In this article I want to answer the question, “Are flute head joints different?”
And the answer is – yes actually. They do come in slightly different sizes and shapes as well. Student model flutes are usually factory stamped out, so they aren’t very different within brands, but different brands and models have their own signature sizes and shapes for sure.
Once you start getting into the higher level flutes- like the advanced and professional line of instruments- I’d say that almost all of the headjoints will be stamped, hand shaped, filed, and cut individually.
The higher the level of flute, the higher quality the materials will be.
This is one reason more advanced flute students shouldn’t just pick a flute/headjoint out of a magazine or off of a website and assume it will fit them well.
I always tell people that buying a high level flute or headjoint is like purchasing a pair of very tight fitting jeans.. you just don’t know which ones will fit right until you try a bunch of them on.
Another thing to keep in mind is that flutes are made of all different materials. Most student model flutes are made of nickel and plated with a super thin coating of low quality silver.
The higher the level of flute, the higher quality the materials will be – meaning they’ll have a lot more silver on them. Some flutes have a solid silver headjoint while others could have a solid gold headjoint. There’s usually a combination of silver and gold, or silver, nickel, and gold.
Now we have to answer the question that always comes next, which is: how do I know if my headjoint is right for me?
That question is a little bit more tricky to answer because everyone is different. Every individual has a different mouth shape, different embouchure, and different preferences when it comes to the sound they produce from their flute.
So the best advice I can give to you is when you are looking to purchase a new flute or head joint, do your best to find an opportunity where you can play it before you buy it. I know this isn’t a possibility for many situations, but do your best.