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 Post subject: Whistle or flute case
PostPosted: Thu Oct 10, 2019 5:49 am 
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See Whistle Forum thread:
viewtopic.php?uid=1333&f=1&t=109375&start=0

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 10, 2019 1:31 pm 
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Thanks Kevin ...flute cases are hard to find...yet flutes seem to be all around us. The ratio of flutes to cases is seriously out of whack!

Eric


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 10, 2019 2:06 pm 
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Jayhawk wrote:
Thanks Kevin ...flute cases are hard to find...yet flutes seem to be all around us. The ratio of flutes to cases is seriously out of whack!

Eric


The topic of cases came up in a discussion I was having with another flute player a couple of weeks ago. I was checking out a flute he owned and commented on how nice the custom case was. This case was not made by the maker of the flute. I commented that I had, at one point, thought about making nice custom wood cases for simple system flutes. The other player said something along the lines of “ I think there would be a market for that”, to which I responded “I don’t know, flute players are pretty cheap these days.....”

Obviously there are a few people like Andrew Crawford out there who make really fine custom cases, but it has always seemed to me that there aren’t a whole lot of nice simple system flute options (hard or soft cases) because not enough people are willing to spend enough money for a quality product. Am I wrong? If a few hundred people chime in saying they’re willing to pay $400-$600 for a hard case, I’ll consider my self to stand corrected. :lol:

But seriously, I can’t help thinking a lot more options would exist if folks were willing to pay good money for something nice.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 10, 2019 2:12 pm 
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I agree Kevin ...I think there is a market for it. There are your $10 gun cases and then not much else. Where I think the biggest market would be in mid-range cases, say $150 to $300. Someone with a $750 keyless flute may not want to spend $400 on a case, but a simple $150 case would be more fiscally inline.

It's us keyed flute players more willing to drop more money on a case. I want my keyed flute in a protective and attractive case.

Just my $.02 worth.

YMMV,

Eric


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 10, 2019 2:30 pm 
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I agree, keyed flute owners would be the main market for expensive hard cases. Although, having seen plenty of crushed keyless instruments during my repair days, I never leave the house with any of my keyless flutes in a soft case.

Reminds me of the woman who had the opportunity to play for the Pope, which was a huge deal to her on a personal level. After the gig she put her instrument in a roll-up bag and then into her knapsack, on her back. Walking home to her hotel she slipped on a curb and fell backwards with the knapsack and it’s contents breaking her fall. Shattered her instrument into something like 27 pieces :boggle: and she was devastated :sniffle: I think of that every time I consider using a soft case for any instrument I value.

Obviously for our Delrin/polymer flutes, most anything will do. Good find on those plastic cases Kevin. :thumbsup:


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 10, 2019 2:44 pm 
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Loren wrote:
The topic of cases came up in a discussion I was having with another flute player a couple of weeks ago. I was checking out a flute he owned and commented on how nice the custom case was. This case was not made by the maker of the flute. I commented that I had, at one point, thought about making nice custom wood cases for simple system flutes. The other player said something along the lines of “ I think there would be a market for that”, to which I responded “I don’t know, flute players are pretty cheap these days.....”

I don't know about us being that cheap when some of us spend thousands on a flute. I wouldn't buy a $350 USD case for a $500 USD flute, but I would (and did) buy a custom $350 Northwind case for a $3,500 flute recently.

It's like my Pegasus fiberglass mandolin case. Sometimes people are shocked that anyone would spend $800 for an instrument case, but I think it's not a bad idea when the instrument inside is worth close to 5 grand.

Jayhawk wrote:
I agree Kevin ...I think there is a market for it. There are your $10 gun cases and then not much else.

Well, there is Northwind at the higher end, with very nice, compact leather-covered cases and options for custom fitting. $300-$400 isn't that expensive. People spend that and more for fiberglass or carbon fiber mandolin and guitar cases. Maybe us fluters really are cheap! :)

Before ordering the Northwind I did look for other options in the "better than a pistol case" range. There are a few people making wooden flute cases, but they're not much less than a Northwind and most were larger and looked heavier. The French-style case from Northwind or anyone else making that style, is about as compact as you can get, especially as a custom fitted order, and very protective. I also like the way the case "breathes" with a small gap around the lid, which helps with humidity adjustments and avoiding risk of mold. It's a case design figured out a century ago, and it still works.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 10, 2019 2:46 pm 
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Loren wrote:
Obviously there are a few people like Andrew Crawford out there who make really fine custom cases, but it has always seemed to me that there aren’t a whole lot of nice simple system flute options (hard or soft cases) because not enough people are willing to spend enough money for a quality product. Am I wrong? If a few hundred people chime in saying they’re willing to pay $400-$600 for a hard case, I’ll consider my self to stand corrected. :lol:

But seriously, I can’t help thinking a lot more options would exist if folks were willing to pay good money for something nice.

Given what I was to shell out when I ordered a fully-keyed Noy with both Eb and D keyed bodies - something over 6 grand, it was - a proposed additional $300 for a bespoke, so-called French case was not that much of an issue to me. By that point it was in for a dime, in for a dollar. I considered the flute to be a good enough instrument to warrant a good enough case. Personally, I'm glad I did.

I don't recall who the case's maker was, but it was a top-shelf job.

For a $500 flute, I'd probably go with a pistol case.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 10, 2019 3:34 pm 
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Northwind cases are very nice, I have one and need to pick up another. That said they aren’t really fully custom cases: You can have custom sizes and interior fitting done, but the only option for the exterior is black leather. No optional wood finishes or different coverings. No options for different closure methods. And basically they have no personality - By that I mean they all look like basically any nice modern flute case. Lay it down with 2 or 200 other flute cases (not the cheap plastic ones) and good luck telling them apart.

I don’t actually see many Northwind or other nice hard cases that often at sessions, or when I was doing repairs.

And yes, certainly some folks will spring for a nice case for their expensive flute, but in my years here on the forum (since before day 1 of this current board actually) I’ve seen relatively few custom hard (or even soft) cases posted. I’m thinking less than 50 or so in 20 years. This count would be exempting the hard cases sometimes provided by the original makers of the flutes, as well as not including Northwind cases. Maybe that’s all the greater market is really interested in, which was sort of my point.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 10, 2019 5:05 pm 
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As an addendum to my last post:

Perhaps I should reframe my observation for clarity - People are mentioning being willing to pay for a good case for keyed flutes, but only cheap cases for $500 flutes. I’ve no argument with any of that, but the vast majority of simple system flutes sold in our community are keyless flutes, largely in the $1400-$1800 price range. This is probably 60-75% of the flutes bought and sold in recent years I’d guess. People seem unwilling to pay much for cases in this segment of the market. Sure, a few pop for the Northwind cases, but most seem to go for either a soft roll up bag or a cheap, bulky, ugly ass plastic gun type case. Now since a great many people have more than one keyless flute in the price range I’m talking about, it can’t be mostly about actual finances, as opposed to just “cheaping out” on the case, if you see what I mean. Or to put it another way, people have the money, but they don’t see the value in spending on an expensive case until the flute’s cost approaches or exceeds around 3k.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 10, 2019 5:23 pm 
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Loren wrote:
Or to put it another way, people have the money, but they don’t see the value in spending on an expensive case until the flute’s cost approaches or exceeds around 3k.

I think you've called it exactly right. The only fancy cases I've had came with the flute from the maker, although sometimes as a more expensive option.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 10, 2019 6:56 pm 
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Loren wrote:
Northwind cases are very nice, I have one and need to pick up another. That said they aren’t really fully custom cases: You can have custom sizes and interior fitting done, but the only option for the exterior is black leather. No optional wood finishes or different coverings. No options for different closure methods. And basically they have no personality - By that I mean they all look like basically any nice modern flute case. Lay it down with 2 or 200 other flute cases (not the cheap plastic ones) and good luck telling them apart.

Well, I'd still call a Northwind a custom case because they'll provide the interior fitting you want, and there is a choice of interior colors. Not a wide choice, but at least you can personalize it to that extent. If you have something really unusual, or you want a case to hold multiple headjoints or foot joints, they'll make what you want.

It's true that from the outside the case doesn't look different from any other French-style flute or other woodwind case. That doesn't bother me because the case is so small, it's much easier to keep close when I'm at a session. Usually in a backpack or shoulder bag. It's not like a stack of generic black guitar, mandolin, or bouzouki cases lying together on the floor (and one reason my fiberglass mandolin case is a nice bright ivory color, covered with stickers).

Maybe we should just put a few stickers and decals on these French-style flute cases. :D I'm halfway serious about that...


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 10, 2019 8:40 pm 
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Loren wrote:
And yes, certainly some folks will spring for a nice case for their expensive flute, but in my years here on the forum (since before day 1 of this current board actually) I’ve seen relatively few custom hard (or even soft) cases posted. I’m thinking less than 50 or so in 20 years. This count would be exempting the hard cases sometimes provided by the original makers of the flutes, as well as not including Northwind cases. Maybe that’s all the greater market is really interested in, which was sort of my point.

Come to think of it, maybe I'm not altogether typical. For me a pistol case would only be out of necessity and for starters; I would prefer something less brutish, more craftsmanly. I've always kept an eye out for vintage silverware boxes, and once even found something in a luggage store that was the perfect size with clasps and a carrying handle, made of wood and covered in pleather. All I had to do was fit out the interior.

I've used soft rolls, but it was never my first choice for a flute and I intended it would be temporary. Whistles are a different story, though. I actually prefer roll-ups for those.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 11, 2019 4:46 am 
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The plastic case McNeeela sells--in the other thread I posted a link to where you can get it direct from AliExpress for 38 bucks with free shipping--is very robust and the foam is customizable. It's not waterproof, but as far as protecting the flute from bangs and falls and bumps it's overkill. It's not elegant or attractive except in a vaguely industrial way.


I'm not sure why it's hard to find an elegant looking inexpensive durable case. Our county provides trash buns for weekly collection, They're made of some moldable plastic. They stay outside in the sun all year, in temperatures ranging from 37c (100 f) to -13c (8f), and they get all sorts of stuff dumped in them and thrown around by the trash guys and they're amazingly durable. It ought to be possible to design a stylish and effective case out of that stuff and sell it for relatively cheap.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 11, 2019 4:56 am 
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I had a Hammy that came in a pistol case and a Murray in a Jessop's camera case. That sort of thing works, is functional but I never quite liked them.

A neighbour used to make cases for Custy's, from blocks of hardwood. I think they came around €20-ish at the time. I liked those and still have one that stores a C flute. Looks like a musical instrument case and smells nicer than plastic too:

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 11, 2019 11:11 am 
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PB+J wrote:
I'm not sure why it's hard to find an elegant looking inexpensive durable case. Our county provides trash buns for weekly collection, They're made of some moldable plastic. They stay outside in the sun all year, in temperatures ranging from 37c (100 f) to -13c (8f), and they get all sorts of stuff dumped in them and thrown around by the trash guys and they're amazingly durable. It ought to be possible to design a stylish and effective case out of that stuff and sell it for relatively cheap.

I think the main reason we don't see good and relatively inexpensive flute cases is the variability in our flutes. We call them all "Irish" flutes, but they can have different numbers of individual pieces, different lengths of foot joint, keyed or non-keyed.

The Northwind case that came with my first flute, a keyless Windward Pratten-ish style, was a narrow oblong shape. The Northwind case I recently commissioned for my current keyed Rudall-ish flute is a wider rectangle shape. I store the RH and foot joint assembled in the case, someone else may prefer separating all the pieces. Our flutes are just not a uniform design like a silver Boehm flute, where cases can be mass produced to a known size and shape.

To avoid the extra cost of a custom fitting, someone might make a nice hardwood case with "pluck-out" foam like a pistol case to accommodate the different arrangements. But it would necessarily be larger and heavier than a custom-fitted case, and pluck-out foam looks a bit pedestrian compared to plush velvet.


Last edited by Conical bore on Fri Oct 11, 2019 1:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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