Buying a Student Flute – A Guide for Parents and Beginners
There are many factors to consider when purchasing a new flute. This guide will provide a brief overview of the most common questions in conjunction with the standard practices of most professional educators.
The main considerations when purchasing a student flute are brand, quality, features, and price.
Brand & Price
There are a tremendous number of brands that produce student/standard flutes. The problem is that many of these brands manufacture flutes of substandard quality, making it difficult if not impossible to learn to play the instrument. The most popular brands are also the most expensive brands. Yamaha’s entry level flutes have set the standard in the industry, and many musicians and music educators regard Yamaha’s standard flute offerings as the best of the best. Aside from the outstanding quality and performance, Yamaha flutes offer the best resale value of any brand in the world. The downside is the Yamaha’s standard flutes are among of the most expensive flutes available.
Gemeinhardt, Pearl, and Armstrong flutes follow closely behind Yamaha in terms of quality and performance, and also share a similar price tag. Any of the three brands are guaranteed to get a seal of approval from just about any educator!
In these tough economic times, consumers have demanded more affordable options with band instruments. As a result, the market has been flooded with cheap instruments of poor quality, typically manufactured in China. Many of these companies are fly-by-night operations that offer no customer service, no availability of replacement parts, and either no warranty a warranty that costs more money than replacing the entire instrument. Furthermore, most repair shops refuse to work on such instruments, fearing liability for future malfunctions.
One brand that has overcome the stigma is LJ Hutchen. LJ Hutchen has been importing instruments for six years with an incredible track record in both quality and customer service. At a fraction of the price of a Yamaha standard flute, a young student can learn on a new flute for the cost similar to what many music stores charge for a rental. The LJ Hutchen Corporation provides incredible customer service, a two-year warranty, parts availability, and simply the best price/performance ratio of any other instrument in its class. With the approval of over 200 professional educators, six years of testing, and stringent quality standards, LJ Hutchen offers the best instrumental options for those on a budget. The downside of the inexpensive LJ Hutchen instrument is low resale value, the inevitable need to upgrade to a Yamaha or equivalent within a few years, and an overall less durable instrument than its expensive counterparts.
Features & Options
There are many options when purchasing a professional flute, but at the student level there are seldom many options to be particularly concerned with, except for the following:
In-line G vs. Offset G: The “G” key on a student flute is usually “offset” from the rest of the keys to accommodate smaller hands. It is easier for a young student to reach the G key when it is offset. An in-line G is just that, in line with all the other keys to the flute. There is absolutely no sound difference between the configurations; it is a matter of preference. However, it is generally recommended students start with an offset G, and then when purchasing an intermediate or professional model flute, try out both types before making the decision as to whether an in-line or offset G is preferable.
C-Foot vs. B-Foot: Student flutes nearly always include a C-Foot. Intermediate and professional flutes are typically configured with a B-foot. A B-foot is a slightly longer foot-joint and allows players to play down to a low B. It is uncommon for a student to ever have to play this note; therefore, most educators recommend a C-foot on a student flute, and the B-foot on intermediate and professional flutes.
Open-Hole (‘French’) vs. Closed-Hole (‘Plateau’): Open-hole flutes provide more flexibility for advanced players than closed-hole flutes. Most student flutes are closed-hole, while intermediate and professional flutes are nearly always open-hole. All open-hole flutes also include key-plugs to cover the holes until a student is comfortable transitioning to open-hole.
Most Popular Flutes and Models for Students
Hyson Music offers several different student flute options. When purchasing from Hyson Music you receive three major benefits; 1) Free Shipping on All New Instruments 2) Free Professional Setup On All New Instruments 3) Free 1-year Extended Warranty on All New Instruments (beyond the manufacturer warranty).
The most popular student flute is the Yamaha YFL-221. It is an amazing instrument and perfect for any beginning flute player. The perfection comes with a steep price tag, and it’s the most expensive of all the student flute models available. It includes a 6-year warranty when purchased from pemusicstore.com.
The Yamaha YFL-221 student flute can be found here:
The next most popular flute is the Geminhardt 2SP. The 2SP has changed very little over the years and is a great beginning instrument. It includes an American made headjoint, and it still on the expensive side for a student instrument. The Gemeinhardt flute includes a 4-year warranty when purchased from pemusicstore.com. The Gemeinhardt 2sP student flute can be found here:
The most cost-effective option for a new student is the LJ Hutchen Student Flute Model # 4215. The LJ Hutchen flute is a terrific student instrument, and the quality and playability simply cannot be matched in this price range. When purchased at www.pemusicstore.com, the LJ Hutchen flute includes a 3-year warranty!
If you have any questions regarding student flutes, please feel free to call us at 877-88HYSON.