Chiff and Fipple Forums
http://forums.chiffandfipple.com/

M&E R&R 8 Key Ebonite Flute Impressions
http://forums.chiffandfipple.com/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=68812
Page 1 of 2

Author:  Jayhawk [ Sun May 17, 2009 6:49 pm ]
Post subject:  M&E R&R 8 Key Ebonite Flute Impressions

I was in contact with Michael Cronnolly last fall, and he told me he was working on a new prototype for his keyed polymer flutes. As has been noted on this board, he had stopped making keyed polymer flutes, but he was still making keyless polymer and 8 key wooden flutes.

I've had a 6 key polymer M&E R&R flute for several years now...it was my only flute until last Tuesday when I received one of Michael's new 8 key R&R polymer flutes in the mail. Much to my surprise (I was out of town), my wife told me the custom's tag said it was an ebonite flute.

When I returned from the business trip Wednesday evening, I tore into the package and pulled out my new flute. Ebonite (confirmed by Michael in an email), 8 keys, and just a dream to play.

Here are some pictures (sorry for the quality - I don't have a tripod). In all the pictures with 2 flutes, the bottom one is my 6 key and the top the new 8 key flute:

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

The two flutes are identical in size, tone hole placement, embouchure cut, bore, etc...at least as far as I can tell with my tape measure and by simply looking at it. The most obvious difference (apart from the 2 new keys) is that Michael is corking his keyed flutes these days (he said it's because the uncorked keyed polymers could be difficult to pull apart which made it easy to damage the keys). Regardless of the reason for the cork, it's very nicely done (having corked a few flutes myself). The 8 key flute weighs 2 ounces more (18 oz.) but has better balance with the keyed footwork. The keys are a major improvement over earlier keys (which worked great, but were on the clunky side). My wife and I both agree the new keys look more refined. They hug closer to the flute body, are thinner, and are ideally placed (the reach for the low C# and C is very easy for me).

I really like the way the new flute plays, and I'm pretty sure my 6 key M&E will see much less playing time. I'm not sure if it's me, the individual differences in flutes, or the materials (I'm pretty sure the 6 key is PVC), but the new 8 key flute seems ideally suited to me. I still need time to get to know it better to really get the best from it, but here are a few clips I recorded tonight:

http://www.box.net/shared/zattb56nkg
http://www.box.net/shared/p6bb0h8037

Perhaps the most amazing thing about the flute is the price...it's only $650 which is a steal for a solid playing in-tune 8 key flute.

It's also pretty cool to have an ebonite flute. Before this flute, the only ebonite flute I played was an antique Chappelle...which still sounds lovely over 100 years later (and sounds much better when played by a really good player).

Just thought I'd share.

Eric

Author:  Stuporman [ Sun May 17, 2009 8:55 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: M&E R&R 8 Key Ebonite Flute Impressions

I have an ebonite 8 key M and E that does everything its supposed to do. It's in tune throughout and has a sweet tone, it has a hard bottom D and all 8 keys work well. I take it apart so as not to compress the cork on the tenons, but that's probably even overkill as far as maintenance is concerned. It is capable of surprising volume considering the size of the tone holes, fine for a session, and the reach between the holes should be easy for mostly anyone. The only issues I have had were cosmetic. The chrome could be better on one key and I had to smooth down the edge of the crown. For a properly working 8 key flute with a case, it's an incredible bargain.

Author:  Jayhawk [ Sun May 24, 2009 7:53 am ]
Post subject:  Re: M&E R&R 8 Key Ebonite Flute Impressions

Took the ebonite M&E out to session yesterday. The more I play it the more I like it...actually, I love this flute (which my wife says is disturbing...and I should stop saying that). As with any flute, even by the same maker, there's a brief adjustment period, and I think I've hit my stride with this puppy.

The flute was "session approved". I broke into George White's...but it turned out no one else there yesterday knew the tune. Got a nice round of applause from the audience and my session mates. Afterward, the guys started asking if it was a new flute, the other flute player played a few tunes on it (he plays an antique no-name German that was reworked, I believe, by Terry McGee quite a few years back), and the general consensus was it was one heck of a nice flute.

Just thought I'd share that the flute received positive reviews from another flute player (who has been playing a good 20 years compared to my 7 or 8 )...not to mention good comments from a multi-instrumentalist who does not compliment unless he really means it.

Eric

Author:  Jayhawk [ Sat May 30, 2009 10:11 am ]
Post subject:  Re: M&E R&R 8 Key Ebonite Flute Impressions

Just a couple of more clips...gorjuswex in another thread asked if an M&E can be played "dripping"...I'm hoping the clips show that a bit. I apologize for any flubs, and I hope the popping sounds I hear are related to my internet connection and not heard by others. I know listening to the MP3s prior to upload there are no pops...but I hear pops using the box.net player.

Slow aire: http://www.box.net/shared/xvymtcnvts

Farewell to Whaley Range: http://www.box.net/shared/8jhf20vmm7

Also, these should open up in the player, but let me know if they don't for some reason (I've had issues before).

Eric

Author:  jim stone [ Sat May 30, 2009 4:55 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: M&E R&R 8 Key Ebonite Flute Impressions

I played an old ebonite F flute at Ralph Sweets, thing had turned green.
I thought it sounded very good and I've been interested in ebonite
ever since. I don't much like delrin, at least the delrin flutes I've played so far,
They're OK, of course....
but ebonite may really sound as good as wood. Certainly
sounds good on your clips.

Thanks for posting.

Author:  Jayhawk [ Sat May 30, 2009 5:10 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: M&E R&R 8 Key Ebonite Flute Impressions

Thanks Jim...I really like this flute - not that I didn't also really like my 6 key M&E, but this flute just seems to match me better.

I do like the ebonite. It feels different than delrin or PVC.

In a blind flute test last night, both my wife and son could tell the flutes apart...but being so long in the "materials don't matter camp" I'll have to say that it could just be the individual differences in the two flutes Michael made.

However...maybe Rockstro was onto something - he allegedly felt it was the ideal flute material.

Eric

Author:  jim stone [ Sat May 30, 2009 6:13 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: M&E R&R 8 Key Ebonite Flute Impressions

Well, I'm in the 'materials make enough tonal difference to be of interest' camp.
As Jessie K once said, comparing wood to delrin, 'The spirit of the tree is alive in the wood.'
I've owned delrin flutes and this has been my impression too.
I hope, but have little evidence, that ebonite sounds more 'alive' than
delrin. Ralph Sweet's ebonite F flute sounded just fine, that's for sure.
I offered to buy it but he wouldn't sell.

Author:  benhall.1 [ Tue Jun 02, 2009 11:07 am ]
Post subject:  Re: M&E R&R 8 Key Ebonite Flute Impressions

I'm confused by that last post, Jim. Why would ebonite "sound more 'alive' than delrin"? They're both artificial materials. I thought at first that you were trying to make a distinction between delrin and wood, but apparently not ...

:-?

Author:  Doug_Tipple [ Tue Jun 02, 2009 11:14 am ]
Post subject:  Re: M&E R&R 8 Key Ebonite Flute Impressions

benhall.1 wrote:
I'm confused by that last post, Jim. Why would ebonite "sound more 'alive' than delrin"? They're both artificial materials. I thought at first that you were trying to make a distinction between delrin and wood, but apparently not ...

:-?


I warn you; Jim is a philosopher, and these kind of distinctions are the product of a philosophical mind and take hours to explain.

Author:  Denny [ Tue Jun 02, 2009 11:23 am ]
Post subject:  Re: M&E R&R 8 Key Ebonite Flute Impressions

I'm gonna guess that bowling alleys are not very popular in your part of the world Ben.

If you had ever watched someone talking to one of those bowling balls while getting ready to chuck the thing at them pins you would realize that not only is ebonite alive but it has passing bit of sentience.


take that Doug! :poke:
philosophical my arse :D


now watch Jimmy go with ebonite is a hardened (vulcanized) rubber product hence it started with a tree....

Author:  Jayhawk [ Tue Jun 02, 2009 11:56 am ]
Post subject:  Re: M&E R&R 8 Key Ebonite Flute Impressions

I'm not Jim, but I borrow his brain during workdays...

Ebonite does feel, and respond differently, than PVC or Delrin. I think it's my preferred non-wood flute material. I really, really like it.

Besides, both delrin and PVC are so passe. :P Ebonite is where it's at man...

Eric

Author:  benhall.1 [ Tue Jun 02, 2009 5:21 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: M&E R&R 8 Key Ebonite Flute Impressions

Bowling alleys are sort of middling popular round here. But the balls (bowls?) don't seem to be made out of ebonite. They seem to be made out of some sort of translucent swirly coloured plastic. They feel like plastic too. Not like ebonite.

Anyway, thanks Doug for indicating just how much my intellectual capacity would be out of its depth in this illustrious crowd.

:)

Author:  Jayhawk [ Tue Jun 02, 2009 6:16 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: M&E R&R 8 Key Ebonite Flute Impressions

Bowling balls are definitely another polymer these days, but one of the major, and oldest, bowling ball manufacturers is the Ebonite company and there is a reason they're named that...it's what early bowling balls were made of.

I won't disagree with Jim's statement about ebonite feeling more alive than other non-wooden materials. I'm not sure why I feel that way, but I do.

Eric

Author:  Aanvil [ Tue Jun 02, 2009 7:01 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: M&E R&R 8 Key Ebonite Flute Impressions

I prefer gibbonite.

Its a rare and little known substance that makes great flutes.

The flutes don't honk as much as they howl but they help put a swing in yur tunes and tend to enjoy social gatherings.

Gibbonite also makes great bowling balls too.


You can see these models come with self adjusting finger holes... mind the teeth though.

Image

Author:  jim stone [ Tue Jun 02, 2009 7:20 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: M&E R&R 8 Key Ebonite Flute Impressions

(Gibbonite,eh? I'm getting too old for this....)

Heaven knows why different stuff sounds different but I reckon the molecular structure
makes a difference. And I think ebonite has a different molecular structure than
delrin, being, you know, rubber. And the one ebonite flute I played REALLY
sounded good, though of course it was in the key of F, which may explain
it all.

So I HOPE that the different molecular structure of ebonite from other human
made flute stuffs will make ebonite sound more alive, rubbery and, you know,
bouncy! Ebonite has been touted
as the supreme flute material, anyhow, and some people actually perform ITM on it.

In sum: I'm hoping that here is a synthetic that will sound to my ear, if not the same,
at least as good as, wooden flutes. But I really don't know.

Page 1 of 2 All times are UTC - 6 hours
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group
https://www.phpbb.com/