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 Post subject: Bb flute acquired
PostPosted: Fri Jan 24, 2020 6:54 pm 
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After hearing one played by an excellent player last week, I went an ordered a Bb flute, which arrived today. I love the sound--I'm a bass player and love the low end. Also my thinking--which may be totally wrong--is that a Bb flute would make a D flute easier to play, sort of like a "medicine ball" or those lead donuts baseball players put on the bat to warm up.

So I got an cherry wood Ellis Bb "Essential Flute," with ergonomic finger holes, from the Irish Flute Store, possibly the one Blayne Chastain plays in the little video on the product page.

Wow what a beast. It's really fun to play, really physical, I love the sonority of the thing, the low resonance. It plays very much like his D "essential flute" (i've become sort of an Ellis collector it seems). The embouchure is very similar. It takes a good bit of air and it's huge in comparison to his Pratten style--bigger diameter, longer. The ergo holes are not hard to finger at all, but I'm not sure they offer a huge advantage over piper's grip.

Here's a comparison to the Ellis Pratten model

Image

Playing it for an hour and picking up the D flute is bizarre: it feels like a tin whistle.

Admittedly, it's in fact a truly nonessential flute for me, but nevertheless an extremely fun instrument. It's quieter than the D flutes and the high end will probably be easier on my family. Really enjoying this, working on the Slip Jig "Last Night's Fun," also known as "wink and she'll follow." Also Molloy's Drowsy Maggie


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 Post subject: Re: Bb flute acquired
PostPosted: Tue Jan 28, 2020 8:08 pm 
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I'm really loving playing this. The low notes are just so rich and resonant, and playing tunes in the lower key makes me understand them better, I think, or at least hear them with fresh ears.

The Ellis flute has a really solid bell note that honks very strongly. The second octave is very round-sounding and more difficult to put an edge on, but you can blow hard without shrillness. The ergo holes I'm more mixed about. They're great on the left hand but on the right I find I have to rotate my wrist in/push the flute out a bit. I'm going to experiment with a version of piper's grip with the right hand. For what it's worth I'm tallish at 6 foot 4 and have fairly large hands, extra large in glove size.

I think this is a great and relatively inexpensive way to get into a Bb flute. It's very well in tune and easy to blow.


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 Post subject: Re: Bb flute acquired
PostPosted: Wed Jan 29, 2020 12:29 am 
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It’s certainly tempting...

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 Post subject: Re: Bb flute acquired
PostPosted: Wed Jan 29, 2020 9:19 am 
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Joined: Sat Jan 31, 2004 2:06 pm
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Location: Dartmouth, Massachusetts, USA
Should anyone be interested, I have a delrin Vincenzo Di Mauro low Bb for sale. Comes with nylon case. $425 shipped in the US. Purchased in 2018 for a specific project and limited playing subsequently. As new condition. Great, haunting low notes. No tuning slide but tunes on the tenon. Contact with questions or requests for additional info via either PM or email buttons below.

Click on thumbnails for expanded photo.
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Best wishes

Steve

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 Post subject: Re: Bb flute acquired
PostPosted: Thu Jan 30, 2020 2:06 pm 
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Location: France
Lovely looking flutes! Enjoy. I got a Lehart Bb last year, love it, LOVE it. The Bb sound is really nice. Plus you get to play Dobbins Flowery Vale along with Altan, or that great tune on Michael McGoldrick's Fused, and sound great... :) Only, frustating thing is that Matt Molloy's Bb is slightly sharp, and so you can't play along to Shadows of Stone. :(

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 Post subject: Re: Bb flute acquired
PostPosted: Thu Jan 30, 2020 4:29 pm 
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Just to interpose an extraneous thought. You can open the Molloy clip in the ´Amazing Slow-Downer´ and use the pitch adjustment tool to microtonally adjust for Matt´s pitch aberration and then save the resultant file to play along. Bob´s yer uncle!

:D Bob :D

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 Post subject: Re: Bb flute acquired
PostPosted: Thu Jan 30, 2020 4:45 pm 
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Thalatta wrote:
Lovely looking flutes! Enjoy. I got a Lehart Bb last year, love it, LOVE it. The Bb sound is really nice. Plus you get to play Dobbins Flowery Vale along with Altan, or that great tune on Michael McGoldrick's Fused, and sound great... :) Only, frustating thing is that Matt Molloy's Bb is slightly sharp, and so you can't play along to Shadows of Stone. :(



There is something very cool about it. Some tunes don't sound right in the lower key but some are just gorgeous. I'm busy copying matt molloy like so many others before me even though he's yes a little sharp and I'm more than a little dull


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 Post subject: Re: Bb flute acquired
PostPosted: Thu Jan 30, 2020 6:58 pm 
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Location: Pacific Northwest USA
Congrats on the Bb flute!

It's something on my "wanna buy it this year" list, if I can scratch together the cash. Not for sessions, but I'm fascinated by the tone I hear in recordings where it's an interesting way to mix things up. I think I could get my fiddler S.O. to play along with me at home, because the range still sits on the fiddle.

I think I want one or two keys though, which limits the choice and will be costly. Still thinking about it.

For those here with Bb keyless flutes, how easy are you finding it to half-hole the note that would correspond to Fnat and G# on a D flute? Does the added stretch make that more difficult? I have large-ish hands (I'm 6'2" tall), but I'm spoiled playing a keyed D flute where I don't have to half-hole those notes. There is at least one tune I'd love to play on a Bb flute that would need a sold note that would correspond to an Fnat on a D flute. I guess that would be... uh, a C#?


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 Post subject: Re: Bb flute acquired
PostPosted: Thu Jan 30, 2020 9:10 pm 
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Conical bore wrote:
Congrats on the Bb flute!

It's something on my "wanna buy it this year" list, if I can scratch together the cash. Not for sessions, but I'm fascinated by the tone I hear in recordings where it's an interesting way to mix things up. I think I could get my fiddler S.O. to play along with me at home, because the range still sits on the fiddle.

I think I want one or two keys though, which limits the choice and will be costly. Still thinking about it.

For those here with Bb keyless flutes, how easy are you finding it to half-hole the note that would correspond to Fnat and G# on a D flute? Does the added stretch make that more difficult? I have large-ish hands (I'm 6'2" tall), but I'm spoiled playing a keyed D flute where I don't have to half-hole those notes. There is at least one tune I'd love to play on a Bb flute that would need a sold note that would correspond to an Fnat on a D flute. I guess that would be... uh, a C#?



I’m finding half holing to be easier I think because the holes are a little bigger. That is, when I’m nailing the embouchure, which is not all the time. I keep playing Molloy’s drowsy Maggie, without shame or embarrassment, and he does multiple cool half holes that I’ve been able to imitate easily, if not well. Probably matters some that mine is a cylindrical bore flute.

The tone is very seductive and it’s interesting to pick up the d flute after an hour with the Bb.


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 Post subject: Re: Bb flute acquired
PostPosted: Thu Jan 30, 2020 10:18 pm 
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Location: Hood River, Oregon, USA
Conical bore wrote:
For those here with Bb keyless flutes, how easy are you finding it to half-hole the note that would correspond to Fnat and G# on a D flute? Does the added stretch make that more difficult? I have large-ish hands (I'm 6'2" tall), but I'm spoiled playing a keyed D flute where I don't have to half-hole those notes. There is at least one tune I'd love to play on a Bb flute that would need a sold note that would correspond to an Fnat on a D flute. I guess that would be... uh, a C#?


Getting a decent tone when half-holing those notes isn't difficult. The Fnat equivalent, in particular, speaks well, because the tone hole is very large. The tone hole you partially cover for the G# equivalent is a lot smaller, making it more difficult to half-hole effectively, but it works if you hit it right. The primary difficulty I have is with accuracy of finger placement, especially at speed. In part this is because, like most people, I spend a lot more time playing a D flute than a Bb, so I'm not used to the tone hole positions on the Bb, and probably haven't practiced nearly enough. And in part it is because the stretch is significantly larger than on a D, and my hands, while being quite large, are not very flexible, so I'm operating closer to the limits of my finger spread. Getting older doesn't seem to be helping with that problem.


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 Post subject: Re: Bb flute acquired
PostPosted: Fri Jan 31, 2020 3:55 am 
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paddler wrote:
Conical bore wrote:
For those here with Bb keyless flutes, how easy are you finding it to half-hole the note that would correspond to Fnat and G# on a D flute? Does the added stretch make that more difficult? I have large-ish hands (I'm 6'2" tall), but I'm spoiled playing a keyed D flute where I don't have to half-hole those notes. There is at least one tune I'd love to play on a Bb flute that would need a sold note that would correspond to an Fnat on a D flute. I guess that would be... uh, a C#?


Getting a decent tone when half-holing those notes isn't difficult. The Fnat equivalent, in particular, speaks well, because the tone hole is very large. The tone hole you partially cover for the G# equivalent is a lot smaller, making it more difficult to half-hole effectively, but it works if you hit it right. The primary difficulty I have is with accuracy of finger placement, especially at speed. In part this is because, like most people, I spend a lot more time playing a D flute than a Bb, so I'm not used to the tone hole positions on the Bb, and probably haven't practiced nearly enough. And in part it is because the stretch is significantly larger than on a D, and my hands, while being quite large, are not very flexible, so I'm operating closer to the limits of my finger spread. Getting older doesn't seem to be helping with that problem.



Agree with all the above!


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 Post subject: Re: Bb flute acquired
PostPosted: Fri Jan 31, 2020 12:43 pm 
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Location: Hood River, Oregon, USA
One other significant factor related to half-holing the G# (and Eb) equivalent note is that there
is an inherent trade-off between the size and the position of the third tone hole for each hand
(T1 and T6). A maker can move those tone holes up the tube, making them closer to the other
tone holes for that hand, and hence reduce the hand stretch, but in order to maintain the tuning
the tone hole must be made correspondingly smaller.

So while the tone hole becomes easier to reach, it also becomes harder to get a clear tone when
half-holing. If you look at the picture of the Ellis Essential flute above you can see that Geoffrey
has used this trick, and some others, to make the reach fairly easy for each hand. Comparing the
sizes of the T3 and T5 tone holes should make it clear why it is easier to half-hole the Fnat equivalent
note than the G# (or Eb) equivalent note.


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 Post subject: Re: Bb flute acquired
PostPosted: Sat Feb 01, 2020 10:39 am 
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Location: Durham UK
I'm sure you are enjoying your new Bb flute. It will have all the benefits you mention:- nice lower register notes - the extra effort in fingering and blowing is very beneficial for the D flute. I use my Bb as a 'work-out' before playing any of my other flutes as it is as you say much easier to play them in comparison to the Bb especially when just changing over.

I think any flute player as an aspiring musician needs a D of course but a Bb (low) possibly an Eb, and an F flute. The range of flutes give more of a variation and interest to the player (and any audience - if it gets that far). If you ever accompany songs having a set of such flutes gives the opportunity to play in the key signatures that singers use. Bb Eb F C Ab and lots more that would be difficult on a D flute (not impossible on an eight key of course).

It's worth having a Bb for the sheer joy of playing it - I hope you continue to enjoy playing it...

H

https://soundcloud.com/holmesflute/tom-kaleys-air-04082017-n-holmes-bb-flute

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