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What is your Flute setup

Discussion in 'Concert flute' started by Steve, Jan 16, 2008.

  1. Gandalfe

    Gandalfe Administrator Staff Member Administrator

    Just got a custom flute head joint from Kessler's music for $200 brand new. They are solid silver and were re-cut by master maker Chris McKenna. All of a sudden all three octave ranges on the flute just pop out. I wasn't having any luck before.

    Suzy asked me why I bought it, so I had her try her stock gemeinhardt head and then try the McKenna. Better sound, more volume and wow! So I ordered the last one Dave Kessler had for Suzy. I've always heard what custom heads can do for a flute but I hadn't really bought into spending the money to find out. For $200 though, I got a steal of a deal and Dave's not gonna do any more of these.

    Funny thing, three of the flutes in the WCB want to try the head now. Too bad they aren't available anymore.
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2009
  2. Lucky You

    One of my friends bought one a week or two ago and let me use it since he won't be using his flute for a while. I have a Haynes Commercial model from the 60's though, and initial impressions were quite impressive. Mainly in the second register. For some reason I always had problems with the G and A staying in the right octave. This fixed it.
  3. I had all but replaced my J40 (anniversary model of 211) with a Muramatsu EXIII a couple years ago, but early this year I managed to get a reasonable price on a used 'EC' cut head. I now find myself playing the 211/EC combo more than my Muramatsu; the M is sweeter, but the Y is more versatile and powerful.

    Coulda saved myself a lot of money if I had tried the headjoint thing first!!

    SOTSDO Old King Log Staff Member CE/Moderator

    I have a flute. Sometimes, if someone calls for The Hustle, I will pick it up and play it. But, anything beyond that is beyond my skill levels these days.

    Once, before they went bust, I visited a local bastion of the Brook-Hays empire. Whilst there, I browsed through some odds and ends in their "wind instrument room", and amongst all of the saxes and suchlike, there was a nicely crafted wooden box containing a flute head joint, brand and model long since forgotten.

    I picked it up, applied my pathetic flute embouchure to the gleaming lip plate, and blew, curious if my dim memories of the limited flute training I received, this while playing an endless production of Carousel many years ago, were still present in some portion of my hindbrain.

    It was as if I had been born to play the flute! The resultant note that sounded was stable, sweet, liquid and pure as the driven snow. Thinking that I had lucked into what had happened, I moved it away, put it back to my lips, did the whole "bunny spitting rice" thing with my mouth again, and blew. Same result.

    No matter how quickly I constructed my embouchure, or how I whipped the head joint up to my lips, I still produced traverse head flute magic - without the flute. I debated purchasing the thing, but I play so little flute that I just could not justify the purchase price. But, it convinced me that the head joint is a large part of successful flute playing

    But, if flute playing ever becomes a critical issue for me, I know where to start...
  5. If I may chime in here.....
    I consider my primary instrument to be the flute but I am self taught so take my comments for what they are worth :) I initially played trumpet and flugelhorn until a split lip forced me to find another avenue to make music - hence the flute starting in 1970.

    Gemeinhardts were my flute of choice (model 3S and an alto purchased in the early 70's) until about 2004. I still have these flutes and use the alto regularly to this day.

    In 2004 I went crazy and upgraded to a Miyazawa 301 (PCM alloy body, b footjoint, c# trill key, offset g, open hole plated keys) combined with a Howell Roberts wood headjoint. I then added a Drelinger silver headjoint with a gold "air reed". Since I was playing both indoor and outdoor gigs I then convinced my wife that it would be smart to have a quality "backup" flute body in case something happened to the 301. I know, why not use the Gemeinhardt - well, I admit to having a bad case of GAS and had fallen completely in love with the sound/feel of the Miyazawa so what else could I do but get another Miyazawa body??? (Did I mention that I have an extremely understanding wife who realized that this was probably one of the easier ways to get me through my mid-life crisis?). So that is how I ended up with the Miyazawa 402 (solid silver heavy wall body, b footjoint, brogger mechanism, offset g, open hole plated keys) in 2006.

    So, current setup is the 301 body with the Drelinger headjoint - very powerful throughout with an exceptionally strong low end (I was heavily influenced by Hubert Laws and Joe Farrell who both have incredibly strong low registers) for most of my playing.
    The 402 is paired with the Roberts headjoint which provides a slightly softer sound (not necessarily volume, just a softer quality to the tone). And of course, the Gemeinhardt alto with a straight solid silver head (I have the solid silver curved head also but prefer the sound of the straight).

    I think I'm good for quite awhile now, (especially since I am currently between day jobs) - but at some point I would love to add a bass flute to the equation. I tried a Yamaha about a year ago and fell in love all over again - but they don't come cheap so it will have to wait. Not to mention my current obsession with getting my saxes going again - but that's another story......
  6. I have an Armstrong 80 open hole....it says sterling silver and head only...don't know much else about it....if there a serial number page that could tell me when it was made? Serial # is D58xx
  7. I recently picked up an old Linton piccolo, one of those late night ebay purchases, hoping to use it in a shadowbox. It appears to be silver rather than plated. Is that possible?
  8. Yam 261 S II with a Yam silver 925 head.
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