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PostPosted: Sun Dec 29, 2019 1:08 pm 
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Bcoopmando wrote:
I am a musician able to read music well and improvise in Jazz. I am just hesitant to jump into an expensive instrument. I guess I could resell it. But some suggest wood if it just doesn’t do it for me! I feel that seems to be an unscientific bias searching through this forum!
I am used to high quality string instruments with no polymers as yet!!

Greetings from a fellow mandolin player, who has been transitioning to flute in the past few years (while not giving up mandolin)!

There is nothing scientific about the wood vs. synthetic question, other than the slight additional care requirements of a wooden flute, namely humidity control and swabbing out after playing. For some folks it's a question of whether they want to deal with that additional care, or treat a flute as basically indestructible. For many of us, like me, it's purely aesthetics.

I've worked my way up into very fine musical instruments over the years, all made of wood: mostly guitars and more recently mandolin and octave mandolin. High-end stuff. When I decided to attempt learning "Irish" flute, I just couldn't bring myself to start on a synthetic one. I like the look of wood and the way it feels under my fingers.

So my first flute purchase was an expensive one -- a blackwood keyless Windward flute, purchased new (around $1,600 at the time, they're a lot more expensive now). When I decided I wanted keys, I bought a secondhand Aebi 8-keyed flute in Cocus wood, a nearly "unobtainium" material these days, that I absolutely love. A big part of it is how well it plays, but I also enjoy the color of the wood, the feel under my fingers, and the historical association with wooden 19th Century instruments.

So wood vs. synthetic, used vs. new, it's all your decision. You can get a good starting flute under $500 in Delrin. If you don't want to spend much for an entry level wooden flute I can recommend the Casey Burns folk flute. A friend has one and she likes it. If you have more money to spend, don't hesitate to get one of the better-known "name" brands in a wooden flute. That's what I did, and even though I eventually sold the Windward because the Aebi was a better fit for my embouchure, I'm not sorry I took that path. Good luck on the journey!


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 30, 2019 10:19 am 
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Love the help offered to a newbie ! Great site for information.

Now I notice folks spend a bit of time on embouchure, and that's commendable. But, and here I defer to super expert exhibition of style, posture really does matter.

Because it does!

Not only for TW, but even more so for the transverse flute. You can get really sore shoulder/arm problems from bad posture. If a right handed person, by all means push your left arm out a wee bit more than you find yourself doing at the start. There are two main left hand holds on the flute, you can chose which best suits your reach, but in either case giving your chest room to expand when you inhale is essential.

Now the wise choice of a first instrument is always going to be a basic student model, I chose Hammy Hanilton's student model having made several PVC flutes and mastered them on simple folk tunes. IOW I did more than due research before choosing.

Why is the Hammy better to start? 1. it has a super embouchure cut into the head, 2. it is LOUD all the way around, and last, 3. because it is a cylinder design requiring more finger stretch, it makes later progress miles easier. IOW you have gotten the Hammy reach to master almost anything else that may come along.

Don't take my word for it, ask around before committing to buy your first flute.

I'll get me hat!

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 31, 2019 3:06 pm 
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I finally chose and purchased an Irish Flute!
An earlier Windward used keyless D flute which has been recently overhauled by the original flute maker. It was pretty much un played by the owner but well taken care of. All your help was instrumental! in helping me move forward and finally jump into the wind driven musical world. I am sure I will find it difficult but engaging. Any thoughts which could facilitate my learning process would we most welcome?
Teachers in the Ottawa, Ontario region? Online stuff? Books Etc.
I spoke to the Windward builders Forbes and Yola directly during the buying process and they were so kind, wonderful and truly supportive and amazing.
Once again thanks for all your support.
I wish you all a healthy and Happy 2020.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 31, 2019 4:37 pm 
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A lesson or two at the beginning to learn how to hold the flute properly can save you a lot of time and trouble. Patience will be your friend. When, after a month or two, you realize that flute is not for you and you will never get a reliable sound, know that we have been there, too. Embouchure, for me, really came online at about nine months. It improves for the rest of your life. The way out of many problems that arise is improving your embouchure. Search on 'long tones.' I don't know what music you are playing on the mando, but if it's old time, bluegrass, or ITM, playing the same tunes on the flute can be a joy. And yes ask us your questions.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 31, 2019 5:46 pm 
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I think you have to post at least three different threads to pm someone. If I were you I'd post a new thread or two in the next couple of days and you will be good to go. The subject you are on could have many separate questions.

As for your comment asking if $1000 is too much for a used flute it, really depends on the maker. $1000 for a used Olwell in good condition is a $1000 you will see again if you choose to give up the flute and take up the fugelhorn. While with some other makers it may not make as much sense.

Flutes from a maker with a long waiting list will sometimes retail used at a higher price than if you purchased from the maker himself.

As a newbie you can ask the forum and get a decent answer. I know it feels awkward to name names, but many of us have had experience with many different maker's flutes and can give you opinions.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 01, 2020 10:17 pm 
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Bcoopmando wrote:
I finally chose and purchased an Irish Flute!
An earlier Windward used keyless D flute which has been recently overhauled by the original flute maker. It was pretty much un played by the owner but well taken care of. All your help was instrumental! in helping me move forward and finally jump into the wind driven musical world. I am sure I will find it difficult but engaging. Any thoughts which could facilitate my learning process would we most welcome?
Teachers in the Ottawa, Ontario region? Online stuff? Books Etc.
I spoke to the Windward builders Forbes and Yola directly during the buying process and they were so kind, wonderful and truly supportive and amazing.
Once again thanks for all your support.
I wish you all a healthy and Happy 2020.

I've only read good comments on Windward flutes, so nice choice. And that price is reasonable for a Windward keyless. A good online resource that you can try for free is oaim.ie. It won't necessarily cover all of the basics, but they have quality videos.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 02, 2020 1:50 am 
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Bcoopmando wrote:
I am used to high quality string instruments with no polymers as yet!!

That's because polymers in general do not have characteristics necessary to make a violin. But I must say that carbon fibre does, and the present carbon fibre violins have reached the point wher the high end ones sitting at upwards of $6000 or so nor only sound as good as many good wooden violins but the stigma about them is wearing off and they can now be seen being used in European symphony orchestras by some players. Carbon fibre bows have come of age, now that we know how to make them properly, and you can get cheap one for $20 which are OK and professional ones for serveral thousand which are competitive with the finest pernambuco bows. Definitely huge progress in the art. It's not a universally applicable material, but worth noting that Carbony makes whistles in carbon fibre, and I observe that also have a keyless flute. (to come back on topic!)

[After posting I see you obtained a flute, but perhaps this information is still of some small interest.]


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 02, 2020 7:15 am 
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Andro wrote:
carbon fibre violins [...] can now be seen being used in European symphony orchestras by some players


out of interest, do you have any examples? i was talking about CF fiddles with a classical violinist friend recently, who had played one and seemed quite impressed with it, but i haven't seen one "in the wild" yet.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 02, 2020 8:20 am 
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In the mandolin world, which I have been following for years, carbon fibre has been used to replace truss rods. This has permitted the reduction of weight. I personally have experience with these types of mandolins and have not seen any problems with them. Many mandolin enthusiasts are resistant to claimed improvements and modified designs.There is continuous introduction of complete carbon fibre built mandolins but to my knowledge they have not made much impact within the mandolin community. To date I haven’t seen much evidence of composite mandolin builds sonically comparable to finely built acoustic mandolins. If I permanently lived in a country where the climate and physical geography was extreme I would consider one simply based upon the stability of the materials used. When I travel I simply take a cheaper solid wood mandolin, enjoy it and not worry about it. I happen to like the organic feel of the wood! My bias I guess. How the selection of materials applies to the flute and wind instrument world is out of my field of knowledge. Fine flutes, saxophones, clarinets are built with all types of materials! I suspect the acoustical properties are physically different when comparing these different families of instruments!
I am looking forward to receiving my Grenadilla Windward flute in a few days!


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 02, 2020 5:38 pm 
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Welcome and congrats on the Windward!
I think you'll find C&F full of expertise and inspiration for those times when your lip cramps up and you have to rest. When I was a noob on flute I'd regularly get patient answers from award-winning performers, master builders, and amateurs with ridiculous skills and encyclopaedic knowledge.

I second (third?) the suggestion to catch a lesson or two or more with a simple-system player you admire. You invested in the flute, now invest in yourself. You will never forget or regret that investment, especially as you practice every day afterward. BTW, you got one of the prettier keyless flutes out there, so it'll be tough to leave in the case. If you get over the hump and make it through the year, yer golden.

On the topic of wood, I will say that it doesn't matter at all, except that it does. When I play a boxwood or cocus flute I feel like there's 200 years of great players behind me telling me to suck it up and keep working. When passaged are fingery, I imagine some ghost yelling, "I played Beethoven on that friggin' thing!! In 6 flats!!! Stop whining!!!!". Even my modern wooden flutes in sustainable woods feel that way. No logic, just a feeling.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 02, 2020 7:17 pm 
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Chiffed wrote:
When passaged are fingery, I imagine some ghost yelling, "I played Beethoven on that friggin' thing!! In 6 flats!!! Stop whining!!!!".

While I can think of places where Beethoven writes six flats, I'm struggling to think of anywhere he asks a flute to play in more than five... can you? :wink:

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 02, 2020 7:50 pm 
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Chiffed wrote:
When passaged are fingery, I imagine some ghost yelling, "I played Beethoven on that friggin' thing!! In 6 flats!!! Stop whining!!!!".

Peter Duggan wrote:
While I can think of places where Beethoven writes six flats, I'm struggling to think of anywhere he asks a flute to play in more than five... can you? :wink:

Don't ask Chiffed, ask the ghost he was quoting.... :P

Best wishes.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2020 7:02 am 
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I finally received my used Windward flute! It’s a Beautiful and pristine African Blackwood keyless flute. Like the friendly original owner and seller told me the instrument has barely been used. The seller had the flute cleaned up and verified by Yola the flute maker. she was delightful, welcoming and helpful to me during the purchasing process. I searched and found a couple of potential teachers and now look forward to my journey learning how to play it. Thanks for all of your posts and feedback during my search.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 25, 2020 12:47 pm 
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Peter Duggan wrote:
Chiffed wrote:
When passaged are fingery, I imagine some ghost yelling, "I played Beethoven on that friggin' thing!! In 6 flats!!! Stop whining!!!!".

While I can think of places where Beethoven writes six flats, I'm struggling to think of anywhere he asks a flute to play in more than five... can you? :wink:


Ghosts are prone to hyperbole. Flute playing ghosts moreso.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 25, 2020 1:49 pm 
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Chiffed wrote:
Ghosts are prone to hyperbole. Flute playing ghosts moreso.

:)

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