Tutorials

Flutes etc. Flutes

thehunt

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Studham Bedfordshire
Firstly i am 100% sax man but intrigued by flutes. Maybe its the portability. What can you tell me about them if you wanted to start playing one? What is the fingering, are they like saxes Eb, Bb etc?
What would be a good model to start with?
Thanks Phil:welldone
 

Luluna

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Phil,

Unlike the clarinet, the differences in fingering for the flute are relatively minor until you get to the extreme upper register.

I taught myself to play, borrowing one from a friend when I was about 12. The obvious difference is the embouchure - (if you can make a sound blowing over a beer or soda bottle you'll be fine) and I was pretty light headed the first couple weeks or so - no stopper for your "air".

The other bonus to picking up flute and/or clarinet are the increased opportunities for doubling in jazz bands or pit orchestras (my favorite). You're right, the portability is great for travel - grab your flute case and head outside (I like to sit by the lake) and play.

I still use an oldie but goodie Gemeinhardt, but I know other flautists who like the Pearl, Muramatsu, Miyazawa, Yamaha, or Burkhart - there are many options out there now - see if you can borrow one first from someone you know just to try it out. I'd avoid the open key hole models in the beginning - but that's must me.

The other reason I picked up the flute - to play along with Jethro Tull albums :w00t:

Give it a whirl!
 
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half diminished

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Luluna is correct about the fingering though I never managed to get a note out of my daughter's flute at all!

I think most are in concert pitch though not sure about Alto and Bass flutes.

She did however fail to mention one big danger. Flutes can start getting expensive very quickly and what with solid silver, solid silver head joints and much more the cost make the old sax look well cheap! So beware!!! >:)

Nice to see you can get double bags though for sax and flute. If you want to hear a great flautist and alto sax player - check out Finn Peters
 

Luluna

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She did however fail to mention one big danger. Flutes can start getting expensive very quickly and what with solid silver, solid silver head joints and much more the cost make the old sax look well cheap! So beware!!! >:)
I just priced them - :w00t::verysad - C-R-A-Z-Y !!

As a beginner - stick with a Yamaha (not the ones from Hong Kong) or a refurb Gemeinhardt - I've played both and still love my old "G".
 

dooce

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Daventry
I played flute till about age 17 and got to Grade 6 - I think (it's a long time ago now!). I went from flute to sax purely because Adolphe Sax ripped off Boehms flure fingering system to apply to his new invention, so flautists find a lot of immediate familiarity when they pick up a sax.

I have a very nice old half-wooden German flute, but hadn't made a serious attempt to play the thing for years and assumed I had just lost my "lip" (the flautists equivalent of "chops" I guess) till I picked up a friends Jupiter and could blow the thing right through 3 octaves with no problem. So I looked in Gumtree ads and have just acquired a Pearl 501 student model for 100 quid - immaculate and so easy to play. They retail for £450 new. I guess the old flute is just a bit more demanding.

There are plenty of cheap, good second-hand student flutes out there - Yamahe 211 is another very popular model. The prices asked for them seem to vary from £80 up to £250. I love mine - I've spent most of the weekend working my way through a book of intermediate studies and am pleasantly surprised at how much has come back to me after 40-odd years.

Unfortunately the dog likes it no more than he does the sax so practising is still accompanied by Dylan doing his Werewolves of London impressions.........
 

old git

Tremendous Bore
The trick is to aim a very thin stream of air at the far side top edge, technically 'fipple', of the hole.

Jonnie Myall aka Just Flutes can supply you with new ones at anything from a ton upwards to a zone that makes Mk Vls seem cheap. Jon F had my Tooty Flutey that started me on Boehms before my present Pearl Quantz.

Ask Jon if it plays reasonably well as they still had some in stock earlier this year.
 

jonf

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Betelgeuse
The Tooty Flutey from Myalls by way of Bill plays just fine. Certainly good enough for me. I started playing the flute in the mid 1980s when I had a girlfriend who was an accomplished flautist (also leant to play oboe in a similar way, different girl). She had a solid silver head flute, can't remember the make, but it cost £1,400 in 1984! And I think I'm just as good (bad) on the Tooty Flutey one.

Oh, and it also gives me a perfect excuse for a bit of smutty innuendo abut playing with my purple flute.

EDIT - Just read that again. Is that too rude?:blush:
 

half diminished

Senior Member
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Buckinghamshire
All this talk of flutes. Now I seem to have stabilised my embouchure for tenor and I'm very happy with my sound, it's time for me to get the saxello out. But I am tempted by the flute. My daughter plays beautifully though she's kinda given up whilst doing her A levels.
 

AdamBradley

Member
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134
That 'if you can blow a note over a bottle you can play a flute' is rubbish! Niether myself or my musically talented mate have ever had any success with flutes, we both assumed it was 'just me' until we found it to be mutual. So what is it, flautist conspiracy?

I have a picollo sitting in a desk tidy, always wanted to do an anchorman 'yazz flute' impression on it.
 

kevgermany

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That 'if you can blow a note over a bottle you can play a flute' is rubbish! Niether myself or my musically talented mate have ever had any success with flutes, we both assumed it was 'just me' until we found it to be mutual. So what is it, flautist conspiracy?

I have a picollo sitting in a desk tidy, always wanted to do an anchorman 'yazz flute' impression on it.
Worked for me. You just need to find out the right way to do it. Takes a little perseverance. Much harder at first than a sax.
 
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thehunt

thehunt

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797
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Studham Bedfordshire
Thanks everyone, all good info. Most of my sax books are written for tenor, can i play the flute to Bb music. ??
It's my birthday soon so maybe my wife will buy me a tin whistle or something.
 
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thehunt

thehunt

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797
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Studham Bedfordshire
Lori i too love Jethro Tull, Locomotive Breath and Aqualung my favorite tracks.
"The other reason I picked up the flute - to play along with Jethro Tull albums "
 

dooce

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Daventry
That 'if you can blow a note over a bottle you can play a flute' is rubbish!
Theory's the same, the practice is different. A flute needs a narrower airstream which calls for much more control of the jaw and lips. That's why flautists look like they're sucking lemons all the time. :)

Don't practice with a bottle, use just the flute headjoint.
 

TomMapfumo

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Skabertawe, South Wales
Many sax players eventually end up showing an interest in the flute, whereas many brass players eventually end up wanting a sousaphone - something of completely opposite size. What's that all about....?:shocked::w00t:

Prices seem to rocket beyond absolute beginner level, and its very easy to be above £2.000, whereas a decent trumpet can bought for about £200.

I've never quite understood how flute fits into the common triumvirate of Clarinet/Sax/Flute other than they are all classified as Woodwind, and are all considered common starter instruments - Why not Sax/Oboe/Bassoon - apart from the price/exclusivity issue?

Hope you get somewhere with your interest in things flautist...:w00t:

Kind regards
Tom:cool:
 

old git

Tremendous Bore
Monsieur Huh Unt, as I believe the French would say, what you can do as a try out, is to obtain the Yamaha Fife at around eight nicker.
http://www.justflutes.com/pages/product-detail10924.htm (Sorry Pete, forgotten how to insert the short link.)

It is a transverse recorder but would help you to learn to blow that thin accurately blown air stream. Think about a whistle. You blow into an orifice that guides the air stream on to the sharp edge of the fipple. The transverse flute family relies on you to aim that air flow at the sharp edge on the far side of the 'cut'.

If you don't fancy recorder fingering, tape up the thumb hole and can't be too certain about this as it was a long time ago, the first hole and it becomes tin whistle fingering.
 

DaveW

Member
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163
Location
Stockport, Cheshire
That 'if you can blow a note over a bottle you can play a flute' is rubbish! Niether myself or my musically talented mate have ever had any success with flutes, we both assumed it was 'just me' until we found it to be mutual. So what is it, flautist conspiracy?

I have a picollo sitting in a desk tidy, always wanted to do an anchorman 'yazz flute' impression on it.
I'm with you on that Adam.

I bought an inexpensive flute from eBay a while ago and went searching on the web for help and inspiration.
Almost everywhere they said the lower register was more difficult to play than middle and top..yeh right:shocked:

Took me ages to even get a sound out of it, and guess what, it was the lower register. Middle register was tricky, upper, forget it.

Took it to a friend's house to show him, his lad was there who plays guitar. I said 'here have ago', within a minute he could play two octaves :mad:

A sax is much easier to (I was going to say play) get a sound out of.
 
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thehunt

thehunt

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Messages
797
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Studham Bedfordshire
Thank ooooo GGGG i'll check that out. I will be travelling quite a lot soon so looking at somthing bit more portable. I won't just take a sax MP as i need to hear the toons!!
Thankyou everyone for yr comments, as always much appreciated.
Phil
 

saxnik

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381
Location
Poole, Dorset, United Kingdom
Just a quick view:

My own (serious) flute practice started a couple of years ago, when it became clear that my lack of doubling was a barrier to getting work.

I had a terrible (cheap ebay job) flute and couldn't get a decent tone or anything. I'd pretty much given up, but was then offered a Trevor James (TJ-10Xii) second hand for a reasonable price and all of a sudden the sound came much more easily. I then had a go on a Yamaha YFL-311 (silver head-joint) and there was a similar jump in ease of playing. When I can afford it I'll get one.

Messages:
1) Flute playing takes quite a lot of practice, especially if your sax embouchure is quite tight (tight is no use on a flute, it's all about flexibility)
2) The quality of manufacture of the flute (esp. head joint) you're using makes a lot of difference - get a flautist to try it out for you if you're thinking of buying and not sure (just like saxes!!)

Hope that's helped

Nick
 
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