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PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2018 1:57 am 
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Michael Grinter's passing is a tragedy. And it leaves a great chasm in the top echelon of Irish flute makers. Here are what I think are the most popular flutes by maker among top players:

Grinter

Olwell

Wilkes

Murray

Hammy

Of those makers, only Olwell is active (not sure about Wilkes or Hammy, but I believe both are in semi-retirement).

So who do you think will rise to become the next great Irish flute maker?

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2018 4:00 am 
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I think Stephane Morvan deserves a mention, as many regard him as a world class maker.
However, it's important to note that nobody is going to replace Michael Grinter.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2018 4:32 am 
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Sam Murray is active and supplying flutes though Paraic McNeela of McNeela Music, after what I understand to be a long break. I just bought a Sam Murray African Blackwood keyless. It's beyond words beautiful.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2018 4:58 am 
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Gilles Lehart flutes are played a lot by the great Breton player Jean-Michel Veillon at the moment, and have been played by McGoldrick. Wonderful sound.

But, hey, a great player will make great sounds on most flutes, no?

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2018 5:21 am 
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I reckon you're just updating folklore. There is no universally-regarded top maker, and there probably never has been, except perhaps in the very early days of the revival. When there were very few makers, one of us might have been well ahead of the others. But probably not for long. And probably just because we'd started earlier. Or learned faster.

The top maker for any particular player is the one who makes the flute they can play best. We've all made flutes for players who previously had a ~~ or a ~~ or even a ~~. Those people write back in the most grateful terms. "Your flute is so much better than my ~~ was."

They of course are not right. I have no delusions of grandeur. My flute probably isn't better. It just suits them better. We don't yet understand why. That would be a very good research project.

Let's stop artificially creating a hierarchy when none can exist. It only serves to misdirect people into buying expensive flutes which they then sell at a financial loss. The fact that you see so many ~~, ~~ and even ~~ for sale confirms what I'm saying.

Perhaps even worse is the disappointment. They thought that ownership of a ~~ would guarantee success. But if it really didn't suit them, it guaranteed failure. I wonder how many bitterly disappointed ~~ owners never came back to the flute?

Let's recognise what's really obvious. There are a lot of different mouths out there, and each of them has different requirements. We are so lucky in having so many different makers these days. (Thank you, different makers! Keep up the good work!) We just have to find the one that suits us best. Get to sessions. Get to summer schools. Get to festivals. Swap your flute with anyone who will. In my experience, most fluters are up for a swap. Swap and learn.

Let me end on a sobering thought. Supposing I found a flute by another maker that I preferred to mine? What would I do then?

So far I haven't, and I've repaired flutes by ~~, ~~ and ~~. Some of them were OK, some I thought were pretty sad. None of them were as anywhere as good as mine. For me.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2018 6:52 am 
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The "next great flute maker" is already here and her name is Solen Lesouef! If I needed to order a brand new flute, it would probably be from Solen Lesouef. https://www.atelierdelutherie.info/list ... ix?lang=fr

However, as Terry has mentioned, we all have different physical attributes: mouths, lips, jawlines, wrists, hands, fingers, strength our shoulder, arm forearm muscles. A flute by one maker may not suit me for one reason or other, aesthetically, physically, or from an acoustic aspect, but be perfect for another player.

I find the 19th century Rudall & Rose and Rudall, Carte & Co. flutes suit me just fine, whereas others think the intonation can be a hassle. Olwell, Williams, and Wilkes are the modern flutes I have and they also suit me fine. The more experienced you get it becomes easier to get a good sound out of any flute that's well made I find. There are many very good makers out there now, Martin Doyle, Marcus Hernon, David Copley to name just three.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2018 7:13 am 
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I'm going to be controversial - I think Delrin flutes are the future...... :D

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2018 7:29 am 
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fatmac wrote:
I'm going to be controversial - I think Delrin flutes are the future...... :D

At least until the remaining Delrin forests in northern Albania are depleted....

Best wishes.

Steve

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2018 7:36 am 
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At least until the remaining Delrin forests in northern Albania are depleted....



The existing ones will still be lying around for centuries to come, or will be floating around the Great Pacific Rubbish Patch.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2018 8:13 am 
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Terry is spot on.

I'm a great admirer of Patrick Olwell, for example. His craftsmanship and consistency impress me. And I happen to have one of his flutes. I don't have flutes by any of the other makers on the OP's list (though I've played a couple from the collection of a friend). But I've talked with skilled players who have sampled flutes from most of the recognized "top makers" (and it's a much longer list than the one above) and they admit that there are fluctuations (in some cases radical fluctuations) in quality within the work of even the most skilled makers. Couple that with wide variations in personal taste and things become very subjective.

And myth-making can cause problems as well (just revisit any discussion thread about the superiority of certain materials over others to witness how that mix of myth, confirmation bias, and personal preference can totally skew any type of objective evaluation).

Future makers? Jon Walpole. You may know him as "paddler" on these forums. I have one of his flutes and his stuff will stand in the line with any of the top makers. Keep an eye on him.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2018 10:57 am 
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Let’s not overlook Casey Burns. I sometimes feel he gets overlooked because he spends so much time filling the budget flute niche and isn’t exclusively pumping out $2000 flutes.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2018 11:36 am 
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Thanks for the mention! I do occasionally suffer from delusions of grandeur. And Matt Molloy does play one of my Bb flutes at almost every Chieftains concert.

Casey

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2018 5:12 pm 
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What makes a great flute is highly objective and personal, but, I always advise a buyer to get an instrument he won't loose money on, i.e sell at least at the price you bought it. I am sure it does not mean that you'll get a great flute, but at least if you do not like it, you will not loose any thing. All of the makers on the original list verify that condition.

No need to say anything about those who need to let the world know that they are great makers, usually, the world knows already...


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2018 6:01 am 
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Geoffrey Ellis wrote:
Future makers? Jon Walpole. You may know him as "paddler" on these forums. I have one of his flutes and his stuff will stand in the line with any of the top makers. Keep an eye on him.


Interesting, Geoffrey. I haven't seen his flutes, but have been keeping an eye on this Paddler fellow. The curiosity strong in this one is. Maintain supervision. Don't let him suspect anything.....

Now here's a question. Generational change could take many forms. If we of the older generation (hey, some of us believe we were in the first!) all retire about the same time, there could be a sudden vacuum. I imagine and hope we have the backup in the following generation to quickly fill the breach.

Or if we are a little more orderly about our departures, it won't be an issue.

Are there any indicators yet about which scenario will apply? I'm prepared to look the undertaker in the eye and say, sorry, not yet, I've got flutes to make....


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2018 7:45 am 
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The most important things, processes, insights and craftsmanship, need to be passed on through teaching, which is what the current generation needs to take responsibility for if they care about the future of simple system flute making.

Flute makers are well apart from the norm of craftsmen in this regard, no one is really making any significant effort to pass on the flute making craft to others, while top furniture makers and all other sorts of woodworkers, knife makers, artists, silversmiths, engravers, and so forth tend to do lots of public teaching, at least here in the U.S. and to at least some extent in the U.K.


Flute makers OTH, seem only interested in selling their wares and mostly keeping to themselves. To some degree I get it, particularly early in a craft career, but by the time you are over 50 and well established, why not start sharing what you’ve learned with other would be craftsmen? (Rhetorical question, I know virtually all the reasons people will give) It seems to work out well for other craftspeople, both in terms of satisfaction and financially. Also helps enhance your own legacy, if that’s the sort of thing one cares about.

Perhaps passing along your knowledge of the craft isn’t a actual responsibility, but if we look outside the unusually closed flute making world, we find that the arts and crafts as a whole are far better in the areas where the best also freely teach.


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