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rolled tone holes?

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rolled tone holes?

Postby flutist76 » Wed Jan 07, 2009 6:30 am

Can anyone explain rolled tone hole design? I recently purchased a used Gemeinhardt 4SP piccolo. The website says it's available with this feature. I'm not sure what it is. Anybody?

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Postby fluttiegurl » Wed Jan 07, 2009 7:06 am

Rolled tone holes refers to rolling the metal at the edge of the tone holes to help protect the pads from damage (at least that is what the manufacturers claim).

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Postby flutist76 » Wed Jan 07, 2009 7:17 am

Thanks for such a quick response. Im inspecting if this picc has them. Do you know if there is any acoustical difference?

Im a new flute/piccolo player. I know the picc plays one octave higher than flute. Would I be correct in assuming the piccolo plays past the fourth octave and the second octave is its lowest?

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Postby etgohomeok » Wed Jan 07, 2009 8:52 am

The piccolo has the same range as the flute, except only goes down to a low D instead of C, and shifted up an octave. Depending on experience and piccolo quality, you can hit a high C with the piccolo, although it's not recommended :wink: . For obvious reasons, it's much harder to hit the uppermost notes on the piccolo than it is on the flute.

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Postby pied_piper » Wed Jan 07, 2009 9:14 am

To elaborate a bit more on the subject, metal flutes and piccolos have tone holes with one of two construction techniques.

1 - Drawn and rolled tone holes - These tone holes are made by actually drawing (stretching) metal out of the body of the instrument. After drawing out the tone hole, the top is rolled over. This eliminates a sharp edge that could cut the pad skin and also reinforces the thin top. The advantage of this is that it is less costly to produce because it can be done by machines and there is no seam between the tone hole and body. The disadvantage is that the tone hole is thinner than the rest of the flute body and can be damaged more easily. This technique is used on most flutes from student-level up to hand-made professional instruments.

2 - Soldered tone holes - These tone holes are made from a separate piece of tubing and then soldered to the flute body. The advantage is that the tone hole is thicker - usually the same thickness as the body. This provides a very flat and stable top for the pad to contact. The disadvantage is the cost because they must be hand fitted to the body and over the years soft-soldered tone holes can develop leaks at the solder joint. This technique is much more expensive to build and it is normally used only on very high-end custom flutes made of sterling silver or gold.

In reality, the method of tone hole construction has very little affect on the playability of the instrument. Either style works very well.
"Never give a flute player a screwdriver."

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Postby fluteguy18 » Wed Jan 07, 2009 11:37 am

You can watch videos about how they are made:


Go under: Media Library, Click "Factory Tour" and then watch video #1.

You can watch a better video of how soldered toneholes are made if you go to Youtube, and watch How it's made: Flute.

http://www.pearlflutes.com also has a series of videos, but the above mentioned videos [I think] give a clearer representation of the process. You can actually SEE the toneholes being made rather than watching a machine and assuming that the toneholes are inside.

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