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I have posted a basic review of the overall Galway Spirit lineup of flutes on my blog here: http://kesslermusic.blogspot.com/2009/12/james-galway-spirit-flutes-by-conn.html

But I wanted to do something here from more of a doubler's mindset.

The first thing that I think these flutes do is through the whole argument about "Solid Silver is Better" COMPLETELY out the window. We received our first 6 flutes on Friday (January 30). Saturday, I had a hobbyist adult flautist come in lookinf at flutes who wanted to play Solid Silver Pearl flutes.

Don't misunderstand me, I think the Solid Silver Pearls are very good flutes, especially the 40th Anniversary models with the better Forza headjoint. But this flute is $2300+ and for a hobbyist, frankly this flute is too much for many of their needs!

So I went ahead and brought out 3 flutes for her and told her that I would not tell her the price until she had already made up her mind because I didnt want price to play in to her opinion. I promised that I would not sneak in some $7,000 flute or play any shennanigans like that. So I brought out 3 flutes for her:

Pearl 40th Anniversary Quantz Coda with Forza Headjoint ($2,340)
Avanti 2000 ($2,279)
Galway Spirit JG2BO (not allowed to publically list sale price, but the retail is $965)

I bet you can guess what she picked... yes, the Galway JG2BO. Keep in mind, this is a Silver Plated Flute... ALL of it. There is no solid sterling silver anything on this flute. It is simply a nickel-silver body & headjoint, silver plated with open holes and a low B foot. By the typical industry definitions, this was a "student flute".

So why did it play the best for her? Well this comes back to the doubler's approach that I am taking here. She was a very decent amateur player. But she was by no means giving a professional flautist's embochure.

The Galway Spirit models are based on the Avanti "platform". Their body tubes are actually the same body tube as the Avanti 1000. The Galways are simply a different headjoint cut with a more "intermediate" style key mechanism (the Avanti is a much higher end key mechanism in both quality, feel and precision).

The headjoint cut on the Galway Spirit models is beyond impressive. These flutes are easy, forgiving, clear and powerful, regardless of the level of the player. They are extremely responsive and colorful. Honest to goodness, this JG2 model will outplay many $2000 solid silver flutes.

So then if the Galway is based around the Avanti, why did it outplay the Avanti 2000 for this player? This is again due to the player. More advanced flute embochures will give the Avanti-Brannen headjoint the style of play that will yield a bigger fuller tone. So if you are a true flautist, you will like the Avanti better. But for most other players, the younger player, the adult amatuer, the hobbyist and many doublers, the Galway head is a great if not better option.

These flutes are amazing. As of now, we are stocking the following models:

JG1 - Silver Plated, Closed hole, C foot
JG1B - Same as above with B foot
JG2BO - Same as JG1 but with open hole, low B standard
JG3BO - Same as JG2BO but with Solid Silver Headjoint

Pictures and specifications are listed on our site at http://www.kesslermusic.com/html/flutes/spiritflutes.htm

If you are in the market for a great playing flute as a doubler, you have got to take a look at these!
 

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I think it'd be beneficial to offer the JG1's with a solid headjoint...
I know when I was in the market for a flute, closed holes was a must as was the offset G and it was difficult to find a professional quality flute that had a good silver headjoint and a "student" body. Ended up with a Haynes Commercial model, but I think it would still be a nice feature to offer
 

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Discussion Starter #3
too small of an overall market for that level. Even if they offered it, it would likely only be about $70 less than the JG3 (based on the price difference of the JG1 & JG2 models) yet have a significantly reduced resale value because of the low demand for that configuration.

Of course, all the open hole models will incldue plugs.
 

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Not meaning to hijack the thread, but I strongly support the underlying sentiment. Several years ago, I decided to move from open hole to plateau flutes, and ended up with a Muramatsu ES III as my main flute and a Yamaha 311 for when I am lazy. While both have silver heads, it is just because the muramatsu doesn't come with plated head, and I found the 311 head an excellent upgrade over a 211 for playability, silver notwithstanding. I doubt I will ever miss open holes as a doubler. If in the market I would gladly try the Galway...IMHO, there are far too few choices in the USA of decent quality plateau flutes.
 

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Most(all?) people, in blind comparison, find little or no difference between 211 & 311. Hence the silver is irrelevant, as acoustic science would also suggest. But there are numerous threads on this.

Dave, if this head is so good, how about offering the head on its own, for people to upgrade their Gemeinhardts? What would the price be?

I do wonder, though, if your philosophy of who this flute is suitable for, could be reworded: "This flute successfully panders to a rather poor, beginners embouchure, and in doing so, may well inhibit that embouchure from developing". Could this be an explanation for what you report? (Not that I'm saying it is the correct explanation. I just find it rather odd that a flute that is relatively great for a beginner is not found relatively great for a more experienced player, and vice-versa.) For example, both beginners (with some degree of experience) and experienced players invariably choose a student Yamaha over a student Gemeinhardt.
 

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I am an Avanti endorser and chose to be so over another very prominent maker. Conn-Selmer makes the Avanti and the Galway Spirit flutes. The Avanti flutes are very special instruments designed by Bickford Brannen all around. The Galway flutes are not dimensionally the same, nor is the keywork. I live in L.A. and have done many film dates, recordings, played with the biggest names in Jazz... and The Avanti is my main flute. It plays like a $7,000 flute... sometimes better. My friend who has a high end Muramatsu played one and got really angry when told what the price was. LOL The Galway flutes have an embouchure hole and wall that makes a less than optimum airstream act like a well-focused one... they are easy to play. They won't play as expressively, get as much color nor as much volume as an Avanti... but they get you a quality sound easier. I have my alto flute headjoint set up that way because if I am playing it, I am usually playing in a pit, with 4 or 5 different horns... I need a good sound now. So, the Galway heads are cut for this purpose. Unless you are a fine flutist who plays with a lot of expression, the Galway is great. And they are made in America and if you put a tuner on them... they play in tune... the other ones under $3,000 usually have problems. As for plating vs sivler... just remember, the great Marcel Moyse, known for his amazing tone... played a silver plated, closed hole, C-foot Cousenon flute...
 

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... the Galway is great. And they are made in America ...
I might half believe that the head of a "Galway" flute is made in USA, but is there any reliable evidence that the rest of the flute is???
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Yes, they are made 100% in the USA. They are made in the facility in Elkhart, IN. They are also stamped "Made in USA" on the body tube, which if memory serves correct, US Law requires that at least 90% of manufacturing must be done in the USA in order to make this claim.

So the question: Is there any reliable evidence that says that they aren't made in the USA??? :)

As to your other questions (which I dont know why I hadnt seen them previous to this) on the rewording of "this flute successfully panders to a rather poor, beginners embouchure, and in doing so, may well inhibit that embouchure from developing"... I cant say that I disagree with you. However, the simple truth is that MOST players will never move past that level, and even more of them have teachers who might now understand how to teach proper embouchure in the first place. So if the flute is designed for them to enjoy playing more, then so be it.

I personally will always try and recommend someone go a level higher to either a diMedici (Jupiter), Pearl or Avanti, but in the end, it is their money to spend and they will buy the flute that they prefer.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Then it must be made at the Armstrong factory like Emerson and the other Selmer flutes.
Correct. This facility makes the American made model Selmer, Emerson (though they are discontinuing the Emerson models), Armstrong, Artley flutes as well as the company's American made Clarinets (Leblanc, Vito, Selmer, Bliss) and double reed instruments.
 
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