So many brands!

Flute History and Instrument Purchase

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asoalin
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Location: Central Florida, USA

So many brands!

Post by asoalin » Sun Dec 16, 2007 10:49 am

I'm looking to upgrade to a professional/semi-professional with a budget of about $2k. There's not any flute stores in my area, but I heard about Flute World on this forum, so I'll probably try out some flutes from them.

I heard Gemeinhardt flutes are more "harsh" sounding and not really worth the money, so I've ruled those out for me. There are so many other brands thought - I don't know which ones to try!

So, my question is, what are some reputable brands and which brands are not worth it, in your opinion. I know it depends on the player, but I just need some direction. Thanks everyone!

fluteguy18
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Post by fluteguy18 » Sun Dec 16, 2007 1:43 pm

Rather than to list all of the brands, in order to save time for not only myself and other members of the board, I STRONGLY recommend you read the following thread:

http://www.fluteland.com/board/viewtopic.php?t=2320

The thread I just gave you the link to, is a Frequently Asked Questions thread, and I am absolutely sure that you will find many helpful answers to questions you havent even imagined yet. :wink:

So, take a look at that, and if you have any more questions, or don't understand something on that FAQ guide, merely ask your questions here. We would be more than happy to help. :D

asoalin
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Location: Central Florida, USA

Post by asoalin » Sun Dec 16, 2007 2:42 pm

Wow, that pretty much answers all of my questions. Thank you so much! I love this forum :)

asoalin
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Post by asoalin » Mon Dec 17, 2007 4:50 am

I do still have one question, which I couldn't find the answer to in the post you referred me to...

I noticed in a lot of flutes there is an option to get a gold embouchure plate. Is this necessary? Does it change things a lot? Is it more common for professional flutes to have this or is silver more common?

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sidekicker
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Post by sidekicker » Mon Dec 17, 2007 6:31 am

asoalin wrote:I do still have one question, which I couldn't find the answer to in the post you referred me to...

I noticed in a lot of flutes there is an option to get a gold embouchure plate. Is this necessary? Does it change things a lot? Is it more common for professional flutes to have this or is silver more common?
The short answer to that question is no, assuming you are talking about what we normally see: gold-plated lip plates.

Now, if you are talking about a gold riser on a silver headjoint, that can make a huge difference in sound. The riser (or chimney) is the small, largely unnoticed, section of the headjoint where the lip plate is connected to the tube of the headjoint. The metal used to make the riser (silver, gold, platinum, usually) can affect sound and colour. The more dense the metal, e.g. gold and platinum, the more of a chance that the overall sound produced will be somewhat darker. However, whether there is a difference between a gold or platinum riser, or the standard silver, will be something you'll have to listen for and make a decision about for yourself. Some people hear a big difference; others don't see a big enough one to pay extra for it.

Based on what I've seen, most professional flutists who have any part of their instrument made of gold will have either a gold riser, an entirely gold headjoint, or an entirely gold flute (with either gold or sterling keys/mechanism). A gold lip plate, in my experience, is seen mostly in the vanity-laden high school flute world.

Hope this helps some.

SK

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pied_piper
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Post by pied_piper » Mon Dec 17, 2007 3:17 pm

I know what you mean about the gold-plated lip plates on student and intermediate flutes - they are just bling and nothing more. They add no sound improvement.

However, the pro flute and headjoint makers are starting to offer headjoints with lots of options. This past summer I tried a number of different headjoints. As you mentioned, a gold or platinum riser can make a difference to some players and I noticed it. I also tried several that were configured with a silver or gold tube, gold or platinum riser, and a 9K or 14K lip plate and was skeptical about the benefit of the gold lip plate. While the riser seemed to make the biggest difference (to me, YMMV), the gold lip plate also contributed additional darkness to the tone.

Based upon my (unscientific) trials, I found that the metal composition of each of the various headjoint components affected the sound to a varying degree. I ranked it as follows:
Riser (most)
Lip Plate
Tube (least)

I found it interesting that the least amount of metal (the riser) had the most affect on the sound and vice-versa. Of course, when more precious metal is used, the price goes up dramatically. So, for a few hundred dollars (around 300-500), the addition of a gold or platinum riser can (to me) dramatically alter the sound. Adding a gold lip plate or gold tube also darkened the sound but by a much smaller amount and at a greater cost (around $800-1000 for the lip plate, $3000-4000 for the gold tube). So it seems that the best bang for the buck is the riser upgrade. If you've got the coin though, the gold lip plate and/or tube can increase the darkness, but for less change at a higher cost.

Note: The cut of the headjoint can also alter the sound. My observations above were based upon trying several with the same cut but different metal components.
"Never give a flute player a screwdriver."
--anonymous--

asoalin
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Post by asoalin » Mon Dec 17, 2007 3:34 pm

Thanks so much everyone!

Browsing fluteworld.com I found another detail that I'm unsure about. What's the difference between type 1, type 2, type 4 flutes?

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flutepicc06
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Post by flutepicc06 » Mon Dec 17, 2007 5:11 pm

pied_piper wrote:
Note: The cut of the headjoint can also alter the sound. My observations above were based upon trying several with the same cut but different metal components.
It should be noted that the cut is the primary determinant in sound production, and IF there is a difference between materials (I won't argue one way or the other here), it is secondary to the geometry of the head, and particularly the embouchure hole.

If you were trying handcut heads, then even if they were of supposedly of the same cut, none of them were identical down to the last minute measurement, and as such, it's impossible to attribute changes in sound to the material over the geometry. In the end, what's important is not what the flute is made of, but how it performs for the person using it. If a solid gold flute fits a given player, then let them play a solid gold flute (assuming budget is not an issue), but if they prefer a silver flute, let them play a silver flute.

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