Flute Specs: Beginner vs. Intermediate vs. Pro

B foot. Split E. C# trill. Soldered tone holes. What do these all mean? These, my friends, are just a few flute specs. Flutes come with many different specs, sometimes even made specially for the person who will play them.

Hannah B Flute | Flute Specs: Beginner, Intermediate, and Pro

Different level flutes come with different features that are meant for players at that level. Beginner flutes are made so that it is easier to make a sound. Professional flutes offer more resistance and special features.

Today, we are going to look at some of the most common specs, what they mean, and who they are for. Remember: no two flutes play the same, and no two players play the same.

Beginner Flutes

These flutes have the fewest amount of add ons; the specs are pretty standard across different brands. That is part of why the cost is lower for beginner models that intermediate or professional flutes.

Specs

Beginner flutes are silver plated throughout the entire flute. Silver is expensive; by plating a flute, you can cut cots while still having the sound of a full silver flute.

Beginner flutes also come with a C footjoint. Flutes with C footjoints have a shorter tube and one key fewer than flutes with a B footjoint. These flutes go down to middle C rather than the B right below middle C. The lack of a low B is not a big deal for most beginners, and the lighter weight makes holding the flute easier.

Student flutes come with closed hole keys. Keys with open holes in the middle require a more refined hand position. Starting out on a flute with closed holes allows the player to focus on other things at first, but hand position is still important.

The offset G key is almost always used in newer student flutes. If the G key (left hand ring finger) is in line with all of the other keys, it can be harder to reach. An offset G key can alleviate this problem

Intermediate Flutes

Intermediate flutes go by many names. Sometimes they are called step up flutes or mid level flutes. No matter what you call them, these are the flutes between beginner flutes and professional flutes. They offer more professional specs while staying budget friendly.

Specs

A handmade headjoint is one of the features that sets apart intermediate from beginner flutes. Beginner flutes are almost always factory made. The bodies of most intermediate flutes are also factory made. Intermediate flutes will have a handmade headjoint, though.

Another feature seen on many intermediate flutes, at least in the United States, is open holes. Open holes, while not necessary, allow the player to start learning certain extended techniques, like quarter tones.

The third common spec for intermediate flutes is a B footjoint. While this is less common in Europe, North American flutists looking to upgrade will probably find a flute with a B footjoint.

The last spec that is standard with most intermediate flutes is a higher silver content. Whether it is a silver headjoint or a silver headjoint and body, intermediate flutes contain more solid silver than student flutes.

Options

It is at the intermediate level where you have the ability to start customizing your flute. Student flutes come as is, but intermediate flutes offer extra features that can help with certain notes and fast passages.

The first common option for intermediate flutes is the split E or the G disc. Both of these options fix the same problem: the high E. A split E key closes the lower G key. This flattens the pitch of the high E and allows for more control and less cracking.

The G disc takes a different approach than the split E by placing a “donut” in the lower G tone hole. Doing this allows lowers the pitch on the high E without making as much of a sacrifice as the split E.

The C# trill key is yet another common option for intermediate flutes. The key is placed onto the flute between the thumb key and the trill keys. It facilitates C# in both trills and as the main note.

Professional Flutes

The biggest thing that professional flutes have on intermediate flutes is that they are fully handmade. Professional flutes are also more expensive. Aside from that, there are not a ton of differences between intermediate and professional flutes.

Professional flutes are slightly more customizable. They come in different metals, even silver plated. Professional flutes are priced highly for a reason: they are for professionals and serious amateurs.

These flutes are not for the faint of heart.

Specs

There are two specs that you will likely only find on professional flutes. Those two are: solid silver keys and soldered tone holes.

Most professional flutes are all silver, including the keys. While some lower cost professional flutes have plated keys, solid silver keys are just as common. Are they necessary? It’s up to you on whether you want to spend the money.

In the professional flute world, there is a long running debate between drawn and soldered tone holes. Drawn tone holes are created by “drawing” the silver from the tube to create the tone holes. Soldered tone holes, on the other hand, are made separately from the flute and then soldered onto the tube.

Options

Professional flutes come in all sorts of metals. You can find silver plated flutes, sterling silver flutes, gold, and even platinum flutes. Professional flutes can also be found in different types of silver, like the darker Britannia silver.

So…

This is just a short list of all the different specs that you can find for flutes. Did I leave out any of your favorite flute specs? Leave a comment below, and don’t forget to subscribe if you haven’t already.

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First Look at Moyse: De La Sonorite

Just as the flute has its fair share of standard repertoire, it also has its fair share of method books. One of these methods is De La Sonorite, by Marcel Moyse. Today, I am going to share my first impressions of this famous flute book.

Hannah B Flute | Moyse De La Sonorite

I am also going to talk about the importance of books like Sonorite. From Moyse to Wye to Taffanel & Gaubert, there are many useful flute books available. Sonorite fits in quite nicely with other advanced books like it.

Last week, I finally got my own copy of Sonorite. I took a trip to my local sheet music store and found Sonorite; I had to have it! So, here are my first impressions of the book as well as why every advancing flutist should have books like Sonorite.

NOTE: This post contains affiliate links. For my full disclosure policy, click here.

Sonorite? What?

De La Sonorite is French for “On Sonority,” and that is what this book is all about. Sonority means sound. The flute is capable of many different sounds, and tone development give you the foundation necessary for working with different tone colors.

Sonority refers to the whole sound of the flute. It encompasses tone, dynamics, and so much more. Long tone exercises, as boring as they may be, help you find the sound you want.

A Bach sonata is going to have different tone colors than a French Conservatory piece.

Moyse’s De La Sonorite works the whole flutist. The exercises cover the full range of the flute, and they use different intervals. While chromatic long tone exercises are important, you also need to maintain a good tone between fourths, fifth, and the dreaded tritone.

Why this book?

Yes, there are many different resources for tone exercises. A skilled flutist could even come up with their own. De La Sonorite is important, because it is a classic.

Most professional flutists and teachers have probably worked out of it at some point in their careers. It’s so popular, because it works.

I have just started working through the book, and I already have a different view on tone. Working on tone doesn’t need to be a hassle. It should be fun; you wouldn’t be able to play flute if you didn’t have some sort of tone.

What about other books?

There are many tone and technique books available for flute. Some good ones include Trevor Wye’s Practice Books for the Flute Omnibus Edition, Taffanel & Gaubert’s 17 Daily Exercises, and Maquarre’s Daily Exercises.

Of those, the Wye is the only one with a tone section.

All of these books are important to the serious flutist, but De La Sonorite fills a void. The Wye book covers everything a flutist should know. It doesn’t focus only on tone, like the Moyse book.

Okay, I’m convinced. How do I buy it?

There are many places where you can buy it. I bought my copy from a music store in my area. If you live close to any music stores, call and ask if they have a copy. Most stores can order it in, even if they don’t normally carry it.

You can also order the book online from Amazon, FluteWorld, or another music retailer.

There’s more.

This was mostly a first impressions of De La Sonorite. As I work through it in depth, I plan on writing a full review of each section and each exercise.

I will not be including the exercises themselves, because the book is not in public domain. If you want to check out the book for yourself, I suggest you look into buying your own copy. Or check with a friend or teacher about borrowing their copy.

This book really is the most famous, “standard” tone book.

So…

Do you have any of the standard flute practice books? Do you want to see a review of the others mentioned? Let me know in a comment below!

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Guide to Piccolo Materials

Piccolo makers use materials in their piccolos to get a distinct sound. Different materials can also affect the price of a piccolo. This post will give an overview to the different piccolo materials you can choose from.

Hannah B Flute | Guide to Piccolo Materials

When choosing a piccolo, you can choose from a variety of materials. The most common are metal, plastic, and wood. Plastic is the cheapest, followed by metal, and wood is more expensive.

There are also two types of plastic: straight plastic and composite.

In this post, we are going to explore the many piccolo materials. We will also look at the pros and cons of each.

Plastic

Plastic piccolos are one of the most common, especially for students. They are cheap, resistant to extreme temperatures, and they work well for beginners.

Some piccolos are made with both a plastic body and headjoint. Others have a plastic body and a metal headjoint.

The pros of a plastic piccolo include the lower price as well as the durability of the piccolo. If you will be playing outside, plastic piccolos can withstand the heat and cold. You don’t have to worry about cracking, like with a wood piccolo.

Cons of a plastic piccolo include the airy tone you can get. However, they are great in almost every other way. Even if you choose to buy a wood piccolo down the line, a plastic piccolo is a great back up instrument.

Common brands: Yamaha, Jupiter, Gemeinhardt

Price range (new): $500-900

Price range (used): $250-450

Composite

Composite is a type of plastic piccolo. These usually come configured with both a composite body and headjoint. Though you can buy a wood or metal headjoint if you wish.

These piccolos are a combination of plastic and wood. I currently play a composite piccolo, and I love it. Composite piccolos give you all the benefits of a wood piccolo without the price or the worries about cracks.

You can play a composite piccolo both indoors and out. No need to worry about the wood cracking. The plastic in the piccolo stabilizes the wood for a more refined sound and requires less management.

Common brands: Pearl, Guo, Di Zhao, Roy Seaman

Price range (new): $800-1100

Price range (used): $650-900

Metal

Metal piccolos are probably the least common, but they do exist. They serve their own purpose for piccolo players. Metal piccolos, like flutes, come in different metals.

You can find metal piccolos that are silver plated, solid silver, and even gold.

Metal piccolos, while uncommon, are great for marching band and other outdoor events. Metal piccolos carry more than plastic or wood, so they can be heard on a large football field.

My first piccolo was silver plated, and it was a great first instrument. I was able to use it in marching band, and it was also very affordable. Metal piccolos do cost a bit more than plastic piccolos, but not by much.

Used metal piccolos are a much better deal than new, because they are not in high demand.

If you plan to play outside a lot, metal piccolos are worth looking into.

Common brands: Gemeinhardt, Armstrong

Price range (new): $1100-2700

Price range (used): $250-1000

Wood

Professional piccolos are almost always made of wood. You can even choose from different woods. Grenadilla is the most common wood, and you can find many companies that use the wood in their piccolos.

I have played a school owned wood piccolo, and it was definitely a step up from my metal one. However, wood piccolos vary a lot in cost. Wood piccolos start at around $1500 and can go up ten-fold. The most expensive wood piccolo I have seen costs around $15000.

If you choose to buy a wood piccolo, be very aware of your budget, and shop smart. Unless you are a professional piccolo player in an orchestra, you probably don’t need all of the bells and whistles. You probably don’t need a handmade mechanism.

The biggest con of wood piccolos is the cost, but you can find lower cost wood piccolos.

Common brands: Yamaha, Lyric, Resona, Gemeinhardt

Price range (new): $1500-15000

Price range (used): $1200-10000

So…

What kind of piccolo do you play? Have you experimented with different piccolo materials? Comment below, and be sure to follow me on Instagram (@hannahbflute)!

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Protec Flute Case Cover Review

If you have been with me for awhile, you might have seen my first review of this case cover. I wrote that post a few years back, and I wanted to write an updated version for you all.

Protec is a company that makes cases and covers for a lot of different instruments. They have cases and bags for woodwinds, brass, strings, percussion, and more.

Hannah B Flute | Protec Flute Case Cover Review

Today, I am going to talk about their deluxe flute case cover.

DISCLAIMER: This post contains affiliate links. To read my full privacy policy, click here.

Why Get a Case Cover?

There are a few reasons why you might want a little something more than just your flute case. First off, student flute cases rarely have a pocket to store cleaning supplies, pencils, and the like.

Intermediate through professional flutes come with case covers, but they are thinner and may not last very long. I know with my current flute, the case cover started to get a little wear and tear after a little over a year.

A case cover also (usually) comes with a shoulder strap. That frees up your hands for sheet music, a music stand, or whatever else you may need to lug around.

Case covers are a simple, convenient way to keep all of your flute related items together but out of the flute case itself. I love being able to keep my flute, cleaning cloths/rods, piccolo, pencils, and instrument stands all in one place.

Why Protec?

Protec Flute Case Cover

There are a lot of companies out there that make flute case covers. I am reviewing the Protec cover, because I actually own it. I have had it for almost five years, and I used it on and off for most of that time.

The Cost

When I got my first flute, it actually came in a case similar to professional flutes. But it didn’t have a case cover. So it also had no outside storage, handles, anything.

I came across the Protec cover at a local music shop, and it looked like a great solution. It was also cheap, which was great for a student. I believe I payed around $35 for the cover.

The Colors

I went with the classic black, but the case cover also comes in purple and pink. If you prefer to have a brighter case so you can find it, go with the pink. If you want a more professional cover that you can take on stage, go with black.

Purple is also great if you want to stand out a little bit, but you still want a more subdued look.

The Features

One thing that I liked about the Protec cover when I was using it was that it had tons of room for accessories. The outside pocket is much bigger than on other case covers. It’s big enough to fit a piccolo, if you have one.

The case cover is also pretty durable. I put it through quite a lot, and it still works. Yes, there is wear and tear, but nothing major.

You can also carry it multiple ways. There is the traditional handle, found on many student flute cases. You can carry it on your shoulder with the detachable shoulder strap. Finally, there is a handle on the end of the case, so you can carry it the long way.

Who is it For?

The Protec case cover is great for students and people who want a more durable cover than what they have. It is budget friendly, and you can order it from just about any online music retailer.

The case cover is also great for more advanced players who don’t have the money to spend on the more expensive case covers.

Almost any flute case can fit in the cover, student or professional, C foot or B foot. Your flute will probably fit, though it is always a good idea to check for return policies when buying online.

Who Should Shop Around?

While I believe any flutist could benefit from the case, it does have its problems. If you are like me, and you play quite a bit of piccolo, this is not the case for you.

The large outside pocket is great, because it does fit most piccolo cases. However the outside pocket is meant for storing accessories. Therefore it is not insulated like the main pocket.

That is okay for casual players, and for people who don’t play piccolo much. But it poses a problem for flutists who will be bringing their flute and piccolo around together a lot. That issue is actually what made me stop using the Protec cover.

There are tons of other companies that make case covers that do have space for a piccolo in the insulated compartment. I do plan on reviewing one of them (Fluterscooter) in the future.

So…

Have you used the Protec case cover? Do you use another brand of case cover? Let me know in the comments!

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A Musical Christmas Haul

Merry Christmas everyone! Yes, Christmas has finally come once again! In honor of the commonly celebrated holiday, I wanted to do a little Christmas haul for the blog. First, I want to make it clear that I am in no way trying to brag. I am merely telling/showing you all what I got as inspiration.

If posts like these make you angry or upset, that is fine. This is your warning to click away and read some of my other posts.

Hannah B Flute | A Musical Christmas Haul

If you got some money or a gift card for Christmas, you can use that to get something from this post that interests you. If not, that’s cool too! Be sure to leave a comment below with your favorite Christmas (or Hanukkah) gift!

Now for the haul!

Music Journal

One of the gifts I received this year was a music journal. It is pretty awesome, because the left side of each layout is lined just like normal notebook paper. The right side, however, has blank staves for composing!

I have been wanting to get into composing and arranging for awhile, and I can’t always get into it using technology. This way, I can write stuff down with a pencil on paper.

The journal is also smaller than typical letter paper. That makes it a perfect fit for a purse, in case I happen to need or want it on the go!

Musical Pencils & a Pencil Holder

I also got a set of three musical pencils. They are not the mechanical kind, so I will need to get a sharpener, but ya girl can never have too many pencils.

Along with that, I got a spring pencil holder that attaches to a music stand. I don’t have to worry about pencils getting in the way of my music anymore. The spring for the holder clips onto the bottom rack of the stand. I can keep my pencils close by without them being in the way of anything.

Amazon Gift Card

This gift came from my secret santa at work, and I have to say, they chose well! We did a secret santa gift exchange last week, and I got an Amazon gift card. If you didn’t know already, Amazon is my favorite online store.

They have almost anything you could think of. It’s great. I’m not sure what I will use the gift card for yet, but they don’t expire, so I have time.

Ocarina

Over the years, I have amassed quite the collection of non-concert flutes. I have a couple recorders, a couple tin whistles, and even a Native American flute. Until now, I didn’t have an ocarina, but I wanted to add one to my inventory.

I got a gorgeous 12 hole ocarina, and I can’t wait to learn how to play it. Ocarinas are nice and small, but they aren’t super high pitched.

The Mazzanti Method

Nicola Mazzanti is an Italian flutist, most known for his piccolo playing. He wrote a comprehensive book for piccolo. I had wanted this book since I first heard about it last summer. While I considered putting it on my birthday list (July baby, right here), I decided to wait.

It made it onto my Christmas list this year, and I am so happy to have received it! In case you haven’t been here long, I love the piccolo. It is a goal of mine to be known for my piccolo playing. So, I guess you could say I want to be the American female Nicola Mazzanti (lol).

Anyway, I think this book will help me improve my piccolo playing. I have other books by Trevor Wye and Patricia Morris, but Mazzanti specializes in piccolo, the others don’t.

Cedar Wood Fluterscooter Bag

Now for the granddaddy of my Christmas haul: a Fluterscooter bag! This was something I had wanted for quite some time, but I never had the courage (or whatever) to buy one for myself.

They are a bit pricey, but I had heard so many good things about them that I had to get one. I feel especially lucky to have one, because the Cedar Wood bags have been on backorder since early December.

If you would like to see a review/an update on what I keep in my flute bag, comment below! I’m sure I will do one or the other in the future, but let me know which (if either) you would like to see first!

Other…

I did get some other gifts, like a book on personal finance, that don’t directly relate to music. So I decided to leave those out of this post.

And again, I have to say THIS POST IS NOT ME BRAGGING.

I know it may seem that way, but Christmas hauls have been a thing for years, and I thought I would jump on the train this time.

So.

Did you get any musical gifts this holiday season? What was your favorite? Let me know in the comments!

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