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 Post subject: Short D-foot compared
PostPosted: Sat Feb 29, 2020 8:19 pm 
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I'm asking about three options for the end of a flute:
"Short D-Foot"
"Long D-Foot:" If you held your fingers over the "dummy holes" ("speaker holes" without keys), you'd reach low C.
"C-Foot:" Keys down to low C.

Any preference regarding playability? Does anyone have a certain maker's flute, same model except for the option of the foot? Were other modifications necessary? Of course there's plenty to be said about the long foot from one maker versus the short foot of another. In particular, how does the strength and quality of low D compare? I'm interested in first-hand experience, so no historical perspective please (that could warrant a separate thread). Thanks.

Walt


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 29, 2020 10:28 pm 
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You are asking a very interesting question with a smart caveat which will lower the number of people who will be able to answer. There is much alchemy (as well as experience and physics) that goes into making a good flute. But that specific question as stated can only be answered by the few that have had both types of instruments in their hands.

I look forward to the answers. I recently saw a short footed flute up for sale and wondered about that, but it was idle speculation as I am long footed flute heavy and therefore not in the market. I know Terry McGee offered both models when the internet of things was in its infancy and others have followed suit. I am not sure if he was the pioneer of that particular adaptation, though he does mention on his site that he started experimenting with the short foot in the 70s.. But there I go into history :tomato:

I bring it up because he and other makers may be some of the handful of people qualified to answer. Unless we are actually making both types of flutes, few of us will have had the hands on experience with same maker, different footed instruments. And even fewer of us will have had experience with those same flutes at the same time. :D


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 29, 2020 10:55 pm 
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I think the only short D-foot flute I've played were Copelands, and they sounded just fine.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 01, 2020 3:35 am 
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I have a Dave Williams four key flute with a short foot joint based on a Rudall & Rose flute. It has a very strong bottom D. It is a very good flute, good tuning and sound, and it compares well with a Wilkes flute with a long foot joint, and a Rudall & Rose flute that I play.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 01, 2020 4:14 am 
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kkrell wrote:
I think the only short D-foot flute I've played were Copelands, and they sounded just fine.

Correction, I wasn't considering Delrin flutes. I have a Copley which has a short foot and a strong D. Sorry, but nothing to make comparisons with options with the same maker. Also, Martin Doyle makes a flute with no vent holes (although the foot is not a separate piece). Useless, I am.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 01, 2020 11:58 am 
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I play a Hammy Hamilton 6 key with a long foot (no keys on the foot), and a Hamilton keyless short foot. Both flutes are Pratten style (with the long center body). The long foot joint measures ~13.5 cm, while the short foot measures ~6.75 cm. Finger hole spacings and basic grip are identical to the full sized flute. Both have a half lined head joint.

After owning a Skip Healy flute, I found I liked the size and weight of a shorter instrument, and I may have kept the Healy, but I was not comfortable with the embouchure and sold it - still wanting a shorter flute.

The short foot was an unusual request for Hammy, and he was somewhat reluctant to make it, cautioning me about possible unfavorable overtones/tuning, and about how the flute weight may seem unbalanced. Nonetheless, he made it for me. I think of it as my ‘sport flute’.

My short foot Hammy has all of the great characteristics of his standard Pratten flutes: great volume, excellent embouchure, spot on tuning, strong low D that “barks” when you want it to, but can be played sweetly (but not quite as sweetly as the full size flute). I use the short foot as my band workhorse when keys are not necessary.

I don’t know the details of whether other dimensional modifications were necessary during the building of the short foot flute - you’d have to ask Hammy.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 01, 2020 12:59 pm 
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I have Copleys in both D-foot configurations...
1. Keyless Delrin with short foot.
2. Keyed Solomon blackwood with long foot and lined headjoint.
So they're not literally identical even with nominally matched elliptical embouchures (on which note I think you'd maybe need to test bodies matched in all but foot length with the same headjoint to eliminate variables there), but are both consistently good enough for me to be unaware of either configuration being acoustically superior to the other.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 01, 2020 1:44 pm 
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We've had some threads about this, and I believe it is widely held that the difference doesn't make an acoustic difference. This has been my experience, FWIW.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 01, 2020 5:11 pm 
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jim stone wrote:
We've had some threads about this, and I believe it is widely held that the difference doesn't make an acoustic difference. This has been my experience, FWIW.


On Terry McGee's page regarding short feet, he mentions that he adapted the interior of the bore when he used a short foot. I have no idea how that has evolved over time. I wonder what other makers do?


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 01, 2020 7:07 pm 
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I have a similar set to Peter Duggan. I have Copleys in both D-foot configurations:
1. A Keyless Delrin with short foot.
2. A Keyless African Blackwood with long foot and lined head.

My delrin has Dave's squared off embouchure cut and my blackwood has his elliptical one, so they are not identical.
Both flutes play very nicely, and quite similarly to each other, but they are not quite identical. I would guess that the bottom
D is actually stronger with the short foot, while I think the overall balance across all notes may be a bit more even with
the long foot. It is not a huge difference, but I think the difference is there. I couldn't really say which is "better" because
I think that is more a matter of personal taste. I really like both flutes. In fact, I am quite a fan of Dave's flutes .. I have
one of his F flutes too!

I also have quite a lot of experience playing antique American flutes from makers such as Firth, Hall, Pond etc in both
long and short foot configurations. I don't have two identical flutes that differ only in the foot configuration, but the
flutes in question do seem to share very similar bore profiles, tone hole sizes etc. My experience with these flutes seems
to match that with the Copley's, in that the bottom D on the short foot flutes often seems very strong, and in fact can be
quite noticeably stronger than the rest of the notes. The short foots always seem to have been back-reamed with a very
significant flare that extends for much of the length of the foot. Oh, and in the case of antiques, the long foot always has
keyed open holes for C# and C.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 02, 2020 10:36 am 
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waltsweet wrote:
I'm asking about three options for the end of a flute:
"Short D-Foot"
"Long D-Foot:" If you held your fingers over the "dummy holes" ("speaker holes" without keys), you'd reach low C.
"C-Foot:" Keys down to low C.

Any preference regarding playability? Does anyone have a certain maker's flute, same model except for the option of the foot? Were other modifications necessary? Of course there's plenty to be said about the long foot from one maker versus the short foot of another. In particular, how does the strength and quality of low D compare? I'm interested in first-hand experience, so no historical perspective please (that could warrant a separate thread). Thanks.

Walt
I have an instrument that might be of interest here. It's an Olwell boxwood, circa 1990, purportedly with a Nicholson bore, that was made with two foot joints—one Short D-foot (to use Walt's terminology) and one Long D-Foot. I've always been meaning to contact Mr. Olwell to see if he has any notes or memories of why the two different feet were made, but terminal sloth has gotten in the way.

I find that I always use the Long D-Foot "because I like it better". To my ear, the Low D is somewhat stronger on the long-foot, but that's just me and what I think I hear from the player's end. What it sounds like to the listener, I have no idea. And it would take a better—and more articulate—player to describe any differences between the two in any meaningful way.

So, Walt, at least you know there's a possible test case available. But that it needs a better player/describer to respond to your questions.

Best wishes.

Steve

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