Casey Burns Flutes

Casey Burns Flutes

Hi, I’ve never started a discussion before,so, here I am.
I was wondering if anyone knows anything about Casey Burns’ flutes.Has anyone played one? Heard anthing about them?
I’ve been to his website,and seen his flutes in the Lark In The Morning catalog.They say they’re good, but of course they are trying to sell them.
Thanks!
-Kelly

Re: Casey Burns Flutes

Personally, I’d buy from Casey himself at:

http://www.caseyburnsflutes.com/

His flutes have quite a few reviews over at:

http://chiffboard.mati.ca/viewforum.php?f=2

I’ve not played one, but all flutes elicit strong opinions - and I’ve seen they’re OK to they’re terrific. So, to me at least, that’s pretty good. Also, EVERYONE I’ve met says Casey is great to work with, will change things for you if you feel something’s not quite right, has been known to send multiple headjoints if you’re not sure which embouchure cut you’d like, and does a free one year tune up (in case the wood changes any through playing) for free if you buy anything other than his starter flute.

He is nice BTW. I bought a flute case from him, and had a few nice email conversations about flutes.

I hope that helps.

Eric

Re: Casey Burns Flutes

Hi Kelly,

I bought a Casey Burns blackwood last September (2002), & have had nothing but great things to say about it. *Extremely* comfortable, great tone, but it is a smaller bore & smaller finger holes (Rudall & Rose copy) so it is quieter than say an Olwell. The best thing about Casey is the incredible personal service. Twice I’ve sent the flute back in semi-emergency situations (keys added before a St Pats gig & a slipped & wedged cork due to humidity changes) & he has always been efficient, honest, accomodating & gracious, & the turnaround has always been less than a week!

I had a chance to play one of his mopane models earlier this summer, is this what you are looking at? I would highly recommend you try one to see how you like the fit with your hands, as well as the volume, tone etc. (I’ve heard nothing but dreadful things about Lark in the Morning, so I would recommend going through Casey directly if you can, as he can also customize a flute for you if you wish.) I personally think it’s a great beginner flute, even moreso than any PVC, but that’s just me. Most of the PVC’s I’ve tried have been torture on my hands, as I do have smaller hands. In case Casey is reading this (hello!), he knows how thrilled I am with his service & his flute, & will probably continue to add keys until it’s fully chromatic (lately I’ve been missing Bflat & Eflat with some tunes I’ve been learning, esp weird settings off CD’s, half-holing is OK, but I think I’m just gonna go for it!). However, when in Ireland over the holidays, I will be window shopping for flutes, for one a bit more powerful & probably keyless, perhaps a Murray, for louder sessions. Kelly, feel free to email me with any questions, etc.

Re: Casey Burns Flutes

Hi Eric, I think we were posting at the same time.

I should really check chiff&fipple more often, you know? That’s a great discussion, thanks for posting it. I especially like the point that a great player can make virtually any instrument sound good, whereas a mediocre player can have the best instrument available & still sound, well, mediocre.

I had a Ralph Sweet keyless maple in D for 2 years before buying this blackwood, paid more for it than the mopane is going for, & I hated it. I hated practicing it, just about everything about it. I practice endlessly now, almost every day, hours at a time, & as a result, my playing has improved. Now when I play the Sweet (almost never), it makes me work harder with the stretch & tone, but I know what I’m capable of, so I don’t mind it as much, but I think you need to LOVE your instrument to be inspired to play it. Who wants to play something that is painful & makes you sound like crap? That’s rhetorical, but feel free to comment anyway. :)

Re: Casey Burns Flutes

Hi Emily - I agree you need to love what you play, and I play my flute enough to drive my wife mad. Personally, I play a Seery Delrin, but I have larger hands so the reach is nothing to me. I like the absolute indestructibilty of the Seery (it’s hit the floor from a table once thanks one of my dogs and it actually hit a concrete step from a 5 foot drop thanks to my 5 year old son —- and came out perfectly OK). I bought a Seery so I could have Desi add keys like you’ve had Casey do - great minds truly do think alike - but I’ve only had it for a couple of months so it’s currently keyless.

If I were to go with wood, I think I’d go with Casey for a flute - either that or an antique English or American flute. Then again, wooden baroque style flutes have been catching my attention recently…so many flutes, and so little cash!

Eric

Re: Casey Burns Flutes

One of my regular playing partners has a custom-built left-handed Burns in boxwood. Originally he had Casey build it keyless, and once he’d developed his chops, had Casey construct an alternate middle section with keys mounted. Now he has both options. Steve has nothing but positive things to say about Burns (from whom he bought direct), very much in keeping with above comments. For more of Steve’s comments on Burns, and links to photos of his flute, search "u2" on http://www.chiffandfipple.com

chris smith

Re: Casey Burns Flutes

Hi Kelly,

Emily’s right. Dealing with Casey is a pleasure. If you ever meet him, ask to see his impression of a slug. Little kids especially love it. I owned one of his early flutes for awhile. It sounded and played great but the intonation was not perfect. I know that has changed by now. He can make flutes where the holes are offset to fit the players hands. While this may make the flute easier to play, I believe it to be a crutch and will make the transition to another flute much more difficult. I’ve seen 8 yr. old, small fingered, kids in Ireland play a standard holed flute. More than once, a player of one of Casey’s customized flutes has asked to play my Olwell and can’t get the full effect since they aren’t used to standard holes.
If you can afford it, get a flute that is tunable. You will find it near to impossible to play in a session with a fixed tuning flute. We flute players are notorious for playing out of tune. Everything from room temp. to flute player excitement will affect tuning.
If you deal with Casey direct, He’ll make more $ than if you go through Shark in the AM.
Good luck
Richard

Re: Casey Burns Flutes

A pertinent thread for me as I do not have a sense of the hierarchy of wooden flutes, as much as subjectivity will allow one. I have an M&E which is my sole benchmark and I heard Chris Norman play his whatever which sounded beautiful, like playing the best chocolate bar. I would love to place my plastic somewhere in the continuum of celtic flutes as it appears that I will want a good flute sometime.

I have to confess to my complete and embarassing ignorance about celtic flutes. Actually I hardly know nothing about anything at all, no, anything about nothing at all. I opened this thread thinking some bugger was burning flutes.

peter

Re: Casey Burns Flutes

Peter - the absolute most important thing about a flute is the player. I wouldn’t worry too much about the heirarchy of flute makers. Check out the information at www.mcgee-flutes.com

Terry, a high end of the continuum flute maker, provides lots of pages with information that will help you better understand the different styles of flutes (from large hole, large bore Prattens to the ever variable Rudall and Rose style flutes, to the smaller hole American and French styled flutes).

For opinions, read over at the Chiff and Fipple board listed above. Everyone’s opinion will vary on everything (best flute maker, flute makers to avoide, flute woods to use/not use, etc.). Really, any of the good makers will make a flute good enough for most of us…However, if you want to buy what most folks consider the best, you’ll spend lots of money and wait lots of time (up to 6 years for keyed flutes sometimes) and get a flute from someone like Patrick Olwell, Michael Grinter, Chris Wilkes or Terry McGee. Myself, I’m perfectly happy with my Seery which didn’t cost much if any more than your M&E - if you’re happy, spend your time playing - that will improve your flute more than anything since it’s so often you and not the flute that is the problem (it was for me!).

Eric

One more thing - That list of "great" flute makers is not all inclusive - it’s just off the top of my head…

Re: Casey Burns Flutes

hi, just thought i’d throw a couple cents worth in here, i was at a music store in seattle last weekend and had a chance to pick up a new casey burns fully keyed flute for just long enough to blow a few notes and have been thinking how great it was ever since! i’m just beginning and have a seery which is great but some day i will need one of casey burn’s flutes i think.

Posted by .

Re: Casey Burns Flutes

Well I have a RR M&E which I bought really to get me by while the ol’ wooden one was being repaired. I thought that would take months but I didn’t reckon on finding Mr Dodd at Topwind who says he’ll have it back for me today after less than a week. So I am doubly stunned - firstly at the AMAZING quality of the M&E which I would recommend 120% and secondly for you guys giving me the tip to go to Topwind which is equally amazing.

Sarah feeling truly amazed and stunned (despite it being Monday morning - but who cares cos it’s Christmas holiday time on Friday!!!!)

Re: Casey Burns Flutes

Thank you so much everyone.
I’m thinking that as soon as I get a few more paychecks,I’m going to order one(from Casey himself).
Right now,I’ve got my silver flute,and my bamboo ones that i’ve made.If I go to a session with the silver,I get all these comments and questions("WHY do you play a SILVER flute????"),and the bamboos aren’t tuneable.I’ve been wanting a tuneable wooden flute for a long time,and it looks like this is it!
Thanks again!
Kelly

Re: Casey Burns Flutes

Silver flutes. What to do with them? I’ve still got mine, but I never play it - and where once I was able to glide up the octaves chromatically with grace and ease, now my fingers feel like a wooden-clogged elephant trying to tap dance on a… um… long silver tubey thing.

Tempted to sell it, or trade it in for a keyed wooden flute, but somehow I can’t seem to get myself to do that.

Posted by .

Re: Casey Burns Flutes

I like my silver flute and all, and I can play it so it sounds at least sort of close to a wooden one,but it just isn’t the same. Also,an A roll is nearly impossible.

Re: Casey Burns Flutes

I own a Casey Burns keyless blackwood. I would heartily reccommend his work to anyone. My hands are not large, or flexible and his "standard" hole spacing is very comfortable for me. He also has a "small hands" spacing available. As soon as I can afford one, I’m going to order a 5-key flute from him in Mopane or Blackwood. You can’t go wrong with a Casey Burns flute.
Hope this helps,
Bruce

Re: Casey Burns Flutes

Yes, I was wondering which spacing would be better for me.My hands are large for a 16 year old girl,and I can reach my low whistle’s holes with some difficulty only on the lowest one.Probably the standard spacing then.

Re: Casey Burns Flutes

Seis, Casey’s "small hands" model tends to lose some power and volume over the standard model. And his flutes aren’t known for being honking loud to start with. If you play in sessions much, my hunch is that you’ll be happier with the standard finger spacing.

A friend here in Montana recently bought a keyless Burns in mopane, and it’s a very nice flute. He also tried out three different heads for it, all with different embouchure cuts. Casey sent all three heads at once for a 10-day trial period. Great service. The blow holes really made a difference, so perhaps you should try to test drive them yourself as well.

Depending on how much money you want to spend, you might also want to check into several other top flutes. Eamonn Cotter and Dave Copley are highly regarded and their keyless blackwoods are well under $1,000 US (Copley is currently at $800 with tuning slide and nickel rings).

Posted .

Re: Casey Burns Flutes

I’d second that, go for volume! You can always play quieter, and unless you’ve got very small hands (you say you haven’t ) you’ll soon get used to the stretch. My fingers don’t stretch apart very much, which severely limits the chord shapes I can make on guitar, but the only diffuculty I’ve ever had with my Eamonn Cotter flute has been cramping of my left hand. If I could be bothered, I should probably change over to a ‘piping grip’.

Re: Casey Burns Flutes

I’ve got his new "ergonomic pratten" in boxwood, I tried it out at a gathering he was at and fell in love with it, ended up buy that same flute a couple months later. been playing it like crazy ever since. it’s a nice session cannon and has no problem being heard over upwards of four fiddles at our session.

Re: Casey Burns Flutes

That sounds like a trend to me—I’ve been looking at flutes for the last three years (started off on a delrin Seery and I’m expecting a Copley any day now), and in just that time Burns’ flutes have started to shrug off their reputation as "not loud" flutes. I’ve noticed this on other discussion boards as well. My personal experience with them is limited—the two I’ve played didn’t honk like the Olwell I played, but one of those was an older Burns model, and both of them cut through our session (typically four or more fiddles, guitar, three bodhrans, concertina, and hammered dulcimer (!) ). Emily’s blackwood Burns also cut through a whole stampede of other instruments, and it had great tone.

In general, most R&R designs aren’t going to be as loud as the bigger bore/hole Pratten style, but they tend to be somewhat easier to fill.

Posted .

Re: Casey Burns Flutes

Sounds like I should go with the standard hole spacing.Volume is always good.
I use a piping grip on the low whistle,and I got to try a friend’s uilleann pipes,and I could reach the holes on that,so I don’t think it will be a problem.
Thanks.
Kelly