A bit of interesting history about Jethro Tull is that at one time they literally were given a pile of instruments by a friend - basically cleaning out his stuff that was lying around. The flute was basically whatever they had, as were their guitars, mandolins, keyboards, and so on. Starving artists and all of that. Each of them learned how to "play" about half a dozen instruments to various degrees. As opposed, to, say, Boston or ELO, which was engineered by established musicians to be the way it sounded.
So trying to use the same flute isn't a big deal. He used an old flute because it was what he had. Why this is important is because it shows how much it is talent and accompaniment/working with the others versus what the instrument is made out of.
So let's get down to materials. This is a re-post of a previous post of mine, since I tend to repeat this quite often.
For myself, quality of construction is very much a concern. Metal is simply not, though. From a standpoint of actual physics, the actual metal hardly makes any difference at all. So a *body* from one manufacturer to another is pretty much the same other than small changes in harmonics and tuning.
Now, other dramatically different materials like wood, glass, and plastic, do make a fundamental change to the overall tone of the flute, but that also is consistent across the entire range (it's just making it all brighter or darker, louder or softer - the sound is still a "flute"). Minor changes in alloy composition or wall thickness really doesn't do much that the audience can hear.
Do a youtube search for "A New Metal for Flutes". Check out the last player. He gets pretty much every tone possible out of the headjoint. None of it's coming from the body itself, so so little that it's completely buried by what he's doing. This isn't a plug for a titanium headjoint, necessarily, but to prove that it's almost all the headjoint and the player. The body is just a means to make that tone hit different pitches.
What this means is that you can save a *lot* of money by getting a less expensive plated or normal silver body and concentrate on the other 90%+ of the sound, which is the headjoint. Obviously you want something designed with a modern scale and a B foot. (some flutes are tuned for a C foot, most are not lately).
In short, metal means nothing. Construction (especially the tuning and scale) and the headjoint do. And by shopping with this in mind, you can save a ton of money. But of course, WHY flutes with more expensive metals sound better is because the headjoint is worked on by better craftsmen and given more fine tuning. A student headjoint is usually made by machine and gone over for a minute or two by a worker by comparison.
The trick, then, is to get a professional headjoint on a basic but acceptable body. Thankfully, many makers make a budget model that's like this now.
Brannen makes the Avanti.
Altus makes Azumi.
Powell makes Sonare.
Haynes makes Amadeus.
These represent your best bet as they give you a serviceable body but often the same headjoint as the main upper-end brand. If you are looking for a great deal, though, used, then you should look at Sankyo, Pearl, and Haynes as well.
Nancys used flutes (http://www.flutestar.com/Usedflutes.html) are good.
I bought a Yamaha 371 from her and changed to a Sankyo RT-3 headjoint and although my friends have flutes that cost up to $5000, they admitt that my flute sounds better.
Well If you want to buy used, I would ask flute teachers if any of their students are selling their flutes. Some brands I would recomend are Azumi( which is what I play on and its amazing I got it used for about half of retail) Yamaha,Amadeus, Sonare, Trevor James, all of these brands have flutes decently priced, even new flutes in the price range you described. Shop around, and ask other flute players is the best way to find used flutes.
Of the budget-line flutes I listed, two are better than the others. Sonare is made by Powell, and while it's not as nice as a Pearl or a Yamaha in many ways, it has Powell's modern scale and tuning, so it's nice if you're playing with others. It's tuned to 442 and a B foot and so on.
The best sounding of the four was Avanti, which is the budget Brannen. They are, IMO, a solid step above and ahead of the others in terms of technology and tuning. I don't like that it's all made overseas, though. But it does sound lovely. With the Sonare, it really is a U.S. made Powell headjoint on that body.
Pearl is also its own company that tries to beat Yamaha at its own game. Lots of players have one because they are well made and sound very good for the price. Just get one that's made in Taiwan or Japan if you can.
But, neither of them will sound like a good used Sankyo or Haynes. Note - my favorite of the old flutes is a 1960s-70s era Haynes Commercial model. They have an older scale and tuning. But they also can be found for about $1800 in good condition with new pads and so on (ready to go). I mean, if the great flute players of our youths/previous generation played on them, they don't suck. It's not like metal wears out, either, barring abuse or corrosion.
Do they sound like a new $10K Powell or Brannen? No. Better tools and technology in the last 5-8 years, and especially computers/samplers/etc have seen to that. But for the price an older professional flute can absolutely crush anything in the intermediate range - and hardly lose you a dime in depreciation when it's time to move on. The downside if you might search 6 months to find one that's in good condition and has a good headjoint. You might have to try several used flutes to find a good one, even from the same model.
The reason why I want to overhaul the artley and re-do the silver plating is that - first - I really enjoy playing it - even though I am a terrible player- I find great satisfaction with the Artley c foot. It also brings back great memories listening to ian Anderson in the 70's My artley was made in 1977-78 When Songs from the wood came out. I believe he switched to a Pearl 600 series for the StormWatch album ( Not positive on that one )
I also feel, that while the Artley isn't worth much moneywise - it doesn't mean the old flute doesn't deserve a second chance. So I have decided to have it restored. I don't particularly care if the Artley brand isn't considered a quality brand - Ian anderson did just fine - and I don't recall people running in horror when he played it. He had the talent - even if the flute was considered a
" lesser " brand.
I've considered buying a boxwood or grenadilla headjoint - not because I think my silver flute will suddenly sound like a wooden flute ( I doubt very much that it will )
but in hopes of enjoying the quality and tone of the wooden headjoint simply for what it is. Even if the difference is only slight - It gives me something to try....something to enjoy.
Almost pulled the trigger on a Trevor James Virtuoso............
Till I found out the lip plate was damaged - subsequently repaired - but that there are waves in the metal........ Not cool in my book - so I passed on it. Had my sights on a Pearl 665 but I keep hearing over and over again that the Pearl headjoints are not very good on the lesser models - so I passed on this one as well. Not sure if the 665 is a lesser model - it looked and sounded rather nice. And it's standard features are good....So I'm not sure I want to completely take it off my list. Muramatsu is too expensive ( even used )
I tried the Avanti - and thought it was very nice
The yamaha...not so much - i'm certain it's more me than the flute though. Just personal preference. Azumi sounds nice - as does Amadeus..... but it's hard to find a used one that is under a grand.
If you happen to come across a good deal....please let me know
I am currently trying to sell my used flute. I'm not sure if it is the high quality that you are looking for. I have a Gemeinhardt 3SHB Custom Series Intermediate Flute in Excellent Condition • B Foot • Solid Silver Head Joint with Gold Plated Mouthpiece • Open Holes with Plugs. Comes with hard case, cleaning rod and black leather carry case. Live in Jackson, GA. I was looking to get $750 for it.