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Discussion Starter #1
My daughter has been playing an Artley flute since she was in her early teens. She recently took it into a shop to get repaired and they informed her that it would cost $200. Obviously, this news caused her to look around with the following result;

"I can buy a refurbished Artley flute (similar age) WITH a solid silver head joint (which is better quality) for $233-$260. Of course there's shipping on top of that...
On Kijiji I'm "watching" 3 different flutes, 2 yamaha's (one newer - $450 OBO, one older - $100 plus shipping) and 1 gemeinhardt - $120."

I would really like to get her a good flute that would be a joy for her to play. I am willing to kick in upto $1200 to help her buy it. However I am not sure that she will accept. So I have 2 questions

1) Considering her comments above, what would you recommend is the best alternative of those that she presents? and
2) What would you recommend buying if you had $1200 to $1500 to buy a flute - a flute that would be a joy to play for many years ?

Many thanx in advance for your comments
W.
 

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Hi wmclean,

1) I would choose the newer Yamaha from the ones your daughter is watching.
2) At $1200 - 1500 your options increase significantly. Do you have access to a shop where she could try several? Maybe in Quito? I would hate to spend that much money on a flute without trying it first. Azumi, Pearl, Sonare, diMedici and Yamaha, of course ALL make flutes in your price range.

I might add that no flute "would be a joy to play for many years" unless she enjoys playing the flute.
 

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I would recommend either a Yamaha or a Gemeinhardt. Since she has been playing for awhile, I would also recommend getting an open hole flute with a B foot.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
1) I would choose the newer Yamaha from the ones your daughter is watching.
Are all Yamahas equal or are there some better models that others? If so, which are the better/best ?

2) At $1200 - 1500 your options increase significantly. Do you have access to a shop where she could try several? Maybe in Quito? I would hate to spend that much money on a flute without trying it first. Azumi, Pearl, Sonare, diMedici and Yamaha, of course ALL make flutes in your price range.
She actually lives in Northern Alberta ... a number of hours from any shop with reasonable stock. So, I would like to focus in on two or three flutes and then see if she can find them to try.

W.
 

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I would recommend either a Yamaha or a Gemeinhardt. Since she has been playing for awhile, I would also recommend getting an open hole flute with a B foot.
Yamaha over the Gemeinhardt.
Open holes aren't all they're cracked up to be. I've got an open hole, inline G, with a B foot.
I can't hear any difference in the sound with the holes plugged or left open.
The B foot, eh.... I've never had to use the low B, so it's really just there for 'bragging' purposes.

Go with the flute that fits your daughter and her preferances. SHE is the one that has to play it. NOT US! :)
 

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I started out playing on Artley in elementary school, then switched (some may say progressed [rolleyes]) to sax in high school. I'm sure your daughter will be very delighted if you can give her anything that plays better than her current instrument.

I must admit repading a flute is not easy. I tried it myself on my old Artley recently, and it leaks a bit. Flute is quite sensitive to leaks, especially the low notes. Still, I wouldn't spend more money on repad than what (I assume) the instrument itself is worth.

You can get used Yamaha 461 (offset G) or 481 (inline G) on Ebay for around $1000 these days. In fact, I got 461 recently for just over $1000 (which may be a bit on the high end when compared to other recent deals, but for me it's worth it). Both should come with B foot and solid silver headjoint (CY). I've searched for others' comments and concluded that the headjoint is more crucial than the body itself. Other higher-end Yamaha pro models come with solid silver body as well, but as such they'll be much more expensive. I believe 4xx intermediate models will give you the most "bang for buck".

Other option as you mentioned is to get a cheap body with a silver headjoint. But since you are willing to spend over $1000, you should have no problem finding a very good instrument with matching headjoint and body that will retain its value over years.
 

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Your daughter would turn down a new $1200 flute over a new $400 flute?!?

She's certainly cast from something different than my own....
 

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Ops, I just looked up Yamaha website. 461 also has silver body, only the keys are nickel silver. Wow, so my flute is better than I thought. :)
 

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She actually lives in Northern Alberta ... a number of hours from any shop with reasonable stock. So, I would like to focus in on two or three flutes and then see if she can find them to try.
A quick search on google revealed this and this.
 

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I'd go with Yamaha. They're a great company with a great reputation. I've played some of their flutes, and preferred them over some more expensive flutes. She of course will have to make the final decision, but Yamaha's quality control seems to be 2nd to none.
I'd also suggest offset G, just because it fits the hand better, giving you better finger control. Other options like open hole and b foot are good too, and depending on what level she is playing, and what she wants to do with music may or may not be a necessity. I play a lot of newer music, and the B foot does help (Khachaturian Concerto, Borne Fantasie on Carmen and some others), and open holes, for me, are great with 1/4 tones, glissandi and some extreme upper register fingerings.

Some other great flutes I've tried are Azumi (by Altus), DiZhao (I currently own), Avanti (by Brannen), and Amadeus (by Haynes). They're all great setups, and reasonably just above your higher price range.
 

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Of those I would go with the Yamaha, a BIG improvement over the Artley. The only really good Artleys were the Wilkins models. See if she will take a C foot rather than a B foot. If so, there are great buys to be found. A closed hole Haynes in good condition should run about $1,500. I have all silver flutes, open hole, C foot in all silver including the keywork ready to play in the $650-750 range. High end stuff...Wilkins, Gemeinhardt 3SS and DeFord thinwall. Although the flutes I produce are over $2,000, I still find a lot of gems around. Assuming the Yamaha 461H is what she is looking for, make sure it can be returned if it doesn't play that well. Repadding a better open-hole flute usually runs over $350 with a good tech.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Many thanks everyone for the great input. It looks like my leanings towards suggesting a Yamaha would be a safe bet.

Cheers.
W.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
So after reading pretty much all she could on SOTW, she has decided that she
  • Does not want an open hole flute and does not want to plug the holes. IOW, she wants a closed hole flute from the factory.
  • Would like a Yamaha ... however closed hole flutes from Yamaha are custom ordered and not common to find.
  • The lower B foot is not a requirement
  • Offset G is a must.
  • Solid silver head joint is a must
  • Thicker wall solid silver body would be nice
So ... considering the above, what can you recommend ?

W.
 

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You might also keep an eye out for a Haynes Commercial or a Muramatsu Standard. Both are older models, but they're also excellent handmade flutes, and they were popular enough that you might get lucky and score a deal on one. My Muramatsu is closed-hole, offset-G and has a C foot. It's also a terrific instrument to play, and I doubt I'd ever need to upgrade anything except maybe the headjoint.
 

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So after reading pretty much all she could on SOTW, she has decided that she
  • Does not want an open hole flute and does not want to plug the holes. IOW, she wants a closed hole flute from the factory.
  • Would like a Yamaha ... however closed hole flutes from Yamaha are custom ordered and not common to find.
  • The lower B foot is not a requirement
  • Offset G is a must.
  • Solid silver head joint is a must
  • Thicker wall solid silver body would be nice
So ... considering the above, what can you recommend ?

W.

Here you go. I saw one for $1510. Take a look at the model 421 at the link below. Get a new Yamaha. You might save yourself some headaches going with a used whatever.

Plus you said " Would like a Yamaha ". This one meets everything you're asking.

http://usa.yamaha.com/products/musical-instruments/winds/flutes/flutes/yfl-421/?mode=model
 

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Yamaha. And it's way ahead of Gemeinhardt.

Ignore silver heads and bodies on what is basically still student flutes, and that includes the Yamaha 421. The metal makes no difference. Just a marketing ploy to sell silver at a huge profit, and minor cosmetic advantages.

So re "•Solid silver head joint is a must •Thicker wall solid silver body would be nice"... She's nuts!
If you want to pay more, then the next important thing is that the head is designed/made to professional standards (and that will normally mean it is silver or gold, but it is still not the silver that makes it good. It's the precise detail of the shape.)

Play a student Yamaha and save your pennies for a professional flute, eg Muramatsu EX at some later time. A player should not consider a pro flute until they are of a sufficient standard to wisely choose between dozens of models of pro flute.

A student Yamaha is equivalent to a Corolla or Primera in the world of cars. Most people actually don't need the Merc! A player has to be pretty darn good before a student Yamaha in good adjustment is the limiting factor.

"•Does not want an open hole flute and does not want to plug the holes. IOW, she wants a closed hole flute from the factory.
•Would like a Yamaha ... however closed hole flutes from Yamaha are custom ordered and not common to find.
•The lower B foot is not a requirement
•Offset G is a must."

IMO, wise. And consider a split E.


Be wary of older model pro flutes. They often have a head that is quite inferior by today's standards, i.e. no better, if that, than a student Yamaha, which is a good yardstick by which to measure flutes.

All IMO based on a lot of experience as a player and technician. And a healthy awareness of acoustic science. And having "been there"!
 

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Yamaha. And it's way ahead of Gemeinhardt.

Ignore silver heads and bodies on what is basically still student flutes, and that includes the Yamaha 421. The metal makes no difference. Just a marketing ploy to sell silver at a huge profit, and minor cosmetic advantages.

So re "•Solid silver head joint is a must •Thicker wall solid silver body would be nice"... She's nuts!
If you want to pay more, then the next important thing is that the head is designed/made to professional standards (and that will normally mean it is silver or gold, but it is still not the silver that makes it good. It's the precise detail of the shape.)

Play a student Yamaha and save your pennies for a professional flute, eg Muramatsu EX at some later time. A player should not consider a pro flute until they are of a sufficient standard to wisely choose between dozens of models of pro flute.

A student Yamaha is equivalent to a Corolla or Primera in the world of cars. Most people actually don't need the Merc! A player has to be pretty darn good before a student Yamaha in good adjustment is the limiting factor.

"•Does not want an open hole flute and does not want to plug the holes. IOW, she wants a closed hole flute from the factory.
•Would like a Yamaha ... however closed hole flutes from Yamaha are custom ordered and not common to find.
•The lower B foot is not a requirement
•Offset G is a must."

IMO, wise. And consider a split E.


Be wary of older model pro flutes. They often have a head that is quite inferior by today's standards, i.e. no better, if that, than a student Yamaha, which is a good yardstick by which to measure flutes.

All IMO based on a lot of experience as a player and technician. And a healthy awareness of acoustic science. And having "been there"!
Hi Gordon. I merely suggested what was asked for when I said the Yamaha 421.

If she has it in her mind that she wants silver then I'm not going to try and change it.

The 421 met every criterion she asked for except maybe the thicker wall:

"Does not want an open hole flute and does not want to plug the holes. IOW, she wants a closed hole flute from the factory.
Would like a Yamaha ... however closed hole flutes from Yamaha are custom ordered and not common to find.
The lower B foot is not a requirement
Offset G is a must.
Solid silver head joint is a must
Thicker wall solid silver body would be nice"

Hey I don't work for Yamaha.

When I went with a friend to help select a new flute I suggested the Gemeinhardt 2SP because it was the best flute they had in the store and my friend didn't want to pay more. It was made in America which may mean nothing.

It was better than all the silver open hole B foot joint etc flutes. It played as well as my Yamaha 581 H with the EC head joint.

I believe the tone hole was undercut on the Gemeinhardt like my EC.

It outplayed all the others I tried. The salesman went in the back and brought out a brand spanking new one from the factory for some reason. I still don't know why.

I couldn't get a sound out of it. So because I as a player discovered that they had a flute with a major defect the salesman gave my friend the one I had selected with a big discount.

So to sum up I only suggested the 421 because it filled every requirement she had.

I understand what your saying about the minimal if any difference between silver and non silver but she has her mind set.

She's the one that believes all these things are important and she knows exactly what she wants. So ultimately it's not what you or I want it's what she wants.

So whatever inspires her to play with confidence works for me.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Many thanks for those that took time to leave comments ! Very helpful ...

Before equake posted his good comments, I was not aware of the Yamaha 421, even though I had spent an hour on the Yamaha site looking around. It now makes me wonder if Yamaha has a closed hole 5xx model ? If so, I cant seem to see it.

Any more comments, pros or cons, will also be appreciated.

W.
 

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Hi Wmclean. I couldn't find the closed hole in the 500 series. The technical name for a closed hole is plateau flute.

The open hole is called the French model.

As I said before the Yamaha 421 fits every criterion you asked for.

The 500 series and up come with the EC head joint. They start to get expensive and way beyond your price limit. They all seemed to be the open hole model.

If you are going to pay a lot more then I would suggest looking at other brands also.

I don't know about the newer brands.

I would look at Muramatsu, Powell and Haynes and not their offshoot brands either. These are expensive but at least you'll know what's out there.

And this can give you a better idea of what to look for.

Whatever you do don't settle for something someone suggests and she doesn't want.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I think we got a "lock on" ... actively looking for a Yamaha 421 or 481 closed hole flute.

Thanks to you all !
W.
 
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