Thoughts on Gemeinhardt Flutes?

Flute History and Instrument Purchase

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music_elf16
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Thoughts on Gemeinhardt Flutes?

Post by music_elf16 »

My band director specifically suggested I buy a Gemmie when I asked her. I did, and that was to upgrade from a close-holed Yamaha student flute to an intermediate open-hole 3SB Gemmie. She's been around instruments a long time, but when I got on here, I didn't see many people talking about them. Just looking for opinions:)

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flutepicc06
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Post by flutepicc06 »

Well, older Gemmies (including some of those made as recently as ten years ago) were of pretty questionable quality, but modern instruments from them are decent. They're good student instruments, but just mediocre as intermediate instruments go, and despite them advertising "professional" flutes, none of the mass produced models from them are truly at the same level as a handmade flute from Haynes, Powell, Muramatsu, etc. Next time you're looking to upgrade, I would look elsewhere....You can probably get "more" flute for the money, and in any case, any knowledgeable source should direct you to a list of suitable makes, but not one specific type of flute. Flute purchases are personal, and what suits one player may or may not suit another. Gemeinhardt heads generally have a small range of dynamics, few tonal colors, and are cut in such a manner that those who grow accustomed to them often have difficulty playing other heads at first. Personally, I find the mechanisms to be pretty boxy as well. In short, a Gemeinhardt will let you play the notes, but there are probably better instruments available if you really want to make music. As long as you're happy with your flute, it doesn't matter much what we think, in any case.

fluttiegurl
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Post by fluttiegurl »

In years past, Gemeinhardt was an obvious choice because of availability. That is why many band directors still push them over other instruments (including the ones that I work with). Personally, I think there are better flutes out there. However, if that is all you try, you won't know the difference. I say that because a typical band director may or may not know what is available, an dif it worked in the past, why not stick with it?

The big question is: are you happy with yor flute? If so, that's wonderful! If you have found it to be limiting or are having issues with it, then it may not be the right choice. Have you ever played any other step-up flutes? If not, you really do not know how it would compare. Overall, you are the one who should be satisfied with it no matter what you hear or read.

I have a friend who plays a VERY old Gemmie and sounds AMAZING! He played my Haynes and believe it or not, still sounded the same. All in all, HE is the one who is amazing. A flute cannot make any sound without a player.

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Phineas
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Post by Phineas »

I have always made the statement "It is all about the player not the instrument". A decent player is going to sound good on any properly working instrument. People constantly complain about Gemmies, yet most professional doublers(Jazz/Latin/Pop/Rock) I know have them. As long as an instrument suits your needs, it is a good instrument. You may be able to do better than a Gemmy, but you could do a lot worse. Not my favorite brand, but it that was all I could get my hands on, I could live with it.

Another thing to consider is availability. Most people still do not buy instruments online, or do any research. Often times an instructor may recommend an instrument based on what is available in a given area. For example for close to the purchase price(maybe a little more) of a Gemmy 3SB, you will get more bang for the dollar with a Pearl 665, or a Jupiter 711 and get something closer to a professional level flute. However, these models may not be available in your area.

Phineas

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Mark
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Post by Mark »

I play an older Gemmy 3SH that I grabbed from ebay. Of course it needed a bit of work but that's ebay for ya. :)
The knock around flute that I bring out here to work is an ancient Gemmy M1 and it suits its purpose as well.

I can make my Gemmy sing, but I will admit that I prefer my son's Pearl.

I agree though that the important issue is how your Gemeinhardt plays for YOU.
That is the bottom line, after all. :)


mark
So many instruments.... so little time.... :)

lhampton
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Post by lhampton »

DON'T DO IT!!!! Lol

I had so much trouble with my intermediate gem. 3bsh
the sound was so stuffy, i had terrible intonation problems, i could never play loud.
when I "upgraded" to my miyazawa professional model, all of those problems went away. I also never had intonation problems or dynamic issues when I'd play my friends intermediate yamaha which was comparable to to the gemeinhardt.
I say go for the yamahas if you're looking to step up...go for the professional flutes if you have the dedication and expense....just stay away from the gemeinhardts. They were excellent flutes back in the day, i must say, but are far surpassed by the yamaha brand.

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flutepicc06
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Post by flutepicc06 »

lhampton wrote:DON'T DO IT!!!! Lol

I had so much trouble with my intermediate gem. 3bsh
the sound was so stuffy, i had terrible intonation problems, i could never play loud.
when I "upgraded" to my miyazawa professional model, all of those problems went away. I also never had intonation problems or dynamic issues when I'd play my friends intermediate yamaha which was comparable to to the gemeinhardt.
I say go for the yamahas if you're looking to step up...go for the professional flutes if you have the dedication and expense....just stay away from the gemeinhardts. They were excellent flutes back in the day, i must say, but are far surpassed by the yamaha brand.
"Back in the day" Gemmies had some real issues with design and quality. If you were interested in a Gemeinhardt, you'd be better off going with a modern flute. As for the tone intonation and dynamic issues you mentioned, stuffiness can be a problem with any headjoint if it doesn't match well with the player using it. This phenomenon is not unique to Gemmies. Intonation is related far more to the player than the flute...It's perfectly possible to play even old "traditional" scale flutes in tune...It just takes more work. And the dynamic range is a byproduct of the unusual EH cut I mentioned above. Even on a topnotch handmade head, playing loud can be difficult, as it's not what the flute was designed for. There's nothing wrong with Gemmies at the student level, as I mentioned above, but there are probably better instruments for the money available at the intermediate/"pro" level. Yamahas are solid flutes, but like any other make, they must match the player if they're to be any more useful than that Gemmie you used to have.

Cooeyflute
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I'm british so my teacher doesn't know about gemmies. I have

Post by Cooeyflute »

Music, life... Same thing

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