Different sound through different pads ?

Flute History and Instrument Purchase

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pied_piper
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Post by pied_piper »

cflutist: Yes, I remember that and when I looked earlier today, I could have sworn that it still said JS Gold. Now, it shows what you posted. But here's proof that it used to say JS Gold:

http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/s ... clnk&gl=us

Maybe now Williams is saying "modern style" and now offers both JS Gold or Straubingers...
"Never give a flute player a screwdriver."
--anonymous--

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JButky
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Post by JButky »

pied_piper wrote:cflutist: Yes, I remember that and when I looked earlier today, I could have sworn that it still said JS Gold. Now, it shows what you posted. But here's proof that it used to say JS Gold:

http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/s ... clnk&gl=us

Maybe now Williams is saying "modern style" and now offers both JS Gold or Straubingers...
Jim Schmidt offers a few different types of pad. The gold pads went through 3 different improvements and he also offers what is known as the "digital" gold pad which is the current version.

He also offers another type of pad that techs who know they exist can ask for.
Joe B

wkzh
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Post by wkzh »

I was told that what pad you should use also depends on your climate. Here, in sunny, tropical, damp and moist Singapore, the technician told me that JS Gold pads weren't a good choice because they kinda got "wet".
The flute family: probing the lower limit of human hearing and the upper limit of human tolerance.

Benjahmin
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Post by Benjahmin »

wkzh



That ist definitely correct !
I don't have any experiences with the concerned pads....but I know very well from my own experience, that pads....for whatever instrument, be they of leather or Fishskin,
can show VERY different effects in different climate - zones.

Right now I live in an Altitude of about 2000 Metres, with an extreme hot and dry climate ( summer) set against a very humid and cold-damp-climate ( rain -season).......

NO proffessional-made Saxophone-Pad for example would take this too long without becoming sticky and rotty.....I had to create my own "formula" of leather and felt-inlay to come up with something really capable.
These Pads , may not do very long in constantly damp European conditions though....so I fully agree that "Pad-Quality" and Performance can change greatly due to climatical influences.....as by the way ...the whole instrument can do.
Instruments sounding beautiful at "level Zero" and at temperate climate can change into "Roaring Typhoons" or"Singing beauties" on the other side.....when confronted with new / different conditions.
I am fully convinced about that !!

Benjahmin

fluteguy18
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Post by fluteguy18 »

Joe,

(I've been travelling and haven't been around much).

I don't like burkhart flutes. I guess that I now understand why.

I still stand by my comments about straubinger pads because my information was from a conversation with David himself. Many people grow accustomed to the noise, and ignore it.

JS Pads: they may be quality pads, but I still feel the same. I believe that you should be able to use the product you have designed and manufactured to a high degree. In my opinion, a flutist will always be the best person to make a flute because they know exactly what is needed and what is wanted in a flute. These are my feelings as a muscian. I mean... Would you want a vegetarian to prepare a steak recipe? It may be a good recipe, but ultimately it will be lacking the expertise of someone who is acutely atuned to preparing, eating/tasting, and refining the product through personal experience.

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pied_piper
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Post by pied_piper »

FG18,

I hear what you are saying about the Schmidt pads, but I don't totally agree with your logic. In my mind it's much more important for a flute designer/engineer or pad maker to be extremely knowledgeable of the requirements for the design, the materials, limitations, etc. The ability of the engineer to use the resulting product is inconsequential. The ultimate factor is whether the product meets the appropriate requirements and specifications.

Aerospace engineers that design spacecraft don't typically construct them or fly them. Likewise, automotive engineers don't usually work the assembly line or the repair shop. In each case, the skill sets are different.
Last edited by pied_piper on Wed Jul 21, 2010 9:34 am, edited 1 time in total.
"Never give a flute player a screwdriver."
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wkzh
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Post by wkzh »

I agree with PP. A large chunk of the most respectable flute makers out that don't play flute, for example David Wimberly, some people at Powell, some other people at Burkart. Can you truly trust them that they're mechanism has the perfect touch, that their scale is as accurate as the player needs, or that their headjoints are as good as they claim?

Of course, it'd be better if the flutemaker/technician/whateverperson is a flautist him/herself to best understand the instrument. This is the policy of some companies, such as Muramatsu flutes, where all the flute makers must play flute regularly. Another examples are Kotato and Lopatin, and in the latter case was once even a professional flautist.

Another interesting question to ask is, "If the flutemaker should be versed in flute playing, then should the flute player be versed in flutemaking?" IMHO, absolutely. However, it's sad that most flute players don't care much, and wouldn't even dare tighten a screw or clean a rusty axle, parting from their dear instrument at the technician's for longer than they would have needed.

But for those that do... "Never give a flute player a screwdriver." Only applicable to those who take the whole thing apart just to see what's inside XD (e.g. me.)
The flute family: probing the lower limit of human hearing and the upper limit of human tolerance.

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MissyHPhoenix
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Post by MissyHPhoenix »

Hmmmm .... I think I would prefer an engineer to design something that is complex and intricate (i.e., mechanism like flute pads and/or flute itself!) rather than a musician! Each should stick to what they do best. I'm sure the engineers have actual flutists try out their designs to get their input on what could be changed, improved, etc. Anyway, everybody is entitled to their opinion, and musicians are VERY opinionated. That is why there are so many different designs and manufacturers -- so that all of us can be happy! I have a Burkhart-Phelan piccolo and it is a wonderful instrument. Never tried a Burkhart flute, but I would love to. I hope to try out a Burkhart
headjoint in the future.

I am one of those spastic individuals who would be scared spitless to get a screwdriver anywhere near my beloved flutes! :lol: It would NOT be a pretty picture!
Missy

Why Be Normal????

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JButky
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Post by JButky »

fluteguy18 wrote:Joe,

(I've been travelling and haven't been around much).

I don't like burkhart flutes. I guess that I now understand why.

I still stand by my comments about straubinger pads because my information was from a conversation with David himself. Many people grow accustomed to the noise, and ignore it.

JS Pads: they may be quality pads, but I still feel the same. I believe that you should be able to use the product you have designed and manufactured to a high degree. In my opinion, a flutist will always be the best person to make a flute because they know exactly what is needed and what is wanted in a flute. These are my feelings as a muscian. I mean... Would you want a vegetarian to prepare a steak recipe? It may be a good recipe, but ultimately it will be lacking the expertise of someone who is acutely atuned to preparing, eating/tasting, and refining the product through personal experience.
I wouldn't want a food preparer to taste my steak before serving it to me..
:shock:
A master chef once made a table risotto portion in front of us at our table. It was great, and he didn't sample it before he served it.

I also think you misunderstood Jim. He can install his pads and plays flute pretty well himself.. He is an excellent Jazz musician as well. I've heard him play. It's my guess that he meant that he is not installing his pads, meaning, not his day job currently. You'll need to go to someone else to have his pads installed since he's doing other things. He has, of course, installed his pads before..

If you don't like Burkart flutes, it's just because. It has nothing to do with Jim not being a flute player. Lillian is... after all...I still don't think that is a fair comment.

That being said, Making a flute is not all that difficult and Padding is by far the more difficult, nuanced part of making a flute play well. I do credit my flute playing ability to being one of the best padders out there among other things as well. And many flute makers themselves rely on only a few people to do the pad work since it can make or break how well a flute plays. It's not that they can't do it themselves, but it's an art and practice and adept skill at it bring about the best results. If padding were easy, everyone would do it.

FWIW, Many of the Pro Flute factories are comprised of people who do actually play. It's kind of a natural outgrowth. The first thing you MUST do at the Pearl Japan factory is meet all the workers in the final assembly room and perform for them before they will even communicate with you. You have to demonstrate your ability. (But that's a bit of a different culture too.)

And I do repair a bunch of botched straubinger installations. David marveled once about a flute job of mine he tried calling it one of the best padding jobs he had ever experienced. Then he discovered that I used all sorts of different types of pads from felt to synthetic to prototypes and he could not tell or feel the difference. (except to comment that it was one of the best padded flutes he had ever played)

So as far as padding is concerned, I do agree with you. As far as flute making in general, I do not.
Joe B

wkzh
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Post by wkzh »

I think here the matter is the approach to a particular problem: can it be solved by purely theoretical means? Or does one need empirical knowledge?

For example, teaching flute tone. You may fiddle around and somehow find out that, "hey, I need to keep my throat open." You then go around telling everybody, "hey! I found out that to make our tone better, we need to keep the throat open!."

Or you may figure that the flute lacks an integrated resonance chamber. You see the chambers of violins and pianos and vibraphones and whatnot, and you wonder, "how about me?" You so happen to hear that vocalists open their throat to "amplify" their sound, and you wonder, "will that work for me?" And so you now teach it as, "Hey, notice the flute lacks a resonance chamber like all those other instruments? It's you! Now open your throat and listen." But you still would require practice to perfect the flute tone, even if you knew the concepts behind it.

In the same way, you can either trail-and-error your pad work, find a particular combination that works, OR you can sit down, look a the problem, jiggle your thinking cap, and apply whatever bit of knowledge you know to help you. Regardless of which approach, practice makes perfect. The thing is, the latter would be able to solve problems in a more systematic way, which would be more useful to solve other problems, applying the same concepts to them, or otherwise applying other concepts to solve the same problem.

"Hey, marimbas have an individual pipe for each note... would it work for us too?" And that's Robert Dick's throat tuning. "Cellos project different ranges from different parts of the cello body, would that apply for us too?" Likely, note all the hype on altering the headjoint stopper and crown and adding Valgon rings and using a curved headjoint and blah blah blah blah blah...

As an engineer-minded person, I definitely prefer to use the latter method of solving problems. Empirical trail-and-error? Using it alone: just not my style; integrating it: best of both worlds.

So for pads, problems like "will the acoustic reflection of the pads affect your sound?" Maybe it would, but perhaps you've never encountered a flute with such a problem before, and can never spot the difference between your many pads. Or maybe what's happening is different? unexplained by your current theory? doesn't apply to your instrument? you're living in a place with different external conditions? Who knows? Sit down, think, solve and practice.

(e.g. I pull my headjoint stopper out beyond the "dead centre" mark to make it more in tune. I blame the humid Singaporean climate, but will you ever experience that to test them in your country? Probably not, you needn't care, just stick to your gauge!)
The flute family: probing the lower limit of human hearing and the upper limit of human tolerance.

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JButky
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Post by JButky »

wkzh wrote:I think here the matter is the approach to a particular problem: can it be solved by purely theoretical means? Or does one need empirical knowledge?
Well you need both and we do use both. Acoustic Theory and empirical knowledge. As an engineer you will probably understand that most of this concerns many parts that work together and must operate within a set of defined operating tolerances to work together. Fall within the tolerances and you have success, but lets just one tolerance go out of spec in the system and you have failure.

Most headjoints play better with the cork moved somewhere between dead center and 2mm to the left. And there is an acoustical reason based on how to properly set that up that takes into account each and every individual player according to the scale that their flute was designed to be played at. There is also a physical process based on the theory to optimize the placement.

In other words, there are many areas of wind acoustics that are understood. Then there are a few areas that current acoustic theory has no way to begin to explain. Mostly all the topics you have mentioned can be explained from theory and applied practice to dispel any of the "snake oil" that goes around in various flute circles from time to time and time again and again...

We may never every stop reinventing the wheel on some of it.
Joe B

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cflutist
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Re: Different sound through different pads ?

Post by cflutist »

Ok, so I've had my 14K Brannen for a month now and have not noticed any noise coming from the Straubinger pads. I have been really careful because you guys have said they are very delicate, more so than "traditional pads"? e.g. blotting they keys when wet and not pulling the cigarette paper when pressing down on the keys.

Yesterday a friend came over with his 14K Brannen to play trios (the other flutist had a Powell), but he told me that Schmidt pads are far superior to Straubinger pads and that he swapped out all his pads for those.

What are your thoughts? why are Schmidt pads superior? are they more durable than Straubinger pads? Do they impart a different tone quality?

If it makes any difference, he lives in San Francisco, and I live 30 miles east of San Francisco where it is not humid.

I didn't want to get into it with him which is why I didn't ask him.

fluteguy18
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Re: Different sound through different pads ?

Post by fluteguy18 »

After NFA this year, I have changed my mind about Burkhart. The last time I had played Burkhart was in 2008, and since then I've started studying with J. Walker. My playing is totally different now. I really liked Burkhart this year!

Lillian Burkhart is a flutist though...

;)

Not trying to reopen the can of worms. Just clarifying that I've changed my mind about Burkhart.
At this past NFA I really liked Nagahara, Miyazawa, and Burkhart. There were a few others too, but I liked the flutes from these companies up and down the board.

wkzh
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Re: Different sound through different pads ?

Post by wkzh »

I managed to fish out a paper by Coltman... apparently Schmidt pads DO change your tone. It makes you brighter, essentially: reflects higher frequencies better, doesn't do much for lower frequencies. That, actually, seems to be a pretty predictable result, but when it comes down to experimentation... heheh, most of us don't have the patience and expertise.

However, by how much it actually "brightens" the tone, I'm not sure. And I think I read another paper that concluded that even with spectral analyses, it was difficult to correlate listener's percieved "brightness" and the calculated "brightness coefficient". Not quite clear on that, though, wasn't very interested in reading the statistics!

In short, if you like a dark tone... not advisable get Schmidt pads. It's a matter of preference.
The flute family: probing the lower limit of human hearing and the upper limit of human tolerance.

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cflutist
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Re: Different sound through different pads ?

Post by cflutist »

Thanks wkzh.

I want a darker tone, so will keep my Straubinger pads.

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