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 Post subject: Beginners flute
PostPosted: Thu Jul 30, 2020 2:35 am 
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Hello All,


After years on the tinwhistle, and years on a Classical flute before that, I would like to move to a simple system flute...combining the best of both worlds.

I am looking at a sturdy beginners flute. Got 3 small children and a house renovation on my hands, so sturdy is useful.

I have been looking at the Gary Somers Aluminium/Delrin flute, and this morning I saw a Hammy Hamilton aluminium beginners flute.


Are there any experiences one could share about these flutes, strengths, weaknesses, the better option?

Many thanks,

Erwin

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 Post subject: Re: Beginners flute
PostPosted: Thu Jul 30, 2020 4:31 am 
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Depending on how much you want to pay, I'd aim for a delrin, they tend to have a somewhat woody tone, aluminium has a somewhat sharper ring to it.

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 Post subject: Re: Beginners flute
PostPosted: Thu Jul 30, 2020 4:55 am 
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I would also consider a delrin flute. I have a Walt Sweet "Shannon" model that I like a lot. It's inexpensive, its easy to play, and its extremely durable--will never crack or split or dent, has no cork or thread wrap, and is impervious to virtually everything. It uses O rings for the joints. I leave mine in the car, assembled, in summer and winter and extremes of temperature have no effect on it except they change the pitch.

It's a quieter sounding flute with smaller holes and that makes it maybe easier to "fill" and better for practice at home when everybody's home.

Other well regarded makers of Delrin flutes include Rob Forbes and Copley and Boegli.

I don't know how much difference the material makes to the sound. I have a more expensive ebonite pratten style flute made by Geoffrey Ellis that i love, and a no name keyed wooden flute and they all sound different or rather play different. The Ellis has more expressive range. I'm pretty sure if he made one in Delrin it would play about the same.


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 Post subject: Re: Beginners flute
PostPosted: Thu Jul 30, 2020 4:59 am 
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The Hammy practice flute sounds great. However, it is a cylindrical body, & the reach may be uncomfortable. I have large hands, and yet it is just not easy to play for any length of time. While these particular Garry Somers or Hamilton flutes may be soft on the budget, I would urge moving up to a conical, Delrin flute, such as those by Garry Somers, Dave Copley, Rob Forbes, Seery, Damian Thompson, or other quality maker.

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 Post subject: Re: Beginners flute
PostPosted: Thu Jul 30, 2020 10:55 pm 
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I would second all the wonderful flutes listed above--Copley, Somers are both very good Delrin options, in my experience.

I'd add the Burns Folk flute so often praised on these pages. For the cost, the Burns Folk flute is really a great player; it plays on par with many of the much more expensive offerings. I have one I've wanted to let go as I'm ready to upgrade to Casey's standard flute, however, I just can't bring myself to part with it--it is really enjoyable to play, easy to fill, and has wonderful tone capability.
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 Post subject: Re: Beginners flute
PostPosted: Thu Jul 30, 2020 11:10 pm 
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I am not a flautist, so perhaps it's best to take the proceeding with a grain of salt...or maybe a shaker full of salt.

That said, I also value a sturdy instrument, but for different reasons. Of all the materials that are used for construction of instruments, wood is one of the least sturdy. It is susceptible to adverse effects from improper maintenance, rough handling, changes in temperature/humidity, and probably other variables that I can't think of at the moment. However, instruments made of wood tend to sound great.

For a flautist, I would think that if a wood flute is out of the question, one that sounds as close to wood as possible is the most desirable. I recently acquired a Walton's Little Black D whistle, which has an aluminum body. It is much brighter than my other two whistles, which are brass. I can't see an aluminum flute sounding even remotely like a wood one.

So I, too, would go with Delrin. I would probably select a Dave Copley, as his prices seem very reasonable and he will configure for a left-handed player at no charge. Of course, another make may well better suit Erwin.

Good luck in your quest!

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 Post subject: Re: Beginners flute
PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2020 2:51 am 
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I have enjoyed my Hamilton aluminium practice flute (which, I agree with kkrell, sounds great) for a couple of months, but soon wanted to move to a conical-bore one and am now very happy with my Forbes delrin flute.


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 Post subject: Re: Beginners flute
PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2020 5:16 am 
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I quite like the sound of my home made aluminium flutes.
https://youtu.be/jpQQjRaKFuU
The difference in timbre is probably more due to the different geometry and not the material. That's not to say that the material doesn't have an influence on the sound. It certainly has. But I think you could make an aluminium flute sound very, very close to wood. After all, many wooden flutes have a silver lined head.


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 Post subject: Re: Beginners flute
PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2020 5:44 am 
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I'm no expert flute player but I've gotten much better with lots of serious practice. I'm focused on playing music in the irish tradition. I have a very well made wooden cylindrical flute and a conical bore irish flute by the same maker.

The conical bore flute offers several advantages for that style: one is it's easier to finger, because the narrowing bore brings the holes closer together. It's also easier to get the "hard," irish sound. I can get that sound on a cylindrical flute--i can get it on a Boehm flute--but Irish traditional music it seems to me co-evolved with the conical bore flute and for me it sits much easier on the conical bore flute. Maybe a fair comparison would be an acoustic guitar and an electric guitar. You can certainly play folk music on an electric guitar, and you can play electric guitar music on an acoustic guitar, but they lend themselves to different things.

IMHO if you want to play in the Irish tradition, I'd agree with kkrell that a conical bore flute will serve you better, but of course there are many great flute traditions. The cylindrical bore flute I have made by Geoffrey Ellis, is a great instrument, the the conical bore flute suits the Irish stuff better


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 Post subject: Re: Beginners flute
PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2020 7:29 am 
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The problem with cylindrical flutes, if you wanna get that "hard" sound, is that you need to make the holes bigger when you move the stopper further out or the 2nd octave will become flat. If the stopper is too close, you won't get that sound. If it's further out the holes get bigger as does the distance between the holes. But you can find a happy medium where you will get a very "hard" low D if you want to and still have a finger stretch that is not larger than on a conical flute. BTW -- the flutes were made conical in the 18th century in order to make the holes smaller so the cross-fingerings will work better and you can play all the accidentals with just the one key for Eb.
I think all the disadvantages of a cylindrical design can be overcome. And you can use it just as well for ITM as you can use a conical bore flute. It's not harder to play. But it might lack some overtones that you get with a conical design.
Choosing between Somers and Hamilton, I think I might see a slight advantage with the Somers practice flute as it has a slightly smaller stretch for the right hand because of the collar around the lowest hole. That makes the chimney deeper and you can move the hole a few millimeters further up. It's also more expensive because of that design, I guess. Takes more effort to make.


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