Is this a wise choice?

Flute History and Instrument Purchase

Moderators: Classitar, pied_piper, Phineas

DivaricationOfMind
Posts: 53
Joined: Sun Aug 06, 2006 1:15 am
Location: Tampa, FL

Post by DivaricationOfMind » Sat May 05, 2007 10:11 pm

ah, I see. The problem is that I'm not sure how I'd find a flute technician in my neck of the woods :/ I searched on the internet but didn't find any...

User avatar
flutepicc06
Posts: 1353
Joined: Mon May 29, 2006 11:34 pm

Post by flutepicc06 » Sat May 05, 2007 10:15 pm

Flute techs very rarely advertise on the internet unless it's a company advertising repairs. To find a local flute specialist, talk to local flute teachers and universities, any freelance flutists that may live in the area, etc. Odds are there's at least one. Of course, you also have the option of shipping your instrument to a tech in some other area if you just can't find one, or none of them suit you.

MeLizzard
Posts: 462
Joined: Tue Dec 10, 2002 10:25 pm
Location: Mid-Ohio Valley

Post by MeLizzard » Sun May 06, 2007 4:48 pm

It's a Gemeinhardt, for Pete's Sake! There are differences in overhauling students flutes, vs. professional ones. Get some references from flutists in your area who've had repairs by various techs, and go with the best recommendations relative to cost. While there's no substitute for a flute repair specialist when seeking repairs for a very valuable, handmade flute, many quite-above-average "band instrument technicians" are working in America, for less than $1,000 per overhaul. I guess we're lucky to have our local guy, and he has done some very minor work on my Muramatsu. "Horrors!", you say? He's very good. At lots of repairs. For example, he's now a renowned trombone-slide diety. Simply amazing!!! It's common for players to get brass instruments back from him and comment that the condition is better than new. With woodwinds, he's curious, thoughtful, careful, and always in consultation with the player to be sure everything suits, from the key heights to the spring tension, types of pads, whatever. He's trusted by players all over the area, regardless of instrument. Granted, when a professional woodwind player wants a full overhaul, we all send 'em off, not only because of the instrument, but for the psychological comfort of the repairman. He's a friend, and we all want to stay friends. Like him, I'm sure there are other conscientious, knowledgeable, well-trained technicians who repair instruments besides flutes that can do a really great job. It also depends on your playing skills. I'm not advocating mediocre repairs, but if you can get a 95% repair for only $330, it's probably a good deal. Do you play well enough to discern the differences between a $300 overhaul and a $1200 overhaul? Many young players often can't even tell when a couple of pads need to be replaced, let alone understand the nuance of professional-caliber overhauls. If your flute's in dire condition, and you can be assured that this person will do a relatively good job, go for it.
**I'm unsure whether the silver Gemeinhardt head on the new flute is actually 'better'; rather, it's just silver. The cut is likely to be very similar.
"There is no 'Try'; there is only 'Do'."--Yoda

User avatar
flutepicc06
Posts: 1353
Joined: Mon May 29, 2006 11:34 pm

Post by flutepicc06 » Sun May 06, 2007 7:44 pm

Apparently Mellizzard and I have very different ideas when it comes to repairs, but there's really no point in arguing that. We're all allowed our own opinions, after all! :) It will be your choice what to do, but even if it is just a Gemeinhardt, if it needs serious attention (like an overhaul), my decision would be to use a flute tech. I am extremely particular about my instruments (I actually CAN tell when things are even slightly out of whack, much less when several pads need replacement), and have pretty serious expectations for the performance of my instruments, though, so if you're in a different place, it might not matter to you. In my opinion, a $300 overhaul and a $1200 overhaul (though I don't know where you would find a $1200 overhaul if you wanted to) are not even comparable. The quality of the jobs is usually so disparate that it should be immediately clear to a decently skilled player which is which, all other variables being eliminated. I've experienced both, and while the $300 overhaul put the instrument in playing condition (barely), the pressure required to seat some of the pads on the tops of the toneholes was excessive, the adjustments poor (though not poor enough that they didn't close keys), spring tension uneven, etc. I have never been dissatisfied with any part of how a flute played after having it overhauled by my flute tech.

Also, Gemeinhardt does offer 4 or 5 different cuts of headjoint, so it could be that the silver head and the plated head are different cuts, and perhaps the cut of the silver head is more compatible with Divarication's playing. The difference between the two (if any) is not attributable to the silver content, however, and I would not describe one as better. It just suits you more.

MeLizzard
Posts: 462
Joined: Tue Dec 10, 2002 10:25 pm
Location: Mid-Ohio Valley

Post by MeLizzard » Mon May 07, 2007 9:12 am

Excuse the daylights outta me! How old are you again? I don't mean to argue or completely discredit your words, as there is much truth to your statements, but you're a bit black-and-white. It's easier to be this way when one is young, but as we age, we experience more and these experiences color our perspectives. My best young students can tell subtle differences in repairs, and major ones if an idiot performed them. But if nobody told you who performed which overhaul, I'll bet money you, and they, couldn't discern the difference between a quality low-priced overhaul (NOT an oxymoron) versus a $1000 one. Again, I do not advocate tolerating shoddy, or even mediocre, repair. Maybe I'm spoiled to a lowly "band repairman" who hapens to be excellent. I trust him implicitly with my students' instruments, and even my own, depending on the type of repair needed. My point is merely that, if there's ONE tech of this caliber working in America, I'm sure there are many others. And I only live in a backward, redneck, low-population area. :wink:
Doubtless, living in a large city (or even near one) will alter one's perspective and change one's opinions. BUT, having traveled and studied and performed enough to know better, well... Let's just say that I've seen plenty of players ship off expensive instruments to "professional flute repair specialists", only to get them back in less-than-professional condition. One woman, college prof, sent her flute out (took almost five weeks to get it back), only to develop carpal tunnel syndrome a few months later. Her flute had been gone long enough that she had forgotten how it really felt, and it returned with stupendous spring tension, which she didn't immediately notice. Enough to cause injury! She had to take it in to her university's staff repairman, a bassoonist who spends his time knocking dents outta marching brass, and all those boring things, to have it properly adjusted!?!
Please don't pigeon-hole different types of repairs and make sweeping generalizations ("all band instrument repair techs are diffuse, unspecific, poorply-trained hacks", for example). It's totally possible to get a good overhaul that won't break the bank. All instruments deserve respect and good repair, but, good grief, on a bare-bones student model, $700 more in repair usually isn't going to provide a noticeable difference, provided thte $300 repair was a pretty good one. A Gemeinhardt 2SP will not return form a $1000 overhaul feeling and sounding like a Haynes, and a reputable technician likely wouldn't recommend this kind of expense for an instrument with such a low monetary value, unless a customer insists. I've often heard that a good price for an overhaul, within reason of course, is about 10% of the instrument's value.
"There is no 'Try'; there is only 'Do'."--Yoda

MeLizzard
Posts: 462
Joined: Tue Dec 10, 2002 10:25 pm
Location: Mid-Ohio Valley

Post by MeLizzard » Mon May 07, 2007 9:21 am

I'm sorry you've experienced such poor repair adventures, flutepicc. You should play a Greg Garvin $280 repad sometime. Only on a student model, naturally. The guy's a magician. He should maybe charge a lot more.
"There is no 'Try'; there is only 'Do'."--Yoda

User avatar
musical_Kat
Posts: 126
Joined: Fri Mar 16, 2007 10:32 am
Location: West Palm Beach, FL
Contact:

Post by musical_Kat » Mon May 07, 2007 12:54 pm

MeLizzard wrote:Excuse the daylights outta me! How old are you again? I don't mean to argue or completely discredit your words, as there is much truth to your statements, but you're a bit black-and-white. It's easier to be this way when one is young, but as we age, we experience more and these experiences color our perspectives. My best young students can tell subtle differences in repairs, and major ones if an idiot performed them. But if nobody told you who performed which overhaul, I'll bet money you, and they, couldn't discern the difference between a quality low-priced overhaul (NOT an oxymoron) versus a $1000 one. Again, I do not advocate tolerating shoddy, or even mediocre, repair. Maybe I'm spoiled to a lowly "band repairman" who hapens to be excellent. I trust him implicitly with my students' instruments, and even my own, depending on the type of repair needed. My point is merely that, if there's ONE tech of this caliber working in America, I'm sure there are many others. And I only live in a backward, redneck, low-population area. :wink:
Doubtless, living in a large city (or even near one) will alter one's perspective and change one's opinions. BUT, having traveled and studied and performed enough to know better, well... Let's just say that I've seen plenty of players ship off expensive instruments to "professional flute repair specialists", only to get them back in less-than-professional condition. One woman, college prof, sent her flute out (took almost five weeks to get it back), only to develop carpal tunnel syndrome a few months later. Her flute had been gone long enough that she had forgotten how it really felt, and it returned with stupendous spring tension, which she didn't immediately notice. Enough to cause injury! She had to take it in to her university's staff repairman, a bassoonist who spends his time knocking dents outta marching brass, and all those boring things, to have it properly adjusted!?!
Please don't pigeon-hole different types of repairs and make sweeping generalizations ("all band instrument repair techs are diffuse, unspecific, poorply-trained hacks", for example). It's totally possible to get a good overhaul that won't break the bank. All instruments deserve respect and good repair, but, good grief, on a bare-bones student model, $700 more in repair usually isn't going to provide a noticeable difference, provided thte $300 repair was a pretty good one. A Gemeinhardt 2SP will not return form a $1000 overhaul feeling and sounding like a Haynes, and a reputable technician likely wouldn't recommend this kind of expense for an instrument with such a low monetary value, unless a customer insists. I've often heard that a good price for an overhaul, within reason of course, is about 10% of the instrument's value.

God Bless you....i've been wanting to say a lot of this for quite a while! LOL....a few people are starting to assume that they are the be all and end all of the fluteland world....it's really starting to get under my skin which is why I haven't been posting as often as I was. We can not all be the authority on EVERYTHING all the time! :wink:

User avatar
sidekicker
Posts: 310
Joined: Wed Jun 07, 2006 5:58 am
Location: Scottish-American in Oklahoma

Post by sidekicker » Mon May 07, 2007 5:51 pm

musical_Kat wrote: We can not all be the authority on EVERYTHING all the time! :wink:
Unless, of course, one is chastizing people for being such. Then I suppose it's okay. :-)

SK

User avatar
flutepicc06
Posts: 1353
Joined: Mon May 29, 2006 11:34 pm

Post by flutepicc06 » Mon May 07, 2007 6:18 pm

sidekicker wrote:
musical_Kat wrote: We can not all be the authority on EVERYTHING all the time! :wink:
Unless, of course, one is chastizing people for being such. Then I suppose it's okay. :-)

SK
Apparently. I have a pretty good idea who Musical Kat is referencing in her post, but I will not get into that here. I suggest that if anyone has problems with any poster's opinions, their behaviour or anything else, that you bring it up with them. Private messages are available for a reason....Not everything needs to be said in public, and sometimes a simple (polite) note explaining your grievances and some simple suggestions to help get along better can do wonders. I'm perfectly willing to discuss my conduct and ideas in private (and I'm sure others would be just as willing), and if you have any complaints, I'm more than willing to address them. Perhaps next time you'll opt to talk to offending members on a personal level rather than making broad, open-ended statements in the public forum that just open up conflict.

Now, Mellizzard, I respect your ideas, and certainly understand where you're coming from, but my experiences with repair techs tell me differently. Does that mean I'm right and you're wrong or vice versa? Absolutely not. It just means we've had different experiences, and thus a different basis on which to form our ideas. I don't see any reason to carry this difference of opinion into the argument stage, though....We've both expressed our ideas on the subject, and both have a basis for those opinions. Nothing is to be gained by venturing further down this road. I apologize if anything I posted offended you, as that is never my intention when discussing things here, but I (just as others) have made mistakes, read things wrong, worded poorly, etc. and in doing so have aoffended people. Once again, that was not my intention, so hopefully we can move on and keep discussing the flute.

DivaricationOfMind
Posts: 53
Joined: Sun Aug 06, 2006 1:15 am
Location: Tampa, FL

Post by DivaricationOfMind » Mon May 07, 2007 7:02 pm

flutepicc06 wrote: Also, Gemeinhardt does offer 4 or 5 different cuts of headjoint, so it could be that the silver head and the plated head are different cuts, and perhaps the cut of the silver head is more compatible with Divarication's playing.
I'm pretty sure the cut is different. It definitely felt different, but in a good way.


flutepicc06 wrote:The difference between the two (if any) is not attributable to the silver content, however, and I would not describe one as better. It just suits you more.
Does the solid silver really not change anything? I always felt my tone was richer when using solid silver headjoints. Maybe it's just in my head hahaha


alright, honestly I don't think this decision is that big of a deal. I just need to have a flute, that doesn't sound horrible for about a month or two(I have a good handful of wedding I need to play at). After that I'm upgrading completely, I'm done with gemmies lol. I'd really like to try out a nice Yamaha, or a Muramatsu(I've heard so many good things about them I can hardly resist the temptation to get one of these in my hands to give a try). I'll definitely check out other flutes aswell.

User avatar
flutepicc06
Posts: 1353
Joined: Mon May 29, 2006 11:34 pm

Post by flutepicc06 » Mon May 07, 2007 7:12 pm

divaricationofmind wrote:
flutepicc06 wrote:The difference between the two (if any) is not attributable to the silver content, however, and I would not describe one as better. It just suits you more.
Does the solid silver really not change anything? I always felt my tone was richer when using solid silver headjoints. Maybe it's just in my head hahaha
Headjoints made of more valuable materials tend to have more care taken with them during the cutting process. Even a machine made silver head may have a better designed embouchured hole simply because the material is more valuable. It's impossible to say that silver makes absolutely no difference, as it's impossible to conduct tests eliminating every variable except for material, but most of the tests and studies that have been done (for instance, playing the same excerpt on several flutes for an audience that can't see the performer) seem to indicate that material makes little difference to most people's ears. The player may feel a difference, but acoustically, the design is far more important than the material. The player is by far the biggest influence on sound, followed by the design of the head (including embouchure hole shape, tapering of the bore, under- and over-cutting, etc.), then (possibly) material. As a test, if you get the chance some day, play a silver plated Louis Lot against a solid silver junk import in equal states of repair, and I think you'll find your sound is much better on the plated Lot.

FltnPicc_David
Posts: 144
Joined: Sat Oct 08, 2005 7:10 pm
Location: Tampa, FL
Contact:

Post by FltnPicc_David » Mon May 07, 2007 11:22 pm

If you go to the Florida Flute Fair next year (and I really recommend going sometime if you haven't before), there is a sweet little woman by the name of Nancy Shinn that comes ever year to give us lessons on fixing flutes. She brings all these old flutes and we take them apart, etc etc. If she's not giving a lesson, then you can find her in the exhibit rooms where everyone lines up to get their flutes checked by her!

fluttiegurl
Posts: 882
Joined: Fri Dec 10, 2004 11:05 pm

Post by fluttiegurl » Tue May 08, 2007 7:43 am

I love Nancy! She did some work for one of my students a year or so ago. AMAZING! I will be honest, I sometimes forget about her when I am recommending repair work, but she truly is worth considering. She is also very nice and willing to work with a student to get things just right.

fluteguy18
Posts: 2311
Joined: Sun Jul 16, 2006 3:11 pm

Post by fluteguy18 » Tue May 08, 2007 10:18 am

In the words of fluttiegurl, I agree. I love Nancy! She came to the Flute Society of Kentucky Festival in January, and did the same masterclass. Afterwards, she gave me a short 'advanced' lesson in which we discussed lost key action, unpinning the mech, padding, etc. etc.

Then, she offered to fix some lost action in my flute [my armstrong 303, because I hadnt met my new flute yet *I met it about 1/2 hour after I got my old flute adjusted by Nancy at the FSK convention*]. So, I readily accepted, and bought her a coke to show at least some amount of appreciation [because she wasnt charging at the convention].

mattyacht
Posts: 38
Joined: Mon Mar 26, 2007 2:26 am

Post by mattyacht » Tue May 15, 2007 4:52 am

Divaricationof the Mind,

Wow you sure opened a can of worms!!!! LOL

Post Reply