Open Hole or Closed Hole Flutes

Which one should you choose?

Hi, I’m Rebecca Fuller here again in this video series of how to choose a flute. I’m here to help you with all of the different questions and things that you might be wondering when choose a flute. Whether buying, or borrowing, or if you found one,  or something like that. 

Now one question that I always get from people, constantly every week. These are very good questions.  One of them is “What does it mean if I’m looking for a flute and it says open hole or closed hole? I need to know what that means and if that’s something I should choose”.

That’s a question that I get all the time. Well, let me answer that question for you here in this video. The first thing you need to know is that it’s talking about the actual keys on the flute, the long part. There are certain keys:   Here, here, here, here, and here. So one, two, three, four, five keys on the flute that could possibly have the tops of the keys open. Like empty, like a donut, like holes. So, I’m going to show you a picture of these right now so you understand what it means.

Open or closed and a little bit more about that right now.

So, here’s a picture of a closed hole flute. Now, this is a basic, student model flute and you will probably always see the closed hole on the student model flutes. Now, it’s not one hundred percent of the time because you can order them with an open hole, but for a general rule, most student model flutes have closed holes.

That will make it easier to play, but not impossible of course. Now let’s look here at a picture of an open hole model flute. This flute has, if you look at these keys, there are holes in them, right? That’s for the flute player to find the placement of their finger pads to put right inside the hole, kind of seal it off.

Now, you’re probably wondering already, well why would I want one over the other. Well, the answer is really, it doesn’t matter. Now many years ago, in the I believe it was the 80’s, early 80’s, maybe the 70’s, the French got the idea that maybe it was better to do this and more like a higher level type of a thing. Well, it’s okay it doesn’t really make a difference on your tone. It does help you with finger placement and there are some cool things you can do with it.

For example, some slides and some things that I use on my flute to do for some Jazz playing. You do not have to have one or the other. You’ll just see this as an option or a feature when you’re go to buy them.

Then if you’ll look at this picture of this flute, this one is open hole, but you’ll notice they have little, kind of clear, rubber plugs inside each of the holes. That would be for a player who has just purchased the flute or just received the flute and they are not quite good enough to get their fingers in the right place.

They haven’t learned proper finger technique position, can we say it that way? Technique position to have their fingers in the right place. So in order to start out from a closed hole and moving into an open hole flute they’ll put these little plugs in them.

There’s a lot more I need to teach you about those, but we’ll do that in probably… that’s in the intermediate level lessons so that you can learn about that at the proper time. Some people have problems with their fingers, for example if you cut your finger, I’ve done that before. I had a really nasty cut on my finger and wasn’t able to play my flute because it was open hole and I had a bandaid on there. I couldn’t play my flute. Well, I just got my little cork, my little plug, and put it in there and was able to play.

Another thing is I have a crooked finger that I guess I was born with or something. One of my fingers is naturally a little more crooked and so in order to keep my wrist nice and straight so I don’t do any adjusting improperly physically then I keep my cork in my end key. Almost always. Not always, and for many years I played with it out. I found that my wrist feels better with that one in. I feel like my key needs to be adjusted just a little bit for my crooked finger. I don’t know if you have a naturally crooked finger or not, but that’s okay, we have a fix for it here.

So, there’s a little bit more about what you need to know about what it means: closed hole or open hole. Hope that answers your questions. We’ll see you in the next video where we’ll learn even more.

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