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PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2018 5:09 pm 
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Hello,after many years i have at last got a bit of spare time and want to learn the Irish flute.
My problem is i have very small hands.From the research i have done it seems that a Casey Burns flute made for small hands would be suitable for me.However, i was wondering if anyone had any other suggestions.Somebody recommended a Sweetheart flute but someone else said they are a lottery and can be good or not so good.
So i suppose my question is-is it safest for me to buy a Casey Burns flute? I know in an ideal World we should all be able to deal with any size and children are playing the average size flutes but from looking at online videos, players with small hands seem to find the smaller flutes a revelation for ease of playing.
Which leads on to my second question-Does anyone on the forum have a flute for sale which is particularly good for a small handed beginner.Thank you .Erin


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2018 6:52 pm 
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I think Dave Copley could also make a flute with an easy reach for you. A Casey Burns flute (for small hands) is never a bad choice, though.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2018 8:04 pm 
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For my $.02 opinion, I wouldn't assume right away that you need a flute with an ergonomic adjustment for small hands. Many players of smaller stature (and presumably small hands) manage fine with standard flute spacing. It's kind of a Catch-22 for many of us though, in that we don't all have easy access to different flutes to try out before buying our first one.

If you're fairly sure from online research that you'd have an easier time as a beginner with an ergonomic design for small hands, then a Casey Burns Folk Flute might be the way to go. Or one of his more elaborate models if you can afford it. He's made a specialty of designing flutes for smaller hands, as well as more standard models. I have a friend who is female and smaller stature -- mainly a GHB and smallpipes player, but she plays some flute on the side. She has one of Casey's ergonomic Folk flutes and she likes it.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2018 8:54 pm 
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Casey Burns suggestion for determining small hands:
http://www.caseyburnsflutes.com/detail_ ... ndsize.php

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2018 9:51 pm 
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kkrell wrote:
Casey Burns suggestion for determining small hands:
http://www.caseyburnsflutes.com/detail_ ... ndsize.php


I'm not sure if the illustration implies a fully stretched hand on Casey Burns site. Or it could just be a less than perfect drawing. If I hold my hand exactly as illustrated, with the thumb sort of upright, I come out at an accurate 7.5 inches. When stretch my thumb out as fully as it goes after playing flute for 30 years, I get a firm 8. I think some of this distance has developed by gradual stretching over years of happily playing both Pratten and Rudall copies. I have often had people talk to me about adding flute playing to their whistle skills. They would say they didn't think they could pull it off, dismayed that their hands were so small. I'd hold my hand up to theirs and we'd come out pretty much exactly the same or my fingers would be shorter. Things do happen to our hands as we practice our instruments. As a 5'4" tall woman my hands have developed some width as I've stretched to play various instruments over the years. My first flute teacher was Shannon Heaton, who has similarly sized hands and plays an Olwell Pratten. That being said, starting with an instrument with a shorter stretch might be just the ticket for you. If you have a wooden flute player close by get their advice. If you get deeply into flute playing you will likely want to upgrade your instrument to something with a larger sound. But you can worry about that when you get there.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2018 11:27 pm 
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My feeling is that Casey's illustration reflects just opening a spread hand while still in a relaxed position. Think of making a fist, then pushing the fingers out. The position for me is similar to the drawing. I can then stretch the fingers out to the side more, so that the measurement for me goes from 8.25" out to 9.75". I guess that's a large hand.

Claire Mann, who I often like to use as an example of a small person (5'0") with small hands, plays a full-sized wooden flute, seemingly easily enough. I think Nuala Kennedy is a similar size and has a similar reach. Perhaps does take a bit of practice, though.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 07, 2018 12:21 am 
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Doug Tipple has posted some measurements of several different flutes on his website site, including hole size and distance between holes.

http://tippleflutes.com/flute-finger-hole-comparison/

That said, hole size seems a factor, as well. You will struggle less to cover smaller holes than large ones. McGee's GLP flute has small holes, as does Olwell's small holed.flute. I have flutes from Glen Watson and Solen Lesouef which offer an easier reach compared to others.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 07, 2018 2:57 am 
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For my first purchase, I bought a Tony Dixon one piece ABS, & found the holes uncomfortably placed for my fingers.
I then bought a new beginner delrin flute from Damian Thompson with off set holes, much easier to cover the holes.
Basically, the holes want to be evenly spaced out for comfort, as you will adjust to the stretch as your hands loosen up.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 07, 2018 3:05 am 
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I went the 'safe route' of a Burns Folk flute and then moved to one of his small-handed keyed flutes. I am very happy with it - though I could probably stretch a little further now.

If you are in Europe other options may be simpler. I briefly tried a Tony Millyard flute for small hands and found it worked well for me.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 07, 2018 7:37 am 
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Redtulip wrote:
Somebody recommended a Sweetheart flute

Mine had even centres of c.37.5mm between T1 & T2 and T2 & T3. That's huge!

(For clarification, talking about standard Ralph Sweet keyless, not Walt Sweet Shannon.)

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 07, 2018 9:52 am 
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Thanks to everyone for all the replies.
I measured my hand against Caseys diagram-now i know i have small hands.
As i am in Europe i will look into getting a Tony Millyard flute as he is a lot closer than Casey Burns and seems to be very helpful.Thanks again.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 07, 2018 10:50 am 
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The question "Is Casey Burns the only solution?" makes it sound like a bad thing!

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 07, 2018 12:24 pm 
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I don't think the example of famous players with small hands and "big" flutes is very helpful. Because firstly there's always exceptional people who can overcome all sorts of difficulties, secondly the age when one starts plays a role (younger joints and tendons are more flexible), thirdly motivation is important - how much is one willing to suffer for ones art or hobby. I personally was never willing/able to cope with standard tenor recorders or the guitar my grandfather chose for me (66 cm scale length). I stopped playing guitar for decades (I recently bought a parlor with 63 cm scale) and got for a first wood tenor one with additional keys. Because for me it's not about what's possible to do, but what is comfortable and fun to do. Music is my hobby, I'm playing to have a change from my work (which is hard enough on my hands).


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