Flute Shopping

Flute Shopping

Flute Shopping    00:02 on Tuesday, January 03, 2012          

(4 points)
Posted by quinne

Hi All -- How nice to find a message board of flutists! I'm hoping that some of you more experienced players can help me in my quest. My story: I played for many years -- from the age of 11 until my late twenties. During that time I went from my beginner Artley, to a silver head Armstrong, to a solid silver open-holed Emerson with low B. I was a pretty good player -- played in orchestra, band, for theatre (orchestra pit), cafe playing, etc. My flute was stolen from my car, and my playing came to a screeching halt. Life then took other turns (marriage, children), and although I have an old clunker student flute that I play occasionally, it's not very satisfying (I always feel like I'm trying to cajole a stubborn donkey when I play it.) I'm ready to really get back into practicing and performing again, and need something more responsive.

Many new flutes have come on to the market since I was younger (I'm in my 50's now), so I'm rather in the dark as to what's considered decent these days. I'm a bit hamstrung in my ability to purchase from a music store as I live way out in the back side of the boonies. Although I may be able to make a trip to the city eventually, I'm thinking of buying online. My budget is limited, so I really can't afford what I'd like to have, so I'll go for the best I can get. Of course, I want a solid silver headjoint; in addition, I want a low B foot and open-hole. I don't care if it's in-line or offset G, I can play both. I'm pretty good at adjusting for pitch, but of course, a flute in tune across the octaves is a delight. I don't think I can spend over $600 or $800. I'm happy to get a used flute in decent shape. Additionally, I prefer a dusky, warm tone, to bright. What do you think? Would an Armstrong 80B be a good choice? I liked my Emerson, it had a lovely tone, but it was always going out of adjustment.

Thanks in advance for your opinions, I appreciate it. I'm greatly looking forward to getting back into playing again. With a decent flute, I plan on playing in the little symphony in the town down the road.

Re: Flute Shopping    08:18 on Wednesday, January 04, 2012          

(2369 points)
Posted by jose_luis

Hi! Welcome on board.

Buying ah used flute on line can be dangerous, unless you know and can trust the seller, but this is seldom the case. Anyway, give a try to Flute World, I bought my Yamaha there (albeit it was a new instrument)

I am afraid that your budget might be too low for the type of flute you wish. But you could be lucky enough...

As for the brand/model, it is a long time since you lst played normally, it would be better to try a few instrument yourself as our opinions will always be biased in the aspects you mention. Maybe you can find a flute fair not too far from home and there you would have the opportunity of many instruments in as short time.

Also beware that you could ask some vendors for a couple of instruments to be sent to you on a trial basis, provided you live in USA and can provide a Credit card number (they will not charge your card, only take it as a guarantee).

Re: Flute Shopping    17:34 on Wednesday, January 04, 2012          

(4 points)
Posted by quinne

Hi jose-luis, and thanks for the reply.

Yes, shopping online is risky... however, it's my only option at present, so I'll have to ask a lot of questions, and hope for the best. And I don't mind getting a flute that needs to be overhauled, if it's got 'good bones'.

Right now I'm looking at the following used instruments:

Jupiter 711
Armstrong 80B (this one interests me -- it's old inventory, so it's new, but I'm concerned about what sitting around for a few years might have done to it)
Yamaha 461
Sonare 7000

Any opinions on these? I've read mixed reviews on most of them, although the general word out there is that Yamahas are one of the most reliable at this level of flute.

Re: Flute Shopping    00:50 on Thursday, January 05, 2012          

(67 points)
Posted by Trombi

Nancy´s (http://www.flutestar.com/) used flutes are very good because she repairs them well. I have bought an used flute from her.

Re: Flute Shopping    14:16 on Thursday, January 05, 2012          

(175 points)
Posted by cflutist

Carolyn Nussbaum is also a good place to look for a used flute.
She has performed COAs on my Haynes (backup flute) in the past and is that one I bought my 14K Williams HJ from.
All or most of the employees there have Flute Performance Degrees.


Re: Flute Shopping    15:05 on Thursday, January 05, 2012          

(4 points)
Posted by quinne

Thank you for the used flute dealer links. I'll look them over.

Re: Flute Shopping    15:53 on Thursday, January 05, 2012          

(2369 points)
Posted by jose_luis

I can only give an opinion on two Yamaha models. I have no experience with Armstrong or Jupiter. My level is intermediate.

I own a YFL674 (sterling silver, open holes, offset G, B foot) and a YFL211 that I use as a backup flute and for practise during travels. My beginning was with a closed holes instrument and when I upgraded to the 674, after many months struggling with its open holes, I finally plugged them all.

Later I changed the original EC cut HJ of the 674 with a DA cut .950 silver Nagahara.

These Yamaha instruments are very reliable and have bravely supported some abuse from my part (too much finger pressure, for example). I had only one COA made after three years use and it was sent to the technician for a different reason. The 674 pads are more than five years old and still perfectly well.

The CY cut HJ of the YFL211 (same as in 461) is considerably easier to play than the EC HJ of the 674, but it is more limited in several tone aspects, at least for my way of playing.

Though the higher resistance of the EC hand-cut HJ should not be an issue for your level, the limitations of the CY that comes with the YFL400 series could be a drawback. Upgrading the HJ later, if you are so budget limited, could be more difficult.

My suggestion is that if you decide for the YFL 461, try it thoroughly before buying. It is considered as an intermediate flute by Yamaha, but it is probably because of its full silver construction more than for its tone potential quality. It is probably a high-end student level flute. Though this is not something intrinsically bad, just take it into account in your decision.

Unfortunately I have no idea on how it compares with the Armstrong you have in mind, so I cannot help much. But be careful with that "old inventory"/new Armstrong. HJs have much evolved in the last years and if that HJ is too old, it could happen that it is no longer the best possible. But this is not a rule in any way, some very old flutes have excellent performance in spite of their old design.

Re: Flute Shopping    16:56 on Thursday, January 05, 2012          

(4 points)
Posted by quinne

Thanks for the reply, jose_luis. From your post, it sounds like a Yamaha might be acceptable. I would ultimately at least go for an upgraded headjoint, when I can.

There's no getting around the fact that flutes simply cost more than when I was younger! I may have to see what I can do about increasing my funds a little.

Here's another one I'm considering:

Haynes Amadeus AF700

I realize this is a similar situation as with the Sonare. Sonare has the Powell headjoint, but the body is assembled overseas, and the Amadeus has the Haynes headjoint, also assembled overseas.

Any opinions on either the Sonare or the Amadeus?



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