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 Post subject: Empire Brass
PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2007 12:17 pm 
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Check out this listing, an 8 key copy in vulcanite of a Hawkes flute supposedly pitched in D. Or do a search on ebay for seller name empire brass, they've usually got one of these listed every week.

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?Vi ... 0090775914

Why did I order this? For some reason I thought I'd check out what was available in the realm of inexpensive keyed simple system flutes, and this thing from Empire Brass of India was on ebay for $49.95. With the shipping it came to around $100.00. It got hung up in a miscommunication about the shipping address (they didn't tell me they won't ship to a post office box address, I had to contact them a few times asking where the flute was before they mentioned that) and it took 2 months to arrive. When it did I put it together and tried to get some sounds out of it. It was completely unplayable. The footjoint was the wrong type for an open hole flute, the C and C# keys stayed down and opened when pressed, exactly the opposite of how they're supposed to work. I have an E flat flute in this style from some other mystery maker that actually works reasonably well, so I put that foot on and tried the intonation. The flute was actually pitched closer to E than to D, but in fact it was pretty hard to tell what pitch it was supposed to play at. Completely dismal. When I emailed the seller I explained this, and his response indicated he had no idea how the intonation of an open hole flute worked. The posts for the key mounts went all the way through to the bore and left little nubs sticking out in the bore, it smelled like old vulcanite tires, the keys wobbled, it was out of tune, cheap metal for the keywork and bands, overall poor quality workmanship in the way it fit together, the fingerholes, embouchure, etc. etc. In brief it was just horrible. I emailed the seller and said the instrument was completely unplayable and unacceptable. He gave me an address in the Los Angeles area to return it to, and when I emailed him a copy of my certified mail receipt he refunded my Paypal payment in full, including shipping. So I can't complain about the seller, Empire Brass. But the instrument was absolute junk, and ordering the flute was a waste of time other than illustrating to me once again that you get what you pay for!


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 Post subject: Re: Empire Brass
PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2007 9:51 pm 
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clearcreek1 wrote:
Check out this listing, an 8 key copy in vulcanite of a Hawkes flute supposedly pitched in D. Or do a search on ebay for seller name empire brass, they've usually got one of these listed every week.

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?Vi ... 0090775914

Why did I order this? For some reason I thought I'd check out what was available in the realm of inexpensive keyed simple system flutes, and this thing from Empire Brass of India was on ebay for $49.95. With the shipping it came to around $100.00. It got hung up in a miscommunication about the shipping address (they didn't tell me they won't ship to a post office box address, I had to contact them a few times asking where the flute was before they mentioned that) and it took 2 months to arrive. When it did I put it together and tried to get some sounds out of it. It was completely unplayable. The footjoint was the wrong type for an open hole flute, the C and C# keys stayed down and opened when pressed, exactly the opposite of how they're supposed to work. I have an E flat flute in this style from some other mystery maker that actually works reasonably well, so I put that foot on and tried the intonation. The flute was actually pitched closer to E than to D, but in fact it was pretty hard to tell what pitch it was supposed to play at. Completely dismal. When I emailed the seller I explained this, and his response indicated he had no idea how the intonation of an open hole flute worked. The posts for the key mounts went all the way through to the bore and left little nubs sticking out in the bore, it smelled like old vulcanite tires, the keys wobbled, it was out of tune, cheap metal for the keywork and bands, overall poor quality workmanship in the way it fit together, the fingerholes, embouchure, etc. etc. In brief it was just horrible. I emailed the seller and said the instrument was completely unplayable and unacceptable. He gave me an address in the Los Angeles area to return it to, and when I emailed him a copy of my certified mail receipt he refunded my Paypal payment in full, including shipping. So I can't complain about the seller, Empire Brass. But the instrument was absolute junk, and ordering the flute was a waste of time other than illustrating to me once again that you get what you pay for!

How can you go wrong when the seller states this on his eBay page!
Quote:
This flute is worth over US$ 600.00 at retail stores in Europe.
:lol:

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Jon


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PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2007 12:10 pm 
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OK, you lot must get a lot of this, but I've recently decided to learn to play and I've ordered a Dixon Polymer (stop laughing at the back).
So as you can imagine, this thread was quite worrying to me.

I used to play a fyfe (?) quite well, but it was a long time ago and now I'm worried that this Dixon polymer will be unplayable.

I didn't see the sense in shelling out £500 on a good Irish flute, only to discover that I can't play it, or lose interest in it and the flute ends up gathering dust on a shelf, or stuck in the garage with the obligatory execise bike and treadmill (Why?)

The links to the Youtube clips were inspiring, but I was wondering if the Dixon will be so poor an instrument, that it may in itself, put me of learning to play.

Any suggestions?


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PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2007 12:18 pm 
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Did you order the three piece conical bore Dixon or one of the one or two piece cyclindrical models?

The 3 piece conical flute is a good flute - especially good for beginners. It should give you a good feel for Irish flute and can be sold later without much loss if you want a fancier flute (nothing wrong with playing it forever if you like it).

The cyclindrical ones are OK. They have bigger finger hole stretches, have issues with the second octave being flat a bit (an inherent problem in conical flutes), but they're really not bad for their price - just harder to play.

Eric


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PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2007 3:11 am 
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Cheers for the reply, now I'm really worried.

I went for the cheapo two part model, as I'm was unsure if I would be able to master the flute at all.

I've been learning the fingering (different from the old B flat five key fyfe which I used to play) on a tin whistle for a few weeks and it's now starting to come together. I just hope the cheapo flute doesn't put me off the idea entirely.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2007 3:20 am 
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You might also consider a Doug Tipple flute. I guess you can't get a better PVC flute for the money.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2007 4:15 am 
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Thanks, I can't seem to find any on the wonder web. I've ordered the Dixon one, so I'll give it a go, but if I can't live with it, I'll maybe think about the Doug Tipple.
I had a quick look at the web and I can't seem to find anyone selling them. Any ideas where and approx how much?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2007 4:19 am 
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http://dougsflutes.googlepages.com

Maybe a moderator should delete the last posts as soon as Durutti has read my last one as they aren't really Pakistani-related ;)


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PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2007 1:02 pm 
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Gabriel wrote:
http://dougsflutes.googlepages.com

Maybe a moderator should delete the last posts as soon as Durutti has read my last one as they aren't really Pakistani-related ;)


Nah. We can just find a way to get back on topic, is all. :)

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PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2007 5:05 am 
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Sorry :oops: ....Perhaps I should have started another thread, but the above info has been an eye opener and I'm very grateful for it. :D

Meanwhile back at the ranch :wink:


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2007 5:07 pm 
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Don't know if this really belongs to this topic, but here's a guess why at least one type of Pakistani made flute is so bad:

I'm talking about the one with this integral long foot:

Image

I have one of them lying around here (am trying to correct the tuning for a friend who bought it for 150 euros in Galway years ago, but it's difficult). And I noticed some similarities to those infamous old German no-name flutes. They have nearly the same hole sizes, an integral long foot (with keys though) and are similarly out of tune and difficult to play. So I guess that those people at Pakistan's "instrument workshops" just took such a bad flute and copied it without actually knowing what they're doing there.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2007 5:22 pm 
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Well, there's no news in this post. So, if you're in a hurry, stop here! :lol:

I just had a go at a 'Lark in the Morning Pratten-style Irish Flute' that someone in my town had up for sale on Craig's list. She's asking $280, (Lark sells at $370). I went with no intention to buy, but I will admit I went in with $120 in my pocket...... just in case.

Anyway, it was about a ten-minute visit, with a happy outcome: I left twice as in love with my Burns and Tipple flutes. The Lark was truly a Piece O'Crap in every way (almost). It looked horrible, was very rough and ill-fitting, had a weak, thin tone, had a weak bell note, and really couldn't give me much of a 3rd octave D. It even smelled, well, unsettling.

I will say that it played pretty well in tune with the tuning slide pushed all the way in. But played side-by-side with my Burns, it felt like a faint little whisperer of a flute.

The would-be seller asked what a reasonable asking price would be, and I diplomatically stated that the market would dictate a fair price: "Keep your starting price, and be willing to negotiate." :lol:

So, truly folks, save yourself about $300 and buy a Tipple, (described in posts above). Or spend between $500-800 and get a Burns, M&E, Seery, McGee, Sweet, etc.... These little Pakistani buggers'll break your heart, and turn you away from Irish flute altogether.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Oct 05, 2007 5:38 am 
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Just to be a contrary cuss, I tell my story. :D

I bought a Lark ebony keyless 17 years ago. I'm pretty sure they were made in Pakistan back then too. I remember paying $250 for it, which was a pretty good deal at the time. Or at least I thought so, since there was no one around to tell me otherwise.

Anyway, mine plays perfectly in tune, has a very big (but not huge) voice, mics and records very well, and honks the good honk on low D (for those who like that sort of thing).

I have played it steady on these seventeen years as my primary flute. I get nothing but compliments on its sound. Other flute players have tried it and admired it. A couple of them even thought it was a much more expensive flute.

I'm not sure is the same as the flutes we're complaining about today though. I understand that Mickey used to make buying trips to his suppliers and maybe he sorted through the junk, or maybe he had a supplier who would produce to his specifications. At any rate, it sounds like nothing good has come of these flutes in recent years. Maybe Pakistan is out-sourcing them to a more impoverished country?

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2007 3:03 am 
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Hi! I was informed about this thread about our products so thought I'd put our perspective here for you to consider :

We have actually sold thousands of our flutes worldwide but interesting the rare problem case seems to be highlighted here which is why I am writing here to clarify this situation. Fortunately the fact that we refunded the buyer in full including shipping (no other seller will usually refund original shipping that too international, and will only refund instrument cost as per standard practise - that too on return of instrument at buyer's cost). Fortunately this info was added to this buyer which should perhaps give you an indication of how seriously we value our customers and our reputation. You will appreciate that it certainly wont be profitable for any company to sell and refund in such a manner as a business model.

As for our flutes themselves, in actuality we have had innumerable satisfied customers who find the value for money proposition provided by us the best around (does not mean we claim to have the best or high quality finish - since our pricing is actually 5-10 times lower than the cheapest other decent instruments to allow for distributor margins). Hence since we are essentially focussed on low cost, unmatched value and since our instruments are all hand made (not factory made) we do have the occasional glitch :boggle: which you will note that we make sure we take care of as vouched for by our buyer.

The reason most of you wont know of our products or brand is because we sell our small range of woodwinds as white labeled products online i.e. unbranded instruments since we otherwise selling most of our production under our distributors brands offline. Unfortunately i cannot give you these name/ brands due to secrecy issues and non-interference with our importers businesses. However I would like to add that the only other company mentioned in this thread namely `Lark in the morning' do make all their purchases from India from our company with their otherwise rather good reputation (they however dont deal in our woodwind range). The point being that we do make decent products and supply our products to a few highly reputed distributors worldwide. However our production for woodwind is very small and most of our production is sold to importers/wholesalers often in exclusive contract manufacturing/buy back basis. For eg. we have so far been distributing our woodwinds (including a item that cannot be mentioned here nor offered elsewhere due to our exclusivity agreement with that particular importer) via one company in Holland in bulk - we are however now looking for additional region specific distributors in other countries now that we have added additional capacity of woodwinds recently.

Lastly we are the `only' company from India with these value for money products and since we are selling them unbranded at most times, we are now finding copies of our products around the place which are actually quite shoddy so do consider this to be a caveat to our Indian (not Pakistani) flutes, etc.

So in a nutshell do consider our instruments only if you are looking for a value for money, low cost option for otherwise expensive instruments and hence be ready to accept (in comparision to well established branded products) relatively rough finishing (particularly the chrome plating and finish of our keys) the rare and occasional glitch. However our instruments themselves are considered quite good and are all guaranteed (as testified by this buyer) against all defects since they play beautifully, dont leak air and are in tune with themselves. Also these generic points that hold our quality back can be easily addressed with price if there are people who are willing to pay a little more for the better finish while hunting for bargains or cheap imports that provide great value - only in large, regular wholesale quantities since we dont intend to compete with our importers and will only continue to sell the current product and quality on bargain online forums like ebay.

We have over 700 artisans that have been handpicked over the years working exclusively for our company all over India due to which we happen to be one of India's top 3 (and the only woodwind) manufacturer exporter of brass, woodwind and ethnic Indian instruments worldwide.


Thank you for your time and attention and I do hope to have more opinions from you all so that we can continue to improve ourselves and our products.

More info on our products is available at www.synergyhouse.net

Distributor/wholesaler enquiries to be sent to ceo@synergyhouse.net


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2007 3:23 am 
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Here are a couple of testimonials by email for our products also from ebay buyers :

Dear Sir or Madam,

I have received as a gift, I think one of your flutes, and like it very
much. Am wondering if you can tell me about the history of the flute and the
person who made it. I am just very curious. This flute looks just like your
listings for the Eb ebonite flutes with 8 keys on ebay. (D foot with bottom
holes closed.). I have seen the information posted on the listings about the
ebonite being hardy in all weather conditions etc.

What I am curious about is, the maker of this instrument is *very skilled*
and there are markings like this: //// on the top tenon and all the keys.
This is a famous marking. (Some other historical flutes have markings like
this, or like VIII, III, or V//, etc.) Maybe this is a factory made
insturment but I think it was assembled by hand and maybe parts of it made
by hand, from the way it looks.

Could it be a copy of a specific famous-maker flute from the 19th century
made for British troops in India? I imagine so, as how otherwise did the
maker come to be so skilled at making 19th century flutes. I would love to
know what flute this instrument was copied from as it is definitely a very
good reproduction. Ebonite flutes I believe would have been made in India
due to the weather being too rough for a wood flute.

Hoping to hear from you, I know this might be an unusual request. I have
seen that someone else who bought one of your flutes thought it might be a
reproduction of a Boosey 1917 flute but I cannot find evidence of this. I
also found that the top tenon markings like on your flute are a common
feature of some of these famous flutes, sort of a batch mark. I have heard
of an otherwise unmarked flute, with the same key marks of ////, being
similar to a Wylde flute and wonder if this is it?

I believe if you can find this information, not only would I be very happy
but it would be very good for your sales to be able to list the details
along with the advert for the instruments.

I know you sell a lot of instruments and must be very busy but am hoping you
will find the time to research/tell me about this very nice flute and its
maker. It has a good tone and all the keys work.

Sincerely,

(Ms.) L. Harker


Hi Vikram



I am 50 years old and have played a flute since I was 9. There are lots of similar flutes but this one is special. I have seen your flute for sale on e bay and I am convinced your quality is of the highest but I am not convinced that it is the type of flute that you make is in demand here. Millar Browne has been a popular make of flute sold here in the past but is not doing well anymore, as people are more convinced not only of quality but of design which enables volume, tone and pitch. These things are important. I am however satisfied with you workmanship from what I've seen, but believe me, people will pay £700 for a broken Hawkes & Son with the keys missing which plays perfectly after fixing than £100GBP for a brand new high quality flute that does not have the right sound like for example the Millar Browne. You can see Millar Browne's for sale on e bay. If you watch the price these sell for you will see what I mean.

Thanks for the great bargain. Keep up the good work and thanks.



Regards

Brian


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