I've decided to join that band at my university. It's open to non-majors, so it was a great opportunity for a grad student like me to get back into playing.
I played for 10 years until I started undergrad. I've been out of playing for 5 years now.
I currently play on a Gemeinhardt 3SB with gold plated lip plate. I remember its mechanics weren't as good as I wanted them to be when I played it in high school. I feel like it will limit me too, especially playing in a university band.
I was wondering if I could get recommendations on a flute?
Info on me as a player:
- Casual player
- Graduate student who's not a music major
- Playing for fun in a university band open to non-majors
- Prefer B-foot, open hole, inline keys
- Open to: Offset G/Split E mechanism
- Optional: Gold plated lip plate
You won't find any professional models in the $2000-$2200 range, but you can definitely find some much higher quality intermediate flutes at that price point. If you're willing to check out used instruments and have a respectable flute repair tech have a look over it to make sure it's in proper playing condition, that'd open your options even more. I would reach out to the flute professor at the school - I'm sure he or she would be glad to offer some recommendations on some models and where to go to try some out.
As for brands, Sonare, Pearl, and Yamaha make better flutes than Gemeinhardt at that range, to name a few. Brio also makes flutes in that price point. They're owed by Gemeinhardt, but in my experience they're made considerably better. The mechanism on the Gemeinhardt 3SBs that I've tried are probably the worst I've seen. But every flute and every player is different.
If you're willing to pay in the 2000 range, I would definitely recommend one of the upper intermediate flutes. Specifically an Altus Azumi, this is the flute I play on and its great. If you can find an older one that is made of 958 Brittania silver as opposed to the newer ones which seem to all be 925 sterling. I like the 958 better because it lets you get a darker sound without having a heavy walled flute. And the z cut emboucher hole is very flexible. But in the end its all personally preference. Many people also like Sonare, Brio, Pearl, and Yamaha. Any of these brands are very good, and even some that I didn't mention.
Are you near a major city that may have shops that specialize in flutes or close enough to one to drive to?
I *strongly* suggest going to a shop where you can try out a number of flutes in your price range (and record yourself too) to see which flutes you sound best on.
If you can't do that, then you can order from fluteshops via mail. The problem with this is that if you don't like the flute you trial, you pay the shipping to and from and that can be very expensive.
If you keep your eyes peeled you may be able to find used Altus 807, Miyazawa 102, or Yamaha 500 series in the low 2000 price range. These are probably the cheapest of the Japanese flutes you can find used (Sankyo Etudes and Muramatsu EXs are often found used $2500-3000).
I would not recommend the new Chinese flutes such as Powell Sonare, Haynes Amadeus, or Burkhart Resona, etc.
I would recommend established Taiwan flutes such as Jupiter DiMedici, Altus Azumi, and Pearl Quantz (with Forza headjoint only) or Dolce models.
Specific NEW recommendations:
Pearl F665 Quantz Forza Head $1,099.00 @ Kessler Music
Altus Azumi 2000 $1,199.00 @ Kessler Music
Altus Azumi AZ2 $1,399 @ Flutecenter NY & Fluteworld
Jupiter Dimedici 1011 $1,365.00 @ Kessler Music
*Kessler only offers trials for 3 days where most other places offer 7 days to trial instruments.
When play testing an instrument, if you cannot play the lowest range of the flute easily (like lowest C), then I would assume the flute has leaks and I would send it back or get a tech to review it if you really like it for some reason. The leak could be pretty major and cost a lot of money to fix.
Also if you look at the pads, if they have a severely deep ring compression in them they may have been clamped to hide that there are leak problems.