What's Good On The Current Market?

Flute History and Instrument Purchase

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Meredith
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What's Good On The Current Market?

Post by Meredith » Wed Oct 11, 2006 8:59 pm

In the mid-90s, I upgraded my driven-to-death Yamaha to a tricked out Powell in the $8K range (professional model, solid silver, gold hinges, etc.). I sold the Powell while in college, leaving me with the original Yamaha which, today, is even more driven-to-death than it was in the mid-90s, a fate which I assure you that nobody thought this Yamaha would reach without the keys falling off their hinges.

I'm looking to re-upgrade, and don't really want to spend more than $8K.* When I made my original upgrade to the Powell, I came from a school where the only three brands worth considering were Hanes, Brannen-Cooper and Powell (in that order). However, I'm curious as to what other brands might be worth looking into. I'm looking for something that can handle a heavier air flow, as I blow to hard for delicate models. (Even though I think Hanes are, or at least were, the best flutes on the market, I didn't get one because there was no way I could ever blow lightly enough to bring out their brand's best qualities.) Also, are there any new features that have come out in the past ten years that are worth looking into?

Thanks!


* (This is my engagement present from my husband. Why anyone would pick a new diamond over a shot at a Brannen-Cooper is beyond me.)

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flutepicc06
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Post by flutepicc06 » Wed Oct 11, 2006 10:30 pm

There are many more brands that are well worth looking into. Unfortunately, flutes are not consistant within makers, and the various cuts of head offered by the makers will affect how much air you need to put through the flute, so it's not a simple matter of separating them into resistant and less resistant groups. I'll suggest a number of different makers, but you'll have to play test as many as possible (which won't necessarily be all of them), and choose the one you like best. You might also consider combining a headjoint you like with a body from a different maker if you're not partial to the feel of the mech on that brand. This will require additional play testing to ensure that the different head doesn't throw off intonation, or anything else, and just generally works with the body of your choice. Anyway, I like your thinking! I chose my flute (which I got a year ago) over a new car, and have absolutely no regrets. So here's my list of makers to look at in addition to Powell, Haynes, and Brannen:

Sankyo
Altus
Pearl
Miyazawa
Muramatsu
Tom Green
Nagahara
Emanuel
Arista
Landell
Louis Lot
Burkart
Williams
Yamaha
Sheridan


I hope that helps you out! All of them produce some excellent flutes, so play away until you find one that suits you!

Meredith
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Post by Meredith » Thu Oct 12, 2006 9:22 am

I did the same thing you did! When I was in high school, my parents let me choose between a used car and a flute. (The car really would've been a gift for them more than me, since it would've meant that I could drive myself and my sister to school, rehearsals, etc., but they were stupid enough to give me the choice.)

Since I don't want to spend any time dealing with a waiting list as I did when I got my Powell, my plan is to go to Jeff Weissman (one of the better known flute dealers in the New York area, and who I worked with in high school) and try out whatever used flutes he has in stock. If I don't like anything that he has, then I plan on going to other dealers in the New York area.

Thanks for the help! When I start shopping (probably in a few weeks/month), I'll let you know what comes of it. Out of curiosity, what type of flute did you purchase?

MeLizzard
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Post by MeLizzard » Thu Oct 12, 2006 10:17 am

Hmmm...I also got a flute as an engagement gift!
I really liked the new Powells and Nagaharas that I played at the flute convention, but if you wish to spend less than $8000, you can certainly still get an excellent flute for that price. I play Muramatsu--no complaints, and since they discontinued their highest-priced model (actually, combined the features of their two top models into one to eliminate redundancy), all their silver flutes are less than $8000, unless you ask for some crazy option! Tom Green (silver) is also good in this price range, and some people really like Miyazawa. I would try some Altus models, though they're a bit more costly, and I'm uncertain which features and options they offer at this price. Williams and Arista seem nice, but I have little experience with them. Used Brannen-Cooper or Burhart might be a good option, though they're seriously holding their value in resale. The Brannen president remarked during his presentation that a flute his company made in the late '70s recently sold for over $10,000! ( :shock: ) He prefaced this comment by saying, "You may not want to buy one of my flutes, because if you ever sell it, you very well might have to pay a capital gains tax!".
I'm glad there are so many more flutes from which to choose these days; it's pretty hard to buy a bad flute right now (though still possible). The state of the flutemaking craft is rather robust. As recently as the '80s, there was Haynes and there was Powell. It's geat we have so many choices now, but sometimes it can leave felling insecure and totally overwhelmed! Happy shopping! :D
P.S. If you're in NY, check out Phil Unger's place, too.
"There is no 'Try'; there is only 'Do'."--Yoda

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flutepicc06
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Post by flutepicc06 » Thu Oct 12, 2006 11:25 am

Meredith wrote: Thanks for the help! When I start shopping (probably in a few weeks/month), I'll let you know what comes of it. Out of curiosity, what type of flute did you purchase?
I can't wait to hear what you pick out! I got a 14K Tom Green. It's a terrific flute, and in comparison to similar flutes from other makers, quite affordable (as are his silver models). I've played at least a couple of flutes from every maker I listed, and to me, nothing can touch a Tom Green.

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briolette
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Re: What's Good On The Current Market?

Post by briolette » Thu Oct 12, 2006 3:40 pm

Meredith wrote:

* (This is my engagement present from my husband. Why anyone would pick a new diamond over a shot at a Brannen-Cooper is beyond me.)
Kudos to you! (I happen to also have a gemology degree, but roll my eyes at the popularity of diamonds and the whole engagement ring lore. A flute is a far more useful investment...)

There are some maginificent Pearls in the 8k range. If you can try a Pearl Maesta and it works out for you, this is a reputable seller in the Austin area that has an ebay auction up for a showroom model:
http://cgi.ebay.com/PEARL-MAESTA-14k-GO ... dZViewItem

I don't see a return policy though. :(

I do like Miyazawas and Murumatsu. I think they may work well for your strong air stream.

fluteguy18
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Post by fluteguy18 » Thu Oct 12, 2006 9:18 pm

A feature that you might want to try out on various flutes is commonly called the 'heavy wall' feature. I have found that a lot of players who are "power players" (oftenly overpower 'delicate' flutes) are complimented by this option. Of course many different factors go into the response of the instrument, but in general the thicker tubing offers more resistance, and is less oftenly overpowered when compared to similiar thin and standard tubed flutes.

Also, people usually find that gold and platinum offer extra resistance as well (platinum usually the most resistant) when used as the riser material. All of these options/metals produce a wonderful sound, but it is unique to every player. Some players prefer silver, some gold, some platinum (if you can afford it :shock: ).

I know that when I was trying different flutes (I am a power player too, and frequently overpower my thinwall flute) a few months ago I liked having a gold riser (out of silver, gold, and platinum as the options), because it offered a lot of resistance, but was still warm in tone quality. When I tried platinum, it was VERY resistant (you could really push your air, and not crack the note), but I personally didnt like MY sound on the material after trying many different flutes with a platinum riser.

So, try different riser materials, and wall tubing thicknesses. I know as far as instruments go, if you want a flute with ALL the extras, you can get a Pear Cantabile with all the extras (C# trill key, Spilt E mech, D#/C# rollers, gold lip and gold/platinum riser) for under 8k if you order it through Fluteworld.com.

I like pearl, and many of the companies flutepicc06 mentioned (Muramatsu, Miyazawa, Yamaha, and the list goes on....). Make sure you try everything first, and decide which you like. Then let us know!

Meredith
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Post by Meredith » Thu Oct 12, 2006 9:42 pm

Thank you everyone for the advice! I really do appreciate it. I hope to have good (and more melodic than my battle-word Yamaha) news in a few months.

I have a question about "heavy wall." Is this the same as 0.018 tubing?
MeLizzard wrote:P.S. If you're in NY, check out Phil Unger's place, too.
My husband took me there once on a date! I had the most amazing time. I got to play the flute that Paula Robison used while she was in Juilliard (which was going for $15K, and a steal if you ask me, it was worth $15K just in value, there was little if any mark-up for the flute's historical value), and I got to meet the principle fautist in the Met's pit orchestra.

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flutepicc06
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Post by flutepicc06 » Fri Oct 13, 2006 2:06 am

Meredith wrote: I have a question about "heavy wall." Is this the same as 0.018 tubing?
Generally, yes. Each maker may have slight variations, and location of production, as well as material may also play into it. Japanese flutes sometimes use slightly thinner tubing than American counterparts, and gold flutes are almost always thinner than their silver mates. But for all practical purposes, yes, 0.018 and thick wall are the same thing.

fluteguy18
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Post by fluteguy18 » Fri Oct 13, 2006 12:39 pm

sorry I didnt clarify the 'thick wall' specifications. Thanks for clarifying flutepicc!

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flutepicc06
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Post by flutepicc06 » Fri Oct 13, 2006 10:25 pm

fluteguy18 wrote:sorry I didnt clarify the 'thick wall' specifications. Thanks for clarifying flutepicc!
No problem.

Meredith
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Post by Meredith » Tue Oct 17, 2006 4:17 pm

Thanks for clarifying on the "heavy wall".

I'm going to start making appointments to meet with flute dealers later this week. Are there any flute dealers in the NYC area that people would recommend calling, other than Jeff Weissman and Phil Unger?

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Zevang
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Post by Zevang » Wed Oct 18, 2006 5:32 pm

Meredith, try "Anne Pollock" at www.yourfluteworks.com

Zevang

Meredith
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Post by Meredith » Thu Oct 19, 2006 10:26 am

Thanks! I believe someone recommended me to her studio for repair work back in the 1990s. I went to another studio for the repair work, b/c of issues stemming from my then-flute's warranty, but the name definitly sounds familiar.

sakuramimato
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Post by sakuramimato » Thu Oct 19, 2006 1:33 pm

Are there any flute dealers in Southern California?

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