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Upgrading from wood to polymer?
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Author:  vonmasgaau [ Sat Dec 22, 2018 12:03 pm ]
Post subject:  Upgrading from wood to polymer?

I'm not sure if I have to update my flute. It's a Pratten style wooden flute (guayacan, a local hardwood used for flutes here) with tuning slide and no keys made by a local flute maker that also plays ITM, and it sounds quite better than my antique flute made in France.

Thing is I don't know if it's time to upgrade it. My budget goes up to a Casey Burns folk flute, I can't go beyond that USD 400/450 as customs and shipping make the purchase a lot more expensive.

I'm posting a photo, and also a sound clip of my flute http://gervasiobarreiro.com.ar/woodenflute.mp4 (I have a lot to improve, I know). Based on that, do you think I will get a better sound with a Delrin or a Burns Folk flute? I've been reading a lot of reviews of polymer flutes, and my choice is between the M&E and a Copley, but somehow I feel like downgrading going for a polymer.

Thanks!

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Author:  Jose' Scotte' Este' [ Sat Dec 22, 2018 1:28 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Upgrading from wood to polymer?

Hello,

Perhaps you could explain what you are looking for in an "upgrade". Are you looking for a flute that is easier to play, better in tune, has better tone?

You might also consider posting a sound file so that we can hear what your flute sounds like.

If you like your flute, and it sounds good, and you feel like it plays well, maybe it is the flute for you.

Author:  fatmac [ Sat Dec 22, 2018 2:21 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Upgrading from wood to polymer?

I believe most people would consider going to a wooden flute an upgrade, but I personally like my delrin & my ABS flutes because they are easy to care for. :)

Author:  vonmasgaau [ Sat Dec 22, 2018 3:03 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Upgrading from wood to polymer?

Jose' Scotte' Este' wrote:
Perhaps you could explain what you are looking for in an "upgrade". Are you looking for a flute that is easier to play, better in tune, has better tone?

You might also consider posting a sound file so that we can hear what your flute sounds like.


Hi Jose! You're right. I've posted an audio clip in the original post. An upgrade for me would be a flute with powerful and barking low tones, and a more responsive flute.

Author:  vonmasgaau [ Sat Dec 22, 2018 3:05 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Upgrading from wood to polymer?

fatmac wrote:
I believe most people would consider going to a wooden flute an upgrade, but I personally like my delrin & my ABS flutes because they are easy to care for. :)

Yea, I can totally relate to that. Which delrin do you play?

Author:  Loren [ Sat Dec 22, 2018 3:34 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Upgrading from wood to polymer?

Since most (all?) of us won’t have played a flute like the one you own, it’s impossible to say if another flute would be an upgrade. That said, my suggestion would be to go with a Delrin flute since you already have a wood flute, and the Copley would be my recommendation. You may very well find it to be better than your current flute, certainly it won’t be a step down.

Wood and Delrin/polymer flutes both have their advantages, and it’s nice to have one of each.

Author:  Jose' Scotte' Este' [ Sat Dec 22, 2018 5:41 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Upgrading from wood to polymer?

There are alot of great delrin flutes out there. However, I think you might be describing a Pratten model flute, rather than a Rudall and Rose. Many flute makers base their flute designs on the R&R.

I have an Ellis Pratten that is a wooden flute that is infused with resin, so that it has the look and feel of wood, with the ease of maintenance of delrin. My flute is absolutely fantastic, although new it costs a bit more than your target price. It is easy to play, and can be played sweetly, or powerfully, with a nice growl and nice low D...

Author:  Terry McGee [ Sat Dec 22, 2018 10:16 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Upgrading from wood to polymer?

vonmasgaau, I don't think your current flute is a Pratten-style. Prattens have very large holes, particularly holes 2 and 5, whereas the holes on your flute are small and relatively uniform in size. The embouchure hole also looks a little small. I'd be guessing that it is modeled on an early English flute or a German flute.

What's that at the top of the RH section? Thread supporting a crack? Any leakage there will be a problem for lower notes.

My guess is that you would find a flute modeled on a large-holed Rudall or a Prattens much more responsive.

Author:  Jose' Scotte' Este' [ Sat Dec 22, 2018 10:59 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Upgrading from wood to polymer?

Right Terry. I meant that it sounded like he was describing that he wanted a Pratten style flute, although I hadn't thought of a large holed RR ( I am not that knowledgeable!)

Author:  fatmac [ Sun Dec 23, 2018 4:39 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Upgrading from wood to polymer?

vonmasgaau wrote:
fatmac wrote:
I believe most people would consider going to a wooden flute an upgrade, but I personally like my delrin & my ABS flutes because they are easy to care for. :)

Yea, I can totally relate to that. Which delrin do you play?


I have a Damian Thompson beginner delrin flute, (with off set holes at my request).

Author:  Steampacket [ Sun Dec 23, 2018 5:48 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Upgrading from wood to polymer?

I think your flute sounds fine, nothing wrong there. You just need to keep on developing "upgrading" your technique that's all. You're already getting a good sound as it is. so I don't think you have to be in a hurry to get another flute. Why not keep playing this one, save money, and then order a new flute, a Solen Lesouef, Chris Wilkes, Pat Olwell, or buy an original Rudall & Rose

Author:  PB+J [ Sun Dec 23, 2018 7:19 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Upgrading from wood to polymer?

I do a lot of woodworking, including making instruments. I can certainly see the appeal of a wooden flute. It's an organic material, with lovely natural variations; it's traditional, it changes with age. Working with wood is wonderful.

I'm skeptical that the material makes a big difference in the sound though. In my experience making guitars, the construction method matters much more than the wood type. But I'm certainly no expert on flutes and have never played a good wooden flute, so I remain agnostic.

In one sense, delrin is clearly an upgrade. It's virtually indestructible in ordinary life. Where I live the temperature can range from 100 degrees F (37c) in the summer, with unbelievable crushing humidity, and can be -10c (14F or so) for a couple weeks in winter, with forced air heating turning the inside of houses desert-dry. A wooden flute is often wet on the inside and dry on the outside, and then when not played is subjected to the usual changes with temp. and humidity. Seems like a recipe for disaster around here. A Delrin flute will never absorb a drop of water. In that sense it's clearly an "upgrade. I have a Walt Sweet "Shannon" flute that doesn't feel like wood, but is well and attractively designed and a pleasant object to play. It feels good in the hands.

But music is very "intentional" and the care a wooden flute requires is part of the experience of playing on a wooden flute. Patrick Olwell lives a few hours south and west of here and he seems to have no trouble making wooden flutes in more or less the same climate!

Author:  vonmasgaau [ Mon Dec 24, 2018 2:06 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Upgrading from wood to polymer?

Steampacket wrote:
You just need to keep on developing "upgrading" your technique that's all. You're already getting a good sound as it is. so I don't think you have to be in a hurry to get another flute. Why not keep playing this one, save money, and then order a new flute, a Solen Lesouef, Chris Wilkes, Pat Olwell, or buy an original Rudall & Rose

Thank you Steampacket! Yea, I agree. I totally need to "upgrade" my technique!

Here's a new clip with a better microphone: http://gervasiobarreiro.com.ar/tune.mp3

Your suggestion about saving money for an actual upgrade sounds spot on.

Author:  vonmasgaau [ Mon Dec 24, 2018 2:12 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Upgrading from wood to polymer?

Terry McGee wrote:
What's that at the top of the RH section? Thread supporting a crack? Any leakage there will be a problem for lower notes.


Yes Terry, it's thread supporting a small crack. The maker is out of the city, so I have to wait for the repair. Here's what it sounds with my bad technique and the leakage: http://gervasiobarreiro.com.ar/tune.mp3. The bottom sounds a bit weak but I can't be sure if that due to the leak or the flute, or bad technique or all at once.

Author:  Loren [ Tue Dec 25, 2018 10:07 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Upgrading from wood to polymer?

I thought about mentioning this in my previous post but decided against it, because it’s not the sort of thing people like to hear, however I think you should know so here it is:

Considering the wood your flute is made of, you can expect more cracks, so you might factor this into your decision. Personally, I’d buy a Delrin flute and sell the one you have, before the value of your current flute drops significantly further.

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