Friday, March 1, 2013

Step Up Flutes Part II - More Basics

In our last post, we shared some of Linda Fisher's guide to purchasing a step up flute.  Linda has been playing flute for 34 years, teaching for 27, and working at the Royalton Music Center for 25 years -- so she has certainly answered many questions from parents and students!  In this next section of her guide, she answers a few more questions about the basics...

Question 3 -- What is the difference between a silver plated and a solid silver flute?

If the whole flute is made out of silver, then it will produce and even different tone than a flute with just a silver headjoint and silver-plated body and foot.  Of course, this will usually increase the price of the flute as well.  However, if the difference in tone is significant, the extra money will be well-spent to upgrade at this point.  After all, you don't want to buy ANOTHER flute in a few years when your player outgrows this one -- unless your child is going to become a professional player!  Moving along further, let's take a look at the body of the instrument. Whether the flute is silver, silver-plated, or gold-plated (yes, there are gold-plated step up flutes!), there are many features available

In this photo Inline G (on the left), Offset G (on the right)
Question 4 -- What is the difference between inline G and offset G?

Inline G/Offset G key: Inline means the 3rd finger of the left hand stays "inline" with the other keys.  Offset means the 3rd finger of the left hand sets out, and some players find this more comfortable.  Typically, student level flutes have offset G because the player's hands have a hard time reaching for an inline G key.  Quite honestly, this is a player preference.

Question 5 -- Does it really matter what type of "arm" is on the keys?

Y Arms or French Arms:  If you look at the flute, there are a number of keys that the player does not press down.  For the keys that are pressed down by the player's fingers, the closing of the key is actually done by the middle of the pad of your finger.  Some flutes have an extension that reaches to the middle of the keys that are not pressed down -- these are called French arms.  This is to provide a consistent sealing of the pads.  With Y arms, the key is closed from the back of the key, rather than the middle.  Some flute players will notice a difference in the feel of the flute while others may not.

Close-up on offset G
Close-up on Y Arms
Close-up on French arms

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