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I getting ready to pull the trigger on a new bass flute.

I am considering the Altus or Yamaha. Both are similar in price. Altus has a few more bells and whistles (trill keys, split E mech, etc.). Has anyone tried these 2 bass flutes and can speak of their qualities or limitations?

Rick D
 

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Yes I have experience of both. I owned a Yamaha for a couple of years. I found the key work in the left hand odd. I ended up playing it without the crutch. My experience with Altus was limited to trying a couple for a day in a shop here in London. I thought the ergonomics were superior to the Yamaha and the tone quality, response and feel were superior to my Yamaha however try as I may I could not get down to pitch on the Altus. It was unworkably sharp no matter what I did.
The owner of the store ( Just Flutes) tried it with exactly the same problem. This was only 2 examples but it put me off Altus bass flutes. They are actually made by Jupiter the Altus alto and bass.
I ended up buying a handmade Kingma bass which is phenominal and not that much more expensive than the Yamaha here. The Pearl bass looks pretty nice to me
and I have just bought a Pearl alto. I think there are better options than either Yamaha or Altus, I heard someone playing the Robert Dick bass on here and that sounded terrific..Dick says that's what he uses .
 

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I have only seen 2 Yamahas and both were not that great. Both had the floated (sax style) pads and needed a lot of work to get playing . Once adjusted, they still didn't come up to the sound of the US and Taiwan models. The Yamaha altos are great but they missed the boat on the Basses. For the Yamaha price, you may find a Kingma or for half the price, a used Opperman.
 

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Haven't seen a Pearl. The altos are nice but one of the symphony players here prefers the Emerson to the Pearl for altos. A nice Bass is the Artley Ogilvie but a bit hard to find. Somehow I can't see paying over $3,000 for a bass flute unless you are a studio player who makes a pile of money playing it. I would go for an Armstrong or Emerson as the sound is quite good and full but not as light action as the high priced flutes. I sold a Robert Dick Emerson to a teacher (flute ensemble) in Houston and she has better luck with it than the Kingma that cost 4X as much. Also the Robert Dick model is not all that different from the standard Emerson bass. I may have a Bass Flute in my lineup within a year but trying to figure what a fair price would be. I am trying to keep it under $3,500. One think I have found is that the nickel body basses tend to be fuller than the sterling ones. Maybe a sterling head or at least a sterling riser and lip would be best. I tend to find adding trill keys, low B and a Bb shake are not that important on a bass. The Jupiter is OK and the Dimedici pretty good too but getting a bit pricey.
 

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My Kingma was Eva Kingma's show flute and it is nicely made. However the pads were shot so I had to get a set from Italy that are specific to the flute. After a few toneholes were flattened it plays very nicely and has stayed in perfect adjustment for years. It has a solid head with a very high rise lip plate that took me a while to get used to. It has a big sound and I picked it from over 30 heads all different. It is based on Albert Coopers bass and he only made two I believe.
Brannen are now making a Brannen / Kingma altoflute which promises to be spectacular with a matching price. I had a Muramatsu solid alto that was my only flute for years. Unfortunately I had to sell it a few years ago and am in the market for another.
 

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I would encourage anyone to try our Pearl bass. My opinion is of course biased. However, the more people try our bass, the more they switch over to it.
I've tried all the models mentioned and the Pearl is the nicest playing for the money as far as I am concerned. If I didn't work for Pearl and it was my personal choice, I would select it for myself.

But like I said, my personal opinion may be difficult for some people given my position..

Joe B
 
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