Hello everyone. I was hoping to get some advice from the group. My daughter plays a gemeinhardt 3SHB which she has played for 6 years. The last time we got a COA the tech suggested that it might be time to look at a new flute. It falls out of adjustment quickly and the plating is going quickly. She is 16 and plans to continue the flute and is going to try out for the local youth symphony this fall.
I saw a local ad for a Yamaha 674HHV (used). We went and she had a chance to play it. She liked it, but there were some slow moving parts that it seemed to me would require at least a COA to fix. It didn't appear to be damaged physically. She said she "loved it" when we left. The person was asking $1000 for the flute.
On the way home we stopped at Sam Ash so she could compare to other flutes. She played several, a Pearl Quantz, a gemeinhardt 3SB, a Yamaha 381. Then she picked up a Yamaha 481H and fell in love with it. I can't play, but I can listen, and she made some beautiful sounds with this flute. Of course, it is $700 more than the used on we looked at.
Looking purely at the specs of the 674 it "should" be a better flute. Hand cut headjoint, gold springs, etc. I'm trying to wrap my head around all these subtle details. Is it just because the 674 was out of adjustment? Was the 674 just a dud? Is it because it is a more professional level flute and is harder to play well? Was the 481 just a "cherry" example that she happened to try and if she tried another it wouldn't speak to her?
Sorry if I'm rambling, but this is a big purchase and I want to do the right thing. My daughter is a bit impuslive and I want to throttle her when necessary, but also want to trust her judgement.
Any advice on moving forward will be MUCH appreciated.
This reminds me of what happened to me over the weekend. I went to the local music store with a friend just to try things out and I tried a Yamaha 400 something and a 300 something. The 400 something was way out of adjustment and the 300 something was in very good working order. If I had to pick one of those flutes to buy on the spot, I would have bought the 300 something even the the 400 something is technically the "better" flute. Now they said that if I was interested in buying the 400, they would send it in and get it fixed before I buy it. Keep in mind that these were brand new instruments that have not been used by anyone else...ever.
In your case, if you're willing to pay for either of them, I would go with the flute that she likes more. It is her flute after all. She is going to be the one stuck playing it, not you. So she has to be comfortable with the flute she is playing regardless of what it is made of and its specs. Yamaha is an all around good flute maker. Any flute that is a Yamaha is a very good quality flute. So either would be OK as long as she is comfortable playing it and it sounds good for her.
Thanks everyone for the advice. I'm going to make an executive decision and get the 674. Hopefully after a clean and adjust that it will be in top shape. I'm nervous about potential problems, but hopeful that it will turn out to be a fantastic instrument.
This seems to be one of those decisions that are impossible to make totally logically.
Re: used vs. new 09:26 on Saturday, December 25, 2010
Micron has summarized many points that I agree with, because I have had an experience similar to what he describes.
I owned three flutes so far, an old Gemeinhardt, a Yamaha YFL674 I purchased brand new and a Yamaha YFL211 I bought used but in very good shape.
There are important differences among these three, most noticeably with the old Gemeinhardt because it (the one I have) cannot compare in quality and design with any good Yamaha. But for the Yamahas, well, this is more difficult to assess.
The price difference between a 211 and a 674 is at least 5:1 (both new) but the difference in sound quality (all included) is not so big.
But it also depends heavily on the player level and I am aware my level was not good enough as to take full advantage of the 674 headjoint with its EC cut. It is considerably more difficult to play than the 211 CY. It has taken me many months (if not years) to learn to play it reasonably well.
Now, to continue a career as flutist or advance far enough as a student, a more professional headjoint as the 674 would be better, IMO, than the 211 or 221. But I suggest to let your daughter give it a try, before committing big money on an instrument that requires adjustment or repair at the same moment you buy it. I find it a little strange.
I have more recently upgraded from my 674 HJ to a professional Nahagara model. This change renewed the difficulties and the need to re-learn how to manage this powerful headjoint to really improve my tone colour and dynamics.
My conclusion, after all these testing and learnings, is that I could have done much better, easier and cheaper if I had gone from my original Gemeinhardt M3 to a Yamaha 211 and then to a better headjoint or headjoint+body combination.
Now I cannot afford a full Nagahara that is over 12,000$ (silver model), so I will stay with my present Nagahara HJ + Yamaha 674 Body and foot.
But there are other brands that are very good and more affordable, so the decision may need considerable time, testing and reflection.