The other night I was at a session in Dublin and got the chance to briefly play a keyless Olwell flute made from what I assume is blackwood. This instrument left me stunned and at that point I would have traded my own grandmother for the flute, (if the flute’s current owner had any use for a granny who makes a great apple pie).
This instrument just seemed to sing as soon as I blew into it. I’ve never found a flute that seemed so easy to play (apart from maybe a couple of Grinters that I tried). My technique is definitely not at all developed, but the low octave stayed intact and strong for me without any difficulty right down to the bottom D.
I started thinking I’d love to get my hands on such an instrument myself (keyless, to keep costs down!) and had the following questions:
- Do most Olwells play similarly, or does he do several designs that play very differently?
- How likely am I to find one second-hand?
- How much should I expect to pay?
- If I was to order from him, how long of a wait am I looking at?
- Are there other makers who make flutes that play/sound in a similar way to an Olwell that would be worth considering?
I know I could probably find most of the answers with enough googling, emails and phone calls, but I figured I might get some useful advice/opinions if I posted here! Last time I bought an instrument after just my own research I got stuck with a real lemon!!