Budget Irish Flute for semi-beginning

Budget Irish Flute for semi-beginning

Hey, I’ve read a lot of forums on the best budget flutes but my situation is a tad different so I thought I’d try here. So I have $100-160 to spend on a preferably 3 piece irish flute. I’m very fond of wood and the aesthetics of a wood instrument are really important to me so I don’t really care about the pvc or carbon flutes. Am I too picky or is there an irish flute out there for me? While looking around, the names that seemed to have good reviews were tony dixon, hamilton and tipple. Are there any other well made but cleap priced ones you guys know of?
Thanks! I really appreciate it!

Posted by .

Re: Budget Irish Flute for semi-beginning

No offense, but you aren’t going to find a decent wooden Irish flute for $100 to $160. The low end (price-wise, not quality-wise) is about twice your high end. At your price point, the only decent flute is going to be a Doug Tipple, which is PVC (which you say you don’t want). My advice is save up a bit and watch the used instrument market here and on Chiff and Fipple (forums.chiffandfipple.com).

Posted .

Re: Budget Irish Flute for semi-beginning

I’m with plunk111 on this one. A decent wooden Irish flute will run you minimum $450 with a Casey Burns folk flute. Most Delrin flutes bought new start around those prices as well and used keyless wooden flutes usually don’t dip below $500 from what I’ve seen on the Chiff & Fipple boards. You may have to make some compromises with your budget and get the polymor Tony Dixon flute or Tipple PVC, or save up for a wooden one.

https://www.irishflutestore.com/collections/irish-flutes-all

Cheers,

Melany

Posted by .

Re: Budget Irish Flute for semi-beginning

You need about double your budget, and then I would recommend the WD Sweet Shannon flute. It’s what I started with, $275 plus shipping, and sounds great!

Save money, but spend about $20-30 on a whistle. Tony Dixon’s Trad whistle is a good option, or a Generation is a little cheaper. You can order both on Amazon or eBay. Don’t worry about what people say is the best whistle, you won’t be nearly good enough to tell the difference.

Learning the whistle will give you the fingerings you’ll be able to transfer to a flute, and you’ll also be able to get a feel for playing the music. Then, when you get the flute, you’ll have a slightly less steep learning curve.

Re: Budget Irish Flute for semi-beginning

If at all possible, try to get enough money together for a Burns folk flute or one of the delrin recommended by others on this forum. $400 or so really is the starting point for satisfactory instruments, though the Sweet should play acceptably too. But the Burns or one of the Delrin flutes at the same price point will play better.

Optically, the delrin flutes can look good. From a couple of feet away most people would probably not be able to tell that they are not blackwood.

Re: Budget Irish Flute for semi-beginning

What’s semi beginning?

Re: Budget Irish Flute for semi-beginning

www.muzikkon.com black rosewood 4 piece flute 225 euro don’t know if there any good shops in Dublin flutes advertised on done done

Re: Budget Irish Flute for semi-beginning

Also as a note, I’d be wary of buying any flutes that don’t have a brand or maker attached to it. (Eg. Cheap noname eBay flutes). It’s a buyer beware situation where you may get something that is barely playable because of inconsistent quality and production standards that might affect the tone of your flute. At least with a maker, if they are not up to snuff you can always send it back for another flute/refund as most will stand behind their work.

http://forums.chiffandfipple.com/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=34685

Posted by .

Re: Budget Irish Flute for semi-beginning

Agreeing with the others here that a PVC Tipple is probably best for that price range, and you’re not going to find a decent wooden flute without spending a lot more. The Burns Folk Flute is what I’d recommend if you want the least expensive wooden flute. A friend of mine has one, and it’s well made and very playable:

http://www.caseyburnsflutes.com/ff.php

If you need to stay within your budget, then a PVC flute will let you explore the fingering patterns and start developing the all-important embouchure, which can take a couple of years. By the time you have a good embouchure, you may be in a better position to afford a wooden flute. Start saving now. 🙂

P.S. new International restrictions have come online recently for shipping the common hardwoods used for flutes, like Blackwood and Rosewood. So if you do go for a wooden flute, and the supplier is not in your home country, make sure you contact them and verify that there won’t be any issues with shipping to your address. This doesn’t apply to personal travel across borders with the flute, just buying and shipping.

Re: Budget Irish Flute for semi-beginning

Just to make things clear, the square bits of wood you turn into a flute cost $100-150 to buy wholesale; this is why you’re being a bit ambitious.

Posted by .

Re: Budget Irish Flute for semi-beginning

The OP listed 3 brands of flute around the desired budget: Hammy Hamilton’s practice flute, Doug Tipple’s & Tony Dixon.

Hi, Lea

I have Hammy Hamilton’s practice flute and it’s a great flute for a beginner, a fantastic flute for the price. Hammy did a great job of working on the Delrin head piece, which if I’m not mistaken he tried various, experimental heads before settling on the current design. I have played one of his wooden flutes and while the practice flute is nothing like his wooden flutes I am convinced he very well applied his years of experience making flutes to perfect the practice models. So while they are substantially different I tend to think the practice flute is a great one for beginning on a simple system flute while waiting to find, or just being able to afford, something better. You can comfortably & seriously begin learning on the practice flute.

Aside from that I have a Delrin flute from Rob Forbes and it is better than the practice flute. I think a new one is $425. Check out other Delrin flute made by Gary Somers & Copley’s. Definitely see which Casey Burns folk flutes are available if you seriously want a wood flute sooner rather than later.

Cheers,
Ben

Welcome to the forum!

Posted by .

Re: Budget Irish Flute for semi-beginning

I have a Gary Somers in delrin ($400) that I liked so well that I had it fully keyed (all 8) by Maurice Reviol. If anybody’s interested PM me and I’ll tell you about it. Even without the keys it was a stellar player and I’m not the least bit apologetic about the material. I also have a Somers aluminum/delrin (about $140), that I bought for rough travel. It’s quite adequate. As you might expect it doesn’t have quite the sound that the delrin flute has (or my Paddy Ward or Sam Murray), but it’s not bad…more than adequate. I carry it in a case along with my bass bow on the off-chance that I met be asked to play during a contra dance or Old Time session. It happens! Nobody’s ever complained about it. I even played a few Irish tunes with a fiddle player I ran across in a log cabin restaurant after a 2 week canoe trip. What I’m trying to say is that you could do worse, much worse.

Re: Budget Irish Flute for semi-beginning

Now I’m curious about how the basic Somers compares w/Hammy’s.

;)

Posted by .

Beginning flutes

Posted by .

Re: Budget Irish Flute for semi-beginning

Ben, I’ve never played, or ever seen up close, the Hammy practice flute. Judging from the way many praise it, I’d be confident in saying it’s a good choice. From the photos it looks to me to have smaller, more widely spaced holes, consistent with the way cylindrical bore flutes seem to be made, while the Somers seems to be a wider bore (still a cylinder) with slightly larger holes. I do have a couple of Tipples and this seems to be the case. Also Somers makes the claim that adding some material around the E keeps it from being noticeably weak. The E on my Somers doesn’t seem weak. The Somers breaks down to 3 parts and is a bit easier to pack.

Would never say one is better. I’m sure either would work just fine. I chose the Somers without playing one because I liked my Pratton model and could get it about 3 days at the time. The Hamilton is a bit cheaper. I’ll bet dollars to donuts that either would be a good choice!

Re: Budget Irish Flute for semi-beginning

I have a Somers delrin Pratten ($400), it is definitely conical. A buddy has an old Olwell and I think the Somers is easier to play. They look alike in standard pub lighting. And feel similar in the hand. As has already been stated, you will not find a wooden flute worth playing for the price you are quoting.

Re: Budget Irish Flute for semi-beginning

If I’m not mistaken Garry Somers Delrin flutes are conical. Check me on that. But the aluminum body w/Delrin head has a cylindrical body & tapered headpiece ~ http://somers-flutes.com/aluminium-flute-delrin-head

Thanks, this discussion has me wishing I could play, get my hands on some of the flutes different makers are working on in their shops around the globe. There are some wonderful instruments being crafted by these dedicated craftpeople!

Posted by .

Re: Budget Irish Flute for semi-beginning

Just to be clear only the aluminum body/delrin head flute from Somers is cylindrical ( the body anyway) as is the previous model of his practice flutes. Two more things: first I’d say that the cheapest Dixon flutes are worth what you pay for them. I started out on one and it very nearly led me to give it all up. The 3 piece model for about $230 is not a bad choice for the money. And, a word of caution that you may already know, the cheapest instruments become valuable as paint stirring sticks if the flute is not for you. Even the $400 flutes have darn good resale value. That’s the point where you find instruments you could play without apology for the rest of your life.

Re: Budget Irish Flute for semi-beginning

Communication, according to the theories at least, is only possible between equals. In other cases the folk at the bottom tell the morons at the top what they think they want to hear and the idiots at the top pretend they are listening and informed and make the decision their ego’s allow them with the misinformation they are provided with. The result as the US army realised ( but never learnt how to deal with ) is known by the acronym S.N.A.F.U. ( situation normal all f’d up ).

Music is a form of communication. If you want to be good at it you need to approach it openly both to express yourself ( the only genuine and truly successful form of music, whatever the genre ) and to attract the support of the teachers and mentors it requires to make any progress. Hence my earlier question, " what is semi-beginning"? Your question is one of a beginner, certainly at the flute at least. Why try and be something else? Take the plunge and embrace being a beginner, learning is much easier when you are open to your own propensity for improvement and very difficult when claiming attainment for which the evidence is not forthcoming, you will always end up disappointing yourself.

By and large a lot of people will enjoy assisting someone genuinely attempting something, the best teachers know the problems they had learning too. It all gets a bit hooked up when the student starts to jump the gun as it does too when a teacher starts to get dogmatic.

Re: Budget Irish Flute for semi-beginning

Your budge flute options (by ascending price), are Doug Tipple, Randall Hauck (https://www.irishflutestore.com/collections/irish-flutes-all/products/randal-hauck-polymer-d-flute), Tony Dixon (the three piece conical ones are pretty good, the cylindrical ones less so), Walt Sweet (Shannon), Copley & Boegli (http://copleyflutes.com/catalog.html), Gary Somers, Rob Forbes (http://forbesflutes.com/), and Casey Burns.

If $300-$500 is out of reach, go for a Tipple (or Somers aluminum or Hammy Hamilton practice flute), and have a blast (literally and figuratively)!

Re: Budget Irish Flute for semi-beginning

I’d be curious to learn what you chose. Many have asked your question but we never seem to find out what happened. No matter the way you choose to go, enjoy the trip!

Re: Budget Irish Flute for semi-beginning

As people have said steer clear of no-name cheap wood flutes from Pakistan. Nearly all the inexpensive wooden flutes sold by various shops and on Ebay are these, and they’re generally horrible.

As a general philosophy I think it’s a mistake for beginners (or semi-beginners) to buy poor quality instruments. It’s a puzzler, to me, why so many beginners insist on buying them, because they make the best progress if they’re learning on high-quality instruments.

There’s an old tried-and-true tradition of beginners having their instruments picked out for them by experienced players, and I would do that if possible.

I’ve had instances where a beginner has proudly shown up with his prized "diamond in the rough" and I’ve tried it and told him "nobody could play that thing, you’re going to have to get a real instrument". If they had come to an experienced player first they would have saved themselves time and money.

Re: Budget Irish Flute for semi-beginning

The thing about buying quality used instruments is that you can in effect hire/rent them for free.

There’s no difference in price between a 5 year old flute from a known respected maker, and a 5 1/2 year old flute from the same maker.

So pick up a used quality instrument, try it for a month or a year, and if you don’t like it sell it for the same price you bought it for. (It works that way unless you over-paid in the first place. Don’t over-pay and all is well.)

When I decided to get into Low Whistles (knowing next to nothing about them, being a fluteplayer) I tried everything I could get my hands on. I played whistles on demonstration tours, prototypes sent me by makers, and I bought and tried a large number of used whistles. Now I have just one Low D, the best of the lot that I tried.

Re: Budget Irish Flute for semi-beginning

Hello from USA. If you are looking for a budget flute, a high quality flute at an acceptable price, then try a Sweetheart http://www.sweetheartflute.com/ Ralph and his son Walt Sweet are technically trained engineers by background but they both have lived for decades in the upper floor of a big old red barn with an authentic Irish music hall on the bottom floor. Yeah, they know the story about Irish music and they know the story about money. And so talk to them. Tell them what you need and tell them that you do not have a lot of money to spend. I have been doing good business with the Sweets for more than twenty years and I own a literal armload of their flutes.

Re: Budget Irish Flute for semi-beginning

As a beginner two years ago I went with the Walt Sweet Shannon. It has turned out to be equal to my learning curve. The better I get the better it sounds. Probably true for any instrument but the quality for the price can’t be beat. I’ll keep saving for that wooden flute until the day that I can’t improve any more on the Shannon…and then I’ll keep it for traveling.

Re: Budget Irish Flute for semi-beginning

Sad news but not entirely unexpected … In my post of some 17 hours ago I had recommended Sweetheart flutes; http://www.sweetheartflute.com/ But sadly, Ralph and his son Walt Sweet have decided to close shop after some 43 years in the business. Ralph was big on fife and drum bands since way back in the 1950s and his wife is a graduate on flute from a prestigious New York school. Then in the early 1970s along came what we today know as keyless flutes and Ralph went into that business. The Sweets live in a big red, old fashioned cow barn with a fully furnished apartment on the upper floor and the big lower floor was a dance hall. For years I was in the habit of stopping by there once or twice a year, they being only a 40 minute drive away from me, but my last visit there was a couple of years ago . But I now see the news that Sweetheart Flute Company is gone.

Re: Budget Irish Flute for semi-beginning

While the Sweetheart Flute Company is gone, Walt Sweet is still making flutes and whistles. He can be found at wdsweetflutes.com The Sweetheart Company has "morphed" into Musique Morneaux at musiquemorneaux.com

Steve