Is this flute an improvement? (Jupiter 511RII over Armstrong 102)

Flute History and Instrument Purchase

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maerlon
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Is this flute an improvement? (Jupiter 511RII over Armstrong 102)

Post by maerlon » Sun May 10, 2015 1:28 pm

Hello! I've been playing flute for a few years now, and it's sort of taken over my life (unexpectedly, given that it's the 5th or so instrument I've learned to play haha.) As it is, I learned to play on a borrowed Yamaha that was 30 years old, then bought a 100$ Chinese flute, and then eventually ended up paying $200 for an Armstrong 102. I actually do love it - the sound's pretty warm compared to a lot of Yamahas I hear, and I like the mellow tone - but this must be the fourth time I've had it repaired and I am utterly done with paying more than I paid for it to fix it every year.

I have a few options to look at, but I'm awkwardly pressed for time because the 102 has been damaged yet again (the mechanism seems oddly fragile? I've been told I have light fingering, so I don't know how it keeps happening) and I have a massive competition in two weeks. Joy of joys.

I've been looking at a couple options right now, but I'm unsure as to which one to go with.

-One of my options is a Jupiter 511RII. I'm okay with the price for it, but the reviews for Jupiters seem really 50/50. On the one hand people are saying they're excellent instruments, and then the other half are saying the cut's weird, the sound's inconsistent, etc. etc. Is this flute actually an improvement over my 102, in terms of sound?

-I could also be going with a Gemeinhardt 3SB, but again, crazy split reviews. In this case, apparently Gemeinhardt mechanisms are crazy fragile? I don't think I could handle another "fix me every year" flute. Are Gemeinhardts that bad?

Any other suggested models would be great, actually. I'm looking to get something better than what I'm playing right now in terms of sound and quality. A few people have suggested just buying a Yamaha 221, but I find I'm not really a fan of the brighter sound, despite everyone saying it's 1000x better than my 102. Now I'm just confused. I'm open to Yamahas, too, I suppose, but all the 221s I've tried mean I'm not up for that one. I'm not sure if other Yamaha models have a different head joint style, so who knows. This is why I'm asking :D I'm looking for used flutes mostly, and generally below 400-500. I know it's a really constrained budget, but even that's only by figuring in the resale of my Armstrong. Any advice/recommendations would be really great!

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Phineas
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Re: Is this flute an improvement? (Jupiter 511RII over Armstrong 102)

Post by Phineas » Mon May 11, 2015 9:33 am

maerlon wrote:-One of my options is a Jupiter 511RII. I'm okay with the price for it, but the reviews for Jupiters seem really 50/50. On the one hand people are saying they're excellent instruments, and then the other half are saying the cut's weird, the sound's inconsistent, etc. etc. Is this flute actually an improvement over my 102, in terms of sound?
There are nothing wrong with Jupiter Flutes. Most of the people who complain about them are just Flute snobs. Mainly because they are Taiwanese made. Before I passed it along to a friend, I had an identical model for at least 5 years. Was a solid instrument. In terms of sound, that is up to you and how you play it.
maerlon wrote:-I could also be going with a Gemeinhardt 3SB, but again, crazy split reviews. In this case, apparently Gemeinhardt mechanisms are crazy fragile? I don't think I could handle another "fix me every year" flute. Are Gemeinhardts that bad?
Chalk up another one for the flute snobs. I know plenty of players from beginners to professionals that have and prefer these. I do not. However, I would not say that they are bad instruments either. A matter of preference. You could do better, but you could do a heck of a lot worse.
maerlon wrote:I'm looking to get something better than what I'm playing right now in terms of sound and quality.
From a quality stand point, going from an Armstrong 102 to a 104 is a pretty good jump. These days, there are plenty quality flutes in all price ranges. The best you can do is come up with a budget, figure out what is available, then play on them to see which one you like the best. There really is no magic to it. I have played on flutes that cost $100 I like. I have played on $10000 flutes I did not like.
maerlon wrote:A few people have suggested just buying a Yamaha 221, but I find I'm not really a fan of the brighter sound, despite everyone saying it's 1000x better than my 102.
You cannot really go wrong with a well maintained Yamaha 221/225. You can find a lot of these floating around used for $200 to $300 dollars. If you do not like how they sound, you can always just try a different headjoint.
maerlon wrote: Now I'm just confused.
1. Figure what you wish to spend,
2. See what is available.
3. Play the d&&n thangs.
4. Buy the one you like.

Simple :)
maerlon wrote:I'm looking for used flutes mostly, and generally below 400-500. I know it's a really constrained budget, but even that's only by figuring in the resale of my Armstrong. Any advice/recommendations would be really great!
If you want something to play, then you should not have a problem finding what you want in that price range. However, if you are an aspiring Flute snob, I would at least multiply that budget by 3x. At that price point, you are forced to mostly deal with a niche. Look here for some suggested brands..

https://www.fluteland.com/board/viewtop ... f=4&t=5859

You may also contact my friend at Garret Hypes at http://www.saxophone.com I play tested some of his line of flutes a couple of years ago. Though his are Yamaha clones, they are decent instruments with a warranty and well within your price range.

Lastly, used can be a good deal. However, you must always expect to have work done on it depending where you buy it from. I would almost not recommend buying used online if at all possible.

Good luck!

Phineas

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Gandalfe
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Re: Is this flute an improvement? (Jupiter 511RII over Armstrong 102)

Post by Gandalfe » Mon May 11, 2015 10:14 am

Great answer! When I sell my personal instruments they always go fast because the potential buyer sits down with me and plays them first. A good instrument should be a joy to play. The last used instrument I sold to a friend was so prized, their son used it the next week for a state competition. There are some wonderful instruments out there, you just have to find them, try them, and then take care of them.
Microsoft Jumpin' Jive Orchestra ~ Quinn the Eskimo Vintage Horns
I played the wrong, wrong notes. ~ Thelonious Monk

fluteguy18
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Re: Is this flute an improvement? (Jupiter 511RII over Armstrong 102)

Post by fluteguy18 » Mon May 11, 2015 10:39 am

I'm one of the flute snobs I guess. :lol: The Jupiters are fine, as are some of the student level Pearl flutes. I'm not a big fan of Gemeinhardt or Armstrong (thought I started on one myself). You really can't go wrong with a Yamaha student level, and I'm a fan of the student level Amadeus flutes actually.

As Phineas said: play the dang thing and have fun. There was once a player on here that insisted on playing on a purple 'Ebay Special' as I call them. Whatever floats your boat honestly. But if you have any aspirations for serious improvement, I recommend buying the highest quality that you can reasonably afford.

Set a budget. Window shop in your area. Try them all. Buy one. That simple. 8)

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Phineas
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Re: Is this flute an improvement? (Jupiter 511RII over Armstrong 102)

Post by Phineas » Mon May 11, 2015 1:11 pm

fluteguy18 wrote:There was once a player on here that insisted on playing on a purple 'Ebay Special' as I call them.
I can't throw stones at that one...LOL I have definitely had my share of those things. I guess I have graduated to the Nuvos now... :P They come in a cool GREEN!!!!!

Phineas

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