How to Choose the Perfect Flute
What flute should I buy? How do I choose a good flute? Whether you are purchasing your first flute or are hoping to step up to an intermediate or professional flute, you will find there are many different options available.
Step-up flutes come with a variety of upgrades and features that differ from student model flutes. How do you know what features are most important to consider in a flute? This flute buying guide is here to help!
Are Flutes Made of Silver?
The material of a flute can be very important to the flutist. You may be wondering what flutes are made of. What is the best material for a flute? The answer is that many student and intermediate flutes are made from nickel silver, while professional flutes are often sterling silver.
Since the headjoint has the most direct contact with the player’s air supply and embouchure (mouth position), its material greatly affects the flute’s sound. Thus, many intermediate flutes will have a sterling silver head joint and nickel silver body. This is a way for the flute to remain at a lower cost than professional flutes while still having an improved sound.
The B Foot
What is a B foot on a flute? You may have noticed that some professional and intermediate flutes have three keys on the foot joint instead of two.
According to Learn Flute Online, a flute with two keys on the foot joint has a C Foot, while a flute with three keys on the foot has a B Foot. The B foot allows a flutist to play down to a low B and thus can be a desirable trait in a step-up flute.
The Split E Mechanism
What is a split E mechanism? According to Learn Flute Online, the split E mechanism facilitates the playing of an E in the third octave. This mechanism is available on many step-up flutes.
Ring keys, or open keyholes, are a feature on many intermediate and professional models. According to Yamaha, ring keys allow the player to “control the subtle nuances of the sound.” They can also assist in advanced playing techniques, such as the glissando. Ring keys can be an adjustment for flutists who play on closed-hole flutes, so this should be taken into consideration. There is the option to plug the holes on an opened-holed flute when trying it out.
What is an offset G key on a flute? Another feature of many professional flutes is the offset G. Flutes with the offset G have the G key offset from the otherwise straight line of keys on the instrument’s body.
Flutes with an inline G key have a G key in line with the rest of the keys. According to Learn Flute Online, the offset G set-up can better serve the natural curvature of our hands.
As with all professional instrument purchases, it is important to try out many different flutes in order to find the one that is right for you. The features of intermediate and professional flutes are important to the sound of the instrument, but what’s most important is an instrument that allows you to play your best.
Try out different pieces and styles of playing on the flutes you are considering and try comparing two at a time and eliminating those that don’t work for you.
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