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Weird question, which is my favorite kind, I had a dream last night that I found an alto flute in a pawn shop and bought it. Now I am wondering if I should learn to double on it. I play saxophones exclusively, but realize doubling can lead to more opportunities... is flute something I can realistically move to fairly easily? I know this is a tough question to answer without knowing me personally, but your experiences would be appreciated.

Thanks
 

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You should be able to learn the basic of the flutes failry easily, the only real hurdle is the fact that there are some fundamental differences in some of the the finger positions especially in the third octave (let alone higher)
And the C/B is a surprise after saxophone - C is like a saxophone B, B is like a saxophone B plus your thumb operating a key where the saxophone octave key would be.

Plus some people find it difficult getting a sound, others get the concept almost immediately (it's basically just the same as blowing across a bottle)
 

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Yes, well, I started on flute when I was 13 (although back then there was a less relaxed embouchure than most flutists use nowadays).

To go back to Alto flute, despite the fact that a lot of people buy one many people leave it rather unplayed after a brief fascination.

The real difficult embouchure is the (Arab) NEY :bluewink:
 

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Weird question, which is my favorite kind, I had a dream last night that I found an alto flute in a pawn shop and bought it. Now I am wondering if I should learn to double on it. I play saxophones exclusively, but realize doubling can lead to more opportunities... is flute something I can realistically move to fairly easily? I know this is a tough question to answer without knowing me personally, but your experiences would be appreciated.

Thanks
Alto flute is my next favorite voice after tenor sax. The hook was set after listening to Hubert Laws “Afro Classic” album. Check out Holly Hoffman’s “Low Life” or Ali Ryerson’s “Alto” with Joe Beck.

“Yes!” is my vote.
 

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I've been doubling on flute for quite a while.

The most challenging fingering difference for me to get used to was the lower tetrachord of the D major scale, especially in the middle octave. Fingering the D2 to E2 transition correctly requires that you simultaneously raise your right ring finger while lowering your left index finger and using your right pinky to depress (vent) the Eb key, while the E2 to F#2 transition requires that you simultaneously raise your right index and middle fingers while depressing the right ring finger. However, in really quick passages, you can get away with using more saxophonish fingerings.

That said, I don't think that the fingering differences are too difficult to get used to (they are certainly much easier to get accustomed to than clarinet fingerings).
I think that the most challenging part is getting used to the sound production differences. I find that flute requires a considerably better-developed breath support, because it uses more air and you have nothing external to push against. It also seems to be difficult for doublers to get a good sound in the extreme ends of the range. In my experience, doublers tend to find low notes hard to support and play loudly, while their altissimo range tends to sound pinched and thin, has a tendency to be quite sharp, and they find it difficult to play this range softly. I think that regular tone exercises are considerably more important on flute than on saxophone (and I'm one of those who think they are very important on saxophone).
 

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is flute something I can realistically move to fairly easily?
yes - no - perhaps - dunno ......

Best is perhaps to get a cheap but functional flute and try it for yourself. First tone production with the head only, then long tones starting from b downhill. Then start some overblowing, which is easier on the "long" notes (which are more difficult than the "short" notes). Holding the flute without too much pressure is important. Perhaps take some lessons, too .....

I play all flutes from bass to piccolo and like alto flute the most in a way. But it get's the least playing time, because it's in g ....
So - get a c-flute first!
 

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If you take the advice to start on an inexpensive C flute (which I think is good advice, along with getting lessons from a good, experienced player/teacher), don't go cheap! By that I mean: go inexpensive, as in Yamaha student flutes in good condition.
 

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As much as I love the alto, the standard C flute is called for much more often in a pop or Jazz setting for the most part.
 

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... Check out Holly Hoffman’s “Low Life” or Ali Ryerson’s “Alto” with Joe Beck.
Alto is a wonderful yet obscure record of Joe Beck’s that uses his own alto-guitar tuning which sounds like a bass and a guitar playing at the same time. Thank you for mentioning it.
 

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Alto is a wonderful yet obscure record of Joe Beck’s that uses his own alto-guitar tuning which sounds like a bass and a guitar playing at the same time. Thank you for mentioning it.
You’re welcome! It’s cool to find someone else that is familiar with it.
 

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Yes, Ali is amazing and she and Joe had a special magic between them. I was lucky to catch them live here in Portland, OR in the early 2000's - such inspiration.

And I totally agree with your earlier comment re: alto flute and tenor sax being my favorite voices.

As to how easy it would be to add flute (C or alto) to your arsenal I think that embouchure/sound production will be the hardest part.
 

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Start with a standard C flute. If you want to play around with an alto, remember that it is pitched in G....
Some of the Asian ones are OK. I have a nice used one with both heads for $600 shipped. Almost new.
 

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OP, you mentioned "doubling opportunities".

Alto flute won't offer you these. C flute will, to some extent. Frankly, I think it's about even whether clarinet or C flute would be more called for as a double for a sax player.

Of course the above does not address whether the alto flute voice is the thing that appeals to you. Personally, I would be fine just playing alto and never playing C flute. (This is the same opinion as Theobald Boehm the inventor of the modern flute and inventor of the alto flute; who rarely played anything but alto flute after middle age).

Having started on C flute almost 50 years ago, I really have no idea whether you NEED to start there before moving to alto flute or if it's possible to be successful starting out from the beginning on alto flute.
 

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OP, you mentioned "doubling opportunities".

Alto flute won't offer you these. C flute will, to some extent. Frankly, I think it's about even whether clarinet or C flute would be more called for as a double for a sax player.
The OP:

Weird question, which is my favorite kind, I had a dream last night that I found an alto flute in a pawn shop and bought it. Now I am wondering if I should learn to double on it. I play saxophones exclusively, but realize doubling can lead to more opportunities... is flute something I can realistically move to fairly easily? I know this is a tough question to answer without knowing me personally, but your experiences would be appreciated.

Thanks
Maybe we need to define “doubling opportunities” here.

If we assume it to mean “playing a second instrument in a big band”, then I agree that opportunities are few - although I did use my alto flute with big band. It is actually quite good to use alto flute when the written parts are voiced so low as to not have much volume.

On the other hand, if you are the wind player in a small ensemble, you are not constrained in your selection.

Alto flute - It’s the tenor sax of the flute world.
 

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For the price of any decent alto flute you could get a good C flute.
I’m partial to the old closed hole “Cmmercial” Haynes solid silver flutes.
I found one completely factory overhauled for $800 a few years ago. Maybe some of the Asian flutes are easier to play but they don’t have the warmth or depth of sound for me.
 

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For the price of any decent alto flute you could get a good C flute.
I’m partial to the old closed hole “Cmmercial” Haynes solid silver flutes.
I found one completely factory overhauled for $800 a few years ago. Maybe some of the Asian flutes are easier to play but they don’t have the warmth or depth of sound for me.
Well of course you can get a good C flute for less money than a good alto, but if you want to play alto not C, it's largely irrelevant.
 
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