Upgrade flute for a 6th grader

Flute History and Instrument Purchase

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flutemom04
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Joined: Sat Jul 04, 2015 10:01 am

Upgrade flute for a 6th grader

Post by flutemom04 » Sat Jul 04, 2015 10:20 am

Hi everyone -
I've been reading all of the great information here and of course I am completely overwhelmed.

I am a clarinet player so this flute thing is a mystery to me.

My dd has been playing since 2nd grade and is now going to middle school. She is in a performing arts school so she plays many, many times a week. She is currently playing a very old Gemeinhardt 2SP which we bought when she was 7 because it was the only flute with the extra curved joint that the store offered and she needed it to reach all the keys. Now I think she needs something better. I do not want to spend a ton of money because she is still just 11 and is not the most careful with her flute.

When I first floated the idea of a new flute, she was convinced that her old flute was fine...until she played some new ones. She could not believe the difference a difference flute made in tone, ability to get out some of her notes, articulation response and ease of moving from one note to the next. Now she is sold.

The flute she has liked best so far is the Yamaha 371HIIAL. She has also tried a Jupiter 711 which she also liked a lot, an Armstrong (can't remember the model - but their stepup model) which she hated, and a Gemeinhardt 30S she like OK but not great.

My question is: do we need to step up to one of these models to get improvement over her current flute. She obviously thinks yes, but I don't know if it is because of the age of her current flute and it needing some work. She hasn't tried any "beginner" flutes to see if they sound better than what she currently has. What about just upgrading the headjoint? Is that even worth it on that 2SP?

I'd prefer a used instrument and would be willing to overhaul something if it was worth it, but $500 worth of pads,"corks", cleaning on top of the price of the flute is usually almost as expensive as buying a new flute.

We have limited access to music stores where I live so having her try out a variety is challenging. I'd really like to limit my budget to $1000 (or less) if possible.

Any advice is greatly appreciated!

TIA!

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Phineas
Posts: 958
Joined: Sat Jan 22, 2005 1:08 am

Re: Upgrade flute for a 6th grader

Post by Phineas » Sun Jul 05, 2015 6:39 pm

flutemom04 wrote:My dd has been playing since 2nd grade and is now going to middle school. She is in a performing arts school so she plays many, many times a week. She is currently playing a very old Gemeinhardt 2SP which we bought when she was 7 because it was the only flute with the extra curved joint that the store offered and she needed it to reach all the keys. Now I think she needs something better. I do not want to spend a ton of money because she is still just 11 and is not the most careful with her flute.
Here are a couple of options....
1. Try a different headjoint.
2. Get the current instrument cleaned and adjusted.
3. Both 1 and 2

Although the 2SP is not my all-time-favorite, it is still a decent/durable instrument. This option will be well within your budget. There are several headjoints that will fit that model.
The flute she has liked best so far is the Yamaha 371HIIAL.
See if you can find a Yamaha 271 or 281. They are practically the same instrument/headjoint for less money. Just made with less silver than the 371. Also, there are a lot of used Yamaha 221/225 flutes floating around for fairly cheap!! These are similar except they are closed hole models. Likely if you find a 221/225 in decent shape, it will play very similar and she should like it.
She has also tried a Jupiter 711 which she also liked a lot
I like that flute as well, she has good taste! The cost is a little above your budget. Consider looking at the Jupiter CEF 611, CEF 510, or the CEF 551. All are great flutes new or used. I used a CEF510(Capital Edition) as a workhorse for several years. I even like the headjoint slightly better than the one on the 711. The CEF 611 is a 711 with a plated body.
I'd prefer a used instrument and would be willing to overhaul something if it was worth it, but $500 worth of pads,"corks", cleaning on top of the price of the flute is usually almost as expensive as buying a new flute.
This is true. Often, you can find used instruments for the price of overhauls. I would only consider this suggestion if you buy it from a local dealer that has a guarantee and an onsite repair person. Be aware that buying used instruments online is quite risky. Be prepared to pay some money out for repairs or adjustment.

Also, upgrading a flute is based mostly on personal preference. I would suggest trying different headjoints, and a COA first. Especially if money is an issue. If the estimated COA and a headjoint is more than $500, then I would consider upgrading/replacing the flute.

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