My 3rd Flute Question

My 3rd Flute Question

I’ve posted some threads lately about a potential beginner flute purchase, and I’ve appreciated the input. The jury is still out as to the Forbes delrin vs the Casey Burns Folk Flute. My next question is in terms of the latter.

Casey Burns offers the FF in Blackwood, Mopane, and Boxwood, apparently with not price difference. So, from and “all things equal” perspective, I’m curious on input here. I’m inclined to rule boxwood out primarily because I live in the desert and this climate is known to absolutely demolish softer woods. So, I’m just curious on input between mopane and blackwood. Are the tonal differences notable? Mopane is said to be a bit warmer than blackwood, but aside from that I know very little.

You input is appreciated.

Re: My 3rd Flute Question

I really like the Mopane, but I don’t think there is a definite, real noticeable difference. Blackwood is probably a better choice for harsher climates. My Mopane flute cracked in the cold. I don’t know how will it would do in heat.

Re: My 3rd Flute Question

One thing to consider, boxwood flutes I think tend to crack less often than some of the more brittle woods. They do swell and shrink with humidity. I lived in Lanzarote (very dry with swells of high humodity) with casey burns boxwood low flutes, and an olwell all wood flute and did not have a problem other than I needed to oil more frequently and play in the flutes before my gigs (ie get them wet and tight at the joints).
On the other hand when talking about flutes and cracks most of the time the cracks are because of metal and wood moving at different rates.
With an all wood folk flute you would not have this strain on the wood so less an issue.
I would make this choice on aesthetics. I really like the lightness of boxwood. Also keep your flute in a plastic box with a sponge and less of a problem.
just to confuse you more, Pat

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Re: My 3rd Flute Question

If you get one of these you won’t need to worry about cracking (unless you drop it of course).

http://www.hallflutes.com/

sound samples are available on the right of the page.

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Re: My 3rd Flute Question

Boxwood is a very pretty wood, unfortunately I’ve heard it tends to crack somewhat easier than the other two woods if given the right climate condition and proper care isn’t given. Mopane and blackwood from what I’ve heard and played is pretty much identical in sound and being water resistant.(I’ve never played a boxwood instrument before so can’t comment on tone.) Your best bet is to just pick whichever one you think looks prettier. ;)
Hope you enjoy your flute when you get it!

Re: My 3rd Flute Question

I gave my niece a boxfood Burns Folk Flute as a present and it receives no maintenance in the humid/dry New York climate except for when I see it and oil it. It plays nicely. In the winter when the climate here is dry, it looks like a banana. In the summer, with our high humidity, it almost straightens out. You would need to look closely to see any bend in summer. Boxwood will not crack as easily as blackwood, but that won’t be an issue with no metal in the flute. I’ll also put in a good word for the Forbes; it just plays well, sounds good whether very loud or quiet and has a tuning slide. Mopane is just a beautiful looking wood and shares most qualities with blackwood. I can’t hear any difference in sound.

Re: My 3rd Flute Question

Thanks for the posts. I emailed Casey Burns as well and he recommended blackwood, has sent primarily blackwood to Arizona, and said he typically treats the blackwoods that go to Arizona for the dry climate. He also brought up the fact that there are no rings.

Okay, well, I think I have all the info I need. I’ve got a few months before I decide yet, so we’ll see.

Re: My 3rd Flute Question

Definitely blackwood.

Re: My 3rd Flute Question

Definitely blackwood. A few months! What are you waiting for? I love my whistles, but I cannot imagine going months without a flute or fife. If you’re trying to make the best decision at least borrow a flute from one of your mates. I’ll send you one myself as a loaner if it will get you started playing flute.

Re: My 3rd Flute Question

Goodnes, Babs, that’s generous!

No, the time coincides with the completion of my master’s degree, and thus, a bit more time of my hands. And yes, money is a factor with another child on the way.

But I appreciate the offer.

Re: My 3rd Flute Question

Cheers, Jimmy. Sounds like a good plan. The offer stands just the same. So, feel free to drop me an email if you change your mind in the next month & I’ll be happy to get you going on a flute.

Re: My 3rd Flute Question

I should point out that otherwise identical flutes in blackwood, mopane, and boxwood will play and sound differently from each other, due to the wood alone.

And it doesn’t even have to be the entire flute! Just changing a blackwood to boxwood headjoint on the same flute body will make a clear difference in sound.

Yes, bore and embouchure cut make a bigger difference than the material, but the wood does have an effect.

A while back I was at the convention of the National Flute Association and there was a booth of a guy who makes wood headjoints for Boehm silver flutes.

I spent some time there, trying the dozen or so headjoints he had, switching them on the same silver body.

Blindfolded, I could easily have sorted the headjoints into groups by how they sounded and performed, these groups exactly matching which wood they made from. He had headjoints in blackwood, boxwood, Cocobolo, I don’t remember what all, but four or five different woods.

Though each blackwood headjoint played very slightly differently, they were definately a group apart, playing quite differently from headjoints of other woods. And so forth with each wood.

Re: My 3rd Flute Question

Oh and in case somebody says “that’s apples and oranges, it’s Irish flutes we’re talking about” I have also played hundreds of antique and modern Irish flutes in boxwood, cocobolo, rosewood, blackwood, ebony, cocus, maple, etc etc and the difference is even greater when the entire flute’s material is changed from one wood to another.

Boxwood and blackwood flutes play very differently: they just do.

Re: My 3rd Flute Question

Hmm! Somebody (Brad Moloney??) posted a thread and recording on the Chiff& Fipple flute forum a few years ago - where they spliced together a tune played by one individual on a number of flutes. The challenge was to 1) identify the number of flutes used and 2) type of flute etc.

The results were amusing to put it mildly, with virtually nobody able to detect much difference. The best key was the change in foot tap as to when the recordings changed rather than sound.

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Re: My 3rd Flute Question

That’s the one, alright - haven’t a clue what the answers were, I think 5 or 6 flutes maybe, if I recall correctly.

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Re: My 3rd Flute Question

It has been demonstrated many different times, many different places, that the differences between flutes of various materials is much more apparent to the player than to the outside listener.

It’s not just the sound, it’s the response and a number of variables which are difficult to put into words.

Re: My 3rd Flute Question

No offense, Mr. Cook, but exactly how has this been demonstrated?

Re: My 3rd Flute Question

Enter the concrete flute behind a screen experiment…

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