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PostPosted: Sat Oct 19, 2019 9:19 am 
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Joined: Thu Oct 04, 2018 5:26 am
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Hi and hello to all!
Im new here but have been reading along for about a year now...
Since i already have some reach issues on my offset g boehm flute i want to get a "small hand model" that some makers offer.
Because i live in Germany, a flute from Millyard/Matthews seems a good (and so amazingly affordable) idea.
BUTT ive read a few remarks across the internet that the small handed flute versions can have pitch problems within the flute. The person didnt mention a specific maker though.
Im of course not trying to step on anyones toes here - just wondering if anyone incountered such problems.
Ordering this flute will basically make me pennyless soo i would be extra heartbroken if i either cant reach the holes properly or i can but run into pitch problems :oops: In that case i would rather order a flute with an offset g but not extra close holes, as some offer (because if i understood correctly, that would be the culprit for pitch problems, not the offset)...
Im very interested in your experiences!
Hugs from Berlin :)


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 19, 2019 11:43 am 
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i have a Millyard flute with the offset L3 hole. my understanding is he simply moves it slightly around the flute; he doesn't move it up or down or change the angle of the hole itself. so i can't imagine that would affect the tuning at all.

i personally haven't noticed any problems but i'm still getting used to the tuning of the flute in general - his flutes are in Werckmeister III which is a bit different from an ET Boehm flute. the tuning is certainly a lot better than some other simple system flutes i've played.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 19, 2019 11:45 am 
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Location: Surrey/Hants border, England
I'm still a beginner, but my first delrin flute I bought has offset holes, makes it easier to play is the general opinion, it has good tone, to my ears, the hole spacing is very marginally closer than another that I have.

If you buy from a recognized maker, I'm sure it will intone just as well as a straight holed flute would.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 19, 2019 10:21 pm 
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Joined: Sun Nov 16, 2003 12:27 pm
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Location: Kingston WA
I have been working on flutes for 38 years and small handed ones for most of that - so I can say that I am pretty much the one here with most experience and authority. It is possible to make a flute with flute tone hole spacing in-tune or out of tune. Its not so much the spacing as the bore, hole sizing, undercutting degree, embouchure cut, wall thickness etc. Also what will seem in tune to one player (in cluding the maker) will seem way out of tune to another. Hand made flutes are to some degree idiosyncratic.

That being said I have observed over some 4000+ flutes (including 40 that went out earlier this week) that certain bore shapes work well for this and others don't. Its not merely a matter of simply moving holes around. One has to iteratively find the sweet spot amongst all the above factors through much trial and error. If a flute plays stuffy because the bore is the wrong shape, then the intonation will suffer. Or sometimes its a matter of plug position. Many people have taken my flutes and see that the plug is at 25mm where I set them and push them into the 19mm that is common on tje modern flute. That is like putting a violin bridge on a cello and expecting it to work. It doesn't and that is the source of some intonation and response problems!

Players don't realize that intonation isn't set in stone on these wooden flutes. One can lower the pitch of sharp notes by filling in the corresponding holes with a little beeswax or resin. One can actually adjust the entire flute downward that way until a balance is achieved. Uilleann Pipers do this all the time with their complex bagpipes.

A big problem is what someone calls correct intonation. I have had many player freak out when they play their flute into an electronic tuner. They are shocked when the 2nd octave is 20-30 cents sharper than the first. I ask them to try this on a modern flute if they have one and many do and when they try that they are shocked that their expensive flutes that cost 10X as much as one of my Folk Flutes has just as "bad" tuning. What they are discerning is actually how the tuners hear the flute and then interpret the result. The tuners do a poor job at this. Use them for strings.

Use your ear instead. Flutes are played in a similar fashion to how singers sing. There is much flexibility note to note. Follow the practice of raising the head slightly when changing registers. The main thing is not to worry about it and put this under a microscope. Intonation will come naturally. There are some tuning issues on all flutes but one will overcome that faster by listening than by freaking out with a tuner.

Casey

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 20, 2019 12:05 pm 
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Joined: Thu Oct 04, 2018 5:26 am
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Thanks so much for the fast and helpfull replies!
I guess its obvious that makers wouldnt offer those flutes, if it cant be done with a good outcome... But i was still interested to hear a few experiences.
Its good to know that i dont have to choose between reachability and tune :)
@Casey Burns: This does sound extremly difficult with a lot of variables to consider for the maker! And now that you mention it, i also got told off by my teacher for blowing the upper register sharp :D so it makes sense that alot of it depends on the player...
Well, im curious what flute im going to end up with and all the new things to learn.

P.S: Thats not really on topic, but with the "distance from thumb to pinkey" method with a ruler (this is also by casey i believe), i come in at 15 cm. If anyone reading along has a similar hand size or knows s.o who does, and is happy with a particular layout of any maker - please leave a note, i would be very gratefull :love: i think i read almost everything on the "small handed player" topic in various forums but noone really talks about size in cm except the recommendation for a small handed flute if you are under 19cm of handspan by this method which is given on the folk flute website...

Very kind regards :)


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 20, 2019 9:24 pm 
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Joined: Sun Nov 16, 2003 12:27 pm
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Location: Kingston WA
Finger-hole position does have its limits. Two holes that are adjacent (5mm apart for instance) will be too close - unless you are playing with a microtonal tuning!

On my low A flutes its a battle between what the fingers can reach and cover - and what the acoustical system of the instrument will allow. On a low G its impossible. The holes simply have to e too far apart. The players in India go that low and sometimes lower on the Bansuri flutes with really stretched out fingerings using the thumb, middle finger and pinkie - the pads on all. A person with 15 cm hands can stretch that far this way! However, its not too comfortable.

Soon for my low G and A flutes it will be. Sometime late winter or spring.....it involves Worm Holes.

Casey

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Coming Soon: An Ergonomic Low G flute!
http://www.caseyburnsflutes.com
http://www.folkflutes.com


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 21, 2019 3:56 pm 
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Joined: Tue Feb 07, 2017 10:47 am
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Dave Copley made me a flute with both third finger holes offset and shorter spacing (not because of small hands, but because of reach/tendon issues). Absolutely no pitch problems, love this flute. So it can certainly be done if the maker knows what they are doing.


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