Flat Seery flute?

Flat Seery flute?

Hello there,
1st post here so be gentle please!
I’ve been playing whistles for a while and about three years ago got a wooden flute. It was an old open holed German thing with keys that didn’t work.
I ripped the keys off and covered the holes with duct tape. It was great for learning on. I went on leave to New Zealand and came back with a Seery flute which I struggled with.
A few months later I got my hand trapped in an armoured door which put an end to flute playing for a while.
Now my hand is better I’ve started trying to get the Seery up and running. I can play what sounds like a tune but it is very consistently flat.
In fact, I’m playing exactly in C#.
I’ve been playing it a fair bit but just can’t seem to get it up that semitone where it needs to be.
It’s also much harder to play than the old German thing which sounds really nice, is perfectly in tune and I can just about handle a session with.

I doubt very much the flute is at fault, rather my playing but I’m not sure where I’m going wrong. Other than being flat it sounds a bit ‘plasticky’ which is also what makes me think it’s me.

Any suggestions gratefuly recieved.
Thanks.

Re: Flat Seery flute?

Have you tried pulling the headjoint out a bit?

Re: Flat Seery flute?

That flatens it further. In fact I play it with it pulled out a bit just to be in pitch a bit better.

Re: Flat Seery flute?

Silly question, but are you sure this flute’s supposed to be in D?

Re: Flat Seery flute?

How are you determining the pitch?

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The headjoint cork may need adjusting

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Re: Flat Seery flute?

Ummm,
that’s a fair question. The answer to which has unthinkable consequenses so I’d rather not even go there!!

I’ve never heard of a C# flute but if there is such a thing there’s a fair chance it would be me that would find it.

Re: Flat Seery flute?

I don’t think I’ve even heard of a Db flute.

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Re: Flat Seery flute?

How are you determining the pitch?
I’m using various tuners but right now I’m just going with the tuner on garage band.

The headjoint cork may need adjusting:
Right now it’s 13.5mm from the embouchure hole and would need to move closer to sharpen it up into D. It would just be too close I think.

In addition, the overall length of the Seery is exactly the same as the length of the old German one which says HF MEYER on it. The bores look kinda similar sizes too.

The biggest difference I can see is the embouchure hole is smaller on the Seery.


Thanks for the input so far :-)

Re: Flat Seery flute?

C# flutes (D flat for the pedants) are not unheard of, not so much by modern makers though.

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Re: Flat Seery flute?

Peter, do you think any Seery’s were made this way. How much longer would they be. An Eb is noticeably shorter.

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Re: Flat Seery flute?

Doug Tipple makes them.

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Re: Flat Seery flute?

I don’t know if he has made any. I have an old C# flute and have seen several others over time.

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Re: Flat Seery flute?

I think it has to to with embouchure. My guess is that the old flute is sharp, and you have adjusted your embouchure accordingly. When you play a 440 instrument, you sound flat.

Re: Flat Seery flute?

The question is about the Seery. The German flute apparently plays in tune.

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Re: Flat Seery flute?

Well, it might be in tune because he has adapted his embouchure to it. I would have someone else try it to see if it is still in tune.

Re: Flat Seery flute?

I think you may be right about the embouchure. Especially considering the problem with a *plasticky* tone.

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Re: Flat Seery flute?

Assuming that you’ve made sure there is nothing inside the flute - paper tubes, washers, gunge, dead animals etc, all I can think of is what sigmundL seggests: try making the embouchure as open as possible to see how much you can get the pitch to rise.

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Re: Flat Seery flute?

Any other flute players around who could try it against the tuner as a way of finding out whether it’s you or the flute?

Re: Flat Seery flute?

If the octaves are in tune with each-other then there is no need to adjust the head-cork position.

As has been suggested - to play sharper you need to blow more across the embouchure hole rather than down into it.

Also check how much of to embouchure hole you are covering with your lower lip. I think if you cover too much then you will play flat.

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Re: Flat Seery flute?

Seery should be in D. Having something in the bore could flatten it, as could your embouchure. Once a block in my case came loose and wedged in the bore - that was a wild blow!

13.5mm sounds too close for the cork, but depends where you are measuring from. Here are instructions for Seery cork position:

A good starting point for the tuning cork is one head tube diameter back from the center of the embouchure. This will be around 19mm or just under 3/4 inch for most flutes. It is worth buying a 5/8 inch diameter dowel from the hardware store and making marks from 15 to 25 mm from one end (or 5/8 to 1 inch depending on your preferred units). You can use the dowel to move the cork and measure its position. The final adjustments should be made by playing and checking the tuning between the first and second octaves (assuming you will not be playing much in the third octave). If the upper octave is flat relative to the lower, then move the cork towards the embouchure a mm or so and try again. If the upper octave is sharp, move the cork away from the embouchure.

The cork only makes minor difference to the low octaves, so use the slide to get best general low octave tuning with the cork at the nominal (19mm) position. Check the relationship of the three D’s and make adjustments to cork position to optimise that. Readjust slide if necessary afterwards to correct any changes in the low octave (unlikely). Now check the tuning over the range of interest (the first two octaves or more if you use more). You may need to readjust the cork position if it has created any problems there. You might also need to readjust it if overall response is weakened.

Re: Flat Seery flute?

Cheers, Kevin. I was hoping you might catch this thread.

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Re: Flat Seery flute?

The cork wouldn’t come close to making your flute 1/2 tone flat.
If you pull out a lot, that could get you down there especially if
it’s a cold day and you just took it out of the box.

Push in all the way and play for about 15 minutes, then check
your tuning. Try directing your air stream a little more up and
use a little more pressure if you can keep it from jumping
octaves.

I’m not the world’s best fluter, but I reckon you could end up
sharp if you do all of the above.

Flutes vary too. One of my flutes wants to play sharp and the
other is in tune pulled out just a couple of mm.

Re: Flat Seery flute?

I definitely cover a fair bit of the hole with my bottom lip and am blowing very much down into the hole rather than accross it. I never noticed it as a problem before because that’s what seems to work on the other one. I think I might have conditioned myself to be playing that way to get a nice tone out of the Meyer. I always play with it closed right up, I wonder if there’s something in that.
Unfortunately I don’t know of any flute players around I could give it to for a try out.
I put the head joint of the Meyer on the Seery tonight and got it to play. Actually it was nicer than either flute on its own!!

Wish I hadn’t though because now I seem to have lost the second octave altogether on the Meyer.

Thanks for all your help guys. I think I just need to persevere a bit more.

Re: Flat Seery flute?

I believe I have a Flute in D flat and that it is an old band flute. Like the D flat piccolo it is designed to turn a signature with say 4 flats into one sharp. Its makes it easier for orchestra players to play band music. There is a lot of D flat piccolo parts still produced.
It is a solid silver flute with soldered holes and the head joint is labeled Jerome Thibouville Lamy Paris.
I have played it as a C flute by pulling the head out about 3/4 of an inch. The distance from the tip to the embouchure hole is about that length longer than on a regular C flute. It was given to me a number of years ago without a cork and I have no idea where the cork should go. It took a while to find one that would allow putting the cork at the usual 19mm distance but I don’t know if that is correct.
I would sure like to learn more about it.

Bernie Page