Which flute to buy?

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vavagirl
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Which flute to buy?

Post by vavagirl »

I was out trying new flutes today. I have been playing for 5 years. I have been playing on my gemeinhardt 22 SP with an offset G, which is a student model. I am looking to upgrade finally! I went and I tried out several models, and out of all of them, my favorites were definitely the Yamaha's. I really enjoyed playing the Yamaha 381 and the Yamaha 684. Any one who is knowledgeable with flutes have any suggestions as to how to choose an new flute or have any other models I should look at before making my decision? I'm looking for a flute with in line G and french keys, which are what I tried out, and I had no difficultie playing. Thanks

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pied_piper
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Post by pied_piper »

Section 3 of the FAQ here on Fluteland has some good suggestions for selecting an upgraded flute:

http://www.fluteland.com/board/viewtopic.php?t=2411
"Never give a flute player a screwdriver."
--anonymous--

fluteguy18
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Post by fluteguy18 »

First: listen to the above post.

Second. Try as many flutes as possible. If you still decide to go with the yamaha, definately go with flutes at the 500 series and above mark. The 200-400 series are all basically the student model flute with varying degrees of solid silver. You don't really get a good step up until you hit the 500 series.

Third. Don't assume inline g is the way to go. Now-a-days many flute makers are making just as many inline g flutes as they are offset g flutes. Offset g is typically more ergonomic, and will theoretically reduce the risk of injuries such as tendonitis and carpal tunnel. I myself played an inline g, open hole flute until I got carpal tunnel syndrome. I then switched to open hole, offset g. Ever since, I have been virtually pain free.

But, the choice is yours. Choose the one that feels the most comfortable to you. An inline g flute is not by any means more professional than an offset g flute. This style only became popular after a flute maker by the name of Louis Lot [a Frenchman] realized he could make the G key inline, and produce more flutes at a faster rate. The original Boehm system calls for an offset G.

Other flute makers to look at:

Brio!, Sonare, Azumi, Lyric, Pearl, and a few others.

If you can get your budget up to about $2k USD, you can start looking at very basic handmade flutes. These flutes are a CONSIDERABLE upgrade.

Muramatsu and Miyazawa [along with a few others offer entry level handmade flutes at this price range].

Anyway. Just try to get a flute with a handcut headjoint at least. Don't worry about whether it is solid silver or not. Just look at how much is actually handcrafted.

etgohomeok
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Post by etgohomeok »

The only way to choose is to go into the store and sit in a playing room for about a half an hour with all the flutes, preferably with someone else to listen to you, and play them all. Try out various things like which ones you can get the most beautiful tone with, and an important one, which ones you can get high notes out easier/clearer on. After a while, one or two will start to stand out.

In my personal opinion, you should ignore in-line/offset G keys while buying. They really make no difference, I've owned both. Focus on sound. You should by no means compromise sound quality for a "better" G key configuration.

As for those flutes, I've always played Yamaha and I've noticed a kind of trend that Yamaha flutes made in Japan sound better than Yamaha flutes made in the US. I don't know why.

I personally play a Yahama 481 and it is by no means a novice flute. The 381 might be a little low depending on what level of playing you are at.

fluteguy18
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Post by fluteguy18 »

[quote="etgohomeok"]
You should by no means compromise sound quality for a "better" G key configuration.

quote]

Agreed. But, if this individual is purchasing a new instrument, I don't see why both can't be achieved. But, this is a factor that is very unique to each individual.

Sound should not be sacrificed but, niether should comfort. If the OP finds a great sounding flute with a comfortable mechanism, and they are happy with it, then that settles everything.

But, with the rising rates of performance-related injuries, comfort should be a large factor also. For many individuals, the difference between offset and inline is not significant. But, for those of us who are not blessed with ailment-free hands, comfort is a huge factor in the decision in purchasing an instrument.

Just my opinion.

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Phineas
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Post by Phineas »

etgohomeok wrote:The only way to choose is to go into the store and sit in a playing room for about a half an hour with all the flutes, preferably with someone else to listen to you, and play them all. Try out various things like which ones you can get the most beautiful tone with, and an important one, which ones you can get high notes out easier/clearer on. After a while, one or two will start to stand out.

In my personal opinion, you should ignore in-line/offset G keys while buying. They really make no difference, I've owned both. Focus on sound. You should by no means compromise sound quality for a "better" G key configuration.

As for those flutes, I've always played Yamaha and I've noticed a kind of trend that Yamaha flutes made in Japan sound better than Yamaha flutes made in the US. I don't know why.

I personally play a Yahama 481 and it is by no means a novice flute. The 381 might be a little low depending on what level of playing you are at.
Well, there is not much difference between a 381, and a 481. THey both have the same headjoint. The 481 is all silver, the 381 has a silver plated body.

As far as the difference in Yamaha flutes, the Japanese made Yamahas are definitely the best. This does not put the ones made in Taiwan, Indonesia, and China to shame. Yamaha has very strict quality control no matter where they are made. I have been to some of the factories where these instruments are made(in Asia), and I can tell you first hand that Yamaha does not play!

Also, Yamahas that are sold in Japan are setup for Japanese players. This may also reflect your preference for the Japanese made instruments. This is typical of all instruments sold in Japan.

Oiya Sumi Nasai

Phineas

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vampav8trix
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Post by vampav8trix »

Like Phineas said. The difference between a 381 and a 481 is the material. They are constructed identically the same. I have a 385 and I perfer it over the solid silver flutes. But that's just me. I love a dark tone.

I think that yamaha makes some of the best student flutes. I just bought a Muramatsu and my husband says that the difference in sound comparison between the EX and my 385 is minimal. The Muramastsu does sound better. The scale on the flute is better in my opinion.

I have a bunch of different student flutes lying around and the Yamaha wins hands down. The headjoint really makes the flute stand out.

I have tried one of Yamaha's professional flutes. I believe it was the 600 series. It 's a good flute. I just decided that I liked the Muramatsu better.

You have to live with the flute. Get what you like. :)

fluteguy18
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Post by fluteguy18 »

Vampav-- How long ago did you get the Muramatsu? If it was fairly recent, you won't really notice a sound difference for quite some time. You typically have to "learn" how to play handmade headjoints. They never sound as good as they can when they are fresh out of the box.

My Miyazawa for example. When I got it, I didn't sound that great on the headjoint. It seemed very edgy and unwieldy. I liked the volume, but on the whole, I liked the headjoint on my Armstrong step up flute better. But, I just had to trust my teacher and my instincts. I could tell it was going to be a good flute, but it would take some work. Then after a month or two on the Miyazawa, there was no comparison between them. I went from having a pretty good/big tone to having [as the studio fondly calls this type of tone] a "dragon" tone. Huge, powerful, and spirited.

So, if your Muramatsu is relatively new [less than 6 months or so] do some tone excercises and see what it can really do. :D

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vampav8trix
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Post by vampav8trix »

Hi,
I just got the flute 2 days ago and I am doing a trial. I can already tell a difference between the two flutes. The Muramatsu has a much richer darker tone. The low notes are very powerful. The whole flute has a better scale. It doesn't take as much effort to play in tune in the third octive. It is definitely a keeper.

I had a professional flutist play some flutes for me. I liked the Muramatsu the best in my price range.

I also played the flutes and narrowed it down to the Haynes classic and the Muramatsu EX. Since I could get an EX used for cheap, I went with it. The Haynes is still relatively new and I haven't found any used.

I also played an Altus 1307. I loved it, but I can't afford it. It was new. I was told that the Altus headjoints are not very consistant. I was worried that I would order an 1107 model flute and not be happy with it and then I would be out a lot of money.

I am happy with the Muramatsu and I am sure I will love it more as I play it. I got an off set G since my index finger has been going numb playing an inline G.

I just started playing again after about a 20 year break. I am amazed at how fast I am picking it up again. I am playing the Brandenburg concerto #2 in F major. My instructor suggested I start working on Mozart, but I don't think I am quite ready for that. Maybe later this year.

I am rambleing. But I am so excited! :D

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Owen Meehan
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Post by Owen Meehan »

fluteguy18, what's wrong with edgy?
Owen

fluteguy18
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Post by fluteguy18 »

For me at least, it was bad. My tone naturally has an edge to it, and I constantly have to work to minimize it. Too much of an edge is distracting, and sometimes an edgy sound is an indicator that your tone might not be "centered." When I first got the headjoint, it was too edgy, and almost seemed coarse sounding. But, on the whole the sound was richer, it had more resistance where I needed it, and had a great response without being easy to overpower.

After a month or so, I loved the headjoint. But, when I got about 11 months into my 1 year headjoint exchange policy, I decided that I needed more resistance and a headjoint that offered better articulation. So, I just went "down" to the next roundest headjoint cut. It is still pretty square shaped, but it has more resistance, more color, and better articulation. It also isn't as 'edgy' as the other headjoint. On headjoint #1, it was a constant battle. On headjoint #2, it isn't nearly as much of a battle.

But anyway... my point. Handmade headjoints take time to adjust to. In a few months or so, there will be a considerable difference between your old flute vs. new flute.

maggie
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Post by maggie »

I'm playing for 10 years now and last 2 years I have yamaha 381. it's really good flute but next year I have and entrance exam for music academy and i must buy new flute really soon. it'll be miyazawa or muramatzu...

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vampav8trix
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Post by vampav8trix »

Maggie,
I would try and get a new flute as soon as possible if you are going to try for an entrance exam next year. My instructor says it takes about a year to get use to a new flute. I can believe that.

You might have to make some adjustments not only for the key positions but also for the cut of the headjoint.

Just my 2 cents.

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MissyHPhoenix
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Post by MissyHPhoenix »

Oooh, I just had to put in my two-cents on this one!! I started playing again last September after 30 years absence. Took my old Armstrong in to be adjusted, and casually picked up a Yamaha Allegro 500 series while I was waiting and OMG it was like I'd been struck by lightning! That sweet li'l flute went home with me that day and I still love it! I didn't even know what an "offset G" was until I played it. However, I have arthritis in both hands (little finger and 4th finger) and noticed that some days I would be so crippled that I would have to fight to get the runs. I decided to get a second flute for my "crippled" days; the same music store where I got my Yamaha called around and got in an Amadeus (900 level, I think, not sure) for me to try. I took my Yamaha in and played both of them for a couple of hours, several days in a row, and now have a 2nd love of my life. I have to keep myself under control 'cause I know I could easily end up with a flute collection!!! :P

Does anybody else love the Yamahas and Amadeus like I do?
Missy

Why Be Normal????

fluttiegurl
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Post by fluttiegurl »

I really like the Amadeus as well. There were some mechanical issues in the beginning, but I think they have got most of them ironed out. I like the playability as well as the sound.

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