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PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2020 7:04 am 
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Hello

Brand new here, and looking for suggestions on a plastic beginners D flute, something I can take backpacking and kayaking, which I can learn to play alongside my kids who are starting to learn instruments as well.

There’s a bit of a catch. I have mole hands. Very wide but with very short fingers. Fantastic for rock climbing, especially little crimpy holds. Not so good for comfortably reaching across widely spaced holes on a flute.

The local music shop can order in a Tony Dixon ABS flute, which seems like the right kind of thing, but I’m not sure if it’s best for my hands.

Are there other good options, or better choices for me?

Any advice or suggestions appreciated

Thanks!


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2020 12:17 pm 
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How much are you willing to spend, and where are you? The Dixon ABS flute is fine enough, but not necessarily designed for smaller hands. For $275US you could order a "Shannon" flute from WD Sweet, which is designed with offset toneholes to make for an easier grip. It was the first flute I had and is quite well-made, sounds good, and is very durable (made out of delrin). For a little more money ($450) Casey Burns flutes get good reviews from smaller-handed people, but they are made of wood and so may not be right for your backpacking and kayaking excursions.

One thing to keep in mind is that there are plenty of younger children who play the flute and do so quite well. You may find that it's a little awkward at first if you have smaller hands, but I don't think it's impossible for people with small hands to play "normal" Irish flutes. In that case, Copley, Forbes, Somers, M&E, and Thompson are all makers to look for when it comes to delrin flutes that would fit your bill of being hardy, all in the $300-500 range.


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2020 12:47 pm 
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There was a thread here recently about a clever new flute from Carbony that uses inset, angled tubes to dramatically decrase the distance between the holes


https://carbony.com/products/flutes/


Last edited by PB+J on Mon Jun 08, 2020 4:18 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2020 2:36 pm 
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Casey Burns' small-hands flute will enable you to play if anything will.
And these are widely respected flutes. I've played them myself.
Blackwood is tough stuff and, if you
care for the flute reasonably, you can take it into some tough places. Wood, ya know.
As I see it, there's no point in buying a flute if you're not going to play it,
so a bottom line is to buy a flute that you can actually play. This may well be your
best hope.


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2020 2:41 pm 
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Location: Bischberg/Bavaria/Germany
I'd stay away from the Dixon abs model. It has a rather large stretch for the right hand. My David Angus flute has very small holes that are close together.
http://shop.fifeanddrumshop.com/epages/ ... s/es143324


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2020 3:17 pm 
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The three best options that I can think of:

1. Dave Copley Delrin custom made for you for closer and offset finger placement. (this can maybe be done for you by other makers of Delrin flutes too; I'm just not aware of who else does this. Walt Sweet's "Shannon" has offset holes, but I think has a slightly bigger reach.)

2.Casey Burns blackwood small hand model. Not plastic, but very nice and pretty tough, and very easy to play with smaller hands.

3. Consider a key other than D and get a flute in a higher key. This would be a smaller flute with closer holes (off set if you want) and could be out of plastic or bamboo. (Also probably the least expensive option.)

Chris


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2020 3:34 pm 
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Hi4head wrote:
3. Consider a key other than D and get a flute in a higher key. This would be a smaller flute with closer holes (off set if you want) and could be out of plastic or bamboo. (Also probably the least expensive option.)


I would very much not recommend this route simply because most instructional material on the flute is going to assume you have a D flute.


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2020 5:27 pm 
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Sensible. If you are wanting to play with other people, e.g. your kids, the D flute is a good way to go.


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2020 7:13 pm 
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Still a beginning flute player here, so please take this with a grain of salt.

I do have some relevant experience to your question, so here goes.

I have small hands and wanted a low maintenance flute as well.

I first tried a PVC flute made by Doug Tipple. These are very inexpensive flutes and are quite well made for the price. I simply couldn't manage the finger stretch. I had trouble with the large hole sizes too, but that's because I have skinny fingers as well as small hands.

I then found this hand size chart on the Casey Burns web site:

http://www.caseyburnsflutes.com/detail_ ... ndsize.php

I measure out at 7" on Casey's scale, which was a good indication that I needed a flute suitable for small hands.

After doing a little research, I bought a Carbony flute in D with the close in spacing via chimney extenders. I was able to handle this flute pretty easily. Its made of carbon fiber and stainless steel. Heavy and practically indestructible. Bonus feature: if you are attacked by a bear while camping, you can use the flute to keep it at bay. The main negative is that its awfully expensive for a starter flute and the fit and finish are not as good as I would expect at this price. If you could find one of these used at a lower price, it might be a good choice.

If I had to do it over again, I'd start out with a Casey Burns folk flute in blackwood, small hands model, and try not to abuse it too badly. Wood is your only option with Casey's flutes.

FWIW, My current flute is a Terry McGee GLP in black acetal (polymer). Its not specifically designed for small hands, it just has small enough holes and close enough hole spacing to meet my needs. It's a wonderful flute, but very expensive. Maybe something to consider as a future upgrade.

Best of luck!


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2020 3:07 am 
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Location: Surrey/Hants border, England
Portable, small, light, close finger holes, key of D, & quite cheap - maybe consider a Tony Dixon ABS piccolo instead.

I really like mine, & its brothers & sisters, in brass, & aluminium, (all key of D).

I also have low D flutes, but they take some getting used to the stretch, even with offset hole placement, I can play them, but find the piccolos much easier.

For about £200, you can get an M&E key of low F, made of a delrin type material, (I have one), it has a really good tone, & the hole spacing is easy.

Don't overlook fifes either, usually in the key of Bb.

Basically it depends on your budget, the tunes you want to play, & how you intend to help your youngsters.

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Trying to do justice to my various musical instruments.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2020 3:31 am 
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I had the same problem as you! In my research I also found a lot of people recommended the Burns folk flute for small hands, which I bet is a good flute, but too far away for me (shipping, taxes ect.). If youre located in the EU region, I can highly recommend a flute by Tony Millyard. He send me two to try for my small hands and his Pratten model (which has slightly smaller spacing than the Rudall&Rose model) fit my hands perfectly and has a great tone. I also asked for the offset hole for the left ring finger, which makes the reach easier.
Hope you find a good flute for you! And Id also say it doesnt ~have ~ to be plastic to be portable...

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2020 7:26 pm 
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Thanks all for the suggestions and listings, I have some places to start.

For reference (something I should have said in my first post) is that I did get a Yamaha fife. I mostly got this as a proof of concept, to be sure I could even operate an instrument like this, for under 8 Canadian dollars, I felt it was a very cheap way to check.

I’ very much still learning, but at least I find the fingering for that just fine, and I could probably reach a bit further...


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 09, 2020 3:26 am 
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I've got one of those Yamahas too, they play like a sideways recorder, some people have managed to play some good tunes on them, so don't discount it. :wink:

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 09, 2020 9:16 am 
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Try the Tipple F first before you go to the D.

Also Doug creates an offset holing if you requested it.


My Tipple C,D,E, G have some offset.... Yes I am a Fan.


Regards,

Angel

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 2020 10:06 pm 
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I wear a men's size small glove and have over the years played large holed prattens and rudall rose style flutes just fine. And there are a number of famous flute artists with small hands. Now that is not to discount what may be your special situation. I just want to say you may not be as limited as you think. Rock climbing and other physical activities shape our hands. I had a few trial runs at rock climbing years ago, but found I preferred to keep my feet planted on flat ground. But I'd done my share of construction and moving rocks and other objects from place to place over the years. The activities we do will shape our hands.

As we learn to play an instrument, be it piano, flute or fiddle our hands will be given opportunities to stretch and adapt to what is being asked of them. When I first started playing gentle stretching exercises were just part of the process.

If your goal is to play Irish music with others you will be aiming at a D flute. And some of the flutes mentioned above will be good starter flutes. You may not need to start on a D right away, though An F flute played with the common D fingering will have you learning muscle memory to transfer to another key later if you wish. You won't be able to play with others as you will be in a different key, but that may not be important right away. Unless your kids are playing Irish music and your goal is to learn along with them.

I sense you are on a budget, but Carbony makes a carbon fiber D flute with close finger spacing that is in that indestructable category. It's not as inexpensive as the dixon though.


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