LFP 078 | How Do I Know if I Need a New Flute?

Learn Flute Podcast SHOW NOTES:

In this episode, you will learn how to tell and decide if you need a new flute. 

This is the Learn Flute Podcast Episode 078.

Yeah!

You’ll learn:

What this podcast will be all about:

  • Information on this podcast is supplemental to LearnFluteOnline.com
  • How to tell if it’s you or your flute
  • How to decide whether or not your flute is too old
  • A flute only plays as well as you do
  • What you can look forward to learning from listening

Learn Flute Podcast 078

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Podcast Transcript

Welcome to the Learn Flute Podcast, I’m Rebecca Fuller- your host and expert of all things related to learning how to play the flute. This is episode number seventy eight where we’ll be exploring the answer to the question I receive on a daily basis of “How do I know if I need a new flute?” Well, I’ll tell you – Let’s get started!

Hi again, it’s that time where you and I meet here on this audio episode that is designed with you, the flute student, in mind. Now, it doesn’t matter what age you are and at what stage of the game you may be in. Everyone likes to learn a little more about their favorite hobby, and today- it’s all about learning how to play the flute even better than you did yesterday.

And today, we’re also going to be discussing something that benefit every player at every age and stage again.

Sometimes your older flute is just fine. But, do you ever have times when you’ve been practicing and just can’t get the instrument to do what you want it to? Perhaps you always sound fuzzy or possibly the keys seem to bounce back too slowly which increases your frustration as you try to learn to play a fancy fast tune? Well, there’s always the question of is  it YOU or is it the FLUTE?

Let’s explore this today, and I think it’ll clear up for you:

Like I said a minute ago, sometimes your older flute is just fine. But what if it’s not? How do you know if it simply needs some tender love and care, or the expertise of a professional flute technician? Or, is it time to send it to the happy hunting grounds and get a brand new instrument?

Well, let’s start at the very beginning. It’s a very good place to start. And that is have you had someone else play your flute? Because if you haven’t then how will you know if it’s you or the flute, if it’s a dire situation? Hmmm. something to think about. Now of course, I’m not saying to go grab your little brother (who doesn’t even know how to play the flute at all) and let him have a whack at it. No, I mean is there a more expert flutist anywhere that you can have play it for even just 30 seconds? If you do, they’ll probably be able to tell very quickly if it is the flute is lacking or if obviously you are… sorry, that probably sounds like harsh news.  But, no worries. Everything is fixable, including your embouchure.

Let’s go through a few details you can closely look at before thinking you need to dive into a whole brand new instrument:

Number one: we’ll start with the obvious. Do you have any large dents especially in the head joint? If so, these can actually be bent back out to the point where your tone can improve. If they are large enough anyway. You can know by peering into the barrel of your flute and if you can see the dent from the inside than it’s too big. Does that help?

Number two: Do you have any puffy, peeling, or half-attached pads under the flute keys? If so, then yup- your flute needs repair asap.

Number three: Have you or the previous owner played with often enough OFF hand position so that the keys are bent- which doesn’t allow the keys to lay flat – this causes leaks and makes basically everything sound bad… It’s also possible that you could evaluate the condition of the flute when you first received it. Oftentimes low-budget flutes were not quite properly assembled in the factory but shipped off to new owners anyway. It’s true! I hate to even bring that up. And, I’m so sorry that this happens. If it’s a low level low budget flute then there are oftentimes problems when they come from the factory.

And number four: perhaps you have been playing on a low level beginner flute and you have progressed beyond its capabilities. Wait. Can this happen? Yes. It most definitely can.

Okay- now that we’ve identified a few of the common issues of an older or just not in great condition flute, let’s see- when is it time to get a new one instead of repairing the old one?

This will be fun to talk about for sure because I believe anything we can do to help motivate our hobby is worthwhile.

Some people get really excited for a new flute and assume it will be the fix-all to their playing or tone issues. Well, I guess I’ll have to be the one to break the news that – and you can quote me on this one- the flute can only play as well as you do.

But, here are some things about new flutes that can and almost always improve the way you sound and play on even the very first day.  

Assuming your older flute is just that, .. older than any NEW and QUALITY flute will be an improvement.

So, what do I mean by ‘quality’?

Well, there are different levels of quality in instruments… just like anything else on this planet it seems. There are knock-offs like plastic knock-offs on one end of the spectrum, and there are diamond studded, gold-laden fancies with every frill imaginable on the other.

What you want to do is get the best quality instrument as possible for your budget.

As a rule for flutes, the more silver you can get the better. Student flutes are actually made out of nickel and then plated with a thin layer of lower quality silver. A really nice flute will be 14 karat solid silver on every part of the body and head joint. The wall of the flute can also be thicker and heavier on some flutes which makes it sound much richer and louder,.. But again, only if the player is on a high enough level to make that happen.

Higher quality flutes have different shaped tone holes and lip plates. If you ever get the chance to go to a flute fair or convention, it would be worth your while to just walk around testing all of the flutes. You’ll be surprised at the different shapes from very square to very oblong or round. Some are definitely much better than others.

Okay, last thought today on stepping into a new flute is that there’s no need to spend thousands of dollars on a new flute when you are a beginner. It’s best to stay under fifteen hundred dollars but in a range that can get you something that is put together very well and quality enough that you can learn to play well, then when you have outgrown the level of the flute and have saved up enough money you can move into the next stage confidently and know that your abilities will be able to play that level of instrument.

And the most important take-away I want you to know from this audio is that the flute you already have is probably great if it is in good condition. Take notes from what I show you in this lesson video in all of the lesson videos I should say and other tutorials here at Learn Flute Online to help you keep the one you have playing nicely for you. It makes all the difference in the world to have your flute respond when you want it to in the manner you are hoping for as well.

Well, this was a great subject for today – and probably a lot to take in. We can get more detailed later on this subject. Please ask your questions in the comment section here. I’d love to know what you are wondering about now after this little introduction on this subject.

In the Learn Flute Online dot com programs I take you through so many ins and outs on all sorts of subjects, and I feel like I’ve actually begun to scratch the surface of what there is to really learn. Remember that In the lesson series inside the member’s area there are so, so many helpful and sequential tutorials audios, pdf sheets, and mp3’s. You’ll find your way to success- guaranteed.

I also do an in-studio Member’s Only training, it’s like a master class, each month that is just full of juicy tid-bits that can really help with motivation and mindset so you can take it up even another notch as a self-learner.

There are mini-courses that i launch at different times of the year that are fun and subject specific – for example I have a Hymns course where I teach all of the styles and techniques that are needed to play in a smooth Hymn style appropriate for any Gospel worship service around the globe. I have a super fun Irish Whistle and Flute course an Irish Flute course as well as a super beginning Jazz course. There’s even more!

I could go on and on with all of the benefits you awesome students receive by being a member here at Learn Flute Online, you have access to join all of these different programs. And I hope you are ready for even more great knowledge because I have even more coming at you.

And, I thank you again for being here today. It’s always a great day at Learn Flute Online. I’m so proud of you and wish you the best of luck this week!

and I hope I’ll be seeing you in a lesson very very soon!

This is Rebecca Fuller over and out.

Thank you for Tuning In!

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I hope you’ve enjoyed learning more about the flute and answering your questions of “How do I know if I need a new flute?”.  Join us for the next episode.

Have any questions? Comment below and I will help you out.

Rebecca FullerRebecca Fuller
Get Flutie with us! Learn and enjoy every musical minute.

4 thoughts on “LFP 078 | How Do I Know if I Need a New Flute?”

  1. Ah, it sounds like I’ll be needing a new flute! I’ve looked it over really good and I’ve noticed it has THREE dents. One in the headjoint, the body, and the footjoint. No aurprise since I found it laying in a basement! The headjoint dent is incredibly small, but I can see the other two joints while looking inside of it. I’ll keep loving on thos flute though until I can buy a new one 🙂 It sounds alright. As you said, “a flute can only play as well as you can.” I’m excited to say though that I’m starting to see a real difference in my tone and rhythm almost every day! I’m busy “digging ditches.”

    Cheers-
    Madelaine

  2. Ah, it sounds like I’ll be needing a new flute! I’ve looked it over really good and I’ve noticed it has THREE dents. One in the headjoint, the body, and the footjoint. No aurprise since I found it laying in a basement! The headjoint dent is incredibly small, but I can see the other two joints while looking inside of it. I’ll keep loving on thos flute though until I can buy a new one 🙂 It sounds alright. As you said, “a flute can only play as well as you can.” I’m excited to say though that I’m starting to see a real difference in my tone and rhythm almost every day! I’m busy “digging ditches.”

    Cheers-
    Madelaine

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