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PostPosted: Sat Feb 01, 2020 7:39 pm 
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Joined: Fri Sep 02, 2005 8:37 pm
Posts: 87
Location: Siloam Springs, AR
The correct spelling is Galeón. But I didn't want to put that in the title.

To give you my limited experience: I have three Copley & Boegli flutes of different sizes, and have two Mark Hoza Kything flutes in D. (These are Perfected Pratten flutes. Mark's flutes made of Australian iron wood and have a lovely tone.) I have owned a Casey Burns folk flute before. But I have had almost no personal contact with others who play the Irish flute. All this means that I am NOT very qualified to write a review of the Galeon Firth Pond & Co flute. But since I didn't find another review on this forum, I thought I would give you my take on this flute.

Right at Christmas time, I ordered a Galeon Pratten-style flute from IrishFluteStore.com. I kept it only two days and sent it back, and they very quickly refunded my purchase. Because they were off for a long Christmas holiday, I decided to order a Firth Pond-style flute directly from Andy Xuhang at galeonwhistles.com.

My two-day trial of the Pratten-style just showed me that I didn't like the large in-line holes of the Pratten flute. I am so used to offset holes on everything I listed above. I decided to try the Firth Pond flute because I knew that it had smaller holes, and it was OK with me if it was quieter. When I play in church, I've always have a microphone, so I don't require a flute that honks.

Appearances: The soft bag that came with this flute is the only thing that says 'Galeón'. The flute itself doesn't have any markings. It has lovely brass rings and has the metal tuning slide. I think there must be a sound difference with delrin flutes that have a metal lining in the head joint. The Copley & Boegli flutes play beautifully in tune, but have a bit of a fuzzy tone that I think is partly due to not having the metal lining in the head joint. The Firth Pond flute also has straight in-line holes. I sometimes wish I had asked Andy Xuhang for offset holes, but I've finally adjusted. Finally, this flute is beautifully finished. The whole outside surface has been very finely scored while being turned on CNC machine. In other words, there are delicate rings that you can't even see covering the surface. While the rings are not visible to the naked eye, you can feel them, especially if you scratch you fingernail down the length of the flute. I love the texture, and it makes the flute not so slippery to hold.

The video review at the Irish Flute Store is right: The Galeon flutes play very well in tune. But I was a bit surprised that I was so flat in the last three notes in the upper register. So I wrote to Andy and got this information: The Pratten flutes (I assume the ones he makes) should play best with the end plug set at 19mm to the center of the embouchure hole. But the Firth Pond flute should be set to 23mm. I found, however, that my flute arrived set at almost 26mm. Setting it to 23 really helped.

I'm gonna be keeping this flute. This flute has taught me a lot in the three weeks I've had it. At first I wasn't impressed at all. It seemed to have a tiny, fuzzy sound. I think it was hard for me to adjust to this flute because the embouchure hole is almost rectangular and quite long, as can be seen at galeonwhistles.com. My other flutes have a more oval embouchure hole, and this one is a rectangle with rounded corners. What I discovered is that I have gotten sloppy in my playing posture because my Hoza flutes were so easy and forgiving. But if you slouch and hold the Firth Pond flute crooked, you'll get terrible tone. If I straighten up, I find that there is a sweet spot in positioning the embouchure hole, so that the Galeon flute is capable of playing with a good, strong tone, even in the lowest notes. The tone is more centered and a bit bright compared to my Hoza flutes. To play this flute well, it will need to be the only D flute I play, so that I can find the embouchure sweet spot easily. The low D will not blurt out or honk like on Pratten flutes, but matches the low G and F# well.

The Galeon flutes play the mid C-natural with 0 2 3 | 0 0 0. Playing high D fingering 0 2 3 | 0 0 0 will produce a very unstable note— almost a trill— that alternates between too flat and too sharp. I find that the best high D fingering for me is 0 2 3 | 0 2 3, with my right first finger shading the #1 hole. The high C-natural plays best for me with 0 2 3 | 1 2 0. That note is weak. I am pleased that this flute has a high B-natural that is easy to play with good tone. With the slightly strange fingerings, this flute has a great high register that is easy to control. Overall, the evenness of the tone is great for graceful, lyrical playing. This flute is also nimble for playing Irish style gigs and reels, with or without light accompaniment, but it probably could not assert itself in sessions.

For people used to playing a Pratten flute, there are some various little things that don't work the same. For instance, if you do cuts on the mid E (top space of the staff) using your left ring finger, that won't work on the Galeon Firth Pond flute.

Andy Xuhang was excellent to work with in ordering my flute. The price is the same as the Irish Flute Store. The package Andy sent went quickly by air to New York, but seemed to take forever to go by land by UPS from NY City to Arkansas.

I appreciate the sturdiness of delrin flutes, I make long plane trips to Indonesia twice a year. I won't need to worry about this one cracking in the hold of a plane.


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 13, 2020 9:01 am 
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Joined: Fri Sep 02, 2005 8:37 pm
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Location: Siloam Springs, AR
I just wanted to update my review. I wrote to Andy because the low D of the Firth Pond flute was not strong enough for me. Here is his reply:

The flute was designed weaker than Prattens, you can try to make the plug closer to the embouchure center to make the low D stronger, but this will make a higher 2nd upper notes which need to be corrected by adjusting breathe or blow angle.

I followed that advice and it worked like a charm! The low D is much quicker in response and stronger, while the upper notes were scarcely sharpened. I can live with that to get the low notes.

I am still loving this flute, because it is so easy to control and play in tune.


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 13, 2020 5:07 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 02, 2020 7:17 pm
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Location: Everett, WA USA
Thank you for sharing your experience and providing such detailed information.


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