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PostPosted: Tue Sep 03, 2019 12:58 pm 
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Hello,

I am a flutist/woodwind doubler who is starting to need world flutes for shows. I am wondering if anyone knows of the flute maker William Miller (http://www.windwoodflutes.com), and if he is still making flutes. I have tried contacting him, but I haven't heard back. I may just need to be patient if he travels a lot...

His flutes would be perfect for me since they are made of bamboo and come in a variety of keys. They are the most accurately tuned bamboo flutes that I've come across, and I just can't afford some of the nicer hard wood flutes (even the keyless ones).

If anyone has any information, I would be very grateful. And if he does not make anymore, does anyone know of any makers that make flutes similar to his (in style and price?)

Thanks,
Nick


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 03, 2019 1:03 pm 
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Just to say that I've also tried to contact WM, trying to order a flute, and just couldn't.
He is often at fairs, but I've given up. His flutes were very good (I have one in Bb),
and it would be nice to know who else is making something comparable.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 03, 2019 3:34 pm 
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I'd recommend Michael Howard Monroe of western Washington state. He makes great shakuhachis, sideblown flutes, really everything. Here's a (VERY) old video of me playing one of his. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gto8BPHYUvw

I think he's selling them on etsy now? His website is down, but he has a Facebook shop page as well. https://www.etsy.com/shop/KolbeBambooFlutes


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 03, 2019 5:17 pm 
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Thanks, everyone!

I realize now that I forgot to specify that I am looking for Irish flutes made of bamboo...which I realize now are pretty rare. From what I've seen, William Miller (http://www.windwoodflutes.com/) has captured the unique sound of an Irish flute using bamboo, and makes (or made) them in any key (not just D and Eb).

I am specifically looking for Irish flutes in the keys of F, E and Eb, made of bamboo or a hardwood that is not too expensive. Does anyone know a maker who can do this?

Thank you!

Nick


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 04, 2019 5:54 am 
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Not seeing any clear way to contact Monroe or signs of recent activity making/selling flutes. Anyhow maybe people have other recommendations? Patrick O, when he stopped making cane flutes, recommended Miller. Miller seems not available. Anybody else good?


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 04, 2019 6:18 am 
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Hello @NickBorghoff,

You stated you are looking for world flutes, from bamboo. Wouldn't this put you squarely in the Indian Bansuri world? The professional ones are superb (avoid the $5 ebay junk) and come in individual or full sets of 12 or 16 or so, in every key.

PM me and I will indicate the best maker in India to you. [Being reluctant to advertise here.] [I'm a player and I have no commercial interest in any bansuri workshop.]

Bamboo is problematical for Irish Flutes as it is inherently of cylindrical bore, whereas Irish Flutes have conical bores of varying sorts. That's important for the sound and the acoustics. That's why you won't see too many. [You can get PVC cylindrical bore flutes, but you need devices such as a Farjado wedge in the headjoint to provide the conical taper approximation there.]


Andrew


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 04, 2019 6:48 am 
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Barna Gabos Maroncito flutes still makes bamboo flutes I think though they are not cheap.
He also made a bamboo Pratten that looks amazing.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 04, 2019 8:57 am 
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NickBorghoff wrote:
Thanks, everyone!

I realize now that I forgot to specify that I am looking for Irish flutes made of bamboo...which I realize now are pretty rare. From what I've seen, William Miller (http://www.windwoodflutes.com/) has captured the unique sound of an Irish flute using bamboo, and makes (or made) them in any key (not just D and Eb).

I am specifically looking for Irish flutes in the keys of F, E and Eb, made of bamboo or a hardwood that is not too expensive. Does anyone know a maker who can do this?

Thank you!

Nick


There are definitely folk flutes out there from bamboo and wood, but almost all of them have cylindrical bores. This means that they will be less able to give you the type of punch and projection that is associated with conical bore wooden flutes (aka "Irish"), and the second octave tuning will be less accurate. Patrick Olwell made bamboo flutes with specially selected pieces that had a natural taper in the headjoint (like a Boehm silver flute), which changed the character and improved intonation. Carnatic style bansuri use this same approach. I've never played a William Miller bamboo flute so I don't know if he selects his pieces using this same criteria.

Patrick doesn't make those flutes any more, and as we have seen they are not inexpensive when they change hands these days (D flutes typically go for about $500). A wooden flute that is actually more suited to trad music is going to need some sort of taper, either in the bore or the head. A Fajardo wedge will help, but they are not awesome in my experience (having made a ton of flutes with variations on the wedge design). Better than nothing, for sure. But even better to have a proper Boehm taper in the headjoint, but you have left the realm of inexpensive flutes at this point.

I'd heard of Michael Howard Monroe, and his stuff looks very nice (reminds me of Romy Benton's work, which I loved). No idea what is under the hood in terms of natural tapers, etc.. But without a website it's hard to learn much, and his etsy store is basically empty.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 04, 2019 9:46 am 
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Just to say I like bamboo flutes for ITM very well. I use them a lot for busking.
They are themselves, and that can be as good as conical, etc.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 04, 2019 10:11 am 
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Once upon a time Erik the Flutemaker sold "Irish" flutes, initially from bamboo (I think) and then for awhile he was making them from cocobolo. I suspect that CITIES put a stop to that, since I'm sure that at the price point he was asking it was not worth the permit process. But now he has nothing that would pass for an Irish flute, which surprises me a bit. I thought of him simply because his stuff is very affordable.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 04, 2019 10:50 am 
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FYI, the Irish Flute Store currently has a used bamboo flute in D by Erik the Flutemaker for sale at $140 USD. Look in the pre-owned flutes category:

https://www.irishflutestore.com/


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 04, 2019 12:02 pm 
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I can highly, highly recommend Geoffrey Ellis's "essential flute" which he is being too polite to mention here. Cylindrical bore? check. Made of nonexotic wood? check. Absolutely wonderful to play? check.

I have one in walnut and it's really remarkable. Loud, powerful, very free blowing, but capable of a wide range of tone from broad an open to reedy and "hard." Perfectly in tune with itself.

I liked it so much I bought one of Elli's Pratten model flutes in Ebonite. The conical bore design does lend itself to Irish music more readily. But the "essential flute" is really a great instrument and I'll never part with it


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 04, 2019 12:12 pm 
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PB+J wrote:
I can highly, highly recommend Geoffrey Ellis's "essential flute" which he is being too polite to mention here. Cylindrical bore? check. Made of nonexotic wood? check. Absolutely wonderful to play? check.

I have one in walnut and it's really remarkable. Loud, powerful, very free blowing, but capable of a wide range of tone from broad an open to reedy and "hard." Perfectly in tune with itself.

I liked it so much I bought one of Elli's Pratten model flutes in Ebonite. The conical bore design does lend itself to Irish music more readily. But the "essential flute" is really a great instrument and I'll never part with it


I appreciate the kind tribute :-) But I will amend it by saying the bore is cylindrical but the headjoint is also tapered to give it the mojo one expects of a conical bore instrument.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 04, 2019 1:40 pm 
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When I visited Ireland the music stores were full of bamboo/cane whistles
used to play ITM. Again, I think such instruments work really well. It matters not so much how instruments look or whether they are called 'world flutes', but what they sound like. This works another way too. Lots of paradigmatic Irish flutes sound grand playing music outside of ITM.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 04, 2019 2:12 pm 
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Thanks, everyone, for shedding some light on this. There's some really nice flutes out there!

Nick


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