DZW Grenadilla Flute

Flute History and Instrument Purchase

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wall flood
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DZW Grenadilla Flute

Post by wall flood » Thu Feb 19, 2015 9:13 pm

Has anyone tried these Di Zhao wood flutes? Id love to hear from you.

I happen to love wooden flutes but the only ones close to me are an antique that I feel probably wasn't properly restored (and def shouldn't be played out), and a YFL in the 8000 dollar range.

The principle in my wind ensemble plays a wooden antique flute and she sounds amazing. I personally have really liked the wooden head joints I've played (and flutes) and am thinking of them as a viable option as I search for the best solution *for me* at this point.

If anyone has any experience with this instrument please do chime in....

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Phineas
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Re: DZW Grenadilla Flute

Post by Phineas » Fri Feb 20, 2015 7:49 am

wall flood wrote:I personally have really liked the wooden head joints I've played (and flutes) and am thinking of them as a viable option as I search for the best solution *for me* at this point.

If anyone has any experience with this instrument please do chime in....
I played on a Buffet International model with a wood headjoint for years. Someone else liked it, better so they stole it. It was a great alternative to a wood flute. On recordings, very few people could tell if I was playing on a wood flute or not.

Today, Have an Orpheo RIchard Egues model You can see one here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zOHaI6VvFJ0 at 2:30 It is not the best playing flute in the world, but the sound resembles the wood flute. It is also my "beater" flute that I carry everywhere. They do not make these anymore and the serial number on mine is number 8. Great concept with poor execution.

IMHO, wood flutes are cool, but not durable and require extra care. If not properly cared for, they can warp or crack.
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wall flood
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Re: DZW Grenadilla Flute

Post by wall flood » Fri Feb 20, 2015 8:25 am

So..... you wouldn't consider a wooden flute such as the DZW stable enough to play out? Or regularly ie school studies?

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Phineas
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Re: DZW Grenadilla Flute

Post by Phineas » Fri Feb 20, 2015 8:55 am

wall flood wrote:So..... you wouldn't consider a wooden flute such as the DZW stable enough to play out? Or regularly ie school studies?
For the price point, I would only play that instrument under certain conditions. I would not do any outdoor concerts with one. Once the wood gets messed up, you are out of luck in most cases.

Getting a good quality metallic or composite flute with a wood headjoint will give you more flexibility and durability.

This is my opinion. Others may feel differently.

wall flood
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Re: DZW Grenadilla Flute

Post by wall flood » Fri Feb 20, 2015 2:08 pm

Without a doubt a grenadilla flute will be more sensitive and delicate. For that reason alone I've thought of avoiding them.

But, interestingly there is a significant number of wood boehm flutes out there that are at or older than 100 years old and playing well.

My principal has one from the 1870s I think and she plays it year in and year out. Leaves it on a flute peg at rehearsal which makes me shudder. And when I ask her about special care etc I just get the blank stare so I'm not sure she is putting any effort into it.

Just the same I could probably get a nice wood powell joint for that much. ....

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Phineas
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Re: DZW Grenadilla Flute

Post by Phineas » Fri Feb 20, 2015 3:12 pm

wall flood wrote:My principal has one from the 1870s I think and she plays it year in and year out. Leaves it on a flute peg at rehearsal which makes me shudder. And when I ask her about special care etc I just get the blank stare so I'm not sure she is putting any effort into it.
My she sounds like a fun person...not!

Sure, if you play it indoors, no problem. The problem comes when you expose any wood to extreme temperature and humidity changes. This goes for wood piccolos as well.

wall flood
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Re: DZW Grenadilla Flute

Post by wall flood » Fri Feb 20, 2015 9:45 pm

By "blank stare" I mean she doesn't appear to be aware that she is supposed to use any special care regarding a wood flute. She doesn't appear to do anything special at all which is a testament to the durability of the instrument itself (not her). Its survived over 140 years of harsh climes if its been in my region anyway!

In any case iI'm going to stick with my dimedici and try better heads (the stock one has been pretty good actually.

Maybe I'll get a better head, a wooden one, or one of those Guo grenadite flutes just for fun......

fluteguy18
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Re: DZW Grenadilla Flute

Post by fluteguy18 » Sun Feb 22, 2015 8:07 pm

Okay. So I have just a lot to say on this subject, but I'll withhold most of it. For its price point, the DZ is okay, but not fabulous. As for the remaining comments surrounding a supercentenarian wood flute...

Wood is not quite as fragile as you think (or at least that's my opinion). I've been studying woodwind instrument making on my weekends with an oboe maker down near Atlanta. While wood is certainly wild and unruly (it loves to swell and shrink), it isn't quite as delicate as it has been perceived by players. I actually think that metal instruments are more easily damaged in some ways when compared to wood. The wood will generally only crack when subjected to certain circumstances (some of which may be naturally occurring imperfections). As long as the moisture content in the wood doesn't change too drastically, or it isn't subjected to rapid temperature changes, or it doesn't experience some sort of physical trauma... it's probably not going to crack. Most of these are more controlled by your environment rather than specific care-taking practices. So putting it on a peg and treating it like a metal flute is just fine IMO as long as she swabs it out and doesn't play it in extreme conditions. Her technician will take care of any wood specific maintenance issues with her regular servicing. I mean... you don't see the violinists doing anything special, and many of their instruments are just as old and delicate (if not more so).

As for other variables, leaks are going to open when the wood swells or shrinks. It swells and shrinks along grain lines between early and late season growth rings at points in the bore and tonehole chimneys where the end grain is exposed. Being conscientious of weather patterns could be helpful considering that some post and rib configurations occasionally require a 'summer' and 'winter' setup, but in general... Just swab it out, and treat it like a child (that you like), and it will probably be okay.

wall flood
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Re: DZW Grenadilla Flute

Post by wall flood » Thu Feb 26, 2015 7:58 am

Fluteguy18 if you have a lot you can say about wooden flutes please do share! I know time is valuable but I for one would love to hear your thoughts and wisdom on the matter.

I agree with the durability issues. I see very few old metal flutes in use though they are out there being played. A flute professor in my area plays L. Lott flutes but he also sends them to Mr Tanaka for restoration.

On the other hand there are hundreds of vintage wooden flutes in regular use over a hundred years past the day they were made.

One I played was fabulous and I'm not sure why. It played pretty well for me. The two I've played just recently were both pigs probably because of the ancient embouchure hole cut.

Id be very paranoid about having the hole recut but thought I could ask David Chu if he'd be willing to do it.

Anyway, fluteguy18 please share!
Thanks

fluteguy18
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Re: DZW Grenadilla Flute

Post by fluteguy18 » Thu Feb 26, 2015 10:27 pm

There are so many subjects on the matter, that really it would be best if you sent me a PM with any questions. I mean seriously... You have varying issues of cellular structure, early and late season growth cycles, grain checks, mineral deposits, pore sizes, density issues, wood seasoning cycles, hydration levels (dry is not necessarily ideal!), radial warping, longitudinal warping, crystallization of cellular structures as wood ages, various types of cracks that manifest differently in appearance in relation to their cause... the list goes on and on and on. Wood grain orientation in relation to the tonehole and embouchure indexing is crucial (wood WILL warp. It's not a matter of IF, but WHEN, and grain orientation changes everything). I've just barely scratched the surface in my studies into wood in relation to instruments.

When I do repair on an instrument that is having intonation issues, if I don't see an blatant issue up front (key ventings, barrel lengths, mouthpiece/reed issues), I spend time mapping out the bore. While tonehole undercutting is effective, it's only treating the symptoms and not the problem. Usually part of the bore is the problem, and it needs to go back to the maker to be re-reamed. But I only do this and recommend it on extremely high end models. Anything else simply isn't worth the time or the money. Something older like this supercentenarian flute we're talking about can't go back to the maker. But with this instrument you're likely dealing with issues of concentricity and wall thickness variables in addition to a bore that is out of round in multiple areas and in multiple directions...

So many subjects, so many variables, so little time...

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