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PostPosted: Wed Jan 15, 2020 9:13 am 
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Location: Philadelphia, PA area
I just felt like sharing my chuffitude at having finally put a stake in the ground for a full 8-key lefty from George Ormiston. It's wood though, and I wish it were delrin, but he makes left-handed flutes with a C foot, which is wonderful to me. I'd originally thought about it when someone here was selling a lefty 8-key Ormiston, but I was an IDIOT and decided not to buy it.

It'll be a while for it to get here, though. When it does, I think I might feel okay with sending my greatly beloved 6-key Copley on a trip to NZ for Maurice Reviol to make a long foot for it. I'd originally asked him ages back about making a C foot for it, but if I've already got a flute with a C foot, I might even ask him if he could do a B foot for it. It'll end up looking like a duck gun, but it would be amazing to have a long foot on my favorite flute. I don't know if he'd have to alter the base flute in any way to make it work with a long foot, though.

I admit that I am concerned about maintaining a grenadilla flute, because according to most of the videos I've seen, it's harder than keeping a kosher kitchen. I really do like the fact that I can leave my Copley assembled and leaned up against my sofa for months on end without caring, and I live someplace with insane humidity swings. (Although some part of me thinks that if these flutes were dragged through dive bars all over Ireland for a century, they can't be quite as prissy as that.)

Anyhow, I'm just happy to have joined the ranks of people who officially have too damn many flutes instead of just too many flutes.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 15, 2020 3:35 pm 
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It is not that hard to keep up a wood flute. Play it often and keep it away from heat ducts radiators and sunlight streaming in your windows. If you have to stop playing it for awhile put the whole case inside a plastic bag and tape it up, unless you are storing it in a rain forest.


Don't leave it in your car most seasons without thermal protection. A small cooler will help in a pinch if you have to leave it in a car. But it's best to avoid that if possible. My rule of thumb for leaving it, "Would I leave my dog in the car today?" If the answer is no the flute comes with me. But hey, they're small. You can toss a flute in a backpack over your shoulder. I have friends who play stand up bass. That's a whole different discussion. :D

Currently, you can get a small thermal bag for lunch or groceries in almost any size. Pick one that fits your case and keep it in there to keep the temperature stable.

A small humidifier in the case helps in the winter. Humistat USA sells one that you can put water in once a week. It is about the size of a Chapstick. And there are higher tech things out there such as the Humidipack that are actually simple to use and disposable. They keep it humidified in winter and supposedly keep the flute from getting over humidified in summer. I have not tried that one.

Swabbing it out after you play it when it is new. Oil as recommended by your maker and your will be good to go.

Enjoy it. I have been a wood fan for decades. I know delrin flutes are getting better, but there is something about the tonal qualities of wood...


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 15, 2020 4:50 pm 
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Location: Melbourne, Australia
JCortese wrote:
I just felt like sharing my chuffitude...

Shouldn't that be chiffitude? Good on you!

Odd to wish it were Delrin, just from the care point of view. Blackwood is so vastly superior in tone, which, for me, is the main point. You will be getting a truly wonderful instrument.

Caring is not difficult as you think. Do run it in gradually so the wood gets used to being wet. There are lots of schedules you can see on the internet, but say 10 minutes a day and then swab, for the first couple of weeks, gradually increasing up to 2 hours later. You will know what do do. Playing it wet 6 hours on the first day is going to cause trouble.

I live in Australia where it is pretty dry. I keep my wooden instruments in their case with a small piece of sponge moistened with water every day. So far, no splits.

Most 19c flutes in Ireland would have been cocuswood or boxwood at that time I think. But all these woods, along with blackwood can split. It's pretty rare to see a 19c flute that has not split somewhere. My specialist 19c flute technician points out that splits are no longer the terror they used to be. They can be easily fixed with superglue and care, and often the repair is invisible. It's not the end of the world. Before superglue, it was hard to do.

The other thing is to oil the flute regularly. Blackwood does not need as much oiling as other woods. Every couple of months is fine. There is vast discussion about what oil to use on this forum and the internet in general. Some like almond oil, but I prefer a specialist synthetic for wind instruments called Alisyn. Don't get oil on the pads whatever you do!

Here is a good page on breaking in a wooden flute, from our great Australian flute maker Terry McGee:

http://www.mcgee-flutes.com/newflute.html

He also uses synthetic oils.


Andrew

[I don't think pub sessions were common or even existent a hundred years ago in Ireland, that's a fairly recent thing. More likely they wer dragged through smoky kitchens.]


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 15, 2020 5:17 pm 
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busterbill wrote:
Enjoy it. I have been a wood fan for decades. I know delrin flutes are getting better, but there is something about the tonal qualities of wood...

Andro wrote:
Blackwood is so vastly superior in tone, which, for me, is the main point.

Every time this comes up, I find myself wondering how many of you could reliably identify the wood flutes, or different woods, from a blind selection of unfamiliar performances or recordings. I know I couldn't. I like wood too; it looks good, feels good and vibrates nicely under the fingers. But does it really sound identifiably different? I'm still sceptical!

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 15, 2020 10:35 pm 
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Peter Duggan wrote:
busterbill wrote:
Every time this comes up, I find myself wondering how many of you could reliably identify the wood flutes, or different woods, from a blind selection of unfamiliar performances or recordings.


I don't know about blind testing, which is a complex business, but certainly in the hand the difference between Blackwood and Delrin to me is vast, and not just the difference in dimensional details like hole sizes etc. The whole overtone structure and spectrum is different.

Curiously, I have a background in science and even at this time the conventional wisdom in many acoustics circles is that wall material makes no difference to the tone of a flute as it supposedly does not vibrate. This is so laughably false, sometimes I question the intelligence of the authors. Wall material in silver Boehm flutes makes a major difference, solid sterling silver being really superior to plated bodies. [I don't fully accept the argument that they are more expensive and better made...] Flutists buy expensive wooden headjoints to produce a quite different sound from Boehm flutes. The difference between boxwood and blackwood in simple system flutes is clear and large. This has been known since 18c at least by makers and players.

My take on this is that wind instrument acoustics is just really, really complex, and we don't have a fully comprehensive theory yet - if ever.

Blind identification from recording is fraught with difficulty due to mic technique, EQ, reproduction system, a dozen things. But I wager a pint of Guinness and a pizza that I could tell apart wooden flutes live behind a screen.


Andrew


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 15, 2020 11:12 pm 
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Correction: In a dry climate, especially with air-conditioning or heating, playing your wooden flute daily is insufficient to keep it humidified.

It surely depends on the wood and maybe on the particular block of wood, but I have found this to be true with Mopane, Blackwood, and slightly less so with my antique Cocus flute.

My rings definitely become looser, which is an immediate indicator.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 16, 2020 9:52 am 
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Curiously, I have a background in science and even at this time the conventional wisdom in many acoustics circles is that wall material makes no difference to the tone of a flute as it supposedly does not vibrate. This is so laughably false, sometimes I question the intelligence of the authors.

I tend to agree. I made whistles from aluminium but some also from stainless steel pipe with about the same dimensions. And the steel sounds rather different. I think it is because of the hardness. Sound bounces back differently from a harder surface. I think everybody would agree with that. Only because test subjects can hear no difference doesn't mean there isn't any. The differences between steel and aluminium for whistles are: the steel whistles sound purer, more "punchy", less mushy, have more dynamics, etc. And it also reacts faster and more agile while playing. Makes sense when you think about it. If you close a hole quickly, like when playing an ornament, and the material is harder, the whistle or flute should react faster. At least that is what seems logical for my limited scientific understanding of the acoustics involved.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 16, 2020 10:01 am 
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Location: Co. Kildare - NAAS
@JCortese - congratulations and best wishes with your new instrument. Should be a beauty, hope you don't have too long to wait.

The material matters. I think you have made the right choice in opting for grenadilla over delrin both for tone and long term value retention. Accept that in certain locations the stability of delrin (temperature / humidity variations) may necessitate that compromise.


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