looking for a cheap piccolo and/or flute upgrade

looking for a cheap piccolo and/or flute upgrade

looking for a cheap piccolo and/or flute upgrade    18:43 on Thursday, April 09, 2009          

(3 points)
Posted by munchkin

ive been playing flute now for 9 years and i would like to try playing the piccolo, but i have no idea about good brands or what materials would be better if its just for indoor school use.

and since parents dont wat to send too much on one, does anyone know good brands that arnt too expensive (is it possible to get one for under $300-$400?

and also, ive been thinking about upgrading my yamaha flute, any ideas (any cost for this one)

thanks :D

Re: looking for a cheap piccolo and/or flute upgrade    13:19 on Friday, April 10, 2009          

Account Closed
(3248 points)
Posted by Account Closed

Yamaha and Pearl would NOT be in their price range. You are not going to be able to get a new good brand for in your price range. You may be able to find a used one in that price range though. Plastic is fine for HS unless you are really serious about it and are thinking about majoring in college with it.

Re: looking for a cheap piccolo and/or flute upgrade    21:30 on Saturday, April 11, 2009          

(480 points)
Posted by Tibbiecow

A Yamaha 32 or Gemeinhardt 4P piccolowould probably work very well for you. Look for a used, rebuilt one, from a good flute technician.

As for a flute upgrade, you could do just dandy with a headjoint upgrade in your own Yamaha flute.

Also, have your flute gone over carefully by a technician who shims flute pads to fit the flute. A good flute repair tech will do this. Most band-instrument repair techs can re-build and repad flutes, but they usually use a very soft pad and literally bake the pad while it is clamped onto the flute's tone hole, using minimal pad shimming. Those pad jobs don't last as long, because the pad is softer and loses its shape (and therefore its sealing ability) sooner.

You can put a handmade, professional headjoint into your Yamaha flute. As long as the padding and adjustment job are top-notch, such a setup will outplay any of the Armstrong, Emerson, Gemeinhardt 'upgrade/conservatory' and 'professional' flutes. The good 'upgrade' brands are essentially handmade headjoints put into an inexpensive flute body. These brand names, such as Sonare (Powell) Resona (Burkart) Azumi (Altus), Amadeus (Haynes) etc make great upgrade flutes, but they will cost quite a lot more than just putting a pro headjoint in your Yamaha.

In addition, the Yamaha flutes have a fantastic reputation for reliability and repairability, the inexpensive bodies on the good 'upgrade' flutes I just mentioned will be more of a gamble.

Don't be suckered into buying a flute and thinking it's better than your student Yamaha because it has open holes or a B footjoint. These features will not change the tone or sound of the flute. The headjoint does that, as long as the flute body is in good repair with no pad leaks.

You might try a Yamaha EC headjoint, which can be found used for $450 or so. If you can find them used, also look at Miyazawa, Prima Sankyo, Powell, Burkart and any other handmade sterling headjoints you can find.

Re: looking for a cheap piccolo and/or flute upgrade    21:40 on Saturday, April 11, 2009          

(3 points)
Posted by munchkin

thanks! ill look into those brands for the piccolos then and see if i can find a second hand on for a resonable price, and my flute is a yamaha 221? i think, the numbers arnt that clear. my teacher however rekons that i'm due for an upgrade seeing as ive had this one since i started and the with the repairs it needs, id be better of getting a new one, would it be worth getting the same type?

Re: looking for a cheap piccolo and/or flute upgrade    13:39 on Sunday, April 12, 2009          

(480 points)
Posted by Tibbiecow

I'd take your flute in to a FLUTE TECHNICIAN (don't go to the Band Instrument Repair person, you may have to send your flute away to do this) for a complete overhaul. At that point, assuming your flute hasn't had anything bent or broken beyond repair, which most Yamaha flutes won't, you'll have a really nice instrument. In lots of ways, the Yamaha student flute is superior to other Band brands' upgrade flutes. Find a pro headjoint to go in it, and you're good until at least halfway through college level.

If your flute teacher tells you that you must have open holes because they make you sound better, you need a new (and better informed) flute teacher. If your flute teacher tells you that you need open holes to study jazz and extended technique- like right now, rather than a few years from now in college- then you may need them.

Take a look here, you'll see that your Yamaha 221 is on the recommended flute list, and that a pro headjoint makes a great upgrade:

Re: looking for a cheap piccolo and/or flute upgrade    22:03 on Sunday, April 12, 2009          

(78 points)
Posted by mormika

My flute teacher told me even a yamaha 221 student flute is much better what I've got. I think i have the best flute teacher in the world. )) She is the same like on this video totally same she watches my fingers, my embochure, my shoulders (cuz I still have that stupid habit when i take breath) and she watches my rib cage, she makes fun of wrong habits. ) She shows me the right way how to approach every lil' important thing. I just really love her how he teaches me.


oops I forgot to copy the link here we go:

Re: looking for a cheap piccolo and/or flute upgrade    00:45 on Monday, April 13, 2009          

Account Closed
(3248 points)
Posted by Account Closed

Yeah... it will be really great when you are able to get your new flute!

The video was really fun to watch. Thanks for sharing By the way, what brand of flute does your teacher play on? Is it a vintage? I wish that I could take lessons from her.

Re: looking for a cheap piccolo and/or flute upgrade    11:55 on Monday, April 13, 2009          

(480 points)
Posted by Tibbiecow

OK, I must not be understanding something.
You said, "my flute is a yamaha 221? i think"

And then, "my teacher told me that a Yamaha 221 student flute would be better than what I have right now".

I was assuming, from the first comment, that you already HAVE a Yamaha 221, and it needs some serious repair work. A complete overhaul by a competent flute repair person should put it back to excellent condition. Ask your teacher for a flute-technician referral.

There are only a very few problems from which a Yamaha student flute would not be fixable, for example being completely bent or having physical dents/damage to the embouchure. If the embouchure is the problem, a new headjoint should fix the problem completely.

Kara, I think she's saying that the teacher in the video is 'just like' her teacher, not her own teacher, but again it isn't completely clear.

Anyway, it sounds like you have a competent teacher, and she should be able to help you with a flute upgrade. In fact, having your teacher play prospective new flutes (ALWAYS get a flute on trial before you commit to buying it) will help you find that perfect flute. Your teacher will be able to evaluate the flute in ways that you can't, yet. By the time you're ability gets up to speed, you'll have a flute that won't hold you back.

Re: looking for a cheap piccolo and/or flute upgrade    19:45 on Monday, April 13, 2009          

(3 points)
Posted by munchkin

lol sorry for the confusion, atm my flute isnt in the best of conditions, and my teacher has Suggested getting a new one, is it worth getting a NEW yamaha 221, or a different type. the body is dented and scratched etc on my current one.

Re: looking for a cheap piccolo and/or flute upgrade    15:19 on Tuesday, April 14, 2009          

(423 points)
Posted by Plekto

If you can stretch your budget a bit, you can get some good deals on used Yamaha, Pearl, and other makes as well. In fact, I ran across an add for a 1960s era Gemeinhardt 5SS for $900. It's one of the few that they made that were truly great to play on and a good step up from a student model, to say the least.

But the rubbish they churned out in the 80s and 90s makes for really low resale values.

Older Yamaha 581s and similar 1990s era intermediate models also are good choices that routinely go for less than a thousand dollars. IMO, it's better to go up to an intermediate or semi-pro flute after a few years instead of getting another student/entry level model. Yes, this will cost money, but you've been playing for 9 years and a better flute is worth the money.

Note - obviously don't think you have to buy a "pro" flute - my old Yamaha 581 only needed a new headjoint after nearly 15 years of playing it. It's not expensive or flashy, but more than gets the job done. And who wants to worry about a $3-4K+ flute when on a gig or just jamming with friends?


edit - yes, flutes are pricey. Money isn't worth half what it was in the 80's either, so $500-$1000 used is unfortunately a reality. But you can get some very very good deals now if you have the money due to people selling, well, almost anything that they can in this bad economy.

Re: looking for a cheap piccolo and/or flute upgrade    15:36 on Tuesday, April 14, 2009          

(480 points)
Posted by Tibbiecow

Well, dents can be taken out, and scratches are cosmetic so won't affect the sound of the flute. A dented headjoint, especially around the mouthpiece/embouchure hole, would need replacement.
If you truly don't have a lot of money to spend, I still would overhaul your own Yamaha 221 (around $350) and get a pro headjoint for it (used, another $350 to $500).

If you can find a used Yamaha 221 in great condition (as per repair tech) for less than the cost of an overhaul, then maybe you should consider that.

I have a Pearl 501E student flute ($400, used but near perfect condition) that I often play with a $350 (used, perfect condition) handmade Miyazawa headjoint. This combo has served as backup flute for two players in our symphony while their flutes were in for repairs, and it would be a dandy upgrade flute for most HS level students.

Otherwise, the Azumi/Altus, Sonare/Powell, Amadeus/Haynes, Resona/Burkart type brands have been a fantastic value for the money.

I want to apologize, also, for my comment about needing a new flute teacher if h/she tells you open holes make for better tone. That was rude. If your teacher did tell you that, she is mis-informed about that particular issue, and may be an outstanding teacher otherwise.

Re: looking for a cheap piccolo and/or flute upgrade    11:16 on Saturday, October 10, 2009          

(130 points)
Posted by TBFlute

An older flute is not necessarily better than a modern flute. There have been great developments in scale in recent years, which makes modern instruments much easier to play in tune. While older headjoints play quite sweetly, they will probably also lack the dynamic range that is expected of today's players.

Some players swear by vintage flutes, such as Haynes flutes from the 50s and 60s, three-digit Powells, and vintage French flutes. I'm not going to deny that they are fun to play at conventions and flute fairs. Overall, however, I prefer a modern flute with a more flexible headjoint cut.

Re: looking for a cheap piccolo and/or flute upgrade    19:14 on Saturday, October 10, 2009          

(1335 points)
Posted by Bilbo

I would like to find me a good old Bonneville flute someday but that is when I have enough money to spend and when I find one that is in excellent working condition. So, I'm not in a hurry. In NYC, NFA, I tried out a few older flutes but they weren't working nearly as well as the newer Powells, Naggies and Haynes. So, I think that I'd only buy an older flute if I knew that it could be properly adjusted to top shape.

N.E. Ohio


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