New Professional Flute or Headjoint?

Flute History and Instrument Purchase

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flutist321
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Joined: Tue Mar 10, 2015 3:23 pm

New Professional Flute or Headjoint?

Post by flutist321 » Mon Mar 16, 2015 6:16 pm

I've had my Yamaha 461H model for about two years now and sadly, I have been suffering with tone problems and feel like I have to force out my air to get out quite easy notes (feel like I'm playing on my student model flute). My other option is to hold back in order to prevent the airiness which makes things worse. My band teacher has even noticed my tone problems and recently said in a playing test that my technique was at a very high level while the tone and sound was about half of that (he's been telling me this for a while and I've done everything I can to fix it). When I was at a flute event, I found that all of the flutes, including some non-expensive headjoints solved my problem. A nice saleswoman also helped me with some choices and all of us (her, my mom, and myself) could notice an astounding difference and she even said that I am currently overpowering my flute and the problem isn't me, which made me feel overjoyed because I also realized, stepping back, that it felt like my student model! The main point is that I was wondering if it would be better to purchase a new headjoint or whole flute. I am currently in highschool (if that matters) and I know that I will be devoted to the flute through the rest of highschool and in college. I really liked a Murumatsu headjoint, but I feel like my sound really "melded" with a Powell. By the way, I've been playing flute for five years and know that a lot of you will probably say that I'm too young to get a Powell, but I feel like my heart truly resides with one of their flutes and will truly benefit me in the long run.

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pied_piper
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Re: New Professional Flute or Headjoint?

Post by pied_piper » Mon Mar 16, 2015 11:05 pm

When you tried different headjoints, I assume that you meant that you tried other headjoints on your existing Yamaha flute. Since you said that solved your problem, that might indicate a problem with your current Yamaha headjoint. Have you had it checked by a flute technician since you began to have trouble? There is a good chance that your headjoint needs a new cork in it. As headjoint corks get older, they start to dry out, shrink, and sometimes crack. If it is leaking air,it can become very difficult to play and the symptoms that you describe can be caused by a leaky headjoint cork.

Actually, there is an easy test that you can do yourself to find out if the cork is leaking. Hold just the headjoint (not attached to the flute body) in your left hand and cover the end with the palm of your right hand being sure to completely cover the open end. Then place your mouth over the embouchure hole and suck the air out with your mouth. If you continually have to keep sucking air, there is a leak and most likely it is the cork that has gone bad. Sometimes, the embouchure plate can develop a leak where it is soldered to the headjoint, but you'll need a technician to check that. A new cork should cost less than $20 installed.

Also, don't think that I am trying to discourage you from getting a new headjoint or flute. If you have advanced to the point where you can take advantage of a better headjoint or flute, then by all means go for it. Just realize, that you may be able to resolve your current problems for much less money if your headjoint has a leaky cork.
"Never give a flute player a screwdriver."
--anonymous--

flutist321
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Joined: Tue Mar 10, 2015 3:23 pm

Re: New Professional Flute or Headjoint?

Post by flutist321 » Sun Mar 22, 2015 9:32 pm

Ok thank you so much! Also, I'm sorry this is such a late reply. My email didn't notify me! :oops:

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Gandalfe
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Re: New Professional Flute or Headjoint?

Post by Gandalfe » Mon Mar 23, 2015 11:19 am

Both options are exciting, I suppose it depends upon how much money you have. Of three given here (including the last and most excellent repair the head joint suggestion) I chose to go with a custom flute head joint by McKenna. It didn't hurt that I got it on sale. My wife asked why I bought a new head for a basically new instrument. So, since we both had matching instruments, I had her play her stock instrument and then try hers with my custom one. She was so impressed with the improved sound that she ordered the last one on sale that day. YMMV, but it might be worth the time to try some out. Good luck!
Microsoft Jumpin' Jive Orchestra ~ Quinn the Eskimo Vintage Horns
I played the wrong, wrong notes. ~ Thelonious Monk

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