Yamaha or Pearl?

Yamaha or Pearl?

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Yamaha or Pearl?    06:33 on Sunday, March 10, 2013

(1 point)

I'm sure you get questions like this a lot, but I'm looking to upgrade my flute.

I currently play a very old second hand Trevor James Privilege.
I'm at Grade 7 ABRSM standard. I live in Ireland, where there is pretty much only one or two good flute shops, and very little selection.

I went to a shop yesterday and test played a Yamaha YFL371 and a Pearl 665RE with a Forza headjoint.
Both flutes are open hole with sterling silver headjoints and are about the same price.

I think I preferred the Pearl. It was light and responsive, and high notes were very easy to play.
I found the Yamaha was heavier and harder to play, but my mum assured me it had a richer tone.

I won't be buying anything for a while yet, and will go to test play the flutes again, but I was wondering which brand is generally more reputable,
or if there are any other models in the same price range that I should look for?


Re: Yamaha or Pearl?    07:43 on Sunday, March 10, 2013

(657 points)

but I was wondering which brand is generally more reputable,

Both are reputable. You don't have to worry about that.

Joe B

Re: Yamaha or Pearl?    08:18 on Sunday, March 10, 2013

(57 points)

Like Joe said, both are reputable brands. However, and this is just me, when I look for a new instrument, I want to try to find one that won't just be so easy to play that after a year or so I can't grow any more as a player. I want to find one that would be a challenge ( That is the only word I can think of) to me, one that I can grow on for a longer period of time.
Hope this helps, and good luck.

Re: Yamaha or Pearl?    10:16 on Monday, March 11, 2013

(57 points)


How would you distinguish between a flute that's hard to play because its more technically demanding, versus a flute that's hard to play because its just a bad flute?

Re: Yamaha or Pearl?    13:44 on Monday, March 11, 2013

(57 points)

Well usually I can just tell,it shouldn't be hard to distinguish a flute that is more demanding from a bad flute. A good flute will usually be one of a reputable brand, and you should be able to make a sound on it, but you should feel as though you're not giving it your all.A bad flute will be more difficult to play, like you have a very hard time getting a sound out,notes don't come out without you having to mash the keys, or don't come out at all.That sort of thing. Even if I like a flute I would have my teacher or my friend who is a more advanced flute player play it as well. I know this is vague, but its just something that I can feel as a player, I can feel which flute feels right in my hands, and which will give me satisfaction. Spotting a cheap flute is really just knowing what your ability is, and knowing the backround information on the flutes you look at. Like seriously research , look up reviews, etc.

Re: Yamaha or Pearl?    19:38 on Monday, March 11, 2013

(657 points)

The point is that feel is different for everyone. What one person deems "Bad" is "fantastic" to the next. While you can distinguish between what has quality issues or problems, distinguishing between a preferentially "good" and "bad" flute that works as it should is a purely subjective exercise.

All advice aside, The choice remains ultimately with the player.

Joe B

Re: Yamaha or Pearl?    12:56 on Tuesday, March 12, 2013

(423 points)

Also be aware that metal is metal. Wood will sound different than a metal flute, but it could be made out of brass or silver or pretty much whatever else and work the same if the company is making them with the same features and quality. Metal is, as a rule, too dense to resonate loud enough to make a difference our ears can hear beyond a foot or two.

This can save you a lot of money by getting a higher-end model with more basic plated or alloy construction. You might care for emotional reasons, but the audience won't hear any difference unless maybe you're in a recording studio and they are bleeding-edge audiophile types listening with headphones.

My personal take on different brands:
Haynes, Brannen, Altus, Muramatsu, Powell, and Sankyo are the major upper-end makes that most people will come across (custom makers aside of course, and there are some I missed as well I'm sure). These all work very well as a rule and many people have had successful careers with them. But you and I aren't insanely rich, nor are your parents either (most likely). So more sane options have to be found for a person who is still in school.

- Yamaha is a good mid-range model as is Pearl. The advantage is that it is a basic workhorse and gets the job done without being *too* much of an issue if it gets stolen or damaged. ($2K vs $10K+) The bodies are very sturdy which is why a lot of musicians like them since they travel well.

My main gripe with the (non-student level) Yamahas and Pearls is that the flutes are hit or miss lately (last decade or so) in the construction of their bodies. Most are great, and others are just not quite right. They almost reach pro levels but seem stuck in this odd mid-range. Then again, there are TON of used Yamaha and Pearl flutes out there and they will work great through high school and college on a budget.

Of course, be sure to try them at a reputable dealer or shop - don't buy anything used without testing it first. I tested three different ones with my son when I got him his flute. Same make and model. All three sounded different.

- Amadeus is made by Haynes as a budget line. IMO, they sound almost exactly like Yamaha. This can possibly save you some money as Yamaha are fine but a bit overpriced.

- Azumi is made by Altus as a budget line. They sound OK to me. Nothing special. Nothing bad, either, though. Just OK. Note that you can get a basic Altus - the real deal as it were for only a little more money than the Azumi.

- Avanti is/was made by Brannen and Selmer. It has a nice sound to me - a bit better sounding than the Yamaha or Pearl. They have stopped making them but some are still out there.

- Sonare is made by Powell and is a bit of a mixed bag in that some models sound so-so and others have a really good headjoint and sound very good. I suspect this is because, like almost all of these "entry line" flutes, they are being made in "Asia" (pick a country with cheap labor costs) and quality control isn't perfect.

If you have $3K or so, though, Altus is highly recommended as it's the lowest cost handmade flute that I know of. It's getting harder and harder to get anything that is made in Japan or the U.S. any more. Maybe it's me, but the quality control at the factory seems to be the most critical aspect of instrument making.


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