flute metals and prices

flute metals and prices

    
flute metals and prices    12:47 on Sunday, March 11, 2012          

alex411
(18 points)
Posted by alex411

ok, so i was reading online in a couple of places online about studies that "proved" that gold flutes do not sound better then solid silver and some silver plated...

from what i saw most brands have sterling silver top of the line around 8-12k and then jumps to gold from 18-45k

and on youtube, when i watch major symphonies the flutes normally look like silver ones.. so is the extra 10k really worth gold? and is 30k+ just outrageous.

i've played on a gold flute before and i do agree it sounds AMAZING, but it was also the only pro flute i ever played on so i cant really compare it... what do you guys think?


Re: flute metals and prices    20:55 on Sunday, March 11, 2012          

travel2165
(260 points)
Posted by travel2165

I think you will find that buyers of gold headjoints and flutes simply like the pretty color and the high price. It proves that they have "arrived." However, in their minds they actually do think that these precious metals sound better. It is their decision, of course.


Re: flute metals and prices    22:27 on Sunday, March 11, 2012          

spencerflute
(38 points)
Posted by spencerflute

I do not agree that people who buy these gold headjoints and the gold flutes just like it because they are pretty and because the feel like they have "arrived". When I was trying flutes and headjoints there was a complete difference in my sound when I had a gold headjoint in and when I had a silver one in. With the gold headjoint, there was a warmth and depth of tone color that I could not find on the silver headjoint. I can guarantee you that if I got the same exact sound and feel on that silver headjoint (of the same exact cut) I would have not have payed the extra 4000 dollars to get the gold one. I strongly disagree with the above statement. If you would ask anyone that plays on a gold flute, they did not get it because it is pretty. They did not get it because they wanted to feel special. They payed 20000+ dollars because that flute played better than the other.


Re: flute metals and prices    22:57 on Sunday, March 11, 2012          

spencerflute
(38 points)
Posted by spencerflute

And after reading your response on the Guo flute post, I feel like you would understand how much difference any headjoint can make whether it is more expensive or less expensive.


Re: flute metals and prices    11:36 on Monday, March 12, 2012          

travel2165
(260 points)
Posted by travel2165

In a headjoint, it is not the material that affects the sound. It is the shape and cut of the embouchure, as well as other factors. With my Guo headjoint, the sound better matches the sound of my wood flute. But I'm sure it's not the material!

If somebody thinks they sound better on a gold flute rather than another flute, here's the solution: Do a blind test against a silver flute, with each headjoint having EXACTLY the same shape and cut in the embouchure, and with each body having EXACTLY the same configuration, cut of tone holes, pads, etc.

Will the (blindfolded) player and listeners be able to tell the difference? I doubt it.

Or you can do the same blind test with just a gold headjoint vs. a silver headjoint on the same flute body. Make sure each embouchure cut is EXACTLY the same and the wall shape and thickness are the same. There will be little or no noticeable difference.


Re: flute metals and prices    14:11 on Monday, March 12, 2012          

Watcher
(58 points)
Posted by Watcher

James Galway notes that Flute makers tend to spend more time and care on their upper end flutes, which tend to be made from more precious metals. So yes, it may be true that gold flutes sound better, but its not necessarily because they're made of gold.

Incidentally, I did hear of a blindfold contest being done, and professional flutists did have a preference for headjoints made of one specific material. And the winner was... Concrete!


Re: flute metals and prices    09:20 on Tuesday, March 13, 2012          

travel2165
(260 points)
Posted by travel2165

"... flute makers tend to spend more time and care on their upper end flutes..."

Correct! And this means that extra time and care are spent on cutting the embouchure and its many details, plus the shape and size of the riser, plus other features.


Re: flute metals and prices    18:59 on Sunday, March 18, 2012          

jduncmusic
(22 points)
Posted by jduncmusic

While I can't speak on the upper end flutes (admittedly, I don't have a enough experience with them to warrant an educated opinion), if you want to look low end, a standard Gemeinhardt solid silver J1 headjoint sounds noticeably different than a Gemeinhardt solid silver J1 headjoint with the interior lined with gold plating. The gold definitely warms up the sound quite a bit- makes it less shrill and metallic. It even feels like it adds a bit of resistance. That said, I think straight solid silver tends to project better. I've found that the same can be applied to the standard Yamaha solid silver factory cut CY headjoints that come on their 300 and 400 series flutes. In the end, it's just a matter of preference. One sound isn't necessarily "better" than another.



Re: flute metals and prices    09:55 on Monday, March 19, 2012          

whiteandproud
(15 points)
Posted by whiteandproud

Gold plating will not effect the sound. It is purely for cosmetic and or allergies related reasons. This is misinformation that many marketers generate to the public to increase sales. It is a common misconception in the flute world. Before selling flutes, I had to (I wanted to) know all the facts about what I was selling. When flute sellers claim such things as gold plating making a difference sound wise, I cringe. They should not be selling flutes if they don't know their facts. They lose all credibility in my eyes.


Re: flute metals and prices    11:54 on Monday, March 19, 2012          

jduncmusic
(22 points)
Posted by jduncmusic

Well, I can tell you that if I swap headjoints back and forth on the exact same flute (same cut headjoint- only difference being the gold), they sound and feel quite different... and universally the gold makes the sound less harsh. I could easily detect which is which if blindfolded. While I don't know if the sound is "better" enough to warrant a price increase (I actually prefer the sound of just silver and wouldn't think to buy a headjoint with gold for myself), it does in fact affect the sound. I just had a Yamaha 461 which I did just this on about 3 weeks ago. The sound was definitely different with the gold. I don't change the price when selling a headjoint with gold vs. one without (these are refurbished flutes- not new), so the buyer didn't choose the gold because they thought the higher price meant a value increase, and nor did I make any additional money off the gold. They chose the gold because of sound. Also, as they are an older jazz musician, I can assure you that they didn't choose the gold because it was "pretty". The gold headjoint actually had more nicks and scratches than the just solid silver one I had.



<Added>

btw guys, "harsh" was the wrong word to use as it implies "not good". A better word selection on my part would be "bright". I would consider "bright" and "warm" to be on opposite ends of the spectrum. That said, compared to other flutes/headjoints, the Gemeinhardt J1s WITHOUT the gold that I mentioned in my previous post do tend to sound somewhat harsh in my opinion (so that is what I was immediately referring to when I used that particular term). I state again, "compared to other flutes". I DON'T think an even mid-range flute with a solid silver headjoint (no gold lining) sounds harsh by any means.... (just in case anyone took that I was insulting their flute!) However, of the ones I've tried back to back, they do sound less "warm" than the ones with the gold.

The individual who purchased the 461 wanted a warmer sound. For him, that was HIS "better" as I would assume is also the case for spencer (who posted above) who purchased a solid gold headjoint for their flute. For my playing, I prefer no gold. I prefer the projection I've found on the headjoints without gold- for me, the non-gold-lined headjoints are "better". So to state one last time, it's all a matter of preference. :)


Re: flute metals and prices    11:56 on Monday, March 19, 2012          

jduncmusic
(22 points)
Posted by jduncmusic

Just to clarify what I said-

The gold on the lip plate doesn't do a thing to your sound- it is just cosmetic and/or there to avoid an allergic reaction. The difference in sound is created by the gold plating on the interior of the headjoint which most of the flutes with gold lip plates come with.


Re: flute metals and prices    21:22 on Monday, March 19, 2012          

suzie
(8 points)
Posted by suzie

I'm sorry but I just HAVE to add to this post due to the ridiculousness factor! If a headjoint is of the same embouchure cut, same thickness and diameter and same model of another in a different material (at least between silver and a silver plated alloy) they will play the same. Gold plating is merely cosmetic unless you have an allergy and there merely isn't enough added to affect the sound. I've played the headjoint game MANY times and have seen same model headjoints (Pearl was one brand) of the SAME model and material (sterling) be different cuts (ex. oval vs square) which DID play differently. The comparison at hand is like saying that you sound better on a flute with silver keys than a flute with silver plated (or gold plated) keys of the same EXACT make and model (properly set up, adjusted, etc.). Or on the same page as a silver body and foot sounding different than just a silver headjoint. I've had and played professional sterling flutes and have found plated body flutes that HAVE played far more superior than all-silver models by the same company as well! I have about 5 others who can back this up as they've also played the same models and could verify that the plated body and foot model played better than all-sterling models over 2x the price! I refuse to believe jduncmusic's philosophy on the gold plated interior improving the sound/intonation AT ALL! With my 17 years of flute playing experience and 9 years of flute repair & sales experiences I plead incorrect information provided by jduncmusic!


Re: flute metals and prices    21:26 on Monday, March 19, 2012          

suzie
(8 points)
Posted by suzie

Also, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE tell me how a gold plated interior of a headjoint would make the headjoint feel ANY different! Do you touch the inside when you play? If so, I hardly believe you'd even feel a difference that way as well! Please enlighten me as perhaps I've been overlooking something! My gold plating kit has been collecting dust so I sense some GREAT profits coming up if that's the case!!


Re: flute metals and prices    21:45 on Monday, March 19, 2012          

whiteandproud
(15 points)
Posted by whiteandproud

And she sells flutes too? Eeeeekkk! Suzie, well said. I bow down to your excellency!

<Added>

Apologies for my last statement. That was a bit harsh on my end.


Re: flute metals and prices    21:50 on Monday, March 19, 2012          

cflutist
(175 points)
Posted by cflutist

Don't shoot the messenger but doesn't Powell Flutes offer Aurumite?
I have not personally played one in my 40+ years of playing so cannot comment on how they play.

Aurumite® 14k - Aurumite® flutes are produced using a patented process that electronically fuses two tubes of gold and silver. The Aurumite body is .016” thick with an interior layer of 14k rose gold and an outer layer of sterling silver. This unique material combines the projection of silver with the warmth of gold. Aurumite was introduced by Powell in 1986 and then patented. Because we have been making flutes out of Aurumite for over 20 years, our experience working with this material is unrivaled in the industry.


   








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