Re: Upgrade Headjoint for Yamaha flute 09:51 on Sunday, January 18, 2009
Account Closed (3248 points)
I still like my Yamaha flute mechanism better though; more solid.
Maybe your friends Powell needed some tweaking or the spring tension was also more to your liking on the Yamaha. Just thing to consider. After owning both flute I would say that the Powell mechanism is more much more superior and stronger.
Now as far as your EC head goes. I can't tell you rather to sell or keep it. That is your decision. I can tell you though that I had a Yamaha 581 which was my first very nice flute that was a gift to me from my husband when I first got married and I regret selling it. Even thought I LOVE the flute that I have know, I feel like I should have kept it because there was so much sentimental value behind it.
I don't care much for the Signature cut headjoint but this is the one that you most likely could find in the used $500 range. Unless the headjoint is an old style it may be very hard to find a used Powell headjoint for that price. You most likely will be looking at about $700 and up for any of the other (newer) style heads by Powell. It will be harder to find a used Venti as they are still pretty new to the market. I have never seen a used one yet. I tried a Venti and love it! The Boston cut is no longer being made by Powell and they have since replaced it with the Soloist cut. My favorites are the Venti being tops and a tie between the Soloist and Philharmonic. Just try as many as you can get your hands on and have fun!
Re: Upgrade Headjoint for Yamaha flute 15:46 on Sunday, January 18, 2009
Account Closed (3248 points)
Like I said, I don't care for the Signature head at all. It is made more for an less advanced person and too free blowing without much color for my taste.
As far as what would give widest dynamic/tone color range, that is completely up to the individual player. I can't tell you which one is because we all play differently and any given headjoint will react differently to each player.
That headjoint on craiglist would be a great deal as long as it isn't one of the older style one's. If it is a Boston, Philharmonic, Venti or Solo then it would be a great deal. I suggest you email the seller and ask which cut it is.
That's my idea. It does not mean that *any* new HJ should be better than *any* older HJ, but I think buying older HJs should be consider carefuly and with prior testing of it. The HJ seems to be the most "personal" part of a flute. What is good for someone could be bad for another...
Re: Upgrade Headjoint for Yamaha flute 13:38 on Monday, January 19, 2009
Account Closed (3248 points)
Oh and I was also wondering, what does different riser materials do to a headjoint's properties? Does it in any way change the sound?
This is always up for debate between flutists. I have always preferred 14K risers in blind tests and do notice differences myself.
As far as new headjoints go. Jose is correct. They only seem to get better as time goes with the exception of maybe a rare one or two. You may love an older headjoint and it may work well for you so don't rule it out. Technology and experimental work have come a long way with flutes and headjoints.
Below is a post that I made on another board regarding the metal composition of flutes.
In my experience, the material that a flute is made from does influence the sound. I say influence because the player can alter the tonal quality. I believe that in a masterclass James Galway was demonstrating that by saying that a gold flute sounds like this and then played a very dark sound. He then said this is what a silver flute sounds like and played with a brighter sound. If I tried to quantify this I would say that the sound produced is about 50% the flute and 50% the player (for a very experienced player).
If we look at the flute itself and ignore what the player can do to change to sound, IMHO I think that for the sound a flute produces, 80% of that sound is attributable to the headjoint and 20% is attributable to the rest of the flute. Also, I believe that each can be further broken down as follows:
Please keep in mind that this is my personal opinion and it is not based upon any scientific study. It is simply my observations while trying different flutes and headjoints.
So, IMHO, the keys have very little (if any) influence on what a flute sounds like. Now, nickle silver plated keys are a bit harder to bend than silver keys. HOWEVER, from the player's perspective, it makes no difference. While a light touch is desirable when playing, how hard a player presses a key makes no difference from the flute's perspective. Any player that presses a silver key hard enough to bend it is using WAY too much pressure. Try this test: Pretend for a moment that your left hand is a flute. Place your right thumb in the center of your left palm and the right fingers on the back of the left hand sort of like when you are playing the flute. Now begin to press your fingers down as if you were playing. If you are pressing hard enough to make your hand hurt, then you are pressing too hard. It would take far more pressure than that to bend a key by pressing too hard while playing.
When I tried a number of different headjoints, I had several on trial from the same maker. They all were the same or similar cut, but different material for the body, embouchure, and riser. I also tried headjoints from other makers with the same material, but different cuts. For me, I noticed a bigger difference when comparing headjoints with the same cut and different material than those of the same material but different cuts. Since my samples were selected based upon my own preferences for resistance, color, flexibility, square vs. round cut, etc., my results could certainly be different from a comparison of other headjoints (with broader parameters) by someone else.
As I said, those were my unscientific observations based upon the the flutes/headjoints I tried. YMMV
When you blow into the flute, the air column is split, creating the sound (sometimes referred to as the air reed). The sound vibrations resonate throughout the flute. All parts of the flute (some more than others) resonate along with the vibrating air column. The head joint is especially critical in the resonance of the flute and the tube of the headjoint, along with the other headjoint components, contributes to the overall sound that is heard by the player and listeners.
BODY & KEYS
5% - Body (mostly wall thickness, not materials, unless something exotic/unusual)
0% - Keys
I like to think of the body as exhaust on a Harley. The fundamental tone is the same and instantly recognizable (like a flute is versus other woodwinds). All the pipes do is alter the pitch and volume and so on. - but the famous "lublub lublub" sound is still there.
I have a Powell wood headjoint, it is the Philharmonic cut.
I love it, you can get the highest register to speak, pianissimo. It also will slide an octave or two with very little effort. Pitch is very easily manipulated, too. It won't play really loud, though.
I also have a silver Prima Sankyo NRS-1, which I found very similar to the Yamaha EC. This one can really boom on volume, especially in the low end.
My third HJ is a Miyazawa MZ-5 cut silver, and it gets the best tone of all. It is the one I use most lately, because it seems to cover the most bases. I didn't like it much for a long time, until I played it a lot and got used to it. I bought it off eBay for $350, figuring I would play it and then sell it if I didn't like it. I didn't actively try to sell it.
A headjoint is much less of a risk to buy used, online, than a whole flute, simply because there is much less to go wrong mechanically speaking.
I would try out several (as many as you can), simply because a handcut headjoint can differ a LOT from another one of the same model. Also, some will seem great and others will not really suit you.
If at all possible, I would keep the EC that you already have. I notice that once I get really good at something on one headjoint, I can switch back to another and find another dimension that wasn't there for me before.
Re: Upgrade Headjoint for Yamaha flute 23:10 on Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Account Closed (3248 points)
The seller claimed it to be a combination of a Boston and Philharmonic cut?
No, the seller is mistaken. It is the Solist cut that is said to be a combination of the Boston and Philharmonic, NOT the Signature cut.
There is nothing that I have tried out of MANY headjoint that I could say that the Signature is like. I never thought to put the Sankyo NRS 1 and compare it to the Yamaha EC head either. I found them to be quite different. Of course I am sure the vary from head to head.