I've been playing a Jupiter DiMedici JFL-911 for 4 years now...there's nothing terribly wrong with the flute aside from one leak, but I am wondering if I have "outgrown" the flute. I have a very good tone on this flute, but I wish I could get more variation in tone color from the instrument.
Additional info: I am currently working on the Prokofiev Sonata (ah! it's hard!) and am looking at one of the Dopplers or the Mercadante Concerto for my next project/round of competitions. I do not know if I will attempt to go pro, but I am on the track to play in college. Is it reasonable for me to upgrade to the middle-high end flutes (e.g. cheaper Muramatsu model) or am I just getting ahead of myself? When/how did you all decide it was time for a new flute, and what models could you recommend?
Thanks! (And please be patient with me, I'm new on this forum ^_^)
It's time to change when you feel, over an ongoing period of time, like you've pretty much hit the end of your present instrument; when you try other instruments that you can get more out of, and feel more satisfaction over a period of time playing. And have the money. When you try new flutes, get them at home for at least a week of your normal playing.
If you are otherwise happy with the flute, you could get the leak fixed, and shop for a new headjoint. The headjoint is 90% - at least - of the instrument, and any number of headjoints out there will give you more to play with than the stock one. You can spend as much for a headjoint as for a step-up flute, but, as a rule, you'll be far better off financially with that one upgrade, and it can be very nearly as good as a whole new instrument.
For example, I recently spent $2100 for a new headjoint with an upgraded crown, rather than spend the $15,000 or so it would have taken to get the flute that normally housed that headjoint. There's not that much difference in the playing characteristics.
For that matter, experimenting with the cork and crown on your existing headjoint can make quite a difference. Some respond better to a heavier crown, others to a lighter one. Check out, for one, Robert Bigio's several options at http://www.bigio.com/stoppersandcrowns.htm. There are quite a few more alternatives if you play with google a bit. This would be even less expensive than a headjoint if it works. Most are inexpensive enough that you can try several with out breaking the credit card.
Also consider used flutes. http://www.fluteworld.com/index.php?action=kat&wart=ufpa and usedflutes.com, as well as many others, have excellent used instruments for sale. You may find that an older flute suits you better than the new ones anyway. A student of mine just bought an early 60's Powell, for example, in preference to many newer ones we tried out. There was enough left over in their budget to upgrade the headjoint.
If you're within reach of Boston, consider getting some professional help in finding an instrument that really suits you. You pay for the service, of course, but you do get YOUR flute that's waiting out there for you to find it, and I expect you would consider it money well spent. Check flutistry.com.
Yeah that was a pretty complete comment. I say that when you feel you can't grow more, or you feel as if a different flute would help you grow thats when its time to upgrade. In my case I've gone through 3 flutes in 2 years. A bundy to an open holed armstrong, to an azumi, and now I'm considering moving up again. Its not anything someone can tell you, you have to feel it for yourself.