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PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2018 5:36 am 
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After a recent discussion comparing the instruments of Michael Grinter and Chris Wilkes, I thought it may be an idea to start a separate thread to see which modern makers build instruments which remain close to the venerable makers of old. It appears from the previous discussion that Grinter and Wilkes both build instruments which have evolved significantly. Out of interest, have any members here played modern flutes that they felt were surprisingly similar to the originals? The modern instruments I have played by Leseouf, Murray, Cotter and Sweetheart among others, all seemed different to antique flutes, especially the Cotter, with the evenness of tone on that last instrument being what I would expect from a cylindrical bored flute.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2018 9:10 am 
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Location: Detroit, Michigan
John Gallagher - he keeps really close to the originals, I think. He has great originals that he's measured (and his drawings of them are absolutely spectacular), and all of the models of his flutes that I've tried have all played great. Of course final tuning and embouchure adjustment probably makes as much of an impact as the bore and hole size...


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2018 9:19 am 
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Joined: Sun Nov 16, 2003 12:27 pm
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Location: Kingston WA
I never have stayed true to the originals except for the rare occasional instrument - usually a bagpipe and once, a basset horn. I prefer to let the art of flute making evolve. Except for a few flutes described below.

Of all the makers who have stuck to originals, I consider my dear friend Rod Cameron to be at the top of the list - assuming we expand it to include Baroque flutes. He has studied several important originals (including the Rudall and Rose that Chris Norman plays) and made copies that are stylistically and acoustically identical. Yet he considers this as a starting point and has his own tweaks and improvements on some of these instruments to make them work well for specific modern players. He has his own view of what these flutes should be like and makes ones in that fashion, but with heavy influence from his long and comprehensive study of the important originals.

My own experience - at first I was making flutes for the beginners market mostly on the Pacific Coast. I did have access to some great originals owned by Mickie Zekley and others. I was self taught except for a one day tutorial experience and did not have the oversight experience of apprenticeships or schools, unlike the violin makers who I knew well (I started out as a tool maker for that specific industry). Thus much of my learning was stubborn trial and error and awareness of my limitations. There was only one other west coast maker back then - Mark Minkler. Most of my sales were local and in person. I did establish sales in some east coast stores such as the Music Inn in Manhattan in the mid 1980s.

There were abundant antique flutes available in the late 70s and 80s when many of us got started and if a player wanted one they could get one easily if they could afford it - Mickie had several for sale in his catalog. Also Fred Oster in Philadelphia and Tony Bingham in London. Thus there was no reason for me to duplicate and compete with that market and it always made more sense to me to make something more affordable and within my skill level. All the great players back then were playing on antique instruments.

Mickie then sent me on a unique trajectory, starting in 1986 when he suggested that I investigate making a Pratten-like flute but set up for smaller hands. This has been the mainstay of my flute making career. Speaking of which, folks might enjoy this interview. I could barely play flute after spending all of June and July making them and wearing myself out, and then a week at Lark Camp followed by a 2 day intensive workshop on Galician Music in Berkeley. I wanted to show by Berkeley host the new Lark in the Morning store on Gilman and Eric asked if he could do a quick interview. So I am perhaps not in my best form playing-wise. See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yztUOAex26Y

Want to get something close to the originals as possible? Why not just buy an original? I have a Rudall and Rose and a Rudall, Rose and Carte that I am shepherding for eventual sale, and there are more and more of these out there it seems. The Rudall and Rose that was just sold in London went for about the same price as my 6 keyed flutes.

Another traditional flute type is the Cuban Charanga Flutes. My friend the Charangeiro Anthony Rivera has wanted me to start making these flutes for years. I considered myself too late in my career to start an entirely new flute type from the ground up - based and staying true to the originals. Last year I visited Anthony and finally looked at his extensive collection of Charanga flutes, many of which were played by the greats including Fajardo and Pacheco. I had the great experience of holding Johnny Pacheco's flute in my hands and capturing data from it, while listening to music played on that specific flute and the album being played hung on the wall in front of me - with a picture of Pacheco himself holding the very same instrument. The only thing missing was Pacheco himself.

Well I am making these flutes now - using the methods that were used in the past and staying as close to the originals as possible and using the exact same methods. The Charangeiros would use 5 key French flutes by Thibouville, Martin and a few other makers (surprisingly, Buffets were shunned) and minimally move the plugs to about 9-10mm from the center of the embouchure, and then usually (but not always) enlarge the embouchure if required per lip size. Many were left alone. Occasionally the fingerholes were tweaked. Most of these were played with the head joint pulled out to the end of the barrel joint metal. So I am "making" these the same way, using Thibouvilles as my raw material.

The other flute that I want to make close to the originals are the Galician Requinta flutes. I have measurement data of several by Riobo. This is one of my fall projects in the workshop.

Casey

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http://www.caseyburnsflutes.com
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2018 3:45 pm 
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Thank you for sharing your experience around flute making Casey, I found it very interesting. :)
Glen Watson's flutes have been discussed favourably on this board in previous threads. How do we feel his instruments compare to the originals? Thank you NicoMoreno for mentioning John Gallagher, as his instruments sound like they could fit into the category. If anyone thinks the contrary about flutes from Watson or Gallagher, I'd be very interested to hear your thoughts.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 22, 2018 11:26 am 
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I've measured, and John's Pratten comes very close to the Boosey's R.S. Pratten Perfected No 8626. A gorgeous looking and sounding flute.


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