Which Flute?

Which Flute?

After about 2 years of playing a pakistani piece of crap, I have decided it’s time to take the plunge and buy a real flute. I’m looking for a flute that sounds easily without too much effort and has a strong tone. I have had the chance to play my friend’s new Martin Doyle flute, which I love. With my very limited means, I have 2 flutes shortlisted, a Martin Doyle flute without a tuning slide or a David O’Brien flute with a tuning slide. Basically what I’m asking is; is a Martin Doyle flute better than an O’Brien one for me, and is a tuning slide important? I have only really considered makers in Ireland as it is convenient for me, and the flute will be used to the weather! Any input would be greatly appreciated.

Re: Which Flute?

Without question, get the tuning slide. Hopefully, the head is lined in metal.

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Re: Which Flute?

I have a Sam Murray and its super, get one!

But seriously defo get a tuning slide, flutes go in and out of tune everytime 5 mins in a session, if you play out of tune you’ll be driving yourself and other people nuts.

Assuming Martin Doyles and David O’Briens are both decent flute makers (havent played either) the only way to find out the answer to your question is to play them both, cause nobody plays the flute in the same way.
Its a bit like saying whats the best between a this car and that, you’d need to test drive them both to see which one you like the best.

alb

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Re: Which Flute?

Sam Murray works about about £100 more expensive, and I’ve heard some horror stories about his business methods and timekeeping. Ideally I’d like to have it by around Christmas time. And I should’ve mentioned, it’ll be a keyless flute. Martin Doyle says on his website that by adjusting the position of the headjoint, one can ensure the flute is in tune without a tuning slide, but surely it’s better to have the tuning slide I suppose.

Re: Which Flute?

Yea you can only go so far by adjusting the headjoint, maybe a quarter of a tone or something (ive never actually measured it), but you will defo need more scope, depending on the climate, the room temperture… oh and how long the set of tunes lasts.

I mean if there was no need for them flute makers wouldn’t have been making them for hundreds of years…. (from the days of Quantz actually… la de da).
K

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Re: Which Flute?

Doyle - my daughter has not had a single problem with her keyless and she has had it for several years.
O’Brien - cannot say. No experience with him.
Although I hear that Hamilton keyless are making a strong push right now.

Re: Which Flute?

Have you looked into Delrin flutes yet? They sound good, there’s next to no maintenance, and it never goes out of tune. Many people, though, will say that they prefer wood over delrin, and they say that it sounds better, but other people can’t really tell the difference. Also, I would look into Dave Copley’s flutes. He makes both wooden and delrin flutes, they’re really good quality for the price, and the waiting list is fairly short right now. Plus, I know Dave personally, and can say that he is a great guy, strives for costumer satisfaction, and will do his best to make the flute fit the player. But, whoever you get your flute from, I wish you luck.

Re: Which Flute?

If you loved the Doyle than buy the Doyle, simple. I never missed the slide or lining on my former unlined slideless Olwell. It went all around the world with me doing gigs in all kind of weather. I play two flutes with slides now and the slides stay in the same spot all the time unless I want to play in another pitch standard. Slides were designed to deal with changing pitch standards more so than tuning. The trick is to learn to play the flute in tune by using your embouchre not the slide. In my experience size shape and undercut of embouchre hole have more effect on a flutes tone than the lining.
In my less experienced days with my first flutes my slides moved all the time during sessions etc. It was lack of embouchre skill.

I will say once a few years ago I traded flutes at a session with a fellow. He played my Olwell a half tone flat confirmed by a present c sharp d box player. I played his Ormiston in tune without moving the slide from his position. I’m sure if I sent him home with the Olwell for a few days he could play it up to pitch.

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Re: Which Flute?

Eamonn Cotter (Co. Clare) also make lovely keyless flutes. They are very beginner friendly - easy to fill. They have tuning slides and lined heads. I’ve had mine for almost ten years and it’s still my main flute.

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Re: Which Flute?

Delrin flutes have exactly the same tuning issues as wooden ones, namely that they are flat when played cold, but warm up and settle down after a bit of playing (5 mintues, or the first set in a session in my experience…). Apart from that, the shape and dimensions of the flute decide how it plays in tune. Also, put the flute down for ten minutes and it might have cooled down enought to be a bit flat again.

Though I do believe material can affect tone colour too - but this is an area flute players will argue about for a long time.

The tuning slide on a flute rarely needs to be adjusted once a given player has fouind where that flute plays in tune for him/her, but that position is not necessarily one that you would find easily without having the tuning slide. So, get a tuning slide. You will also need it if you end up playing with a fixed pitch instrument that isn’t really at 440Hz.

And above all, LISTEN to the sound you are making and how it blends in with the other players present. And sometimes it isn’t you that is out of tune… If two other players in the session are out of tune with each other then you will never be able to put yourself in tune with both of them. Don’t rely on electronic tuners unless you really have to - get someone to play a reference note and everyone should use their ears to tune to that.

And when tuning a flute or whistle, make sure that you are blowing in the same way that you do when you play a tune. I sometimes find it helps to play a little phrase which ends on the tuning note and then see where that is.

On the flute recommendations, I can recommend a Casey Burns folk flute as the best value for money for a wooden flute and they play well. They don’t however have a tuning slide, so… - see all my previous comments above. Mine tuned to 440Hz pulled out about a 1/4 inch. He is in America though.

And if you’ve been playing a pakistani flute for two years, the chances are that you’ve never really heard yourself in tune with others🙂

Re: Which Flute?

(Sorry, I just noticed that this thread wasn’t really about tuning issues…)

Re: Which Flute?

If you loved the Doyle, get it. They’re good flutes and a tuning slide is nice but not essential.

Re: Which Flute?

I recently bought a flute from Tony Millyard and I’ve been really pleased with it. As he’s a newer maker than some, his pricing is still competitive starting around £350 I think. He’s based in England so further than you wanted to travel, but it may still be cheapest way of getting a very good flute, even including the travel costs! He may be visiting Ireland too, as I know he sells at some festivals internationally, best to check on his website www.millyard-molem.com.

You will see on his site that he’s a long-established maker of other woodwind instruments and told me he has made flutes for years too before getting more seriously into it in recent years. His flutes are all tuneable and made with great care to details e.g. the headjoint is half lined, which is to say the lower part all around the tuning slide is fully lined, but the upper part is kept unlined for the sake of preserving the sound quality of the wood.

A good review is also on Chiff and Fipple: bit.ly/PV8J2u

As I’m in the North West of England I identify with your weather comment! And chose a Blackwood rather than a nice boxwood one as I felt it would last longer or at least stay in shape longer! I’ve been playing the flute about six weeks and got to say I’ve found the tuning slide really useful even in that short time. Good luck with your search!

Re: Which Flute?

The Doyle looks like a beautiful flute. Seems most people play very close to 440 these days,and considering a slide costs almost half again as the flute, and slides are not always trouble free ( almost all the old ones cracked) .Probably a shorter wait time on the slideless.I don’t think you would have a problem re-selling if it didn’t like it. Sure would be a step up from what your driving now!

Re: Which Flute?martin doyle no slide

martin doyle cocus wood for sale 500euro

Re: Which Flute?

What about a Tony Dixon. I think that they might be only around £70 & come in a see through " plastic " sleve & made of Derlin or similar