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PostPosted: Fri Mar 15, 2019 11:04 am 
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Hi all,

I'm old (47) and unmusical (can play 'Scarborough fair'), but a few months ago I acquired a Doug Tipple flute and I love it! After a couple of months of at least half an hour a day, I can pretty much toot out the basic whistle tunes I know on it and I'm starting to wonder if it's worth making a bit more of an investment. So, like many before me, I'm asking my betters for a bit of flute advice. To be honest it may well be that the Tipple is perfect for me, but if there's something else I should be trying...

So, what's the next step up? Or should I learn for a year and then ask again?

I need something that durable and portable -- polymer, definitely. And it needs to be easy to play, because I'm starting late and have not yet discovered any hidden talents. And quiet is better than loud. That's all, really; I'm not looking to become a virtuoso, I'm just wondering what the best flute for learning is.

Any thoughts?


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 15, 2019 11:28 am 
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I started playing flute at 60, seventeen years ago.
I've been playing at least an hour a day since then,
and am slowly becoming a bit less bad.

A standard response is the Dave Copley delrin flute.
I like the bottom of the line, without rings and with a delrin
tuning slide, which I find works as well as a metal one, for my purposes
anyhow. In tune,
sounds very good, easy enough to hold and finger, very well made.
Works well in sessions, in fact.

There are a number of polymer flutes being made that are very good.
I expect others will chime in.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 15, 2019 12:47 pm 
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Location: Surrey/Hants border, England
I'm nearly 69, & I only really started on keyless flute last year, with off & on practice, but I love the sound of them. :)

(I started on whistles about a year or so ago, after starting my journey of musical instruments when I retired, about 4 years ago.)

My first was a Tony Dixon ABS one piece low D, followed by a Damian Thompson delrin low D, & recently by an M&E low F.

The low F is much easier to play than the low D's, as the holes are closer together. :D

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 15, 2019 1:53 pm 
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Also, keep an eye on the Used Instrument Exchange Forum here on Chiff & Fipple. Flutes show up there regularly at good prices.

Best wishes.

Steve

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 15, 2019 2:34 pm 
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I posted a review of few inexpensive flutes not long ago. I'm no expert, so my opinions should not count for much.

As I get better, all flutes become easier to play. Key differences I've noticed in the five (!) very inexpensive flutes i have are

How loud is it? I have a nice old no name wooden flute with small holes that has a sweet sound but is quiet. I have a M&E polymer flute that's a cannon

How's the low D? If you are playing Irish Traditional music you often want that Honkin' low D. The wooden flute mentioned above has a relatively weak low D.

How easy is it to play? I have a Walt Sweet "Shannon" flute that's very easy to start and keep going, but still has good volume. It's a little harder to keep in the second octave. Its light and comfortable. The no-name wooden flute mentioned above really likes the second octave. It's harder to play in the low register

How does it "feel?" I notice they all feel different. They seem to resonate differently. Some handle ornaments and half holing better than others. I like the M&E flute quite a bit. It was inexpensive, came very quickly, and has a loud forceful tone. It's very easy to get the "hard" sound that Irish Traditional Music favors. And it feels like what i think a flute should feel like, which is based on very little experience at all. It's just the one I keep picking up.

I think this stuff is very subjective--all instruments are, but especially the flute, since everybody's embouchure is going to be different


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 15, 2019 3:04 pm 
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There is something to be said for saving a bit more and buying a better flute,
rather than going for a cheapie. The former is likely to improve your chance of
success, and you can get your money out again by selling it. Neither is as likely
with the cheapie. Over the years people have sometimes bemoaned the money
they spent on cheaper flutes.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 15, 2019 3:24 pm 
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Location: Pacific Northwest USA
floatist wrote:
I'm not looking to become a virtuoso, I'm just wondering what the best flute for learning is.

When I started to learn "Irish" flute (in my early 60's btw), I applied the knowledge I had gained through buying many other types of musical instruments over the years. And the guiding principle was "buy the best you can afford, even if you're a beginner." At least that way, you know it's probably you and not the instrument causing problems in the early and most difficult parts of the learning curve.

I don't believe expensive flutes are any more difficult to play than less expensive ones, and in many cases they might actually be easier, especially in terms of intonation, efficient use of air, and desired tone.

If you're not looking for a wooden flute then you won't be spending a fortune anyway, but I would look for the best possible conical bore Delrin flute as a starter. I don't have a specific recommendation as I'm not that familiar with that type, but you'll get plenty of recommendations here.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 15, 2019 6:39 pm 
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I may have an Aebi tunable delrin coming up for sale if you’re interested. I had a lot of the delrins usually mentioned and it’s by far a better instrument. Pm me if interested.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 15, 2019 7:32 pm 
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Tou-Che wrote:
I may have an Aebi tunable delrin coming up for sale if you’re interested. I had a lot of the delrins usually mentioned and it’s by far a better instrument. Pm me if interested.


Better in what way(s)?


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 15, 2019 8:48 pm 
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I’m not really interested in getting into a public debate on the subject or jack the thread for that matter but feel free to PM me if you have interest in my opinion.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 15, 2019 9:43 pm 
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Hard to beat a good delrin and silver keyless flute, for taking on that campping trip...

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Jon


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 16, 2019 2:54 am 
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Tou-Che wrote:
I’m not really interested in getting into a public debate on the subject or jack the thread for that matter but feel free to PM me if you have interest in my opinion.

Look at it as complying with the Pepsi Rule rather than 'jacking the thread'... I'd like to know too!

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 16, 2019 11:40 am 
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Thanks for all your responses! It's good to know so many people were able to take the flute up comparatively late in life!

jim: the copley looks great, but I see a six month waiting list. Unfortunately, I'm not very well -- a six month wait represents a lot of time to me! If a second hand one comes along that might be perfect.

fatmac: Ah, I don't worry about spacing... I have huge hands and I'm used to the straight-fingered grip from the bass whistle...

PB+J: I saw your review, it was good. The Shannon does seem like a really good option, but I already have one non-traditional, light, soft polymer whistle in the form of the Tipple... just seems like it might be too similar?

Conical: Yes, fair point, perhaps it's best to get one good enough that I know any unpleasant noises are my fault. But I'm not sure 'good' will translate into 'easy'.

Tou-Che: Sounds a bit posh to me -- you see:

Jon C: Yes, that's exactly how I'll be treating mine!

I'm leaning toward the Shannon simply because people say it's easy and it's not hard to get in the UK... but I might give it a month or so and see if anything emerges for sale that seems right...


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 16, 2019 11:51 am 
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Well, as you are in the UK, I'd suggest looking at Damian Thompson, I think my delrin flute came within 3 weeks of ordering.

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 16, 2019 12:32 pm 
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I'm going to resist recommending specific makers and focus on the benefit of a good flute even in the early stages of our flute journey.

It makes sense as an absolute beginner to hold off making a sizeable outlay until we know that we are committed to learning that instrument. But when we have that sense of commitment I wholeheartedly support your desire to get a better flute. I'm not rich, and at the time I thought long and hard about the outlay involved in acquiring the flute I now play. But 12 months on I have no hesitation in saying that was probably the best move I could've made. I have acquired something more than a fine instrument; I have acquired joy and a means of facilitating and beautifully expressing that joy rather than avoidable difficulty holding me back. A fine instrument has hidden gifts to give.


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