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Buying A Flute -- How To Buy A Flute Online

Updated on July 6, 2011

Buying A Flute

I learned how to play the flute when I was 9 years old. I'd been playing the piano for six years at that point, but wanted to play a different instrument from my mother, who's also a pianist. So when I had an opportunity to learn the flute at school, I eagerly accepted.

My first flute was a rental from a local music store and was in terrible condition. It was missing pads, some of the keys were stuck, and I basically couldn't get a sound out of it. My rather dense music teacher informed me that I'd never be able to play the flute well because my lips were shaped wrong. Understandably, I wanted to quit, but my parents bought me a new flute, signed me up for some private music lessons and urged me to stick it out. I did, and two years later, that same music teacher gave me that year's music award!

25 years later, I'm still teaching and playing. I released my first album last year called Flute Path and regularly perform with a band in New York city clubs. I wouldn't be where I am today, though, if I hadn't gotten a functional instrument. Believe me, it's important to know what to expecr whe buying a flute.

This is why it's so important to purchase the right item when buying a flute. Buying a flute online can save you a lot of money, and there are a lot of quality flutes available. Here are some tips on what to look for when purchasing a flute.


Beginner Student Flutes -- Flutes For Beginners

Beginner Flutes

The best way to learn to play the flute is to start of with a beginner instrument. Beginner flutes are almost always closed hole, meaning that the keys are solid and don't have openings in the center. While some beginner flutes are silver plated, most of them are made of nickel, and are very durable.

Beginner flutes are not of the highest quality, but that's exactly the point: they're for beginners and are "starter" instruments. Because they're closed-hole, they're easy to grip and play, which is important when a child is learning the flute. While the sound is pleasant, they can have a tin-like quality.

You can purchase a decent beginner flute for about $100-500. If you're buying a new flute, make sure it comes with a warranty, as you would with any machine. A flute that's in good shape should have the pads (the soft material under each key) intact and the springs should be nice and tight. Note: Piccolos are NOT for beginners. I've known parents who wanted to start their kids out with a piccolo because it's small, but they're different from flutes and actually quite difficult to play.

Buying An Intermediate Flute

Once you've been playing for a couple of years, you might want to move on to an intermediate flute. Intermediate flutes are of a higher quality and produce a clearer tone. Many, such as the Yamaha that I owned, are made of silver or at least have a silver head joint.

This is a great time to begin playing an open-hole flute. On an open-hole flute, the center of each key is well, open, looking a bit like a donut. The holes give the flute a better sound quality; you can also use the holes to perform tricks, such as glissandos.

Intermediate flutes often come with plugs to put in the holes because it takes a while to get used to gripping the instrument so that your fingers are properly placed over the keys. As you become more accustomed to playing it, you can remove the plugs.

Intermediate Flutes - Open Hole Flutes

Buying A Professional Flute

Professional flutes are of the highest quality and can be as much as $20,000. Some have gold head joints or are even made of solid gold, and some are custom made. They're all open-holed and are designed to get the most pure sound possible.

You can get some high quality professional flutes online for fairly reasonable prices, but if you're looking for the best of the best, you should really go to a music store where you can try out several instruments until you find the one that's perfect for you. I own a professional Yamaha flute and am a fan of their instruments, but there are many good brands out there.

Some flutes come with an offset G key, meaning that this key is set apart from the others, which for some people makes it easier to reach. Some also come with a B foot, meaning basically that it has an extra note, a low B, whereas beginner flutes only go down to the low C.

When it comes to professional flutes, it's much more of a personal thing. The flute should feel as if it's a part of you when you play and should give you the sound quality you desire.


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