Buying a Flute

Misadventures of Buying a Flute

At age 11 I was determined to play the flute in the sixth grade beginning band. My mom and dad were skeptical about spending the money. Mom was convinced that I would grow bored with it in a few months and quit, just like my sister and her guitar lessons. When Mom learned that a new flute would cost $200, that was almost the end of the line. (And yes, there was a day when a student model flute cost only $200.)

But a pre-teen musician wannabe can be annoyingly persistent. One afternoon my mother called a radio talk show and asked if anyone out there had a used flute for sale. Someone responded and I became the proud owner of my first flute, a student model Armstrong.

I do not recommend this method of buying a flute!

My Armstrong did well for me through junior and senior high. But as I prepared for college, I longed for a better instrument. My main criterion? Open holes. I ordered an Armstrong model sight unseen. It looked cool and was very affordable. Unfortunately, it was not the right flute for me. The quality was not noticeably better than my student model. But it had open holes!

By my sophomore year in college I was desperate for a better instrument. I wanted a Haynes or a Powell. Unfortunately, back in the eighties, the wait for a new Haynes or Powell was several years. Muramatsu was new on the US flute scene and did not have the excessive waiting period. But like Haynes and Powell, the cost of a new instrument was out of scope.

It was my great good fortune that a used Haynes became available during my junior year. The seller was buying a new Powell. I adopted her Haynes and have been in love with it ever since.

Buying a new flute is exciting whether you’re a beginner, needing a step-up or looking for a fine handmade instrument. Do the research, try out several flutes in your price range and get help from a more experienced player if you need it. The right instrument can bring you years of joy.


Further Reading

Buying a New Flute - Introduction

Buying a Student Model Flute

Buying an Intermediate Flute

Buying a Headjoint

Buying a Used Flute


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