2 piece or 3 piece seasoned Irish flute

2 piece or 3 piece seasoned Irish flute

I have the option to buy a new 2 piece (not counting the tuning slide) Irish flute or three piece (made from older seasoned wood) from an excellent flute maker in County Clare, Ireland.

Which should I go for?

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Re: 2 piece or 3 piece seasoned Irish flute

Hi Jo, it’s going to depend a bit on your playing style for hand positions. With what you’re calling the two piece flute, it can be expected the finger wholes are aligned through the centre line of the flute. Some players like the flexibility of adjusting the top left hand joint away from centre in your so-called three piece flute to give a more comfortable hold and seal of the holes. I use this approach because my left hand is flatter in more of a piper’s grip. Others may prefer a different alignment for the bottom hand. If you’re not familiar with these considerations, it would be great to try both instruments if you can before committing to a purchase. All the best, Alex

Re: 2 piece or 3 piece seasoned Irish flute

Is the three piece head+body+foot or head+upper body+lower body?

Re: 2 piece or 3 piece seasoned Irish flute

As I understand the 3 piece is head, middle joint and foot. The two piece does not have a foot joint

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Re: 2 piece or 3 piece seasoned Irish flute

The balance might be different. Can the maker advise on the pros and cons? If kept in a roll the three piece may be handier to carry.

Re: 2 piece or 3 piece seasoned Irish flute

Depends on the maker, whom you should consult. Right now, I can only think of 4 flute makers in Clare & the first 2 (Martin Doyle & Michel Bonamy) might not offer in those configurations. Martin’s are usually 2-piece (head & body) except for his keyed flutes, and Michel studied with him. The others are Eamonn Cotter & Donal McMahon.

In any regard, wood should always be well-seasoned before use. There may be higher-quality wood options only available in shorter lengths (not uncommon these days) that would necessitate a separate foot joint.

Re: 2 piece or 3 piece seasoned Irish flute

I think any proper flute maker would be using highly seasoned wood for instruments regardless. Many makers I know season for 17-20 years for blackwood, and carefully manage the process for that time. You canna use fresh wood for flutes.