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As sax player and flutemaker I have always wanted to have a bis key on the flute. I made up a few adding it and while I was at it I made some other changes to the left hand. I did it with the offest G leaving the cups covered in the left hand and open in the right hand. This way the left hand is free to angle at a comfortable position without worry of not covering the holes. I used a smaller lower G hole positioned higher in the body to eliminate the need for a split E or donut in the lower G. With this alteration, the G# lever is elongated and more sax-like in feel. Having the A pad covered also has a small advantage of making F#3 a bit more stable. It feels pretty natural to me. Photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/tags/bis/
 

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looks very nice good work - very professional.

I would never want to do that to my flute, seeing as how I started out on it I guess, but it looks like it works perfectly for you.

Did you do that engraving on the lip? It looks awesome
 

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I have an old guy in Elkhart that does the engraving and trademarks. I still make them the normal way but offer this for the sax players.
 

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Pretty interesting stuff! I wonder if the sax-like flute will make sax players, (EVEN MORE), less likely to study proper flute playing? We have three Bb fingerings- the lever Bb is a great alternative, (on piccolo, a must IMO, because the thumb,1,4 fingering is poor in tone, and intonation). Just talking to myself! Good luck- I will keep an eye on this.
 

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I really would like a for F# but it is too much junk. A well known Elkhart musician worked at Armstrong in the 60s and had them make up a flute with an articulated G# since his clarinets had it. He loved that flute until a "real" flute player tried it and found that Eb3 was non-existant. Powell made 3 closed hole flutes (Victor Goldring brand) that were closed hole with pearls.
 

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Very nice.

How about a free sample to try out? ;)
 

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Bruce,

Nice idea. Personally I hate the bis key and never use it, but it is an interesting idea for those who do. The small G# and/or donut has always felt like a tonal compromise to me. I much prefer split E. While you are at it, you might want to take a cue from the Murray flute, which splits the A touch between two keys and eliminates the clutch to allow for a split F#. With that you have perfect venting in the lower 3rd octave...

Toby
 

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Bruce - The key arrangement looks similar to some altos, where the finger touch points are offset from the keys to make it more ergonomic. As for the smaller lower G# hole, it makes perfect sense. I wonder why more companies don't build it that way. Tradition?
 

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Actually it is a patented design. I get parts from a guy who has paid for the patent use so I get it for free. I am more interested in the G# key angle than the actual hole placement and size. By using existing parts here and there, I can keep my costs as low as possible. The flute in the photos is sterling but the keywork is plated. Gold Springs, felt kickers, 14K gold riser, modern scale, etc. and I can keep the wholesale dealer price a bit above $2,000. I never set out to build flutes but I needed something to sell in that price range. My main objective was to make a C foot piccolo but of about 95 built, about 70 are flutes.
 

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All this discussion reminds me to wonder why open G# flutes aren't more popular. It seems acoustically more correct and obviates the need for special handling of high E and F#. If the open G# fingerings are too hard to learn or too non-ergonomic, then why not use a pivot to reverse the G# key so you can finger it like normal but it acts like open G#?
 

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First, closing the G tone hole independently only vents the E correctly, not the F#. For that you need to close the A without closing the Bb. The only flute to solve that problem was the Murray flute, which had the touch split between those two keys and no clutch, so that you could have a "split F#". I had a prototype for a while. Works brilliantly...

Boehm tried his damndest to make the open G# standard, even refusing fat one point to build closed G# keys (he finally gave up). It might be more logical not to have reverse sprung keys (the Murray flute also had open D#), but the open G# becomes the only place where two fingers have to be moved together, so ergonomically it doesn't feel very good. I have had open G# flutes, and it could be learned easily, but then all the other woodwinds have closed G#, so it would be a doubler's nightmare.

How would this pivot work, exactly? I don't think you have thought it through. The G# needs to stay open when not pressed, but needs to go down with the high E and when the G touch is pressed. Mechanically how do you get that to work? There was an attempt to get rid of the duplicate G# tone hole in the early days with the Dorus G#, which was double sprung, but the reliability and simplicity of the duplicated tone hole won the day.

Toby
 

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MRC01 said:
Bruce - The key arrangement looks similar to some altos, where the finger touch points are offset from the keys to make it more ergonomic. As for the smaller lower G# hole, it makes perfect sense. I wonder why more companies don't build it that way. Tradition?
The Marcel Moyse model had offset touches and was ergonomically wonderful I hear. Obviously it is a closed hole flute, not for the French crowd. The smaller G# tone hole is tonally inferior to the normal one, which is why more companies don't make them that way, except on student flutes. Smaller tone holes are always inferior acoustically, which is why Boehm built his flute with keys in the first place, so that the tone holes could be made larger.

Toby
 

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Discussion Starter #14
The open/closed G# has been done. McCannless in Iowa makes them that way. It is like an open G# flute that has a double spring set up like a sax. If anyone wants an open G# flute, they can be made easily but there are so many deals on ebay it is good to buy one there. I have a really nice 20s US Selmer all sterling open G# cheap.
 

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bruce bailey said:
The open/closed G# has been done. McCannless in Iowa makes them that way. It is like an open G# flute that has a double spring set up like a sax. If anyone wants an open G# flute, they can be made easily but there are so many deals on ebay it is good to buy one there. I have a really nice 20s US Selmer all sterling open G# cheap.
Bruce, how does this differ from the Dorus G#, first fitted in the late 19th century with double spring? I assume that it does nothing more than eliminate the duplicated tone hole, or...?

Toby
 

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kymarto said:
First, closing the G tone hole independently only vents the E correctly, not the F#.
...
How would this pivot work, exactly?
...
There was an attempt to get rid of the duplicate G# tone hole in the early days with the Dorus G#, which was double sprung, but the reliability and simplicity of the duplicated tone hole won the day.
Yeah, my brain fart on the F# there... but the Dorus G# is a neat design. Never heard of it before but I looked it up and that's the sort of thing I had I mind. Back to the big picture though - while split Es, split F#s or open G#s are interesting and perhaps useful, modern flutes do play just fine without them.

While we're on the subject... what do you guys think of donuts in the lower G hole? Alex Eppler's getting my flute soon for a tuneup and I was considering having him put one in. He can always take it out if I don't like it. My primary concern is that it might muff up the G (pitch, tone quality or both). I suspect the response will vary from one flute to the next so the only way to know will be to try it... Also, he can put in a standard donut shape, or a crescent moon (non-centered) shape.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
That one is pretty much like the Dorus. I use the donuts on standard flutes and while it is not quite the effect of a split E, it is less complicated, cheap ($.15) and can be removed.
 
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