various questions

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DivaricationOfMind
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various questions

Post by DivaricationOfMind » Fri Oct 12, 2007 2:45 am

Some questions I've had in my mind...

Is there are pros or cons to Neoprene bumpers vs. Cork bumpers?

Do all Yamaha flutes use the same pads?

What are the pros and cons to White Gold springs vs. Stainless Steel springs? Is there any distinct advantage or disadvantage?

Do custom headjoint cork replacements really make a difference?

Does a mechanisms speed really make that much of a difference when you get to a certain point? considering the keys can't come up before your fingers do, and your fingers can only go so fast.

Other than the aesthetics of Pointed Keys, is there any other advantages?

What are the differences between soldered and drawn tone holes, and what are the advantages and disadvantages?

:D

fluttiegurl
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Post by fluttiegurl » Fri Oct 12, 2007 6:32 am

Wow! Lots of questions with lots of possilbe answers depending on who you talk to. If you had a conversation with a dealer, depending on what he was trying to sell, you would be told that all of these makes a tremendous difference (OK, not all dealers are like that, but you get my point).

As far as I know, or at least at one time, Yamaha used the same pads on every flute unless custom ordered otherwise. That may have changed.

Soldered tone holes are a mrak of craftmanship and though I do not believe they make a sound difference, they are a highlight of construction in higher end flutes (mine has these). I talked with a flute maker about this issue some time ago, and he said that more or less, soldered marked man hours put into an instrument and believe it or not, allow for another thing to go wrong in production causing the price to be considerably higher. I guess price would be the biggest con. Very interesting conversation.

As for the rest of your questions, I think the best thing for you to do is try some flutes out and compare for yourself. A lot of this stuff is marketing hype. However, some things that cannot be explained may make a difference for individual players. For instance, mech speed is a relative thing. If I were to compare for instance a Yamaha 400 series to my Haynes, the Haynes would make the 300 seem extremely slow (I did this a while back out of curiosity). However, compare the 400 to say a 30 year old Bundy, well I think you get it. The best thing is to research for yourself.

A flute that is well built and suites your style will be perfect for you, but may not be perfect for the next guy. We can put hundreds of dollars into so called upgrades that may or may not effect the way we play, but some players will swear there is a distinct difference.

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flutepicc06
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Re: various questions

Post by flutepicc06 » Fri Oct 12, 2007 10:07 am

DivaricationOfMind wrote:
Is there are pros or cons to Neoprene bumpers vs. Cork bumpers?
Not really, except that neoprene will last a good bit longer than cork. Assuming you're taking good care of your flute, corks will last for many, many years, but they can be subject to compression (more so than neoprene), and if subjected to moisture or otherwise abused/neglected they are more likely to have issues. However, neoprene is pretty hard in comparison to cork, and some players believe it contributes to mechanism noise. Another issue is tradition (which is pretty big in the music world). Cork has long been the standard material used for the D# key, trill keys, etc, and some people simply don't like the newfangled technology of neoprene.
Do all Yamaha flutes use the same pads?
As Fluttiegurl noted, they all use the same traditional pads (but installed in difference thicknesses and firmnesses, and with different techniques) unless you specifically order a different type for your custom flute. As there's a pretty good used Yamaha market, it's impossible to say what pads might actually be out there on a Yamaha, as some owners will have different pads installed aftermarket.
What are the pros and cons to White Gold springs vs. Stainless Steel springs? Is there any distinct advantage or disadvantage?
There really is no difference between white gold springs and stainless steel, blue steel or any other spring material that you find. It's marketing hype. For a small additional cost for materials, the makers can make it seem as if the flute has an extra feature above and beyond the standard student instrument, and thus can convince people to pay more. The only purpose for the springs is to open (or close) the keys when you release them, and with the proper gauges of spring wire, and the know-how to adjust the tension, any spring wire can be made to perform as you want, regardless of material.
Do custom headjoint cork replacements really make a difference?
Do you mean subsitute stoppers like the Delrin and Zirconium stoppers and crowns from Bigio, etc. or do you literally mean a custom fit head cork of the traditional type? If you mean the substitute stoppers, they can make a difference (though not always a positive one), though this is due less to material than to design. The dimensions of a stopper can make a big difference to the instrument....If you have a larger cork that sits more firmly against the tubing than one you're used to, it may deaden some of the vibrations. However, if the cork is too loose, you will notice a decline in tone and intonation. The same goes for these stoppers. If they suit your flute properly, they may be useful, but if not, then you'll likely hear a negative impact if any at all. Some of these replacements are textured or shaped as well, and this can impact how the flute behaves quite aside from the other issues. The only way to know what difference (if any) these might make to you and your playing is to try them out for yourself with your setup.

Does a mechanisms speed really make that much of a difference when you get to a certain point? considering the keys can't come up before your fingers do, and your fingers can only go so fast.
To very advanced players it does indeed make a difference. The feel of the mechanism under your fingers is very subjective as Fluttiegurl pointed out, but the smoothness (a hallmark of a well-built body), along with the mechanism speed are what sell flute bodies. Even if you hit a wall where your fingers couldn't move any faster, the smoothness and fluidity of technique that's possible with a high quality mechanism matters at the upper levels of playing.

Other than the aesthetics of Pointed Keys, is there any other advantages?
Simply put, no, there are no advantages. They're nice to look at, and provide a flute maker a way to stylize the instrument to suit their tastes (and hopefully the tastes of their customers), but do nothing else. You'll hear it argued that they help maintain equal pressure across the pad cup, meaning pads seal more reliably, but with modern techniques and materials, this is just baseless rumor spread by flutemakers to make you want pointed arms (which generally come only on upper level instruments).
What are the differences between soldered and drawn tone holes, and what are the advantages and disadvantages?

:D
Soldered toneholes are indeed a mark of quality simply for the amount of time that it takes to produce a flute with this method, but they also have another set of advantages. Soldered toneholes are quite a bit flatter at the top than drawn and rolled toneholes (and are easier to flatten using facing tools, should you desire Straubingers or other synthetic pads), which means padding is both simpler, and more reliable. Also, because drawn and rolled toneholes are quite literally pulled out of the tube, they can distort the tubing slightly, which is something that you avoid by having soldered toneholes. Also, some players argue that the sharper edges where the tonehole meets the tubing that are inherent for soldered toneholes leads to faster response. Drawn and rolled toneholes have their advantages, too, though. For instance, they're faster and easier to make (particularly for massed produced instruments), so they are more affordable. As long as they are produced well (so as to avoid overly thin tonehole walls, or tops with large ridges in them), drawn and rolled toneholes are just fine and will certainly do their job. It's a matter of preference and budget, mainly, as soldered toneholes are normally available only on custom built flutes.

fluteguy18
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Post by fluteguy18 » Fri Oct 12, 2007 1:37 pm

On the subject of soldered vs. drawn toneholes, most people cannot tell a difference in the playability of the two.

Soldered tone holes are certainly a mark of craftsmanship, but that is not to say that drawn tone holes are not. Many high end companies produce two top of the line models where the only difference is whether or not the toneholes are soldered. So, drawn toneholes are not an indication of poor quality.

As flutepicc mentioned, drawn toneholes can have problems, most of which relate to possible [but not a definate result of] tube distortion. Soldered toneholes also have problems. If a flute is older and has soldered toneholes, the solder can deteriorate and develop leaks. This would result in the tonehole needing to be resoldered, and depending on how extensive the problem is, it could become quite expensive.

But in the end, it is all a matter of budget and preference. Some people think that soldered tone holes respond faster because of the sharper edges, some people believe they respond more slowly because of the weight of the solder. The same is for drawn toneholes; lack of solder resulting in faster response, less sharp edges resulting in a slower response. Better tone, worse tone, strength, weakness.... the list goes on and on and on and on...... :roll: :wink:

If well done, both are very effective, and it is all a matter of preference. So, if you ever find yourself in a situation where budgeting is not an issue, dont worry about it. Stick to reputable quality makers, and buy what you like to play.

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flutepicc06
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Post by flutepicc06 » Fri Oct 12, 2007 1:42 pm

fluteguy18 wrote:
Soldered toneholes also have problems. If a flute is older and has soldered toneholes, the solder can deteriorate and develop leaks. This would result in the tonehole needing to be resoldered, and depending on how extensive the problem is, it could become quite expensive.
While this is true, not too long ago, some smaller companies began using Silver-soldering rather than lead soldering to attach toneholes to the tubes. This means that the toneholes are essentially an integral part of the body, without any of the corrosion issues of lead solder that can cause air leaks. For a good visual and explanation of this, check here:

http://www.tjimaging.com/ted/phoenixflutes.html

fluttiegurl
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Post by fluttiegurl » Fri Oct 12, 2007 1:58 pm

Very interesting. I believe the issue of the solder deteriorating was one point that the flute maker was trying to tell me. I have seen this happen with lip plates as well.

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flutepicc06
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Post by flutepicc06 » Fri Oct 12, 2007 2:00 pm

fluttiegurl wrote:Very interesting. I believe the issue of the solder deteriorating was one point that the flute maker was trying to tell me. I have seen this happen with lip plates as well.
On flutes that are old enough to have the lead soldering become brittle, the lip plate should certainly be checked (and most likely resoldered), as should any other parts employing lead solder (such as ribs soldered to tubes, etc.).

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woof
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Re: various questions

Post by woof » Fri Oct 12, 2007 9:47 pm

What are the pros and cons to White Gold springs vs. Stainless Steel springs? Is there any distinct advantage or disadvantage?
There really is no difference between white gold springs and stainless steel, blue steel or any other spring material that you find. It's marketing hype.


I wonder if white gold would be a less likely to oxidize/"rust" than steel springs and hold up better over the long run??

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flutepicc06
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Re: various questions

Post by flutepicc06 » Fri Oct 12, 2007 11:21 pm

woof wrote:
What are the pros and cons to White Gold springs vs. Stainless Steel springs? Is there any distinct advantage or disadvantage?
There really is no difference between white gold springs and stainless steel, blue steel or any other spring material that you find. It's marketing hype.


I wonder if white gold would be a less likely to oxidize/"rust" than steel springs and hold up better over the long run??
I can't speak for all types of steel that might be used for spring wire, but stainless is specifically formulated to resist rust, corrosion, etc. better than other alloys involving iron. It's not rust-proof, but rust-resistant. I would be far more concerned with the springs losing their "springiness" than with with corrosion. White gold spring wire is usually a 9K or 14K alloy, and is pretty soft in comparison to stainless steel. Each type of material has its advantages and disadvantages, but none of them will affect the feel of the mechanism or otherwise influence the flute in any way important to the player.

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