Curved Head Joint

Discussion in 'Concert flute' started by Gandalfe, Nov 7, 2009.

  1. Gandalfe

    Gandalfe Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    Anyone here use a curved head joint on a concert flute? Is it easier on the neck for us old folks? I'm not proud and will admit to using plugs in my open hole keyworks. :cool:

    Also will a Yamaha 2xx curved head joint fit a Gemeindhardt?
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2009
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  2. saxplayer1004

    saxplayer1004

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    Not sure if it will fit, I'd send a PM to Bruce Bailey on SOTW though, he'd know for sure. Gemeinhardt makes a curved head joint though for it's student model flutes, so if you can find a dealer they may be able to order you one.

    I imagine it would be better on your neck, the problem is that the student head joints are going to be, well student quality. You may notice a drastic change in tone depending on what grade flute you have now. Similar to jumping from a good mouthpiece on sax down to a junk plastic piece.

    No worries on the plugged holes man, I play offset G closed tone holes and I'm still a kid. I see no reason in the open holes for the kind of flute work that I do.
     
  3. fox

    fox

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    Can't say for sure, but I think that the curved head-joint is used for small students.
     
  4. Gandalfe

    Gandalfe Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    Yes, that's how it is advertised. But Roger wrote on another forum that he was using the curved head joint to help him with a neck problem.

    Mostly the plugged holes get diss'd by the flute snobs. Suzy was trying to learn on an open hole flute and eventually started using the plugs because we really dont' spend enough time on the flute. Practice priority for me is sax, clarinet, and then flute.
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2009
  5. Roger Aldridge

    Roger Aldridge Composer in Residence Distinguished Member

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    I just stumbled upon this old thread.

    There are some of us who have the sad option of either using a curved headjoint or having to give up flute. For me, it's due to a shoulder problem. With a curved headjoint I'm fine. Happily, the Yamaha curved headjoint for concert flute has a quality of sound that is superior to typical student flutes. It has a CY cut.

    I've thought about getting a solid silver headjoint and have it adapted to the Yamaha curved piece. But, that would require quite a bit of repair tech work -- including reversing the lip plate -- and I'm not sure how it would do intonation-wise.

    As it turned out, I've found that I very much prefer alto flute to concert flute and I've pretty much laid aside my Yamaha concert flute. Sight transposing for alto flute is not a problem for me. My alto flute is a Dimedici 1219ES (curved silver headjoint, plate body) and I've found it to be about the best there is for the money. For me, a silver body would add too much weight and there is no way that I could play it with a straight headjoint.
     
  6. Gandalfe

    Gandalfe Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    As I approach 60 years of age I worry about the most common of shoulder problems, a rotator cuff injury. I usually happens because the aging person doesn't do the exercises to keep important muscles from atrophying. Oh, and it can be easier to injure due to genetic factors.
     
  7. Roger Aldridge

    Roger Aldridge Composer in Residence Distinguished Member

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    Jim, In my case I'm not sure what happened with the right shoulder. I do lots of daily exercise including dumbell & isometric workouts and (especially) qigong practices. Only flute has been a problem for me with the shoulder.
     
  8. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

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    There's also the eKlute and other not-really-traverse headjoints, like this.

    I thought you had a shakalute. Not your cup of tea?
     
  9. Roger Aldridge

    Roger Aldridge Composer in Residence Distinguished Member

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    Pete, I've looked at these kinds of alternatives over the years. Frankly, they did not fit into my music budget. The Japanese hybrid looks REALLY COOL! This is the first that I've heard about it. Thanks!!!
     
  10. Gandalfe

    Gandalfe Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    Luv the traverse headjoint. The Shakalute has severe voicing problems and not just for me.
     
  11. SOTSDO

    SOTSDO Old King Log Staff Member CE/Moderator

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    I have a rotator cuff injury...

    ...but mine was a tragic saxophone injury.

    I was playing a production of Forum twenty years ago, in a theater with a great orchestra pit. My daughter was sitting next to me on my right, soaking up the musical theater experience, and occasionally helping out with a bad page turn or horn change.

    During the "House of Marcus Lycus" number, there was a fast transition between baritone and bass clarinet, this for one of the "between courtesan" vamps. The idea was that she would hold the baritone while I played bass, then have it ready for the next use in a hurry.

    The first baritone passage comes and goes, I unhook the horn, cradle the tube in my hand (with the fingers curled around the tube) and move to hand it to her. Unexpectedly, she grabs the horn and rapidly pulls it up and back towards where she was sitting.

    My hand, arm and shoulder, with the fingers trapped around the horn, gets jerked back in a hurry. I could feel the tearing going on in my shoulder, and almost had to bite my tongue to stifle the cry of pain, so searing was it.

    My daughter realized what happening as soon as it happened, and slacked off almost instantly, but by then the damage was done. The shoulder felt like a knife had been stuck into it for the rest of the evening, and most of the next day. It was a miracle that I didn't drop either the baritone or the bass, which I kept tightly gripped in my left hand.

    I put off going to the doctor until the injury stopped hurting. However, that next summer, when I tried to throw a baseball, I discovered that my arm did not work normally any longer. The extent of the injury was that I had trouble elevating the arm above the shoulder, and I could not lift any weight with my arm extended. (With the upper arm pointing down alongside of the body, I can still lift a hundred pound with the lower arm - it's just the extended arm that's the trouble.)

    (When I finally got around to visiting an orthopedic surgeon, he said that I had let things go on too long, and that the contracted and atrophied muscle could not be reattached and returned to normal function. There's a moral there somewhere...)

    And, other than me missing one of the bass clarinet vamps in "Lycus", I didn't drop a note. What a trooper...
     
  12. kymarto

    kymarto Content Expert/Moderator Staff Member CE/Moderator

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    The shakulute headjoint is actually acoustically superior to the normal transverse head in several important ways. First, since the air jet connects directly with the air column, without passing through an embouchure chimney, the strength and response of the lowest notes are considerably enhanced. Second, the tone is more full, since there is no acoustic hole at around 3 KHz (caused in transverse heads by the Helmholtz resonance of the space between the embouchure hole and stopper).

    Several years ago I was lucky enough to pick up an Okuralo, which is a vertically-held concert flute with a shakuhachi-type metal headjoint. These were invented by Baron Okura (a rich Japanese nobleman) in the 1920s. The one I found also has a standard transverse head, so it is easy to compare. The sound with the shak-type head is considerably sharper and more oboe-like, without the hollowness of the standard flute (think of the sound of the quena).

    I visited Monty Levenson and we compared the Okuralo with his shakulute head on a normal flute. They were very similar in sound and response.

    There is one big disadvantage: notes in the third octave are quite sharp, which is an acoustic fact of life for all end-blown flutes.

    It's not a question of voicing problems so much as embouchure problems. I am lucky since I have a good shakuhachi embouchure, but for those who only play transverse flute there can be a steep learning curve to be able to play the shakulute well.

    Toby
     
  13. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

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    Hey, it's a Toby sighting! How ya been, dude?

    If I ever really, really needed to play flute, I'd probably want to get the eKlute or Shakalute/Okuralo because I have severe problems trying to press my lips into a flute embochure. Yes, I know: it's me, not the instrument that's the problem ....

    BTW, Toby's post regarding the Okuralo is here. He's got a couple of nice pics of the thing, too.
     
  14. kymarto

    kymarto Content Expert/Moderator Staff Member CE/Moderator

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    Busy, busy, busy with assorted Japanese disasters...
     
  15. Gandalfe

    Gandalfe Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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  16. kymarto

    kymarto Content Expert/Moderator Staff Member CE/Moderator

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    No probs, Pete. If anyone is interested I can try to post a sound file comparing Okuralo to standard flute. I keey thinking I should convince some manufacturer to start producing a similar metal headjoint. Not to take business away from Monty, but it would be dead simple to make these to fit to a regular flute, and it changes the character of the instrument dramatically.

    According to John Coltman, it should even be possible to modify the design in order to get the third octave in tune--something I could explore with a normal shakuhachi if I ever find the time and inclination.

    Of course as you found out, it takes time and effort to adjust to the different embouchure--very different from a transverse head.
     
  17. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

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    I definitely feel for you on that. I've mentioned a couple places that I happen to enjoy anime. There were a couple forums/blogs that were actually checking on voice actors/actresses and assorted industry folks, like Yoko Kanno, to make sure they were all OK. There was a palpable sense of worry when some folks couldn't be located.

    How's it going out there, now? The story has dropped from the pages of most newspapers.
     
  18. kymarto

    kymarto Content Expert/Moderator Staff Member CE/Moderator

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    On the tsunami front still 5000 people missing and most likely never to be found. Debris is being cleared, but the estimates are that there are over 100 million tons of it, so this is going to be a big job.

    On the nuclear front not much has changed. Massive contamination across Japan, with the worst obviously being near the plant. Elevated background levels are mostly worrisome only within 50 km. of the plant, but food contamination is a big issue.

    The real condition of the plant is unknown. Radiation releases have dropped and things are static, but not stable. It could still go really, really bad. If their is another major release and the winds are southerly, Tokyo or parts of it could become uninhabitable.

    The plan is to achieve cold shutdown and start removing intact rods from the fuel pools within three years, and to start removing the melted rods within a decade; however this is questionable since it has never been attempted and no technology exists for doing it. In the meantime (if the fuel doesn't melt through the secondary containment and either explode like Chernobyl or simply cause massive groundwater contamination) it has to be continuously cooled, and the hundreds or thousands of tons of contaminated water per month created by that process have to be continuously decontaminated. This in turn will create tons of highly radioactive sludge, which nobody knows how to deal with.

    Altogether not a pretty picture.
     
  19. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

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    Yah. That's a bad spot.

    In the US, we've also been wondering what to do with nuclear waste. I think that there are problems with what to do about the "leavings" of any energy source, be it the carbon dioxide from coal plants or the nuclear waste. At least, in the US, we could probably put all that stuff in uninhabited desert areas -- but Japan doesn't HAVE uninhabited desert areas.

    That food contamination is a big thing. I'm wondering how the contamination is going to start affecting the fishing trade out in Japan, especially considering that fish are one of the Japanese staples. It's sorta like wondering what we'd do in the US if a large percentage of our corn crops went bad.
     
  20. Mojo

    Mojo

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    I'm late to the party. (Seems that way in most threads.)

    I have an older Yamaha 500 series flute. They renumbered them so I think it is similar to a 600 series now. Open hole, offset G, only to low C. My wife has a similar flute, in-line G, with a B foot I have never needed to borrow. She upgraded her CY headjoint (which is very nice) to a Yamaha EC headjoint that became the standard headjoint later for Yamaha upper series flutes. I upgraded mine to a BC which I played for many years.

    Muscle problems in my shoulders kept shortening my endurance on flute about 12 years ago. I wanted a Gooseman headjoint but did not want to pay the bucks for it. I ended up getting a 30 deg Emerson headjoint off ebay. Emerson made 15 deg and 30 deg headjoints for a while. I needed to pair it with a Ton Kooiman thumb saddle for stability since the embouchure hole is not in line and wants to spin the flute body. On the Gooseman design, there is a hump that puts the embouchure hole in line with the body.

    Works really well for me. I don't play my straight Gemm alto flute much anymore. But I am comfortable with my Jupiter bass with its curved headjoint. Have not felt the urge to get a curved alto flute headjoint.
     

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