Orpheus Flutes

Flute History and Instrument Purchase

Moderators: Classitar, pied_piper, Phineas

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Tarandros
Posts: 56
Joined: Thu Jul 23, 2009 3:32 pm
Location: Brighton, England.

Post by Tarandros »

briolette wrote: ***

The foot joint issue is still unresolved at this point.

unfortunate the foot joint is so consistenly faulty on this instrument and others.
I'm new to this Forum, having just joined this evening, after reading a number of message threads over the last week. Briolette, I hope you are feeling better after the loss of your Dad. My own Dad died of cancer too, about 12 years ago.

I've been reading this thread with a lot of interest as I've become interested in wooden flutes but have a very low budget and bought a vintage wooden flute very cheap about two months ago. I'm wondering what happened in the end with the various wooden Orpheus flutes that were mentioned here - the thread fizzles out a few months back.

I don't know whether I can offer any hints of my own based on my experience with my old wooden flute, but I suppose it's possible. The instrument was made between 1890 and 1910 (I found this out as there is an identical one in a museum in Australia which I tracked down on the web). It is made of cocus wood, Boehm system with in line G. It seems the flutes were made in France but sold in England by Montague Bros. The instrument is high pitch as was usual with English flutes of the time (i.e. A=452). I paid £250 for it (about $400).

When I tried it out in the shop, it was obvious there were leaks, etc and low D, C sharp and C were almost impossible and the low register generally was weak but also it was obvious there wasn't anything seriously wrong with the mechanism, and unusually for such an old wooden flute, there were no cracks and it wasn't warped. I had the flute regulated a week or so ago - there was a problem with the low C sharp key axle and there were some leaking pads that were reseated. After that was done, the flute sounded a lot better and the low notes were stronger but still not ideal.

Anyway, after some experimenting on my own I found out that there was still another problem - the foot tenon was not sealing properly. It was very slightly wobbly, so I wrapped a couple of gummed cigarette papers around the cork and there was an immediate improvement in low C, Csharp and D, as well as the low register in general. So the next job is to replace the cork on the foot joint tenon, which I think I can do myself.

I was just wondering if this also was the problem with those Orpheus flutes? If it was only the foot joint notes that were the problem, but otherwise the low register was fine, then either or both the pads of the footjoint notes weren't sealing properly or the tenon was loose. I think from what I can remember, it was thought that there could be a problem with the footjoint pads or even the keywork, but could the problem be more straightforward, i.e. just a loose footjoint tenon?

Kind regards, T.

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Phineas
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Joined: Sat Jan 22, 2005 1:08 am

Post by Phineas »

Yeah, the composite Orpheus I have was OK after I got it worked on. The biggest problem with it over all was the factory setup. Other than that, it reminds me of a large composite piccolo...lol

The next biggest issue other than the factory setup is getting use to the cut on the head joint. Once you get a smooth sound out of it, it sounds wonderful, but it is very easy for you to loose control of it. It really has a tendency to go airy on you if you are not on top of your embouchure.

The foot joint could have been made better, but it is not hard to play the low notes. Due to the head joint, it is difficult for me to play the low notes at a decent volume.

That is about it. It plays, and I have dont a couple of gigs with it. I like the sound alot. Just not the best or easiest playing flute in the world.

Phineas

Tarandros
Posts: 56
Joined: Thu Jul 23, 2009 3:32 pm
Location: Brighton, England.

Post by Tarandros »

Phineas wrote:Yeah, the composite Orpheus I have was OK after I got it worked on. The biggest problem with it over all was the factory setup. Other than that, it reminds me of a large composite piccolo...lol

The next biggest issue other than the factory setup is getting use to the cut on the head joint. Once you get a smooth sound out of it, it sounds wonderful, but it is very easy for you to loose control of it. It really has a tendency to go airy on you if you are not on top of your embouchure.

The foot joint could have been made better, but it is not hard to play the low notes. Due to the head joint, it is difficult for me to play the low notes at a decent volume.

That is about it. It plays, and I have dont a couple of gigs with it. I like the sound alot. Just not the best or easiest playing flute in the world.

Phineas
Phineas, thanks for the reply. Interesting that it's the headjoint that's causing the problems and not leaks from pads or tenons. Mine's got an oval embouchure and a fairly shallow chimney typical of the period for the type of instrument but that doesn't affect the low notes - I still can't get top C out of it though (well, only just, if I hold down the low C roller in addition to the standard fingering).

I finalised the seal on the foot tenon today. I replaced the cork with a synthetic material and it works really well. Another problem with it was that as with many of these old wooden flutes, the headjoint is lined with metal. The metal inner tube fits under the body tenon and the wood outer fits over the outside of the tenon. What had happened (it took me ages to realise this) was that the inner metal tube had become narrowed, so wasn't connecting properly and air was leaking into the space between the outside of the metal tube and the inside of the wooden outer. I expanded the metal tube using a method I really wouldn't recommend but which has worked for me on metal flutes - twisting the nozzle of a plastic kitchen funnel into the bore (the funnel's conical, so does the job just about - if you're reckless enough and don't want to go to a repair shop for whatever reason). Now I think everything is finally sorted. The flute's playing really well and has a wonderful tone. The low notes even, are almost as solid as on my silver flute, though of course overall the flute has at most about 90% of the volume of a modern metal one. It's really surprising, though, how loud it is now all the leaks have been fixed.

Someone on one of the other threads was mentioning the Guo grenaditte flute recently. I tried one a few weeks ago and honestly, I think for the money, it's about the same price as one of these Orpheus wood flutes, but has pretty much the same sound as wood (or rather I'd say it sounds like a mixture of wood and silver) and the mechanism is so reliable, I'd have thought that the grenaditte flute is really the way to go for anyone who wants something of a wood sound. I was very impressed with it and I think I could be serious about forking out for one of them in the future. Well, I've got my old wooden flute now, but of course, at A=452, I can only play solos with it or music with guitar cranked up or with a capo. Kind regards, T.

Kind regards, T.

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Alkatji
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Joined: Thu Mar 12, 2009 6:40 am
Location: Somewhere in Europe

Post by Alkatji »

Hi,

I ordered an orpheo flute on ebay some month ago, open hole Bjoint all silver. model 715 RBT

first of all this flute does not have a standard diameter (orpheo is smaller) which can be a problem if you need to have it fixed. flute repairers might not have the right tools.

also dont think in changing the headjoint, it probably wont work because of this diameter issue.

mine also arrived with some big leaks and the piece of metal in the cork was broken ie not long enough to reach the crown well to tune the flute right. Because of the diameter issue i need to customize/mill (!) a standard one to make it fit in the orpheo!
also the pressure on the keys did not feel the same depending on which key you press wich is annoying and the box doesnt close perfectly
i still have some things to fix on it before it can work properly.

so ok, flute was cheap but it's a bit of a lottery and needs quite some (hard) work to get it to work properly.

if i had to do it again i would not buy this flute but instead a good revised second hand non silver flute from a reliable brand for the same price.
But that is just me.
Peace&Flute

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briolette
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Joined: Tue Aug 29, 2006 7:57 am
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Post by briolette »

Dear all, it's been a while since I've been on here. As you know my dad passed away some time ago, and then I got a divorce, and then transferred jobs, so needless to say, hanging out here wasn't exactly on my mind, but I'm back...

Apologizes for not following this thread and not responding in a timely manner.

I actually am strongly considering selling my Orpheus along with the extra head joint. I like the sound that I get from it, but as Phineas implied, it is a somewhat awkward head joint. Another I issue I have is that my hands are really small and the thicker circumference makes it uncomfortable for me to play. I never bothered taking it to the shop to see if a repadding or adjustment would fix the low B/C issue to be honest since I have other flutes I play on. I simply purchased it so that I had a wooden flute!

tamtam90
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Feb 01, 2010 4:36 pm
Location: Scotland

Orpheus Piccolo

Post by tamtam90 »

Hi,

I own an orpheus piccolo, but it is broken. The wood has come apart from the metal rim on the head-joint so the wooden part just spins round. I bought the piccolo off ebay last year from noteworthy instruments based in Texas, but have been unable to contact them. Their website doesn't seem to exist anymore and the phone number that I have for them does not work.

Does anybody know what has happened to the company? Or what I should do to fix my piccolo?

Thanks =)

wally
Posts: 37
Joined: Sat Sep 19, 2009 3:18 pm

Post by wally »

A good hardware-store epoxy that sets overnight should work fine, provided you can remove these parts from one another and clean off the old adhesive.

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de_Genova
Posts: 7
Joined: Wed Dec 20, 2006 3:33 pm
Location: Roma, Italia

Watch out Cina

Post by de_Genova »

Cina will soon be producing the worlds best flute............that are well on their way!!!
“Albert, what did you do? This is an amazing headjoint! ” Albert Cooper’s response -
“What do you mean, what did I do? It’s just a hole.”

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