Switch to an offset G?

Flute History and Instrument Purchase

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Gigihr
Posts: 10
Joined: Tue Jun 01, 2004 11:36 pm

Switch to an offset G?

Post by Gigihr »

What a great question! I have played on a
gorgeous inline Haynes for years. Now that its condition is too far gone for me
to overhaul it affordably any time soon (serial # puts its "birth date" at 1953
- you can imagine the work that needs to be done!) I have rediscovered the
pleasure and comfort of an offset G flute when I needed to find a quick
replacement. I am of rather short stature at 5'2" and have short arms and tiny
hands. I was criticized recently in a masterclass for having a sort of
hyper-extended left arm position while playing my off-set G flute, but I believe
all those years of playing an inline model required me to have that
hyper-extension (think: elbow out nearly flush with your chin!) in order to
cover the keys properly. I'm finding that with some retraining of my left arm
and shoulder (habits are hard to break!)the offset G helps to assuade this a
problem quite a bit. If you're a "petite" player like me, my experience is the
off-set G is the way to go. I challenge anyone to find an example of how an
in-line sounds any better than an off-set. I truly believe it's a matter of
personal preference, so find the left-hand position that's best for YOU. [:)]

91st_Army_Flutist
Posts: 7
Joined: Mon Mar 21, 2005 11:56 am

Post by 91st_Army_Flutist »

I actually find the offset G difficult to play. I do not have particularly long fingers or large hands, but my hand seems to "fit" the inline better than the offset. In fact, I have trouble covering the offset G key. These days to get the flute I want, I have to buy a fully-handmade. I like the split E and C# trill, but many makers refuse to make their lower-end models with this key configuration. I managed to get Haynes to make an LJD model for the U.S. Army with the inline G, C# trill and split E and I love it. I still want to get a fully-handmade though. I guess the old school was that the inline G open hole flute was a "rite of passage."

mty957
Posts: 6
Joined: Wed Mar 16, 2005 9:36 pm

offset G

Post by mty957 »

I just switched from open holed inline G intermediate flute to a professional plateau model with an offset G. I am 33 years old and have been playing for 24 years, with only the last 12 being on an open holed inline G. I also am a fairly small person with smaller hands. I didn't realize the damage I had done to my hands until the day I was playing on a stage in front of a whole congregation of people and I lost all feelings in my hands and thought I would drop my flute. This has now been going on for about 3 years. I even went and had all kinds of carpal tunnel tests done on my hands...inconclusive! The problems went away at work when I switched to an ergonomic keyboard, but I realized at home they were still there when I played my flute. I played for my brothers wedding last summer and realized that I couldn't practice the morning of the wedding or my hands would be useless DURING the wedding. My hands would last an hour at the MOST before becoming useless from the pain. I couldn't stand to give up flute playing but I didn't necessarily want to take a step back in the quality of my sound, so that's why I upgraded. I laugh when I look at it next to my old beginner flutes around here, because it doesn't look that much different. I probably don't sound that much different, because I was experienced enough to make my last flute sound pretty good too, but I can FEEL the difference! Now I play almost every day, and if I had the time, I could play all day before I get tired. Anyways, now when I try to pick up my other flute, I can hardly play it and it is very uncomfortable. To think that I played it for 12 years! And well at that! Anyways, I did try out several flutes and even found that some offset G's were just not a comfortable fit, and I actually looked for a couple years before I made my decision. If it didn't feel better or sound better, I moved on. And now I am hopelessly in love with this one. So...take your time, try lots out, and make the decision that's best for you. Hope that helped!...Jenni

User avatar
Phineas
Posts: 959
Joined: Sat Jan 22, 2005 1:08 am

Post by Phineas »

I am really a sucker for threads like these!

It is just plain easier to play on an offset G than it is on an inline. Period. Isnt that an instrument should really want, one that is easier for you to play on! Unfortunately, when people see all of these high dollar French style onpen holes, with an inline G, they think that is the way to go. The way I see it, if these people who hand make flutes can make a model with an inline G, for the money they charge, they should make what ever you ask for, including a flute with an offset G.

I wish the term "Professional model" would change to something like "Handmade Model". I know a lot of good professionals that cannot even afford a $5000 dollar flute. On the other hand I know more than a few flutists that can barely play that can afford a hand made flute.

Professional is the player, not the instrument that they play on. If you smoke, you will smoke on any flute. If you suck, you know the rest. If you cannot play on an offset G, a $13000 Titanium open hole with an inline G will not help you.

In the end, it is all about what instrument you like to play on. Enjoy playing. Let the rest of the poor suckers deal with the rest.


Phineas

boglarka
Posts: 55
Joined: Sun May 11, 2003 10:13 pm

Post by boglarka »

The inline-offset issue will never go away completely. I know plenty of flutists who have had long careers and NEVER had any problems with inline G (including Julius Baker who played even into his 80s and never had problems). I think it's a matter of personal anatomy. If your left ring finger is long enough and your left hand position allows for a comfortable grip, then go for inline G.

I HAVE seen flutists develop huge problems in the left hand...mostly due to improper hand position (wrist was too straight and/or poor practicing habits). For some, offset G helped. For others, it didn't.

Nobody can tell you if you will develop problems from an inline G or not. I think flute makers are moving to making both inline and offset to serve a bigger market and make more money. They also need to make you aware of their changes, so they will have marketing campaigns about their new lines of flutes.

Do what your instincts and feelings of comfort will tell you. As far as sound goes, it doesn't matter.

:)
Boglarka
Kiss - Fluteland.com Teacher

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