I have one with, and two without.
I don't notice a whole lot of difference, especially if the one w/o, that is silver, is a little bit dirty.
The wood one pretty much doesn't slip.
My friend, the Juilliard grad, uses an old return-address sticker, and it keeps her lipplate from slipping.
Engraving is prettier, and might add a bit of resale value.
As far as irritating, sometimes I absentmindedly "feel" the engraving with my lower lip and chin, if I'm bored in a rehearsal, just a nervous habit. It hasn't irritated the skin or distracted me, though.
I found my engraving didn't have any effect with my lip, or slipping, but I'd never had a problem with that in the first place..
As for irritating your lip, it would depend on the person, I mean you think about it, lip sizes vary and all embouchuresa are different too. For me it felt like it gritty against my lip when it was engraved, and took just a little getting used too. A student of mine bought a second hand engraved flute, and a first to get used to it, smooted it over with vaseline, its always an idea for adjusting to it?
I have an engraved gold lip plate. Looks beautiful. I find it doesn't make any difference to slipping. There are many sources of tape that you could use to address this issue, also if you have a skin reaction to the metal.
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i think my flute looks pretty as it is (the indent ring things on the keys that have a hole in could do with a clean though) especially when i have just polishied it, i think that engraving it would look cool but i like it how it is and i dont have a prolem with my head joint slipping
I don't have a problem with the headjoint slipping. I just wondered if that's why they do it, or, if its just a "designer" thing. I also think that some of them look pretty, but somehow I'd be afraid to have mine done ... and then possibly come to realize that I actually don't like it. That's why I asked the question in the first place!