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PostPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2001 11:50 am 
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Joined: Tue Jun 26, 2001 6:00 pm
Posts: 189
Location: Fresno
A post on the Tinwhistle list about a double barreled "Kiowa Love Flute" by Erik the Flutemaker prompted me to ask this question. Erik makes a number of differenttypes of flute. There has been several remarks about Patrick Olwell flutes on the Flute board. It was also suggested to me that the Dixon flute heads were difficult to learn on, and I should try an Olwell flute.

I really do not want to deal with HMT again, and so I began to wonder how the flutes made by Zacciah Blackburn (Sunreed Instruments), and Erik the Flutemaker might compare with the Olwell bamboo flutes. They both make basic as well as "pro" flutes which they claim are tuned to condert pitch.

Is anyone familiar with flutes by either of these guys?

Blaine

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 08, 2001 3:00 am 
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Joined: Tue Jun 26, 2001 6:00 pm
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Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
I haven't tried any of Erik the F.'s flutes, but I do own a "pro" D flute from Sunreed and two Olwell bamboos (F and Eb).

The Sunreed flute is ... OK. Reasonably well in tune with itself, but it is hard to play, mainly for these two reasons: First, the diameter of the flute is <b>huge</b> (much bigger than a regular Irish D flute) which makes it next to impossible to hold on to properly. Also, Sunreed flutes have the 3rd and 6th holes placed "to the side". In principle this should make it easier to reach the holes, but I find it makes it much more difficult. The result is that if I play it for more than 30 seconds at a time (not that I do anymore), my hands are seriously hurting. And in general I have no problem with the reach on flutes and low whistles.

There is really no comparison with the Olwell flutes. Mine are <i>perfectly</i> in tune, have a normal bore diameter and a normal finger hole layout, and are easy to play too. They even sound wonderful!

So guess which maker I recommend? If you are in the US and don't want to go through HMT, you should contact Pat Olwell directly. Not recommended for Europe though; he still owes me a D bamboo flute I paid him for but never received... :smile:

If bamboo is not a must, you might want to consider the various polymer flutes available, including Dixon (see recent review by Rich), M&E and Seery. I have a Seery and it's wonderful. All are probably more expensive than an Olwell bamboo however.

Cheers,
Jens


<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Jens_Hoppe on 2001-08-08 05:02 ]</font>


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 08, 2001 2:43 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 26, 2001 6:00 pm
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Location: Fresno
Thanks Jens,

This is just the info I was looking for. My budget can't stand (OK not my budget, my wife :smile: )even the reasonable $215 Hobgoblin wants for the Dixon 3 piece flute. The Olwell however is abut the same price as the Sunreed and EriktheFlutemaker flutes. Erik's flutes look very similar to Zacchiah's so I imagine the bore is very large on them as well, although his fingering holes are not offset like the Sunreed flute.

Thanks again, I guess Olwell it is.

Blaine

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 08, 2001 9:32 pm 
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I have played both Erik Sampson's and Patrick Olwell's bamboo flutes for years. I first found Erik at the Sterling Forest Renaissance Festival in about 1988. Neat fellow.
I have one of his unique flutes, keyed to G-minor, and will be part of an upcoming CD that I'm working on.
Great flute. Stable and nicely made.
That said, Patrick is the master, however. The man knows how to tweek bamboo and make it shine.
Which is better? Depends. Patrick's work is pure, as is the tone.
But I prefer Erik's for more "reedy" sound, especially on the custom-tuning flutes, such as those in minor keys.

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