Choosing your first flute is very exciting yet somewhat overwhelming as there are so many different options to consider. Here are a few of the basic features a beginner should look out for:
HOW MUCH DOES A STUDENT FLUTE COST?
First of all, set yourself a budget so you have something to work towards. We would recommend something around the £400-600 mark as you want to get something that will last you for a while, but not something that is a huge investment.
We are aware that the price mark may seem a bit daunting, especially if you are not 100% certain you are going to carry it on. In which case, you might consider our rental scheme.
Be wary of the prices that look too good to be true. In most circumstances the flute will not come with a warranty and has not had a service prior to selling. All of our flutes go through a thorough workshop inspection before selling as we want to make sure we are passing them on in their best possible states. They also come with a one year warranty.
CURVED OR STRAIGHT HEAD?
This completely depends on the size of the player. Flutes don’t come in sizes like string instruments, however the curved head allows a smaller child to hold the flute without stretching as it lessens the distance between the lip plate and keys. It’s important to get sized to see if you need a curved or straight head as the stretching may lead to neck/back pain which alters your posture and is more difficult to fix once you’ve slipped into habit.
OPEN OR CLOSED HOLE?
The benefit of having an open hole flute is that there is increased air circulation when the key is open, creating a nicer sound. You can also use the holes to perform extended techniques such as pitch bending, however this comes into practice more in advanced playing and is unusual for beginners. For the notes to sound, all of the hole has to be covered which may bring up issues with younger players and small fingers!
OFFSET G KEYS
Having an ‘offset G’ means the G key (4th finger on the left hand) is brought forward slightly for a more comfortable and natural hold of the instrument. The opposite, ‘inline G’, is where the keys are all in a straight line. It makes no difference to the sound of the instrument whichever one you choose as the difference is purely aesthetic. Offset Gs are most common and definitely recommended if your are just starting out as it puts less stress on the left hand position.
SPLIT E (E MECHANISM)
This mechanism is now built into almost every modern flute. It is a bar that closes the ‘G’ key when the E in the 3rd octave is played. This helps with the tuning as in the upper register there is a tendency to go sharp, especially common in younger players/beginners.
Now you know what to look for, take a look at our flute section on our site or alternatively come into store and have a try for yourself to see which one is best suited to you!