Yamaha 381H vs 481H

Performace Tips, Advanced Technique and More

Moderators: Classitar, pied_piper, Phineas

Post Reply
night mission

Yamaha 381H vs 481H

Post by night mission » Fri Sep 19, 2008 12:40 pm

Moving my daughter up from a beginner to intermediate flute. She is currently playing a student entry level Yamaha. Consulted family (professional French horn with a symphony) and he consulted the flute professionals. Came back suggesting an intermediate Yamaha. Daughter wants/needs open hole. GIZMO (?? :roll: ) was suggested by the pros.

Don't see a lot of "love" for Yamaha here but will query anyway, whats the difference in the 300 vs 400 Yamaha's. Looks like maybe a better head on 400, is it worth an extra $500???

User avatar
Posts: 120
Joined: Sat Mar 08, 2008 12:03 pm
Location: USA

Post by vampav8trix » Fri Sep 19, 2008 4:26 pm

The only difference between the 300 series and the 400 series is that the 400 series has a solid silver headjoint and body with sliver plated keys.

The 300 series only has a solid silver headjoint and a silverplated body and keys.

They have the exact same machine cut headjoint.

They should sound and play the same. The headjoint is what gives the flute it's great sound.

The H on the 481H stands for B foot. They also make the 300 series with a B foot. The 381H.

She probably won't play much music that calls for a low B.

She has extra work when she plays high C4. She will now have to hit an extra key.

If she is a teenager, she is probably going to want the B foot because all of her friends with fancy flutes have a B foot.

I love Yamaha flutes. They make the best student flutes.

I also like the 800 series handmade professional flute. It has fantastic sound and a great mechanism.

Pearl also makes some great flutes. But you cant go wrong with a Yamaha.

night mission

Post by night mission » Fri Sep 19, 2008 8:25 pm

Thanks for the reply. The Yamaha website wasn't much help deciphering the differences between the 300 series and 400. The retail price implied the 400 was (better??) but it was short on specifics. Again thanks. As far as the "goodies" I'll leave it to her to figure if its worth it. If she can take advantage of the upgrades over the simpler beginner flute, the couple extra bucks will be worth it.

Posts: 2311
Joined: Sun Jul 16, 2006 3:11 pm

Post by fluteguy18 » Sat Sep 20, 2008 2:27 pm

Okay. Hold on a minute.

I will say that I do like Yamaha flutes, but really the 200-400 series flutes are all practically identicle. They are all student/lower intermediate level flutes with different amounts of sterling silver. If she really wants a step up, and wants to get a Yamaha, start looking at the 500 series.

With this series, you get a handcut headjoint and a handfinished mechanism. It will yield a FAR superior instrument when tested over time. The 300-400 series are a step up, but they will be outgrown far more quickly than the 500-700 series flutes. Metal material isn't that important as long as it is sturdy. Most of the way an instrument plays is how it is made and the engineering of the design.

Do a search on the message board for the FAQ Thread. . That will give you a lot of answers.

Posts: 53
Joined: Sun Aug 06, 2006 1:15 am
Location: Tampa, FL

Post by DivaricationOfMind » Sun Sep 21, 2008 3:11 am

If possible, I'd suggest trying a japanese made 200,300 or 400 series as well as the others. I personally find a japanese machine cut CY completely outplays my indonesian made solid silver CY

User avatar
Posts: 155
Joined: Sat Nov 11, 2006 2:35 pm
Location: Washington, DC

Post by atoriphile » Mon Sep 22, 2008 11:43 am

Also, please note that the Yamaha 381 and 481 both have an inline G. Most entry level Yamaha flutes I've seen have an offset G, so transitioning to inline might not be best. Check on her current flute if they key pressed by the third finger of the left hand is inline with the other keys or not. If so, inline could be okay. If not, I would recommend going for a flute with an offset G.

night mission

Post by night mission » Mon Sep 22, 2008 1:02 pm

Thanks all for the replies. Looking at her flute, she currently playing a Yamaha 221N with offset G. She tells me that marching band is beating up the instrument, and is ready for something better, and her birthday is soon. :D . I asked about the offset G and was told (by her) she didn't think it would be an issue either way. I'm not a flutist but in reading on these BB I get the feeling the head joint is as important, if not the most regarding the quality of sound. Why not just invest in a better head joint for the current flute??

I looked at the prices of 500 Yamaha's and will wait untill she is playing at (HS) concert level, I'm told by music teachers/directors she's being held back by (current) flute, she's cutting lawn without being asked and offering to take out the trash!! :shock:

User avatar
Posts: 120
Joined: Sat Mar 08, 2008 12:03 pm
Location: USA

Post by vampav8trix » Mon Sep 22, 2008 4:30 pm

I would advise that you keep the old flute for marching band. Flutes get really beat up out in the elements.

The pads get ruined by dust and rain.

Flutes can get dropped or bashed by objects.

A new headjoint would be great for her current flute. But if she is going to be doing marching band, I would seriously think about getting her a good flute for just playing in concert or symphonic band when she gets to highschool.

Posts: 7
Joined: Mon Sep 08, 2008 4:34 pm

Post by Thespian233 » Mon Sep 22, 2008 6:30 pm

I am new to the message boards here, but I will go ahead and add in my two cents as well. I just recently purchased a Yamaha flute, and any of their models can be ordered with offset or inline G, depending on what you want. For example, the 481H is an inline with a B foot, and the 461H is the exact same flute but with an offset. If the Yamaha she has is holding her back, I would also suggest going up to the 500 series, as the head joint on all lower models is identical.

A few extra differences besides the solid silver between the 300 and 400 series. At the 400 level, the bumpers on the keys are made of cork instead of neoprene, which is a quieter and more sensitive feel. Also, the tone holes in the 400 level are undercut (just a diff. construction). Will she notice a substantial difference? Probably not. In terms on longevity, solid silver will last longer than silver plated nickel, but it is likely she will have either upgraded to yet another flute or quit by that point. For example, I played on a student silver plated Artley flute (built in 1962) for 14 years and the plating is just now wearing off in places other than the tenons (joints).

Also have her try out many brands. Depending on your price range, there may be other lines of flutes that would suit her better. IMO, I would stay away from the Gemeinhardt conservatory flutes. They may have gotten better, but I sold mine after years of needing constant repairs on it.

Post Reply