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PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2019 2:24 pm 
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I just got notified by Patrick Olwell that my name has come up on the Keyless flute list and he should be ready to ship my flute in the next 30 days. I sent my deposit on February 2, 2018 and got notified my name was up on the list January 20, 2019. I had emailed him to ask if they ever made keyless flutes with key blocks and he answered me that they do not offer key blocks for keyless flute customers (because they are much more labor intensive just in case anyone else was wondering...I've never seen that question asked/answered before) and telling me I was up on the list.

So it looks like Olwell is running around a year on keyless flutes right now. I'm pretty sure they told me the wait was around 10 months at the time I ordered, so I consider a 12 month wait very reasonable considering these are hand made instruments and he's having to project his workload about a year in advance.

I just wanted to post this update because I've seen threads in the past with people asking how long the list was and others giving approximations. I figured some solid information like this might be useful to someone who is considering getting on the list, or who is on the list and wondering how long their wait will actually be. I'm guessing that with Michael Grinter's passing (may he Rest In Peace) that Olwell probably will see (or has seen) a rise in the number of flute orders he receives.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2019 6:23 am 
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Thanks for the info. I am deciding what I want to get from him right now and will probably be putting an order in after tax time. I have a few other instrument related expenses to get past as well (Flute sent to Casey Burns to add rings and slide, Picked up a used Martin J-40 that needed some work so it's at the Luthier's for repair, and a new digital piano all within a few months so a bit of cash tied up right now... )

I am thinking Keyless blackwood with french slide and silver rings but I am still deciding on Nicholson or Pratten. I don't have any great need to be the loudest in the room and I've read good things about the comfort of the Nicholson model. Still I have only heard one live and it was the Pratten model but I heard it a lot when I was taking lessons 15 years ago from Bill Ochs so the sound is pretty well etched into my mind...

Can I ask, what did you order?

I hope you get it soon, patience is a virtue and all that but having a new Olwell on the way would put a strain on my virtuous nature LOL

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2019 12:14 pm 
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I went with a Blackwood keyless Pratten in D with silver rings, slide, and a fully lined head (also in silver). I was torn between the Pratten and Nicholson as well...especially since my fingers are on the short side. But Patrick said that they have a generous return policy and if after a month you decide you should've ordered the other flute they'll exchange it for you.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2019 12:42 pm 
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FWIW, here's a Nicholson.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lKJAjQGrwFc


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2019 7:41 pm 
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jim stone wrote:


Thanks, I think I need to hear a few. It doesn’t sound like it has the pop of the Pratten in that video but it may just be that player. Sounds good though...

I’ll probably end up with a Pratten but it never hurts to check out the options.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2019 10:45 pm 
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Unquestionably the Pratten is a terrific flute.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2019 6:36 am 
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Yesterday a boxwood keyless Olwell, Nicholson model, came up for sale £1500, one year old, hardly played. Location Belfast


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2019 5:03 pm 
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You do realize that the poster, Jim Stone, is THAT player...sound lovely Mr. Stone!


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2019 8:27 pm 
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Thank you! The tune may have something to do with the absence of 'pop.'
Not a jig, reel, hornpipe or something else percussive. You can do pretty well
anything on a Nicholson.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2019 8:38 pm 
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Obviously skepticism is in order when a single player
is performing. Still it's perhaps interesting and might
be of some help. FWIW, here's an Olwell Pratten.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j7rrfy9rxbY


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2019 9:11 am 
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whistle1000 wrote:
You do realize that the poster, Jim Stone, is THAT player...sound lovely Mr. Stone!


Nope didn’t realize it but my observation still stands. Players are pretty much the single biggest item that makes a flute sound like it does IMHO. (I think design second and materials third) but I’m sure that argument could go on for decades :) I have three flutes and I still sound like myself on each of them, just maybe with different features to the sounds on each. I have resigned myself to never sounding like Matt Malloy LOL

I do notice a little pop at the beginning of a note a lot of the time with the Olwell Prattens though. Many vids I’ve watched or clips people post here and on the session have it too. It may be like Jim says though, just the tune in that vid may be a little softer and people use Olwell Prattens for a lot of stuff that makes that pop happen. It may not be endemic to the design but what people are playing on it.

Which is kind of the question I guess, if the Nicholson can get that sort of snap like the Pratten model does. I’m already pretty sure the Nicholson volume isn’t an issue for me and neither is the hole spacing or hole size on the Pratten in any big sense because I am a pretty big guy with large hands but I am also used to small-ish flutes (Dixon 3 piece, old Seery ebony, Casey Burns Rudall) as far as the hole size and spacing and since I don’t have an issue with volume, I’m just trying to figure out if it is it worth the extra effort of the Pratten or conversely if the Nicholson is the better model to get a sweeter sound for slow, lighter music from.

Since Patrick is known for the Pratten though, that’s probably the smart way to go :)

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2019 3:15 pm 
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I've played three of Olwell's medium-holed flutes, one of which I owned for a while. They were all fantastic flutes that could do anything Olwell's large-hole flute can do. (I own two of their large hole flutes at the moment.) They had a very irishy-buzzy tone; they get a nice chirp in the upper register; and they all had a strong low-D. Overall, they are great flutes that, in my opinion, are more similar than they are different from the large-hole Olwells. (Btw, I stuck with the large-hole model because it was my first flute and I simply got really used to it over the years. I could easily see being just as happy with the medium-hole model.)


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