LFP 088 | What Flute Brands are Good?

Learn Flute Podcast SHOW NOTES:

In this episode, you will learn what flute brands are good. 

This is the Learn Flute Podcast Episode 088.

Yeah!  

 

You’ll learn:Learn-Flute-Podcast-Post-Image

What this podcast will be all about

  • Information on this podcast is supplemental to LearnFluteOnline.com
  • What flutes are considered the best.
  • What flute Rebecca started learning on.
  • What the different levels of flute qualities are.
  • What you can look forward to learning from listening

 

-Learn Flute Podcast 088-

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LINKS Used During the Show:

https://learnfluteonline.com

https://learnfluteonline.com/how-to-choose-a-flute/


What flute brands are good? Let’s explore the answer today. Welcome to the Learn Flute Podcast! Episode number eighty eight.

Hi, and welcome back. I’m Rebecca Fuller, and today we’re going to do a little dive into the question I get all the time from you online flute learners. And that is of: What Flute Brands Are Good? This is a very good question, and I think it deserves a little education and attention.

Now, before we get to answering this exact question, I’d like to help you understand how the flute choosing process works inside a flute studio. Here, for example when someone calls me about taking flute lessons, we discuss if they’ve already acquired a flute (and I am always in hope that they haven’t because it makes me very happy when I get to steer a new student to the highest quality flute they are able to purchase that will help ensure their success… because there is the total opposite - that is - flutes that make it really hard to learn and sound good on. No one wants one of those, right? So, I love helping make sure we get the right thing.)

In the online learning world, we have a lot of do-it-yourselfers, so you’ll just have to take the information I give here and use it to further educate yourself so you can do the best you are able to.

There are two things we are looking for basically, when we are acquiring a new student model flute.

First, we are hoping the flute will be technically sound and manufactured of materials that will make it last a long time. Basically, we want what we are paying for. That’s not too much to ask for, is it?

Well, you’d think. But, there are a lot of really old flutes floating out there that people find and try to play. It’s really hard to tell the difference between the old good ones, and the old not-good ones because some companies started out as the reputable brands back in the nineteen sixties, for example, and then changed their manufacturing process or venue (for example, started factories overseas) which resulted in a lower quality grade of metal or less precision in following exact design etc. -Just something to think about..

Or, some companies originally had real master technicians that would check through the instruments before they were sent out to stores to minimize defective instruments from getting through the line. This is a really good thing, and not all companies do it anymore. The flutes are stamped out in a factory with machines, boxed up, and send out to stores and customers without being checked. It happens!

Since the flute is such an intricate instrument. Honestly, it has to be manufactured correctly or the instrument simply will not last. Parts will fall off, get bent, prematurely brake, and if it is made of cheap material like soft, low-quality silver or nickel, it will not be easy to be put back together.

Sound dramatic? Haha, It definitely sounds that way as I say it. No worries, there are plenty of really great flutes out there for you to make your choice from. It’s just nice to know that a little education will go a long ways, don’t you think?

The second thing we are wanting is a flute that is designed well in the first place so that we sound good on it, right? Since the actual sound of an instrument is the whole point of playing it in the first place, this makes total sense.

Each maker puts his or her own spin on the flute design, and that’s why there are so many different brands. It’s crazy how many there are nowadays. Years ago there were a number of core companies that made the flutes and that’s all we used to know about. Now, with technology and sales being global, new instrument brands are popping up constantly.

I attend the National Flute Convention often, and part of what I do while I’m there is spend an entire day on the sales floor checking out the new flutes and meeting the new makers. I’m oftentimes surprised at some of the new designs. But, I keep an open mind because you never know when the next best new thing is going to happen. Haha, some makers are experimenting with the shape of the tone hole.. You know, the one that you blow into on the head joint. Some of them are just strange, and I couldn’t get a good sound out to save my life. So, I’m not sure where some of them were going with it, but good luck to them. If they think a perfectly square tone whole will sound good, then go for it. Hah

Some flutes have a design that you can play pretty well, meaning that they feel good, and you can get good, clear tone on, but they will have another problem that stops you from getting real success, like they seem to be really out of tune no matter what you do, or they tend to get leaks really often… like monthly even on some of them.

So, let me tell you a quick story about my first introduction to flute playing. I’ve already told some of this story before so I’ll make it brief. I found my first flute. Yes, I literally found it. It was in the root cellar of my grandpa’s old home. You know, where you store your potatoes under the house? It’s dark, kind of damp, full of dirt and spiders, and totally and interesting place to find a musical instrument. Well anyway. I was sure happy about it, and figured it was a sign that I was to learn how to play the flute. So I did. I had no idea if it was a good brand or not, nor did I think there was such thing as a bad brand of flute. A flute was a flute to me. I never even considered some of these things. Not something that runs through a ten year old’s mind for sure.

Well, that flute and I did a few good things for a couple of years. I did my best with it, and it sure was trying for me. I guess I’ll have to go ahead and divulge what brand it was since we’re talking about brands. It was a Bundy. Now, I haven’t actually set eyes on a Bundy flute for a long time now, but I know they are not on my list of quality flutes.

The problems I had with the Bundy were mostly due to the type of pads that were used on it. I think I had a new leak every other week on that thing at least. The pads would get all poofed up and cracked constantly. This was back in the early eighties. And, I wasn’t rough on it at all. In fact, I babied that thing as much as I knew how to because I wanted so badly to be good at it. But, my poor parents had to take it to a repairman quite often which was far away from my home so it would play again for me. We’d revive it, and I’d be off again for a few more weeks. That’s all I could squeak out of it was just a few weeks at a time before something would literally fall of of it or a pad would need replacing again. It was simply a lower quality instrument in so many ways. But, I loved that thing. And, it gave me my start so I’ll always be grateful.

My next three flutes were in the normal band brand range I could say. Again, not much higher of a step from the Bundy. But, my second flute was a little better, and had been purchased brand new so that always helps. And now that I’ve been teaching for thirty some odd years, I think I’ve seen them all actually.

Quality does matter when focusing on aspects and traits such as longevity and playability. But, man- if I hadn’t of had that Bundy I would never have learned how to play the flute in the first place because it was not something that was going to happen for me. I had three older siblings two younger ones, lived way out in the country, and my older sister had first dibs on learning how to play the flute. That’s just how it went in my family.. For awhile anyway.

So, if you’ve come across the gift of an instrument from a friend or family member, or possibly gotten a great deal at a thrift store or even antique shop. Don’t diss it. It’s awesome! And, you should use it. Use that flute to learn and grow on. Be proud of it for being “the little flute that could” -- try anyway.

And then when you feel you are in position to spend a few hundred dollars on a new one. You can find the most reputable brands above the three hundred mark and on up and high as you can imagine as far as money goes and instruments..

I’ve made an entire video series on this that you can make your way to and find on the web page learnfluteonline dot com forward slash how dash to dash choose dash a dash flute. How to choose a flute. And since there are spaces there, there are dashes. I tried to be pretty thorough there in the discussion because there’s a lot into answering someone’s question of “What flute brands are good”.

Just to give you an idea of the levels of qualities of flutes. Let’s start at the bottom. There are the lowest quality and make of flutes that are usually designed and manufactured in China, which I used to really poo poo on a bit because the quality was so low, but guess what? It seems they are now competing with each other and we’re seeing some better instruments. Yay - more affordable instruments for the whole world. Cool. I want everyone to be able to play. We can have a big global flute-party one day.

And speaking of the word global, I should mention that different brands are available in different countries. So, since you’re all from around the world listening to this, that’s why It’s really hard for me to give a specific list today right here.

The next level of flutes is the band brands as I call them. They are marketed to the elementary and junior highs and high schools the most, and we see them everywhere. Don’t be tricked. Just because the brand has been around forever and is good at marketing doesn’t mean their flutes are any good. For example one brand I’m thinking of in particular is very good at making saxophones. They are very very good and the highest quality saxophones you can get. But their flutes, they are left wanting. I have trouble with every single one. It’s tricky.

Moving up from there we go into the more quality instruments which also come with a more quality price tag. Haha, you know what I mean.

These flutes are more precision made, and always checked over by a good, solid technician who knows what they are doing before it is even sent out to be used. These flutes generally will sound the best and last the longest for basically every learning student - as long as the student has proper care and playing instructions.

Oh, more on that later. All sorts of things are popping in my head now that I’d love tell you. But, I think I will leave these sparks of education with you now in hopes that your next flute selection will be purposeful and leave you feeling confident you have what you’re looking for.

Well, that’s all for this episode. I would LOVE to hear what you have to say about this subject. Please leave a comment in the appropriate place, and of course always remember to hop yourself over to Learn Flute Online and take yourself an online flute lesson today. They’re there just for you.

Bye now!

Rebecca Fuller

 

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2 Comments

  • Lisa Lovely LPA

    Reply Reply April 9, 2018

    Hi

    Well , ok , but you never answered the title I hit podcast ! LOL

    I pretty sure I am going to buy a Pearl 525 with b foot and split E mechanism and offset G. The price is is at a seeet spot within my budget.

    The next level up was a Pearl with a silver head joint but that’s pushing the budget a bit and I do t think the metal will make that much of a difference while I learn my scales lol

    I was able to try the flutes at my local music store. My bamboo flute experience , I think , made me able to blow a solid note or two but since I not know the fingerings could not really play the flutes.

    The breza lip cut seemed to be the easiest to blow a loud clear note. The man suggested it’s a good cut for someone with a lot of wind , I guess he means I am full of air !

    Anyway , since they do their own repairs and maintenance in shop, thirty a year to clean and tune, I think buying from them is better then online.

    All the flute stores on and offline seem to have all their prices set the same hmmm

    The local guy did not want to budge on price but offered to give me a free book.

    Maybe I could see if the online stores give discounts but the price at the local shop seems fair and would rather esstablish a relationship with them so they can work on my flute in the future.

    Anyway thanks !

    Winks
    Lisa

    • RebeccaFuller

      Reply Reply April 10, 2018

      Hi Lisa, great! I think you’ll do fine with that flute, especially since you feel confident and were able to try it. I think having a relationship with a local store is perfect! Go for it. The upper level Pearls are really pretty great! Let us know how you love it. 🙂 ~Rebecca

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