Is there a lighter keyless polymer flute than the M&E?

Is there a lighter keyless polymer flute than the M&E?

Hello and best regards to everyone reading this.

I used to own an M&E keyless delrin flute. It was a great intermediate price, and I loved the sound and the adjustable tuning slide, but the weight of the flute led to numbness in my thumb. I use piper’s-grip (straight fingers) on both hands, and the weight of the flute is balanced on the tip of my left thumb.

I would like to buy another intermediate-price keyless polymer flute (preferably with a tuning slide) but much lighter in weight than the M&E. Can anyone give me a steer in the right direction? Thanks!

Re: Is there a lighter keyless polymer flute than the M&E?

Hi Kareem, and welcome.

I think a lot of polymer flutes are copies of wooden designs, which means they are known to work but are probably heavier than engineering requires. However, making them lighter means a redesign, and possibly more machining time.

Are the Casey Burns flutes made of straight pipe, or am I thinking of someone else? Those would certainly be lighter.

Another alternative is Hammy Hamilton’s "practice" flute; it’s metal, not plastic, but it is very light, and a decent instrument as well (and it is tuneable)

Posted by .

Re: Is there a lighter keyless polymer flute than the M&E?

I used to have a Des Seery polymer flute, which I think was slightly lighter than the M&E, but maybe not significantly so.

Posted by .

Re: Is there a lighter keyless polymer flute than the M&E?

Garry Somers 5-piece Rudall in Delrin w/slide is 12.00 ounces.

Carbony flute w/slide is 12.40 ounces.

Dixon 3-piece about 9.5 ounces (as reported on C&F). Not sure of model#.

Cochran w/slide is 11.85 ounces.

Seery w/slide is 13.55 ounces.

Copley (no slide) is 10.00 ounces.

BTW, Hamilton blackwood w/6-keys, 13.50 ounces.

Re: Is there a lighter keyless polymer flute than the M&E?

I think most or even all polymer flutes are lighter than the M&E ones. The ebonite is a heavy than other polymers and the wall the M&E it a lot thicker than on the other flutes (I believe).

But the M&E weight isn’t the problem, you left hand pipers grip is problematic. You should use normal grip in the left hand and fixate the flute between the chin and your hand - without using the thump!

Re: Is there a lighter keyless polymer flute than the M&E?

Of the flutes I have tried, I found Dave Copely’s to feel the lightest, and they are real honkers.

Re: Is there a lighter keyless polymer flute than the M&E?

The Ellis “Essential” flute likely lightest.

https://www.ellisflutes.com/world-flutes/transverse-folk

I have one made of Bocote in key of F and it’s featherweight. No tuning slide. Single piece of wood. Pressure treated so many of the benefits of man made materials but in wood.

Delrin and ebonite and carbon fibre all dense and similar weight to Blackwood.

Re: Is there a lighter keyless polymer flute than the M&E?

I know the question is about polymer flutes, however Casey Burns is gearing up to produce very lightweight plastic flutes.

I think he’s basing the design on vintage glass flutes. From the photos I’ve seen these appear to have thinner walls than wooden flutes yet still produce a great vintage tone.

As people have mentioned there are a couple makers producing flutes with a polymer head (or partial polymer head) and alloy tubing body, these flutes are very light to hold.

Re: Is there a lighter keyless polymer flute than the M&E?

The lightest keyless flute I’ve played was my friend’s Forbes Flute. Lighter than my Copley for sure and a great little player! I also play pipers grip and have no problems with it.

http://www.forbesflutes.com/

Posted by .

Re: Is there a lighter keyless polymer flute than the M&E?

If you’re going to continue with the flute you’ll get more value from changing your left hand grip. It’ll be awkward for a few weeks but you’ll be glad of it.

Re: Is there a lighter keyless polymer flute than the M&E?

Many thanks for all of the replies, I really appreciate everyone taking the time to help me out.

Davidread and Loughcurra, I think I’ll follow your advice and start using the normal grip in the left hand. Luckily I don’t have a ton of unlearning to do.

Melmo, even though I’ll be changing my grip, the Forbes delrin flute looks nice and handy (compared to the long-foot of my old M&E), and the lighter weight could only be a help in avoiding strain and tension.

I’d welcome any continuing advice or comments - thanks again all!

Re: Is there a lighter keyless polymer flute than the M&E?

Here are further figures:

Hamilton practice flute 166 g
Forbes 268 g
Vincenzo di Mauro keyless 357 g
Vincenzo di Mauro 8 keys 446 g
M&E 6 keys 491 g

The Forbes - great keyless flute, in my opinion - will be definitely lighter than the M&E. Both flutes have in common a larger external diameter than many other flutes. On the other hand, embouchure, internal bore and tone-hole size will be completely different, with the Forbes having a much wider bore and larger tone holes, and requiring more air than the M&E.

That said, I’d second the advice of changing the left-hand grip in any case. I’ve been using the "normal" grip (also known as Rockstro, or 19th century grip) since I started playing the flute 1.5 years ago and I struggled with A and B rolls at first, but they eventually came with practice (the B roll is still not perfect and consistent, but it’s on its way). My grip has completely settled when I started playing a 6-key flute and practising tunes in G dorian: I would say that you will know that your grip is correct when you will be operating the Bb key with ease.

Re: Is there a lighter keyless polymer flute than the M&E?

Hi! Is there any reason to prefer a polymer flute? I used to own an m&e flute too, and I loved the sound of it, but it felt very heavy. I don’t know much about wooden flutes, but being a classic flute player my grip is suposed to be the "ideal", resting the flute on the base of my left index and my chin, but after playing for a while my thumb would be sore. When I bought my first wooden flute I noticed that it was lighter an thinner, much easier to hold.

I think you should not only try to change your grip but also consider buying a wooden flute. The first wooden flute I tried was an old Murray and it was soooo light…

Now I have a Lehart flute with six keys and I’m thinking of selling my Hernon. If you’re interested,it’s a beautiful flute, much better than polymer in my opinion.

Re: Is there a lighter keyless polymer flute than the M&E?

This discussion raises two questions in my mind: 1. I assume that a flute with a short foot would be lighter than one with a long foot. Is there any other advantages/disadvantages of a short foot? 2. Haizea has suggested going with a wooden flute for a lighter weight instrument. I’ve heard that blackwood can be rather heavy. Which wood would be the preferred wood to make a lighter flute and still have acceptable tone (wow! a lot of woods…)?

Re: Is there a lighter keyless polymer flute than the M&E?

Cheers Kareem! Hope you like it!

I’ve been slowly moving to trying a modified Rockstro grip in anticipation for my keyed Windward flute. Pipers grip is doable on that flute (tried a friends out), but for sure will be playing with a different left hand grip once it comes in!

Posted by .

Re: Is there a lighter keyless polymer flute than the M&E?

Ellis’ Ebonite flutes are very light—I have an Ellis ebonite pratten and it’s lighter than either of the wooden pratten style flutes I own. It’s lighter than any of the keyless delrin flutes I have as well. I have an Ellis "essential flute and its’ extremely light and a pleasure to play. He will make an essential flute with a tuning slide

The Walt Sweet "shannon" flute is pretty great. More a Rudal than a Pratten but it’s easy playing and nimble. I keep one in the car and play it a lot. It’s quite a bit lighter than the M&E I also own.

Posted by .

Re: Is there a lighter keyless polymer flute than the M&E?

Bonsoir,
vdmflutes.com
Vincenzo Di Mauro
11, St. John’s Terrace, Galway, Co. Galway (Ireland)

Re: Is there a lighter keyless polymer flute than the M&E?

Bonsoir,
La flûte en chantier Louis Jourdan (France)

Re: Is there a lighter keyless polymer flute than the M&E?

My Copley feels quite light. I agree about changing your grip though. There’s a reason McGoldrick rests his flutes on his shoulder.

Re: Is there a lighter keyless polymer flute than the M&E?

"I assume that a flute with a short foot would be lighter than one with a long foot. Is there any other advantages/disadvantages of a short foot?"

When I got my 6-key delrin in D, Dave Copley told me that he recommended an extended D foot (with the extra 2 holes) because I was getting a silver tuning slide on it, and the extended foot helps balance the weight of the slide. Without the metal tuning slide in the head, he’d have recommended a short D foot.

Re: Is there a lighter keyless polymer flute than the M&E?

Bonjour,
Ma M&E - D - keyless pèse 395 grammes
Ma VDM - D - keyless pèse 356 grammes

Re: Is there a lighter keyless polymer flute than the M&E?

After carefully reading through each and every post - and doing a lot of research over the weekend - I think I’m going be awkward, and buy another M&E.

This time around, the Rockstro left hand grip will hopefully give me a more comfortable experience.

In addition, I listened to old sound files of me playing my previous M&E, and it really does have a gorgeous sound for the price (and considering my lack of skill). And because it is so cheap, I can afford to upgrade to a Forbes or Vincenzo Di Mauro later if, despite the new grip, a problem with the weight returns.

Many thanks for all of the comments and suggestions - they were really helpful.

Re: Is there a lighter keyless polymer flute than the M&E?

I’m surprised to see some of the weights quoted above. My keyless Delrin from McNeela weighs in at 433g or 15.3 ounces. I guess if I move to a keyed wooden flute some day I won’t have much of an adjustment for the weight at least. I had no idea my flute was so heavy compared to other keyless polymer models.

Re: Is there a lighter keyless polymer flute than the M&E?

For the record, Andy_B, which McNeela flute do you have? Is it the Lon Dubh?

Re: Is there a lighter keyless polymer flute than the M&E?

Yes, the Lon Dubh. Has McNeela produced other keyless Delrin flutes? I didn’t do enough research when I bought mine, although I’m (mostly) very happy with it.

Re: Is there a lighter keyless polymer flute than the M&E?

@Andy_B
McNeela has also sold Dixon, M&E & Seery polymer flutes.