't already, a read through our FAQs which are posted in this forum ("Hang Out Place"). There, you will find several models of flutes that some of us have found to be good choices in particular circumstances.

One thing you might want to know up front. You are unlikely to get anybody here to name a specific flute model you should buy. Rather, posters will give you some brands/models for you to check out. The reason for this is that none of us can really know your playing style, likes/dislikes in a flute, etc. The general advice you will get is to playtest as many flutes as you can get your hands on that are in your price range. This is not because nobody wants to help you; it's because that is just the best, most accurate way, for anybody to choose a flute. We can normally help you distinguish between models (how they are different, etc.), but it is unlikely anybody will be able to tell you what to buy.

Plus, all of us here have our own biases that we carry into the discussions. For example, I have a general dislike for Japanese professional flutes and prefer the "Boston" flutemakers. That certainly does not mean there's anything wrong with Japanese flutes; it just means that my playing style and the things I look for and like in a flute have not been found in the Japanese flutes I've played. That's all it means. Plenty of people here have marvelous success with them; some have the same bias against the type of flutes I prefer, and there's nothing wrong with that either. Picking a flute to buy is a personal choice and, like all personal choices, is going to involve you making that final call on what works for you.

In any case, have a look at our FAQs and see if that helps some. If you have a good music store near you that carries flutes, go down and play all of them and start building your treasure chest of flute likes/dislikes. Then use that as a guide as you branch out (assuming you haven't already found what you liked there).

The best advice I can give, aside from playing as many flutes as you can before you buy, is to work hard at defining what you want and expect from the instrument. People, IMO, don't do this nearly enough. A particular instrument might be able to deliver for some people, but not you. But you can't know if it delivers until you have defined for yourself what it is you expect from the instrument, then play a bunch of them to see which ones meet those expectations.

Good luck!
SK

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flutepicc06
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Post by flutepicc06 » Thu Dec 13, 2007 11:06 am

Well said, SK. I couldn't agree with that anymore, though I would like to add that if it's at all possible, you should take someone with you while you're playtesting, and perform the tests blindfolded. What the audience hear can be very different from what we hear as performers, so it's always good to get some feedback from the audience's POV. The blindfolding will help prevent you from being influenced by knowing the make of the flute, which options it has, etc. and will ensure you get the flute that performs best for you, rather than the one that you might want to perform best for you.

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L'Aquatique
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Post by L'Aquatique » Thu Dec 13, 2007 12:38 pm

Thank you for the warm welcomes!

I am going to go to the music store probably tomorrow- full day today- unfortunately they are a small music store and I doubt that they have more than two or three flutes on hand, likely only one new one, at best, and probably all student models. There is another store in town but I'm guessing it's going to be more of the same.
I'll do what I can, though. Thanks for the great advice...

fluteguy18
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Post by fluteguy18 » Thu Dec 13, 2007 1:38 pm

You could probably try to set up a time to make a trip to a larger city where more options would be available. Or, you could probably try flutes by means of doing trial periods with companies like http://www.fluteworld.com

Otherwise, I can't agree more with the advice given already. You really do have to shop around.

To me, it sounds like you are wanting to shop around in the intermediate flute price range. But, most flutes in that range are open holed. That is just the trend now-a-days. This is not to say that they are somehow better than closed holes, but rather that open holes are more popular right now, resulting in the fact that there are few intermediate model flutes with closed holes.

So, just because a flute is open holed, dont just cross it off the list. You could just put plugs in the holes, and it will play exactly like a closed hole flute. Therefore, if you are willing to look at open hole flutes, you have a lot more options available.

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L'Aquatique
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Post by L'Aquatique » Thu Dec 13, 2007 1:49 pm

fluteguy18 wrote:You could probably try to set up a time to make a trip to a larger city where more options would be available. Or, you could probably try flutes by means of doing trial periods with companies like http://www.fluteworld.com
I wish I could! But I'm pretty remote and I don't have a lot of spare time to make a five-hour round-trip drive! :(
fluteguy18 wrote:To me, it sounds like you are wanting to shop around in the intermediate flute price range. But, most flutes in that range are open holed. That is just the trend now-a-days. This is not to say that they are somehow better than closed holes, but rather that open holes are more popular right now, resulting in the fact that there are few intermediate model flutes with closed holes.

So, just because a flute is open holed, dont just cross it off the list. You could just put plugs in the holes, and it will play exactly like a closed hole flute. Therefore, if you are willing to look at open hole flutes, you have a lot more options available.
You raise a valid point. I just read somewhere that open holed flutes are better for playing Jazz, which I would like to do. The only thing is I was under the impression that most open-holed flutes have the inline g key, which seems like it would be uncomfortable for me? Not sure, never played one, so I would be interested to hear opinions on that.

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flutepicc06
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Post by flutepicc06 » Thu Dec 13, 2007 2:11 pm

The Inline G may be less comfortable for you than the Offset, but it may not. Until you've tried both, there's no way to know. In any case, it's perfectly possible to get open holes with an Offset G (I play such a flute myself), and closed holes with an Inline G. Open hole flutes are not necessarily any better for jazz. They open up the possibility of some extended effects, but there are more than enough strange sounds you can get out of a closed hole instrument.

Also, there are many flute dealers (Fluteworld among them) who will work with you over the web/phone, and ship you instruments on trial. I believe that's what Fluteguy was suggesting. This may be a good route to go since your local stores are poorly stocked.

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L'Aquatique
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Post by L'Aquatique » Thu Dec 13, 2007 2:19 pm

I'm going to see if I can run over to the music store today. I need to find out how much I can get for my Oboe (I'm asking a thousand, but that may not happen) before I can decide on how much exactly I have to spend on a flute. I went to that flute world site, and all those flutes were out of my budget! Any chance of getting a nice intermediate flute for $500 USD or less? Not counting shipping, which is inevitably exhorbent when it's to Alaska. :roll:

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flutepicc06
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Post by flutepicc06 » Thu Dec 13, 2007 2:22 pm

L'Aquatique wrote:Any chance of getting a nice intermediate flute for $500 USD or less? Not counting shipping, which is inevitably exhorbent when it's to Alaska. :roll:
Not really. Good quality used intermediates in working order generally command prices of about 1000 and up. You can certainly get decent student level instruments for 500, but not intermediate flutes. New, an intermediate generally sells for about $1500-$3000.

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L'Aquatique
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Post by L'Aquatique » Thu Dec 13, 2007 2:30 pm

Holy crap, I can't afford that! :shock:
I didn't think I would have any problem finding one at least under a thousand!
I guess I may have to stick with a student flute for now. I'll have to see if the shop rents intermediate flutes- I could do the thing where they put the rent toward the purchase of the instrument. :oops:

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flutepicc06
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Post by flutepicc06 » Thu Dec 13, 2007 2:36 pm

L'Aquatique wrote:Holy crap, I can't afford that! :shock:
I didn't think I would have any problem finding one at least under a thousand!
I guess I may have to stick with a student flute for now. I'll have to see if the shop rents intermediate flutes- I could do the thing where they put the rent toward the purchase of the instrument. :oops:
There's nothing wrong with a good student flute. Yamaha, Emerson, Gemeinhardt, Jupiter, Pearl, and Trevor James would be worth looking into at the student level. You can always upgrade the headjoint later, too. This can make the flute play like an entirely new instrument without the cost of a new body as well.

Of course, these prices aren't nearly as high as they go. I've personally played a flute with a $65000 price tag, and it's not at all uncommon for professional flutists to play instruments cost 10,000+ USD.

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L'Aquatique
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Post by L'Aquatique » Fri Dec 14, 2007 1:15 am

You guys are 'gonna love this story...

So I went to the first music shop, found out they don't even rent band instruments anymore, which I was actually kind of expecting, since they always seemed much more interested in guitars. So I went over to the other music shop.
They had a couple of student flutes that I played, nothing real impressive. Just as I was about to leave, feeling quite disappointed, the woman said, "well, we do have one more." She went to the back and came back five minutes later with an Armstrong 103B, a couple years old but never used. Apparently, their old music teacher (who also happened to be my first teacher) had bought it but no one ever rented it because in this tiny town no one ever needed an intermediate-level flute.
It's silver plated with a curved-lip plate, b foot, open holes (but it comes with plugs), etc. The g key is inline but testplaying it I found that it wasn't uncomfortable at all, although I did need to plug the g key. I actually discovered that I like the feeling of the open holes- I think it made it easier to grip. The b foot was nice as well, even though chances are I won't use it very much it's still nice to say, "hey, I can play that note."
All in all, I was very impressed with the flute. Right off, even though I haven't done much playing in years, I was able to hit some notes that I never could on my cheap nickel-plated chinese flute. Frankly, it was sort of magical. :oops:

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