Yeah, the rollers are a nice touch! I am considering picking one up. One concern I have is the headjoint. I have heard so many bad things about Gemeinhardt headjoints. The Brio c flutes have a JH designed by Dana Sheridan but not the altos...
The build quality seemed really nice, but it's also not my flute, it was a friend in the flute choir. Tone and volume were great when I played it.
Also, I played on a Gemmy earlier this year for a few weeks until I got my DiZhao. It wasn't a bad flute at all, it was the solid silver model with plated keys. The headjoint seemed fine to me, and that's after playing an Altus.
Another friend, who borrowed the alto for a few weeks said she's definitely looking into getting one. She's an Ithaca graduate, plays on a Miyazawa. She loved playing it. I'll ask him again about it though, just to make sure!
It is my opinion, as well as that of several of my professional flutist friends, that currently the best value in the alto flute market is the Di Zhao. I have a Sankyo, which is a killer instrument, and I can quite honestly say that the Di Zhao plays nearly as well, for about $6,000 less.
I ended up getting a Brio. All-plated model with straight HJ. Very nice! I have only play-tested a few altos so I don't have much to compare it to. But once I figured out to roll the headjoint out to get my lip off the embouchure hole, I get a big tone in all registers. Sounds great, easy to play, nice ergos. Build quality looks good.
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