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 Post subject: Best Bamboo Flute?
PostPosted: Sun Dec 22, 2019 10:45 am 
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Joined: Sat Nov 30, 2002 6:00 pm
Posts: 482
Location: Greensboro,NC
Well, truth be told I have not played the Flute in ages and don't even own one.
That said I was thinking about picking up a Bamboo Flute on the cheap as I might try playing at the kitchen Table
Any Recommendations?
I'd like one with good volume, finger hole placement same as an Irish Flute, or most Irish Flutes.
I'd like to go with an E Flat model as that key just really seems to pop for playing solo stuff around the House
Thank You in advance!


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 Post subject: Re: Best Bamboo Flute?
PostPosted: Sun Dec 22, 2019 11:17 am 
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I think there aren't many flute makers actually making bamboo flutes.
There is what looks like a good one, not expensive, on the used flute board of the Irish flute store. And an Olwell D listed on our used flute board.


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 Post subject: Re: Best Bamboo Flute?
PostPosted: Sun Dec 22, 2019 12:03 pm 
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https://www.irishflutestore.com/collect ... mboo-flute


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 Post subject: Re: Best Bamboo Flute?
PostPosted: Sun Dec 22, 2019 6:01 pm 
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Location: Melbourne, Australia
I don't know about 'best' - surely that's subjective with musical instruments. Is Stradivari the best? Not everyone thinks so!

Bamboo is not used much for Irish instruments. For a start, it's cylindrical and most Irish flutes and whistles have a conical bore, for intonation purposes. If you are going to have a cylindrical body, you need some sort of taper or wedge in the headjoint. But there's a long tradition of really excellent bamboo flute making in India, where the bamboo actually grows well. These flutes are called Bansuri, and are used for classical and light classical music extensively. They come in every pitch. The E bass is considered the solo master instrument, but there are lots of high pitch ones. You can buy sets of up to 25 different pitches - complete with flight case for the lot.

If you are interested I can mail you the name of a very reputable bansuri maker.

There's an Olwell bamboo flute in D on the Used Instruments Exchange right now. And another posting for some homemade bamboo instruments.


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 Post subject: Re: Best Bamboo Flute?
PostPosted: Sun Dec 22, 2019 7:06 pm 
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Joined: Thu Aug 17, 2006 8:43 am
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Location: Auburn, AL
I have one in F by Billy Miller that I think is really good. Probably not as good as the ones Olwell used to make, but to my eye certainly seem inspired by them.

https://billymiller.wordpress.com/


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 Post subject: Re: Best Bamboo Flute?
PostPosted: Sun Dec 22, 2019 7:18 pm 
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Joined: Thu Aug 17, 2006 8:43 am
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Location: Auburn, AL
I’m trying to post a video link, but keep getting an error. I don’t know if Facebook links are blocked or what. Here’s another shot at it from a different browser.

https://www.facebook.com/jordan.danford ... 96/?type=3

Ugh, it’s at least posting now, but only going to the profile it’s on and not to the actual video.

Final edit: if that link actually works for anyone, it’s just a clip of my friend Scott playing my Miller F flute, as I accompany on a 5ths-tuned tenor ukulele of all things. It was a bit of silliness, somewhat atypical of how our session usually goes.


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 Post subject: Re: Best Bamboo Flute?
PostPosted: Sun Dec 22, 2019 7:44 pm 
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Andro wrote:
I don't know about 'best' - surely that's subjective with musical instruments. Is Stradivari the best? Not everyone thinks so!

Bamboo is not used much for Irish instruments. For a start, it's cylindrical and most Irish flutes and whistles have a conical bore, for intonation purposes. If you are going to have a cylindrical body, you need some sort of taper or wedge in the headjoint. But there's a long tradition of really excellent bamboo flute making in India, where the bamboo actually grows well. These flutes are called Bansuri, and are used for classical and light classical music extensively. They come in every pitch. The E bass is considered the solo master instrument, but there are lots of high pitch ones. You can buy sets of up to 25 different pitches - complete with flight case for the lot.

If you are interested I can mail you the name of a very reputable bansuri maker.

There's an Olwell bamboo flute in D on the Used Instruments Exchange right now. And another posting for some homemade bamboo instruments.


The only caution I might add has to do with whether the OP was primarily interested in playing ITM, and it sounded like that's what he was aiming at. Bansuri don't lend themselves as well to that style compared to something like Patrick Olwell's bamboo flutes. I make bansuri as well and they are larger holed and require a bigger finger stretch for the same key (I have an Olwell D bamboo flute, and a bansuri in the same key is not going to be as reach-friendly). And the larger holes make playing ITM style tricky. But as you point out they are awesome flutes in their own right when used for the right type of music, and the choice of pitches is vast!

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 Post subject: Re: Best Bamboo Flute?
PostPosted: Sun Dec 22, 2019 9:56 pm 
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I went to Ireland 20 or so years ago and played on the street. I look back in horror, since I now have a better idea of how bad I was. Anyhow the music stores were full of bamboo whistles, which were being used for ITM. I think the right bamboo flute works well with Celtic music. Also good flute makers can make the fingering work well enough on the cylindrical tube. Pat Olwell's bamboo flutes rock.


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 Post subject: Re: Best Bamboo Flute?
PostPosted: Sun Dec 22, 2019 10:22 pm 
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Joined: Sat Nov 03, 2007 7:19 pm
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Location: Hood River, Oregon, USA
The main reason that some bamboo flutes, made for ITM by good flute makers, can have good intonation is
because they do not actually have a cylindrical bore. Each piece of bamboo is unique and has an internode bore
that tapers toward the nodes. Part of the art of making a good bamboo flute is selecting the right shaped piece
of bamboo for each flute. A good maker will select a piece with a long enough internode distance, the right bore
diameter and the right taper in the head part, and will then plan out the embouchure and tone hole positions and
sizes to match. This is not easy to do, and having done it once does not enable you to replicate your approach for
subsequent flutes. Also, finding suitable pieces of bamboo is very difficult in North America or Europe, where the
climatic conditions are not well suited to growing bamboo species that have the extremely long internode distances
required. Having messed about with trying to do this I have come to appreciate good bamboo flutes, like those
that Patrick Olwell used to make, for the beautiful works or art that they are.


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 Post subject: Re: Best Bamboo Flute?
PostPosted: Sun Dec 22, 2019 10:31 pm 
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Posts: 43
Location: Lexington, NC
I’ve also heard good things about Billy’s flutes, but when I tried to buy one, couldn’t get a response. Maybe his website/email system is now more reliable. George Tortorelli at Medicine Wind Flutes is making them as well. I have one of his D’s and enjoyed it, especially for the price. The fingering is a challenge, but by getting one smaller than a D, it should at least be easier to play. I can’t play a full 2 octaves on it like I can my Burns, but that could be me as well as the flute. I’m sure that in more skillful hands (like George’s) it can do a lot that I can’t.

I’m just over near Winston-Salem if you want to take a look at it. It’s actually my second from George. My other is closer to a D sharp minor pentatonic.
Chris


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 Post subject: Re: Best Bamboo Flute?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 23, 2019 1:56 am 
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Location: Hungary
If you have a minit check out my bamboo flutes on www.barnagabosflutes.com
I'm making conical bored bamboo flutes in all keyes. The sound of my flutes are very close to the irish wooden flutes. Strong sound and easy playing with comfortable fingerhole placement.


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 Post subject: Re: Best Bamboo Flute?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 23, 2019 5:42 am 
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Location: Lorient (Bretagne)
Barna's bamboo flutes sound very good, are easy to play and good for irish music.

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 Post subject: Re: Best Bamboo Flute?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 23, 2019 8:14 am 
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I spent a long while trying to get in touch with B. Miller and finally gave up.


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 Post subject: Re: Best Bamboo Flute?
PostPosted: Thu Dec 26, 2019 2:27 am 
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+1 for Barna Gabos. Very in tune and easy to play. I've bought him 3 flutes.


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 Post subject: Re: Best Bamboo Flute?
PostPosted: Thu Dec 26, 2019 10:46 am 
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Location: Seattle, WA
I thought the traditional bamboo flutes are from China? It has been made and used for, at least, a couple thousand years.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dizi_(instrument)

You should be able to get a Chinese made one from Amazon. Just watch for a highly rated one. They are priced affordably.

Don't forget to buy the leaf membrane to close up the center hole between the mouthpiece and the B hole. A piece of scotch tape will work but it will not sound like the ones you hear in movies. Get a small book of membranes: they are cheap.

If you like slow & melancholic music, this instrument excels in it. It makes a really reedy sound when it goes to the higher notes.
E.g.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K2eEP0xmVdY

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Mk Pro low D | Chieftain high D & alto A | Burke high {D, E} alto {B, G} | Freeman C | Dixon Pro high D


Last edited by arthury on Thu Dec 26, 2019 12:32 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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