It is currently Sun Oct 25, 2020 9:28 pm

All times are UTC - 6 hours




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 20 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next
Author Message
 
 Post subject: Beginner question
PostPosted: Fri Apr 03, 2020 9:12 pm 
Offline

Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2020 11:26 am
Posts: 6
So I'm in a bit of an interesting position - I for many years was mainly a strings player (fiddle, tenor banjo, mandolin, guitar, etc), but have picked up a few pocket-size wind instruments for fun - namely harmonica and tin whistle. Both are fun, and as of the past few months the old Oak tin whistle has seen a lot of service as ITM has finally drawn me home. However, I find whistle somewhat shrill, and decided to look into flute as an alternative, started listening to (or for) Matt Molloy, Mike Rafferty, Seamus Tansey, Bob Clifford, Cathal McConnell, James Murray, some McGoldrick and Finnegan, etc. and decided this was a rabbit hole I wouldn't mind falling down.

Due to local climate concerns (and a fondness for the outdoors, camping, backpacking, and session brawls :wink: ) I've been mostly looking at Delrin, keyless to start, with the thought that maybe I'll get another in wood later when I save more money, know more, and feel more serious about the instrument. I've at this point read enough to come to understand some of the differences between various makes and models in stylistic context: Rudall vs. Pratten. i.e. as a BIG generalization, you get more tonal complexity on the Rudall, more volume and openness on the Pratten, etc. I know that's a flawed generalization, and while I don't intend on stirring that debate up, I was curious as to everyone's opinion regarding the different styles for a beginner - and in my case, a beginner with intermittent asthma.

One of the few things that people seem to unanimously agree on with characterizing a Pratten style from Rudall is that the Pratten style will be harder to fill and take more air. I know embouchure and embouchure hole both play a role as well; so assuming a good embouchure hole because I know what to avoid, that I intend on eventually playing at sessions (for which it seems Pratten is preferred), but also like the sweeter tone of Rudall inspired instruments (note: this is usually only when I'm actually looking for comparisons), whether I should search for something more Rudall inspired to avoid the larger air requirements, or just bite the bullet and use the more air/harder to fill aspect of Pratten inspired to force myself to develop a more efficient embouchure and better breathing technique from the get-go?

Either way I am anticipating dizziness - it's just the nature of the beast :lol: my question is more of how manageable the different styles are, and if there's really a big difference at all. For reference, I was thinking about just going for a Copley, since I know I like the sound and I've heard them described as the best of both worlds, something like a scaled-down Pratten or a large-holed/bored Rudall; and as I'm based in America they're easier to get ahold of than some of the others I've considered. Though part of me has been eyeing that Thompson in the classifieds

Thanks,
Tom


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
 Post subject: Re: Beginner question
PostPosted: Fri Apr 03, 2020 9:33 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sat Jun 30, 2001 6:00 pm
Posts: 16939
Delrin is loud and the Copley, and other good delrin flutes available, can be heard. No need for a Pratten to be heard in sessions. I can vouch for the Copley, which I play on the street and in sessions. Others may speak to other makes. But I think you'll find virtually all will suit your purposes.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
 Post subject: Re: Beginner question
PostPosted: Fri Apr 03, 2020 10:36 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Sat Aug 04, 2012 7:12 pm
Posts: 342
Location: Pacific Northwest USA
I was a beginner 6 years ago, coming at it from a mandolin ITM background. I started on a very nice keyless Pratten-style wooden flute, and then bought a Rudall-style wooden keyed flute that suits me much better.

From that experience, my opinion is that these distinctions don't matter when you're first starting out. It will take years, literally years to get your embouchure and your breathing in shape. Buy a good flute of either design to start with. Work on your embouchure, and worry about Rudall vs. Pratten styles later.

I think there is some merit in what Terry McGee says here in the forum often, about finding the flute that fits you. That may take a while, and more than one flute experiment. I was lucky to find my perfect fit on the second try.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
 Post subject: Re: Beginner question
PostPosted: Sat Apr 04, 2020 3:26 am 
Offline

Joined: Mon Aug 14, 2017 5:47 am
Posts: 928
Location: Surrey/Hants border, England
Just get one that you like, is my opinion, as you will likely as not end up buying another one later on anyway.

(I have a 2 piece & a 3 piece in 'D' plus a 3 piece in 'F' in delrin, with a 3 piece 'D' in aluminium).

_________________
Keith.
Trying to do justice to my various musical instruments.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
 Post subject: Re: Beginner question
PostPosted: Sat Apr 04, 2020 3:48 am 
Offline

Joined: Sun Mar 25, 2018 5:40 am
Posts: 1011
I'm still a beginner, slowly getting better. I share your concern about climate and cracking. In my experience going with a small maker who pays attention to detail is worth it

I think there is a Walt Sweet "Shannon" flute for sale in the classifieds. I have one and it's a well constructed delrin flute, durable and easy to play. It lives in my car and before Covid19 was played all the time when i was car pooling my daughter's ballet classes. It's relatively small holed: I found the difference in timbre between the notes frustrating when I was first starting out--the low E for example sounded weaker and sort of "veiled." As I've gotten better that bothers me less The M&E flutes are good value in delrin (or something similar) but a bit roughly made and mine at least has a less "open" sound. Many people love the Copely flutes or Rob Forbes--I think there is a Forbes in Delrin in the classifieds here as well.

I ended up biting the bullet and spending a lot for a keyless Ellis pratten style flute made of ebonite, and I've not regretted it at all. It has an expressive range the others do not and it's better in tune with itself. I think buying a flute from a small maker playing attention to detail is worth it.

Good luck: I love playing the flute and while it's hard, the journey is a pleasure when it's not frustrating, which is about half the time. As others have said embouchure is most of the battle


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
 Post subject: Re: Beginner question
PostPosted: Sat Apr 04, 2020 6:09 am 
Offline

Joined: Sat Jul 04, 2015 1:05 pm
Posts: 58
I have had my Copley delrin for just a little over 2 months. I'm still new to the transverse flute. I find the Copley not only easy to play but easy to exploit its great range in volume and tones. With three sliver bands and the way David finishes the surface, it has a simple elegance and beauty that could easily be mistaken for a wooden flute at first glance.

It is a very nice flute and I love playing it.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
 Post subject: Re: Beginner question
PostPosted: Sat Apr 04, 2020 7:56 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Sun May 01, 2016 6:54 am
Posts: 705
Location: Bischberg/Bavaria/Germany
The main factor when it comes to air-consumption of a flute is your own technique and the effectiveness of the embouchure cut. The size of the holes plays less of a role. You don't really "fill" a flute, you just let the air column inside vibrate. The holes have an influence on other things, though. Bigger holes make half-holing easier. That can be a factor when trying to play chromatic notes on a keyless flute. On a keyed flute it doesn't matter though. Also larger holes make a flute sound a bit more "boehm-like" and cleaner (which of course is also very much influenced by your technique). Smaller holes can add some "breathiness" to the sound. But that is also very much influenced by the design, like undercuts on the tone holes, the thickness of the wall, etc.

@PB+J
Interesting what you have written about the Shannon, as that one was high up on my "wanted" list. But I thought it has an even volume and timbre across notes. The "E" can often be a problem as the hole is smaller. And I do have that issue on my home-made flutes but it's not that big of a problem. I thought a Shannon might be free of that. Guess that means, I am not getting one, if I can't be sure that it plays any better than what I can make in my own workshop. But the Somers practice flute seems also very interesting. I might get one of those instead.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
 Post subject: Re: Beginner question
PostPosted: Sat Apr 04, 2020 8:10 pm 
Offline

Joined: Tue May 26, 2015 10:18 pm
Posts: 311
Sedi wrote:
The main factor when it comes to air-consumption of a flute is your own technique and the effectiveness of the embouchure cut.


In my experience, as I've gotten better, the air requirements are less. I have played both smallish and large Rudall style flutes, but not a big Pratten.

Sedi wrote:
Bigger holes make half-holing easier. That can be a factor when trying to play chromatic notes on a keyless flute. .


Is that true? I thought half-holing was easier on small-hole flutes. Baroque flutes have very small holes, and are designed exactly for half-holing and cross-fingering.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
 Post subject: Re: Beginner question
PostPosted: Sat Apr 04, 2020 8:15 pm 
Offline
Moderatorer
User avatar

Joined: Wed Dec 18, 2002 6:00 pm
Posts: 36107
Location: United States of Kabuki
tstermitz wrote:
Sedi wrote:
Bigger holes make half-holing easier. That can be a factor when trying to play chromatic notes on a keyless flute. .

Is that true? I thought half-holing was easier on small-hole flutes. Baroque flutes have very small holes, and are designed exactly for half-holing and cross-fingering.

Crossfingering is easier - or rather, more productive - on Baroque flutes. The smaller the tonehole, the harder it's going to be to half-hole on the fly and get it right.

_________________
"Time is the wisest counselor of all." - Pericles

"I remain not entirely convinced of it." - Nano


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
 Post subject: Re: Beginner question
PostPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2020 7:31 am 
Offline

Joined: Sun Mar 25, 2018 5:40 am
Posts: 1011
Sedi wrote:
Interesting what you have written about the Shannon, as that one was high up on my "wanted" list. But I thought it has an even volume and timbre across notes. The "E" can often be a problem as the hole is smaller. And I do have that issue on my home-made flutes but it's not that big of a problem. I thought a Shannon might be free of that. Guess that means, I am not getting one, if I can't be sure that it plays any better than what I can make in my own workshop. But the Somers practice flute seems also very interesting. I might get one of those instead.


Sedi remember I'm not very good! The Shannon flute was the first flute I got when I started to take flute seriously. I would practice simple scales and had a hard time getting consistent timbre across the notes. The E especially bothered me. When I play it now it seems like a very easy-playing flute with a strong honk on the low D. I actually just tried recording myself on the Ellis and on the Shannon and I think I sound better on the Shannon. It might be that it's a smaller holed flute, or it's just easier to play

It's also quite nicely made but less traditional-looking, with no rings. Worth considering, I think

I agree that half-holing is much easier, for me, on larger holes


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
 Post subject: Re: Beginner question
PostPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2020 8:00 am 
Offline

Joined: Tue May 26, 2015 10:18 pm
Posts: 311
I guess now I see. I had good luck half-holing on my D whistle - accurately even at speed. When I moved to flute, I found it much harder. Some cross-fingered notes worked, but half-holed notes were weak.

After moving to a keyed flute, I haven't looked back. Even a 4-key flute gives you a chromatic instrument. Maybe you aren't playing in the key of F, but fiddlers like to play in A. Mainly, the utility is the ability to play accidental notes: G#, Fnat, Eb, and Bb.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
 Post subject: Re: Beginner question
PostPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2020 8:19 am 
Offline

Joined: Tue May 26, 2015 10:18 pm
Posts: 311
To the original point about Pratten vs Rudall. My large-holed Rudall is much louder than my medium-small holed 19th C antique. But, I didn't achieve consistent, tone volume or quality on either flute until recently, after 3 - 4 years of flute.

Training the embouchure to be focussed is key, and that comes with time and effort. I do feel that the extra effort of working with the smaller embouchure on my Firth, Pond & Co flute helped before going to the more generous Gallagher. The FPC forced me to learn tighter focus and control.

The other secrets were: playing long tones soft & loud, playing notes in the third register (C, C# D, Eb & E), softly and loudly. That last one was really the final effort that has made the biggest difference; two weeks of high register work totally transformed my playing.

I acknowledge that "effort" actually means achieving fine motor control and learning to relax, as pointed out in the other thread.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
 Post subject: Re: Beginner question
PostPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2020 11:57 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Fri Jun 29, 2001 6:00 pm
Posts: 2047
I have a Delrin Copley. I love it. (I also have a wooden Copley, an Olwell, a Grinter, and a Doyle)


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
 Post subject: Re: Beginner question
PostPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2020 6:50 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2008 7:30 pm
Posts: 431
Location: Upstate NY
My recommendation would be to get a Gary Somers small bore Rudall. I have one and find it significantly easier to fill than more Pratten inspired flutes I've played in the past. Actually my antique Wm Hall and sons is even easier to fill (but they, and the similar Firth, Hall, Pond, area a little harder to come by). I suppose you could go for a McGee GLP as well, which is reportedly modeled after the Firth Hall and Pond, but they are more costly.

As others have said, developing your embouchure will be the main battle

_________________
"Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it"
Steven Wright

"Your reality, sir, is lies and balderdash and I'm delighted to say that I have no grasp of it whatsoever."
Baron Munchausen


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
 Post subject: Re: Beginner question
PostPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2020 8:14 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Sat Jan 29, 2005 4:22 am
Posts: 1011
Location: San Pedro
personally i like Thompsons flutes for delrin, the 3 piece single body design,i have a sweet Eb being made as we speak, but Copley is nice too, all the good guys have waiting lists though----------my best is a Tony Millyard F its pure,

_________________
Choose you this day, whom ye shall serve


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 20 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next

All times are UTC - 6 hours


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 12 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group
[ Time : 0.067s | 12 Queries | GZIP : On ]
(dh)