Step up from Armstrong 80?

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ObscureStar
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Joined: Tue Feb 19, 2013 1:36 pm

Step up from Armstrong 80?

Post by ObscureStar » Tue Feb 19, 2013 1:50 pm

Hi,

I have been playing an old Armstrong 80 for some time and am now contemplating stepping up in quality, but the question is: What do I step up to?

I know I would like to get a B foot.

I have an irregular embouchure shape; I was hit by a drunk driver several years ago and lost my front teeth and had the muscle of my upper lip cut through so I've had to relearn how to play. Despite a great deal of practice, I'm still having some difficulty controlling high E, but I've read mixed reviews of split-E and I haven't had an opportunity to try a flute with this configuration so advice would be appreciated.

Overall I like the tonal qualities of my Armstrong but it is also all I have ever played. So.. What would be a solid step up that doesn't cost more than a new car?

Thanks,
Samantha

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Phineas
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Re: Step up from Armstrong 80?

Post by Phineas » Tue Feb 19, 2013 5:53 pm

I would check here.

http://www.fluteland.com/board/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=5859

Other than that, you will have to figure out what your budget is, and go shopping. The fact that you have only played/owned one flute will be a bit of a set back for you just to choose an instrument. Why? You really have to know what is out there, and how well you play on a given brand/model. The only option for you would be to find a flute dealer, and go try out some flutes to see if they will meet your needs. Past that, budget will play a factor in your choices.

It may seem like a chore, but it will be worth it. If I knew back when I wanted to get a step up flute what I know today, I would have even purchased a plane ticket to the nearest bigger city to check out flutes. it would have saved me a lot of time and money in the long run!

Good luck to you Samantha!

Phineas

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pied_piper
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Location: Virginia

Re: Step up from Armstrong 80?

Post by pied_piper » Tue Feb 19, 2013 6:06 pm

Take a look at the FAQ here on Fluteland: http://www.fluteland.com/board/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=5859

It has a lot of good information about step-up flutes.

I played an Armstrong Model 80 before I upgraded to a better flute. There are a lot of choices that won't necessarily break the bank. Find a store where you can try out several different flutes to see what works best for you. If you don't have a nearby store, you can usually get several flutes shipped to you on trial (for a fee). See the list on online flute vendors in the FAQ.

Another good option is to look for a flute fair within driving distance. Those often have several flute vendors in attendance with tables full of flutes that you can try. At the recent flute fair in my area, there were three vendors present and I counted no less than 100 flutes on display. All were available to try or buy. Usually there is a reasonable fee to attend such events, but it would be well worth it for access to so many flutes in one spot.
"Never give a flute player a screwdriver."
--anonymous--

ObscureStar
Posts: 11
Joined: Tue Feb 19, 2013 1:36 pm

Re: Step up from Armstrong 80?

Post by ObscureStar » Wed Feb 20, 2013 7:16 pm

Okay, so follow up question! :)

Where can I find flute stores in the SF Bay Area? I live down in Santa Cruz and oddly enough while there are at least a dozen guitar shops and two dedicated Ukelele stores, I found a grand total of 7 flutes for sale (all at a single shop and used) and not counting the Muramatsu, the second-best instrument in the shop was an Armstrong 103 which was not really notably different from my 80. (I went and tested them at lunchtime today) The muramatsu was very nice compared against the Armstrong 80 but I kind of expected that. The difference in key response and height was pretty impressive.

thanks for the help thus far. :)

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pied_piper
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Location: Virginia

Re: Step up from Armstrong 80?

Post by pied_piper » Thu Feb 21, 2013 1:47 pm

A quick google search did not find any flute specialty music stores in SF. However, there is one in San Ramone - http://www.houseofwoodwinds.com/instruments.html
"Never give a flute player a screwdriver."
--anonymous--

ghostNote
Posts: 47
Joined: Wed Jan 23, 2013 10:41 pm
Location: Southeast Asia

Re: Step up from Armstrong 80?

Post by ghostNote » Thu Feb 21, 2013 7:03 pm

Have you considered getting on a Greyhound destination Chicago or Detroit, whichever will get you to Elkhart, and then asking around until you find some Hoosier daddy grandmaster whose willing to handcraft a new gig-stick for you while taking up odd jobs/temporary construction work in the meantime to furnish the expenses of its fabrication? Yeah, so I'm borrowing from Kill Bill, but a flautist shouldn't be expected to construct his own instrument as Lucas suggests Jedis do a light-saber.

ObscureStar
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Joined: Tue Feb 19, 2013 1:36 pm

Re: Step up from Armstrong 80?

Post by ObscureStar » Wed Feb 27, 2013 3:31 pm

FWIW, West Valley Music in Mountain View turned out to have a pretty huge selection in-stock and I got to try a dozen or so different brands. Really liked the Miyazawa except the head joints were really loose (though the store said they'd set them up properly before purchase) on the 404 in particular, I think it was so loose that it ruined my overall impression of the instrument.

Learned a lot. Like overall I really liked the performance of the yamahas except that the raised inner ring on the key design made it a lot harder for me to do jazzy pull-offs and while they performed brilliantly and were exceptionally crisp, that one thing was a deal-breaker for me.

I'd seen a couple of Jupiter 1011s go in a very affordable range on ebay so I'd been considering it as an option and while the store did not have Jupiter they did have Altus. I was surprised by how much more dark and broody the Altus was compared with everything else I played. Lovely instrument but I don't think the Flute of Wagner is for me. ^_^

Almost everything I tried was stunning how much better it performed than my Armstrong. It really was a learning experience.

This helped me narrow my search to miyazawa (with some caution) or muramatsu, though I never got the chance to play Azumi or Pearl and practically speaking, Haynes and Sankyo were out of my price range so I did not play either, opting for the belief that ignorance is bliss.

Narrowed down to Miyazawa (with caution) or Muramatsu. Then, visited my local shop for pad repair on my Armstrong and... He had a Murmatsu ST that was on consignment which had been sitting in his case for a few years because it had been overpriced. Pads all clean and new. Action tight and smooth and the previous owner dropped the price to just under 2K. It came home with me last night and it's been hard to put down since. I cannot begin to express how amazing it is to me. I can feel that is just some infinitely small fraction of a second less response than one that is fresh from the factory but it is also several orders of magnitude better than what I was playing and... I'm guessing that as long as I take good care of it, it's already at the bottom of its depreciation curve so when I have the urge to move up in another few years, I'm likely not out anything or out only very little.

Thank you all for the strong words about getting out and testing instruments. It was really helpful in making me feel confident about making a purchase. I likely would have hemmed and hawed at the cost for considerably longer without having taken the time to try several brands/models.

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