Piggy-backing a topic for advice

Flute History and Instrument Purchase

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Piggy-backing a topic for advice

Post by Gordon »

Hi -

Reading through the 'when is a flute too old' thread (and agreed with most of the subsequent advice), and thought I'd ask a related question.

I own an older Armstrong (303B), roughly 20 years old, in desperate need of a re-pad, and, most probably, a complete overhaul. My question relates to the expense - almost everyone I've asked charges in the $400 plus range for this work. In that ballpark, I'm awfully close to the cost of a new flute, albeit a student-level one, rather than reviving the silver-headed, open holed flute I currently own. Yet, many have mentioned the noticeable quality improvements of recently-made flutes - I've seen/tried a few myself and have been impressed with how good many low end (student) flutes are now, as opposed to 20 years ago. Although the Armstrong head is solid silver, is it truly a better cut embouchure than some of the better plated brands? (Yes, I know that one's subjective!)

FWIW, I normally play a wooden flute, so my experience with 'silver' flutes is limited. So, do I overhaul the old semi-intermediate flute, or buy a decent student flute - a Pearl, for eg.? Just seeking opinions on this, for now, so I can decide which way I want to go.

Thanks in advance.

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Re: Piggy-backing a topic for advice

Post by jseligmann »

For under $500, you can get an excellent flute New:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/New-Yamaha-YFL- ... 4ab314360d

I like the Yamaha 221/225 much more than the Armstrong. And, for what it's worth, I see no advantage to an open-hole flute. (In my opinion, an open-hole "intermediate flute" is little more than a closed-hole "student" flute with open holes).

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Re: Piggy-backing a topic for advice

Post by mirwa »

Buy new.

We charge 220 for a repad. But that does not accomodate for a mechanical overhaul, if it needs a mechanical overhaul as well, you could be up for hundreds more.

Yes the headjoint is a huge improvement.

Its not just the fact of the riser / embochure plate cut / lip plate angle / undercutting etc, but also the fact that the headjoints are parabolic in shape. This manipulation of the parabolic is what IMO has made the greater advances

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Re: Piggy-backing a topic for advice

Post by flutego12 »

Hi Gordon, I wish you the unfolding of a whole new experience in (modern) silver flute hunting as you embark on this journey. It is a process to be enjoyed. There is nothing like trying out the flutes for yourself - but you know that.

That's why it is so worthwhile knowing how to repad. Otherwise it costs a new flute to keep the old one. =(

Jen Cluff has some good advice which I'm sure you already know about, nevertheless not irrelevant

I really should keep quiet as I know nothing about older flutes. :|
flutist with a screwdriver

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Re: Piggy-backing a topic for advice

Post by Gordon »

Thanks, all, for your replies.

Seems the early consensus is a new flute, rather than an expensive overhaul on a so-so flute; even at its newest/best, I had some issues with it. Regarding open holes vs. covered, no, that wasn't a real issue; of more concern was the silver head "intermediate" embouchure cut, vs. a student flute embouchure, and possibly the mechanism. But what I'm hearing here is that there has been much improvement on factory made student flutes, both embouchure cut and mechanisms, and therefore probably not a huge advantage to the old Armstrong, silver notwithstanding.

The Jen Cluff advice supplied by flutego12 is good, although I don't have the (financial) luxury of both fixing my old flute and purchasing a new flute, so... Oh, and regarding repadding my flute myself - definitely a good skill, but, as yet, I don't have it down....

Clearly, spending time with lots of flutes/choices is best - used to not be an issue, when I lived in NYC, but where I live now, it's a bit harder to do that - seems a road-trip or two is due.

Thanks again - any further thoughts are always appreciated!

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