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Chris Norman Flutes
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Author:  John Driscoll [ Sat Jan 13, 2018 9:10 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Chris Norman Flutes

Jayhawk wrote:
Please do John! What's an 8 keyer cost?


$4,800 for 8-keys, $3,550 for 6-keys

Author:  Jayhawk [ Sun Jan 14, 2018 8:16 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Chris Norman Flutes

Thanks!

Author:  John Driscoll [ Mon Jan 22, 2018 10:17 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Chris Norman Flutes

Just received them and had a chance to dig in this weekend. He sent me two all-wood D flutes, with long C foot. One is a stained boxwood, one is blackwood. Both are modeled after original small-holed Rudall Rose #742, c. 1826.

Link to my photos: https://photos.app.goo.gl/Vd3SfrYaeNCexdJ03

My impressions are that they are both stunning works. I'm amazed at how differently the two play and feel, and quite a difference in tone as well. (I didn't realize how much difference the wood makes.)

The boxwood flute - effortless and agile, with incredible flexibility in tone and pitch. I could bend the pitch down a full whole-step just by lipping, which makes the absence of a tuning slide more palatable. Very light in the hands. Good, full tone with strong volume (not a honker, but fully present). I could achieve a nice, bright Irish sound without too much effort, but it is easier to over blow this one and push quite sharp. Again, so much flexibility in tone and pitch that requires a refined embouchure.

The blackwood flute - not surprisingly, had a brighter, edgier tone. I didn't find as much flexibility in pitch bending or tone, but still was very nimble. Low D was a tad more difficult to tease out, but once you find it, it cuts like a knife. I would say there were fewer low-end frequencies in this flute, making the tone reedier and accenting the trebles (which would no doubt be desired in ITM)

For me, the boxwood was absolutely heaven to play. But for $900 a piece, these are worth every cent. A beautiful compliment to any collection without breaking the bank, and so many cross-fingering options that it really is a versatile instrument. I'd say the blackwood flute makes for a better tool for ITM, given the brightness and ever-so-slightly higher reading on the DB meter (FWIW), and the boxwood is overall a more versatile instrument.

Author:  Loren [ Mon Jan 22, 2018 10:36 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Chris Norman Flutes

John Driscoll wrote:
and quite a difference in tone as well. (I didn't realize how much difference the wood makes.)


Off to make some popcorn!

Thanks for taking the time to share your impressions and photos with us John, my above comment aside (and not directed at you) it’s appreciated.

Author:  tin tin [ Mon Jan 22, 2018 5:48 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Chris Norman Flutes

Wow, those look wonderful, John!

A friend has a Rudall and Rose copy by Rod Cameron (the kind Chris Norman plays); a few years ago, he had Chris make a replacement headjoint. If anything, it's even better than the original, which says something about Chris' flute-making prowess. It's beautiful work, acoustically and aesthetically, with an excellent embouchure cut, engraved silver rings, and a wood-covered slide.

Chris talks a bit about his design goals in this article from a few years ago: http://robertbigio.com/norman.htm

It's pretty cool that one of the greatest flute players alive is also making the instrument!

Author:  John Driscoll [ Fri Jan 26, 2018 11:28 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Chris Norman Flutes

I just took the boxwood to a session last night (about 20 people, two pipers, and I sat next to a banjo) and I didn't have a problem with volume or tuning. Sure, my McGee Rudall Perfected in blackwood barked better, as did the Murray sitting next to me, but all-in-all the boxwood Norman held it's own.

I reluctantly sent both flutes back to Chris today, as I don't have the funds available. So keep an eye out for a few posts on the UIE from me in the coming days as I attempt to rotate my stock :D

Author:  dunnp [ Fri Jan 26, 2018 12:48 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Chris Norman Flutes

A few years ago I inquired about making a headjoint for my Monzani. Didn’t go down that road in the end but I remember his price list included two instruments I’d love to try.
A flute in G below D based (it may have been a low A flute?) on a Monzani original and a piccolo based on New Hampshire maker Graves
if I recall correctly.
Really wanted to order the big one which I think was available with one or four keys.
Not in the cards right now but one day.

Author:  s1m0n [ Fri Jan 26, 2018 1:16 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Chris Norman Flutes

John Driscoll wrote:
I reluctantly sent both flutes back to Chris today, as I don't have the funds available.


Did CN know went he sent out the flutes that you were just tire-kicking, or did you let him think you were a potential customer?

Author:  John Driscoll [ Fri Jan 26, 2018 3:15 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Chris Norman Flutes

s1m0n wrote:
John Driscoll wrote:
I reluctantly sent both flutes back to Chris today, as I don't have the funds available.


Did CN know went he sent out the flutes that you were just tire-kicking, or did you let him think you were a potential customer?



He knew I was just expressing interest, and he was the one who offered to send them for a trial. :)

Furthermore, we both agreed on the date I would return them to him. I agree with you that it's best to make your intentions clear so that you're not getting anyone's hopes up.

Hopefully my little science experiment added something to this community. I know I will definitely be purchasing one from Chris as soon as I have the funds available.

Author:  dunnp [ Fri Jan 26, 2018 3:49 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Chris Norman Flutes

Just looking over the old price list the low flute was a Stanesby ( not Monzani) based flute in A or G
One or four keys.

Author:  AaronFW [ Fri Jan 26, 2018 6:50 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Chris Norman Flutes

John Driscoll wrote:
Hopefully my little science experiment added something to this community. I know I will definitely be purchasing one from Chris as soon as I have the funds available.


It definitely piqued my interest. But I'm in a similar boat: Too many possible flutes, too little money.

Author:  jim stone [ Fri Jan 26, 2018 8:57 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Chris Norman Flutes

Thanks for the report, John.

Author:  RudallRose [ Fri Feb 02, 2018 5:49 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Chris Norman Flutes

The #742 that he models after is his own original boxwood from the Man With the Wooden Flute recording, and copied by Cameron.

BTW....there's a great photo of a young Linda Hickman floating around of late with Celtic Thunder (w/ Tony Demarco) holding and playing that very flute, c.1970s.

She eventually sold it to Chris.

She'd gotten if from ex-b/f David Shorey.

fwiw

Author:  John Driscoll [ Fri Feb 02, 2018 6:42 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Chris Norman Flutes

Thanks for the history lesson! Knowing that he models it after his own flute makes me love it even more.

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