Buying Your First Flute

There are a lot of good looking flutes out there, but there is more to choosing the right flute than good looks.

The most important feature of a flute is its keys – keys must cover the holes perfectly, without gaps, and they must be sturdy to stay well seated. Since you blow across the hole in the flute’s lip plate instead of through the instrument, blowing harder will not overcome defects in the keys. Flute keys can either be cast metal or drop-forged. Quality flutes all have drop-forged keys which are sturdy and can be bent back into proper position without breaking. Cast metal keys are cheaper, but tend to break rather than bend, so we don’t recommend them.

The flute’s metal is also important to its sound and durability. The finest flutes are made of sterling silver (some rare flutes are even made of gold), while the best beginner flutes are made of nickel silver. Silver is associated both with good tone quality and a durable beautiful finish.

Good flutes have rolled tone holes. This take a bit more manufacturing expertise, but it will assure that the flutes pads will last longer and have a tighter fit.

Open Hole or Closed Hole Flutes

Many of the finest flutes have keys with open holes (French Style Keys) while most beginner flutes have plateau (German Style) keys, meaning that the holes are closed. A closed-hole flute is easier to learn because it doesn’t require precise finger positioning to cover the hole. In the hands of an advance player, an open-hole flute gives greater control over tone and intonation, but for a beginner, especially one with fingers too small to cover the holes completely, a close-hole flute is best. If you absolutely must have an open-hole flute, make sure to get one that has plugs (like the lower priced Gemeinhardt models) for the keys so that you can concentrate on learning to play first and then learn open hole finger positioning one key at a time. Also, if purchasing an open-hole flute make sure to get one with a “low B foot.” The low B foot creates a more resonant instrument because of the longer tube and allows advanced players to use alternate fingerings for faster playing in the upper registers.

Best Flutes for Beginners

There are a handful of dominant flute brands making both beginner and professional models, all deserving of their fine reputations.  They are Armstrong,Gemeinhardt,Jupiter,Selmer, and Yamaha. In addition, companies concentrating on fine professional flutes include Pearl,Powell-Sonaré, and Haynes.
Tip:  Give us a call at 1-800-472-6274 if you don’t see the instrument recommended by your teacher.  We have many models that we don’t show on our website and we guarantee the lowest possible price and fast free shipping on all flutes.
The Gemeinhardt 2SP is our best-selling entry level flute. Gemeinhardt deserves its reputation as one of the premier flute makers. The 2sp is a silver plated flute with superior finish and resonance at a value price. It features everything you want in a good instrument, silver plated drop forged keys, stainless steel springs, and rolled tone holes. This is a flute you will always be proud to own.

The Selmer Prelude FL711 Student Flute is another excellent choice that touches all the bases for quality flute construction.  The FL711 has a silver plated nickel silver body and head with drop forged silver plated keys. The body also features ribbed construction, for an extremely durable instrument, and rolled tone holes for long lasting pads.

The Jean Baptiste brand has been associated with good value-priced student instruments for over 80 years. Today’s Jean Baptiste JBFL284 silver plated flute represents years of carefully reviewing samples to find the best value and quality in a student flute; one that plays easily, remains in tune, and is extremely durable. The JBFL284 features drop forged silver plated keys, a silver plated nickel silver body, and rolled tone holes, key adjustment screws are kept hidden away so curious youngsters will not put your flute out of adjustment. Every Jean Baptiste instrument is carefully play tested and adjusted by our technicians before you get it.

Renting vs. Owning a Student Flute

With Sam Ash’s guaranteed trade-in policy, it no longer makes sense to rent a student flute. Trade in your flute  within the first year after purchase and we will apply 50% of the original purchase price to the new instrument (which doesn’t have to be a flute). Trade in your flute within the second year after purchase and we will apply 40% of the original purchase price to the new instrument (which doesn’t have to be a flute).  At the end of the day, you will have spent less on any of the three flutes listed above than you would if you rented an instrument from another dealer. Moreover, you will have the advantage of a brand new, great playing instrument.*

Why Buy Your Flute from Sam Ash Direct?

Sam Ash Direct is the best place to buy your flute.  We have over 87 years of experience with brass and wind instruments and provide you with the guaranteed lowest price and fast free shipping to the lower 48 states.  Our exclusive guaranteed trade in policy is hard to beat, especially since we provide more choices for trading up than other dealers.  Another great reason to buy from Sam Ash Direct is our 45/60 day return/price protection policy and 24/7 customer support – we make sure that you’ll be satisfied with your flute or anything else you buy from us.

Important Tips for the Beginning Flautist:

  • Get a Music StandMusic Stands are important for practicing with proper posture and developing proper breath control and tone.
  • Swab out your flute after playing – Moisture and dirt should not be allowed to accumulate in your flute because they will cause the pads to deteriorate. Make sure to use the included swab every time you finish playing to clean your instrument.
  • Accessories – All of our flutes come complete with case and cleaning rod and swab. As we mentioned above, you absolutely must have a music stand. Other than that, you might consider the following:
    • If you are in a marching band, you will need a wrist lyre. This holds your music in place on your forearm.
    • If you are a beginner with an open-hole flute, get a set of Gemeinhardt or Yamaha flute plugs. This turns your flute into a closed-hole model for easier playing. As you advance, plugs can be removed while you practice the subtleties of the French Style Flute.
    • Finger saddles and Thumb Rests – These may help you to find a more comfortable position for holding the flute, but consult your teacher to see if you need them.
    • Flute Care Kit – A polishing cloth will keep your flute shining and free from tarnish. Key oil will keep the keys responding as fast as ever.
*Trade-in figures are based on instruments in good condition. Repair charges will be deducted for damaged instruments.

Guide To Buying Your First Flute

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