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PostPosted: Mon Nov 09, 2020 2:24 am 
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Hi all!

I´m new to this forum. I'm a sax-player mostly, but also double on many other instruments. A few years ago Martin Niethammer gave me one of his Fipple Heads for Boehm-Flute and I have been using it on lots of recordings over the last years. Due to Corona I finally took the time to develop the "Fliphead". Its a resin-printed, handfinished, biocompatible coated fipple head with a curved labium and windway. I also developed a clip-on thumb rest. I produce these in small batches in Austria. Let me know what you think!

www.fliphead.net


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 09, 2020 1:18 pm 
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That's a very clever idea!

Irish flute players might not be the best market for it because a premium is placed on getting a specific timbre and also the open holes for "sliding" notes


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 09, 2020 6:08 pm 
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That sounds and looks fantastic!

I've noticed that other people who have made whistle heads for Boehm flutes often have issues in the intonation of the octaves.

Is that something you encountered, in the developmental stage?

Playing flute vertically is something I'm very much interested in due to physical issues that keep me from playing a transverse flute in the normal way.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 10, 2020 4:48 am 
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I like the idea...but not the price..... :boggle: ...it's just a fipple really, isn't it, or am I missing something(?).

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 10, 2020 7:49 am 
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fatmac wrote:
or am I missing something(?).

Considerable skill, know-how and development to get that to work properly with a Boehm flute body.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 10, 2020 1:05 pm 
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Hi all!

Thx for your replies!
Yes, intonation is a topic. I worked a lot on different chamber sizes, chamber designs and tube diameters to come to the final model which is very well in tune. Up to this point I produced way over 250 prototypes in many different materials.
About the pricing: Well, it's not "only a fipple" :) Its the mouthpiece, the curved tube, the thumb rest and a pouch - and a lot of time per piece. Considering machine costs, material costs, time, hand finishing, marketing, office time a.s.o. I could not go lower being a one-man-business.
3d-resin-printing seem to look quick and easy, but its a long and rather expensive process to end up with a biocompatible product made of resin. Using cheap resin and cheap lacquer is not an option for a mouthpiece. From that perspective you are looking into "dental materials" which are on another price level. Also a curved nickel-silver tube is not easy to produce. A cheaper option would be to produce larger amounts via plastic infusion in China. But since this is rather a "niche" - I figure this is the way to go. Hope thats understandable...


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 12, 2020 6:40 am 
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I think the price is very reasonable.

Due to my transverse-flute physical issues I went around the exhibit hall at the annual convention of the National Flute Association and tried all the vertical-flute options that various inventors/makers had devised.

They all worked very well! And they were all expensive:

https://www.flutespecialists.com/produc ... headjoint/

http://drelinger.com/brochure/uprite_br ... rochureTop

The bummer is that years ago at the NAMM Show there was a tiny booth (the smallest size you can get) with a guy who had come up with a inexpensive vertical flute headjoint. I think it was only a couple hundred dollars. Like an eejit I didn't buy one! But at that time my cramping wasn't as bad as it later became and I was still trying to play ordinary flute.

Anyhow I think your invention is a fantastic asset for doublers. If you haven't already done, I think you should get a NAMM show booth and/or an NFA Convention booth. (I suspect both events were Covid victims this year.)

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 14, 2020 12:11 pm 
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The "Thabile" video answers what I wanted to know. The benefits are many to using a whistle head on a flute. The flute is similar to a violin in the respect that the player has to develop the ability to get the best tone and controlled expression out of the instrument. A high degree of interaction goes on, just to make the instrument speak. The opposite almost, of a piano or a drum. I've played flute for ages and have witnessed sloppy or timid flute playing, with weak tone, in hundreds of players, many of them excellent talents on other instruments, and especially including those in later high school and university where they're supposed to be getting far better coaching and results by then.

The Fliphead upside: the ability to get sharp, clear tone and focus on developing control of the keypads, would be of great value in developing flute talent. This is of huge importance.

The downsides:
1) of course the flute player's embouchure and wind control is of critical importance in getting great expressiveness, tonal color variations and reliable playing out of the flute, and a whistle mouthpiece removes the embouchure factor and reduces what options the player has in the range of air flow variations (air stream angles and precision).
2) the cost. I would have figured something around $50 to $75 maybe. 220 pounds means all my comments are lost in hyperspace and it's not going to sell.

The verdict: I think it's a great idea, and likely of immense value to beginners and intermediate players who want to focus on developing their finger work and enjoying playing anytime. It's one of the best ideas I've seen, and could make flute much more appealing (and nice sounding) to schools and those who major on other instruments and want to add flute occasionally, and be confident they can get good sound any time. Imagine a sax player who says they "second on violin" and then they tell you that they rarely play the violin and never practice. Then they ask you if you'd like to hear them play some violin, and of course it's, "well, no thanks, let's hear more Yackety Sax, that was fun!"

As a long-time flute player who's taken time off occasionally, I know the effort needed to get the embouchure and playing ability back to par after taking time off. It can take two to three weeks of intense daily playing just to get the embouchure back to good condition, after considerable time off playing. For some music, it would be acceptable to just put on the Fliphead and ace it immediately.


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 14, 2020 2:05 pm 
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RoberTunes wrote:
2) the cost. I would have figured something around $50 to $75 maybe. 220 pounds means all my comments are lost in hyperspace and it's not going to sell.

Who says? If I wanted it, I'd snap it up because it looks good value for what it is. Did you read the maker's response to the previous comment on price? It's just not going to get made to sell at $50 to $75 because that's just not economic!

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 15, 2020 8:23 am 
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Yes, and the other vertical flute options cost ten times more.

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 15, 2020 11:10 am 
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Axel Fliphead wrote:
Hi all!

Thx for your replies!
Yes, intonation is a topic. I worked a lot on different chamber sizes, chamber designs and tube diameters to come to the final model which is very well in tune. Up to this point I produced way over 250 prototypes in many different materials.
About the pricing: Well, it's not "only a fipple" :) Its the mouthpiece, the curved tube, the thumb rest and a pouch - and a lot of time per piece. Considering machine costs, material costs, time, hand finishing, marketing, office time a.s.o. I could not go lower being a one-man-business.
3d-resin-printing seem to look quick and easy, but its a long and rather expensive process to end up with a biocompatible product made of resin. Using cheap resin and cheap lacquer is not an option for a mouthpiece. From that perspective you are looking into "dental materials" which are on another price level. Also a curved nickel-silver tube is not easy to produce. A cheaper option would be to produce larger amounts via plastic infusion in China. But since this is rather a "niche" - I figure this is the way to go. Hope thats understandable...


Fair enough!

Just because an object appears simple -- and let's face it, what you've got here is a bent piece of tubing with a fipple mouthpiece on it -- doesn't mean there's not a bucketload of work that goes into it.

Not being a flute player myself, I think this might be something I'll look into!

Questions: do you plan on offering a straight model or a decorative "tenor sax" bend model? Also, does the liphead need to fitted to the flute? (Or are all flute bodies the same I.D.?

Also, any plans for piccolo mouthpieces or for other size ɟlutes?

Can the liphead mouthpiece be rotated, so that the flute stick out forward, or kind of to the side?

A quick comment on price: I looked at the links Richard provided. Those are some expensive pieces of hardware, and granted that those are flute embouchures, not whistle mouthpieces! Even if I hadn't looked at those links, I'd be of the opinion that $250 - $300 is not an unreasonable price. Considering that the market for this is most likely going to be saxophone doublers and, given the advertising here, whistle doublers, or whistle players who might be interested in trying flute without actually having to deal with the complexities of a flute mouthpiece, I think the price would be well worth it.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 16, 2020 12:31 am 
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whistlecollector wrote:
Axel Fliphead wrote:
Questions: do you plan on offering a straight model or a decorative "tenor sax" bend model? Also, does the liphead need to fitted to the flute? (Or are all flute bodies the same I.D.?

Also, any plans for piccolo mouthpieces or for other size ɟlutes?

Can the liphead mouthpiece be rotated, so that the flute stick out forward, or kind of to the side?

A quick comment on price: I looked at the links Richard provided. Those are some expensive pieces of hardware, and granted that those are flute embouchures, not whistle mouthpieces! Even if I hadn't looked at those links, I'd be of the opinion that $250 - $300 is not an unreasonable price. Considering that the market for this is most likely going to be saxophone doublers and, given the advertising here, whistle doublers, or whistle players who might be interested in trying flute without actually having to deal with the complexities of a flute mouthpiece, I think the price would be well worth it.


Thx for all your thoughts. That’s very interesting feedback for me.
At the moment I am not looking into developing something similar for piccolo or other flutes... Too much to work on the incoming pre-orders. Maybe later.
And yes - same with other Böhm-flute-heads - the tube needs to be custom fitted to the individual flute body. This is somewhere between 19,6-20mm. I offer to do this before shipping if the customer knows the flutes diameter but it’s also a quick fix for any local repairman.
Yes, the mouthpiece can be rotated to find a desired playing position.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 16, 2020 8:30 am 
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How are you making these “biocompatible?” I explored resin as a final material for my line of whistles but ultimately have opted for laser-sintered nylon for its safety. From my time in biotech I dunno if a thin (presumably painted-on) coating should be advertised as biocompatible unless you can show the coating is unaffected by everyday use.

Probably not a huge deal (I slobber all over my prototype whistle heads I make on a Formlabs and I’m not worried) but just something to be aware of in your terminology. Resins vary widely in reactivity and the safer ones typically require a much stronger laser than most consumer units (Formlabs aside) can provide.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 16, 2020 5:53 pm 
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MadmanWithaWhistle wrote:
How are you making these “biocompatible?” I explored resin as a final material for my line of whistles but ultimately have opted for laser-sintered nylon for its safety. From my time in biotech I dunno if a thin (presumably painted-on) coating should be advertised as biocompatible unless you can show the coating is unaffected by everyday use.

Probably not a huge deal (I slobber all over my prototype whistle heads I make on a Formlabs and I’m not worried) but just something to be aware of in your terminology. Resins vary widely in reactivity and the safer ones typically require a much stronger laser than most consumer units (Formlabs aside) can provide.


I use a quite expensive, very hard and durable shellac-UV-lacquer which ends up as a biocompatible coating once it is completely hardened. This seals the complete mouthpiece. It is usually used for dental or audio-engineering purposes (in-ear) and has a full biocompatible rating. Also the layer is pretty thick. So no resin touches the skin. Unless you would break the mouthpiece ;)


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