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PostPosted: Thu Oct 10, 2013 11:46 am 
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farmerjones wrote:
If no one is making these flutes in mass, the price is going to be very high.


I have a pretty efficient shop for a solo maker and I take advantage of technology to make things even more streamlined. I have a very nice drilling machine for cutting bores very quickly and I have a CNC mill to act as a robot apprentice. This type of thing will help speed up some of the "grunt" work of flute making, but not by a ton. It's primary function is to spare the flute makers body :-)

Even with some high-tech gadgetry, there are aspects of making these flutes that you simply can't do quickly or in a "mass" approach. Cutting tenons and sockets to the right size and threading or corking them is a delicate business and is only going to go so quickly, even if the flutes are rolling down an assembly line.

Cutting the embouchure hole, tweaking it, and then drilling finger holes and tuning the flute is a very time consuming operation. It is done by hand (and these days I need a bright light and some magnification to see :-)) and there is no amount of technology or a human workforce that is going to speed it up.

I've seen those ebay flutes as well, looking just like a far more expensive flute but only costing a couple of hundred dollars. The only way for that to be profitable to anyone is by either cutting corners or by using slave labor (and unusually skilled slave labor at that).

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 10, 2013 1:31 pm 
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An M&E (as can be found on Patrick's flute store which Jim posted above or directly from Michael Cronnolly himself) will only set you back $700-800. Good flute, keys work and are ergonomically placed - simply hard to go wrong with one if you don't want or can't spend the money for a more expensive flute. Yes, it's not the prettiest flute, and yes they're heavy...but they play well and are a cheap way into the keyed flute world.

Another option is keep your eyes open for keyed flutes being offered on the Used section of this forum. I bought a great keyed antique American flute (by E. Baack) from Jon Cornia for a great price, and I know he periodically offers very good keyed flutes for less than 1 grand.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 10, 2013 6:11 pm 
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What Jim said..........

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 10, 2013 8:54 pm 
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farmerjones wrote:
I think what you said about this being a niche market is what really matters here. If no one is making these flutes in mass, the price is going to be very high.

Well, in relative terms someone IS making these flutes en masse. They may be attractively cheap, but cheap is the word; they're simply unworthy products, and that is a direct consequence of mass production, and there's no getting around it. I know they're bad from hard experience, and I don't mind saying so. In this case you ARE just getting "a tube with holes", and indeed that would seem to be the apparent philosophy that makes them. Mass production with an eye to low price must by definition abandon informed painstaking craftsmanship, and with no craftsmanship, it means you don't get flutes, but flute approximations. They make sound, but they don't play well, or in tune, and they are shabby. Do yourself a favor and save up your money for better.

Really, all things considered the prices for good, well-crafted trad flutes are on average very reasonable. For some perspective, check out the new professional-grade wooden Boehm flutes out there. They run from an average of at least $12,000, and I recall one for $14,000. Good keyed trad flutes cost roughly a third of that overall, and keyless ones even less yet by half or more. It may even be that it is precisely the very niche market itself that keeps trad flute prices from being higher than they could be, but of course this is just a passing thought, and debatable.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 11, 2013 1:01 am 
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By the way, regarding that first e-Bay flute, I Googled "Sahil music gallery". I wouldn't recommend doing that! :shock:

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 11, 2013 9:49 am 
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Jumping back to farmerjones' original comment "I'd like something with at least a few keys to expand my range", I'm interested in what your need actually is and if there are alternatives besides a keyed flute. If you're looking to play music all by yourself that is in a key other than D or G, why not just transpose the music to that key? If you're playing with other people, the actual key that you're playing in will matter. Additionally, if the key does matter, buying a keyless flute in a key other than D might be a solution to the problem too.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 11, 2013 9:53 am 
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I'm surprised no one has recommended having a look at Jem Moore's excellent documentary on Patrick Olwell, which graphically illustrates the time and hard-earned skills involved in making a proper flute.

http://www.thekeymastermovie.com/


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 11, 2013 12:30 pm 
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^^ What everyone else said.

Adding only an anecdote.

A fine fiddler friend attended the closing sale of a local musical instrument emporium and purchased, for very little, a far-eastern made keyless flute otherwise comparable to those mentioned here. Our rehearsal was in his house so he showed it to me. Now I'm generally capable of producing pretty good tone, or at least decent, on any flute I encounter, but try as I might, I couldn't get this one to sound more than a feeble whisper. It was so bad that I looked up the bore and headjoint to see if there was a wad of tissue stuck in somewhere.

I'm sure it was the embouchure cut, but in ordinary light I couldn't see exactly what was wrong. But imagine if you will some would-be fluter buying this, with no other experience of flutes, and thinking the problem must be his technique and nothing else. Oh the consternation! The frustration!

Were I the Mikado in Gilbert and Sullivan's opus, I'd devise a punishment for the FLO maker akin to this:

"The billiard-sharp whom anyone catches
His doom’s extremely hard—
He’s made to dwell
In a dungeon cell
On a spot that’s always barred.
And there he plays extravagant matches
In fitless finger-stalls,
On a cloth untrue
With a twisted cue
And elliptical billiard balls."


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 11, 2013 1:25 pm 
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woodfluter wrote:
But imagine if you will some would-be fluter buying this, with no other experience of flutes, and thinking the problem must be his technique and nothing else.

And I failed to mention that earlier. If by chance you have one that is at all playable, it will be with great effort compared to good flutes and you will develop unnatural buccal habits suited only to bad flutes. I started out one after the other with two such poor instruments, not knowing better, and when I finally got into what I'll call real flutes, I found that not only were my compensatory habits now counterproductive, breaking them came hard as well. Maybe as long as ten years of re-learning in my case, say. Time needlessly wasted from throwing good money after bad, but if there's any upside to be had, it's that I got an education for it. I don't recommend replicating the experience just for that, though. Or at all, for that matter.

If after all you still insist on getting a cheapo, just know what you're in for. You've been informed.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 12, 2013 9:35 pm 
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I thought the same thing, bought one for $70.00 10 years ago. Wow, it was even made from a light colored wood described as "Cocuswood" , what a deal, NOT! :twisted: I even tried to fix it, rebore, ream tone holes, etc. It would not have even made a good lamp.
You can always get a good antique 8 key flute for reasonable price... That is what I did, about 30 times... :boggle:

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 13, 2013 4:12 am 
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So, let's say, and I'm talking hypothetical here... If I did want to go ahead and get a flute, and I'm now understanding now that keys are necessarily the most absolutely required feature on Earth, and that I'm looking for something made of actual wood for the tone qualities and general cosmetic appeal...

I've been looking at the Sweetheart Flute's and Burns Folk Flute. I think the Sweethearts look better, just from the pictures. They are a little more expensive, but tunable, and with pretty silver trim. What's the difference between the "Resonance" model, and the regular one?

I'm going to be playing with my new tin whistle in C to determine if I'd rather have one in C or D. I like ITM, but I like jazz a lot as well as classical and would like to be able to play more variety on one instrument. I could, theoretically, play the same notes on both. I could also just play ITM a bit more... non-traditionally? :-?

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 13, 2013 6:23 am 
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A "D" Irish flute is really a non-transposing instrument. If you play a D on it, it'll match a D on the piano. A "C" Irish flute is a transposing instrument...I'd stick with the D. You can play jazz on a D flute by half-holing notes and sometimes (depending on the flute) with alternative fingerings. These "faked" notes won't always (or often) be as good a the note from a fully keyed flute, but you can get by.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 13, 2013 7:11 am 
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Casey Burns also sells his regular D flute that has the tuning slide and rings and whatnot, if you want it.


If you want a keyed instrument, an Irish Flute in D would definitely cover each base you mentioned. Of course it works for Irish Trad, and it works for classical and jazz, too. Classical music was played on these flutes before the modern system, and many people play Jazz on a Boehm flute, and this would match that range. What we call a "D" Irish flute I think is not D in classical terminology. An 8-key D flute goes all the way down to C, and it plays every note that a Boehm flute can play in either register. I don't think a C flute would be very fitting for what you want to play, but a keyed D flute can certainly play all three. What classical players would say is a C Boehm flute, is equivalent to what we would call an 8-key D flute, if speaking of "Irish" flutes.

Without keys you can half-hole and/or cross-finger any note down to D, except for the Eb note. Really, a flute with just the footjoint keys could play any note that an 8key flute can play, those keys are just matters of convenience.

I wanted an 8 key when I started too. Now that I've been playing flute for a tad, I am perfectly fine with keyless flutes, and I'm thinking it's better to get a great keyless flute than a sub-par fully keyed flute. It's worth it to have that much better of an instrument. You aren't going to get an 8-key for cheap. I think the cheapest you might find is a used M&E or something on eBay. If you are just learning it might be worth it to just save up money and get a really good keyless D flute. That will give you more than enough to learn about flute playing on, and remember- You can add keys to most keyless D flutes over time, and you can add them one at a time, or as needed, so it isn't a huge expense all at once. You could learn Irish music on it, and a bit of other music you want to play, and then when you run into a situation where you need keys and have saved up enough money, the ones needed could be gradually added in order of importance.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 13, 2013 8:23 am 
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Jayhawk wrote:
A "D" Irish flute is really a non-transposing instrument. If you play a D on it, it'll match a D on the piano. A "C" Irish flute is a transposing instrument...I'd stick with the D. You can play jazz on a D flute by half-holing notes and sometimes (depending on the flute) with alternative fingerings. These "faked" notes won't always (or often) be as good a the note from a fully keyed flute, but you can get by.

Eric

Been down this road before. If you want to play jazz, as well as classical and itm the boehmn system is the only way to go. There are limitations and advantages with both the simple system and boehm in playing Irish music. However if your talking about playing jazz as opposed to chromatic and "jazzy" fluff then the choice is clear. Other than Cuban charanga, I haven't heard anyone playing simple system flutes in music that would be recognizable as jazz. (And charanga is not jazz per se although it's improvised.) Im sure there are flute players doing 19th and early 20th century classical music on the keyed simple system flute but not jazz and if it's out there I'd love to hear it.
viewtopic.php?f=2&t=88257&start=15

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 13, 2013 9:01 am 
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oleorezinator wrote:
Jayhawk wrote:
A "D" Irish flute is really a non-transposing instrument. If you play a D on it, it'll match a D on the piano. A "C" Irish flute is a transposing instrument...I'd stick with the D. You can play jazz on a D flute by half-holing notes and sometimes (depending on the flute) with alternative fingerings. These "faked" notes won't always (or often) be as good a the note from a fully keyed flute, but you can get by.

Eric

Been down this road before. If you want to play jazz, as well as classical and itm the boehmn system is the only way to go. There are limitations and advantages with both the simple system and boehm in playing Irish music. However if your talking about playing jazz as opposed to chromatic and "jazzy" fluff then the choice is clear. Other than Cuban charanga, I haven't heard anyone playing simple system flutes in music that would be recognizable as jazz. (And charanga is not jazz per se although it's improvised.) Im sure there are flute players doing 19th and early 20th century classical music on the keyed simple system flute but not jazz and if it's out there I'd love to hear it.
viewtopic.php?f=2&t=88257&start=15


Could you shed some light on what you believe prevents Irish flute from being capable of playing Jazz, and what is it's disadvantage in playing ITM? Not in disagreement, I'm just wondering because whatever limitation there might be hasn't yet occurred to me.


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