Well hello and welcome back here. I’m Rebecca Fuller and hopefully you’ve already been joining us on this series on how to choose a flute. There are so many great questions that I get every single week as an online flute instructor here at Learn Flute Online.

We have a question today that somebody asked all about the different metals that flutes are made of and which one is best. Well, that of course “best” is different for everybody. But I would say that the most expensive is different from the least expensive. Can I start there?

Yep, so this video is just going to be an overview on the different metals that you might find when you are learning how to choose a flute. Whether you are looking for a brand new one, or it might be something that you’re going to rent, or maybe your cousin has one they are going to lend you or you found a flute or something like that. Either way I’m glad you’re here learning. I have so many things to teach you and I know it will just help you get even better at your striving to learn how to be a flutist or a musician or learning how to play the flute just for fun or whatever.

Okay the different metals on the flute, let’s start at the bottom I should say. Most student model flutes are nickel. They are made out of nickel and they are silver plated. Yep, and with varying degrees of high percentages. Just as if you are buying a necklace or earrings or a ring, there are different degrees. There’s like 14-karat or 20-karats. I actually don’t know much about the karats, but I know there are different degrees. Nickel plating is very common.

Now I’ve seen some really low level flutes out there that are actually nickel with no silver plating nowadays. I’m not sure the reason, maybe it’s just aesthetic and maybe it doesn’t really matter. I actually think that we should explore that. The next thing we should say is from nickel and silver plated would be more silver solid, solid silver.

Now for example some flutes have a nickel made body with silver plating on it and the head joint will be solid silver. That’s usually how you know you have a higher quality flute. They cost more and because of the more silver, solid silver. Usually the higher the metal count on your flute, the more expensive it will be. That makes sense.

For most people, that actually equals sounding better or different. Of course you could have a flute made out of diamonds and if you didn’t know how to play it well, it wouldn’t matter. It wouldn’t even matter. The flute, what it’s made out of, matters to the level you know how to play it to. That makes sense probably, doesn’t it?

Let’s move on from there. So from a solid silver head joint the next level of flute you’ll find the body also being solid silver. So solid silver head joint, solid silver body, even a higher dollar amount. Now the next thing to move to would be if you found some gold on a flute. Some people really like gold. Gold is beautiful. Gold actually has a little bit of a different sound for flute players. A little different tone.

Some people say it’s a little bit sweeter and some people say it’s a little bit brighter. It just depends on you and how you play again. So for example, this flute right here that I’m holding is one of my, it’s like a lower level advanced model and the lip plate is made out of white gold. So it doesn’t look any different on my body of this flute, but it sounds a little different to me and I like the response in my high notes, something I’ve always enjoyed.

I have some students with yellow gold on their lip plates. Then I also have some with rose gold on there. Now from there we would say, well could the whole flute be made out of gold. And I’ll say “well ya, to a degree they could”.

Many times you’ll see head joints made out of gold, bodies made out of gold, but I do know that one of my instructors many years ago I asked this questions. I asked if the keys were also gold and he said that certain parts of the keys could be gold, but that it’s softer and actually bends over time, so they tend to not use a really high softer quality of gold to do certain things on the flute. So they may be gold plated, with silver underneath or different components.

I think we could talk about this forever and I’m definitely not the world’s leading expert on precious metals that go onto a flute. But this should give you an overview of the different types of metal that you could find on your flute. Now days, there’s even a couple of companies making colored flutes. Purple ones, green ones, yellow ones and they are really pretty.

You will have to discover what they are made out of as well because there are different metals that are colored and plated. They play just great, they play just fine, they just use different plating to get the different colors. I wouldn’t suggest, oh actually there’s one more kind, one more type that I didn’t mention and that’s the kind that’s kind of made out of more of composite.

Those are really interesting sounding, I’ve played those several times. I was really impressed for several reasons, if I was a marching band player I would play on one of those flutes that’s kind of a composite like a plasticky feel and then the pads are more made out of like a foamy foam, rubber type of a thing.

Those are great because you could stand out in the rain and in the snow and your flute would keep playing. Now of course for the little tiny advanced nuances in the sound and the big full everything, I would stick with the highest quality of metal possible.

Whew, hopefully that gives you an idea of what’s out there for flutes and for the different level of metal that you could choose for or find. Again, hopefully I’ll be seeing you soon in another video or in the membership area here at Learn Flute Online where we have so many awesome lessons for you. Video lessons, PDF sheet music, MP3 accompaniments and different places where I have video series in the different modules that show you exactly how to use your flute that you found and how to teach yourself to play really really well to sound good and enjoy it.

Tips and tricks galore. Alright well, that’s it for this video, I will see you in the next one where we will learn even more.

See you then.

 

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4 Comments

  • Myra

    Reply Reply October 31, 2017

    BTW – those ‘carrots’ are actually ‘karats’ when referring to the fineness of gold. 😉

    • RebeccaFuller

      Reply Reply November 2, 2017

      Yup! Right you are. haha 🙂

  • Nicole Brunelle

    Reply Reply March 5, 2019

    Hi Rebecca,
    I understand about the different metals.
    How can I know, if buying used, what metal the flute actually is? I could be told it is all silver, but infact it could be nickel. I don’t think I would be able to tell the difference.
    So how do I know for sure what I’m buying? Is there a code or some kind of branding that identifies the metal on the flute?
    Thanks,
    Nicole

    • RebeccaFuller

      Reply Reply March 5, 2019

      Hey Nicole, you’re right. You won’t know unless you do your homework. You can see what model/make the flute is and look it up. The specs will be on the maker’s website. I’d think it’s safe to say that all student model flutes are actually a mix of metals and plated with silver or nickel. The intermediate level flutes vary. The higher level flute you find, the higher quality the metal will be. Many high Intermediate flutes will have solid silver head joints too. This makes a big difference in your sound. Great question! ~Rebecca

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