A beautiful, intricate instrument when designed right and a messy, unable-to-hit-the-right scale one, and fidgety when poorly made. It's always better to get your hands dirty with a budget instrument before you plan to invest in a high-end one. It's exactly the same with flutes as well - I remember trying my luck with a flute as well since I already had a good grip on piano, guitars, and even basic percussions and I wanted to try something new. Well, I certainly picked things up well but there was a major gap between the purchase of my first flute (it was a small, Indian one) and a nice concert piece that was about 26 inches in length - and for all the right reasons. Therefore, we've put together this buyer's guide for you - comprising of some of the finest budget flutes of 2021 from the market. In the end, we'll answer the internet's most frequently asked questions about flutes.
You must also keep in mind that just because a flute is expensive, it doesn't vouch for its durability or good quality. There are lots of cheaper solutions in the market that sound just as good with little-to-no compromise on the design and materials. Also, when it comes to a flute, know that it's a very straightforward instrument that lets you master and learn its basics quickly, without much hassle. Without any further ado, let's hook you up with the products!
If you are looking for a budget-friendly, easy to learn, lightweight, and portable musical instrument then a budget flute is definitely a great pick! This section will assist you in choosing one for yourself.
All the Different Types of Flutes
There are various types of flutes out there, however, and each performs according to the level of the player.
Flutes for children
If you are just starting out on the flute, a beginner flute is definitely the right pick. We're particularly referring to the flutes that are great for children as they come with a characteristic curved head joint which minimizes the musician's reach and makes it easy to play with little hands.
Student budget flutes
Characterized by a plateau or closed holes on the keys, a student flute does not project sound out the end (which is commonly thought) and it makes the flute easy to play for young players that upgrade from a beginner flute. There's a very thin line between the two and you can easily kickstart your journey with this type of flute as well!
Intermediate budget flutes
Constructed with open/closed holes on the keys, an intermediate flute has better intonation and comes with an extra footjoint which extends the pitch range of the budget flute.
Begin with the Perfect Budget Flute
The flute is a simple but intricate instrument, each little component determines the overall sound it will produce and the quality it will maintain. Here's what you need to consider to find your perfect budget flute:
Where the player blows air to create the flute's characteristic sound, the head joint comes with a tuning cork that regulates the pitch range. It is usually constructed of silver but there are flutes with nickel, wood, platinum, and even gold headjoints.
The largest area of the flute, the body, is where the head joint and the foot joint of the flute connect. It also has most of the keys, the tenons and the tuning slide which helps tune the flute.
The smallest section on a flute that houses the remaining keys on the flute. The standard C foot joint can be found on every budget flute while the B foot joint is seen on professional, intermediate flutes only.
Student flutes are commonly constructed of nickel-silver which is durable and produces clear sound with good response. Professional flutes are usually made of silver which is heavyweight and projects pure, fluid sound. Warm, dark sounds are heard on flutes made of gold.
Most commonly found, nickel-plated flutes have bright tones and are easy to clean. Silver-plated flutes add a clear finish and produce dark tones while gold-plated flutes make warm tones and help musicians play fast passages.
Why are Flutes Expensive?
Flutes come in a variety of price ranges depending upon the type you decide to get and the construction that went into it. High quality, well-designed flutes are constructed to project better sound, have improved intonation, exceptional playability and last long.
Even if you are just a beginner at the flute, a good quality beginner flute will help you learn efficiently and you'll find these in a price range of $500 to $1000. Intermediate and advanced flutes cost up to $2500 and above.
However, if you're looking for absolute budget buys, you can easily get your hands on decent kits in the $100-$200 range and they're still good flutes!
The overall cost comes down to the material used, most student flutes are nickel-made and silver-plated while high-end flutes are constructed entirely of silver. It also depends upon the features of the flute, whether it is a low B-foot, split e-mechanism, open holes, or C# trill key.
Maintenance Tips For Flutes
Even a budget flute needs some good care to improve its lifespan, here is how you can keep your flute looking as good as new every day:
Before playing the flute, remember to wash your mouth so the woodwinds are not blocked by food particles and you have clarity in tone as well.
Swab the inside of the flute gently and keep safe from the cork in the head joint, its seal can break if you press the cloth a little too hard.
Dust the outside of the flute to maintain its finish and keep away any dust particles that may build up around the flute's components.
If the keys of the flute feel sticky, it is due to the humidity in the air. Blow a few sharp bursts of air and that should clean them temporarily. For a thorough deep clean, insert a small, clean piece of paper under them and press lightly to dry any moisture.
Get your flute a proper case for storage, it will keep your flute safe from extreme temperatures and avoid all risks of corrosion. It will also ease traveling!
What is the Difference Between a Western Flute and an Indian Flute?
Well, for starters, an Indian flute is usually made of bamboo. It's usually played in the surrounding regions including Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Nepal. Even the Chinese have their own version of the flute.
The Indian Flute is also known as 'Bansuri' - the smaller one usually has 6 holes and one narrow embouchure hole. It requires very little maintenance and produces a highly soulful sound. As opposed to its western counterpart, the Bansuri is relatively simple and gives you a whole exciting and new sound dimension to play with.
Can I Learn Flute by Myself?
Like many instruments, learning to play the flute all by yourself is certainly achievable. However, if you're a complete beginner to instruments, you may need to be a lot more attentive and dedicated as compared to somebody who knows the nitty-gritty of any other musical instrument.
Thanks to YouTube, eBooks, and multiple other platforms like the American Songwriter itself, it's easier than ever to learn about musical instruments, build a solid understanding and work your way from there.
We'd suggest you start with at least a week of classes where you can ask questions and learn the basics. It'll help you clear your head and from there onwards you can learn from YouTube and the plethora of guides on the internet. Another tip is to just keep on practicing, learn a song or two, learn some tunes, and keep practicing.
People Also Asked
Q: What accessories does a flute need?
A: A flute is a simple instrument, it does not need a lot of accessories but having a gauze cloth to remove the moisture buildup after every practice session will increase your flute's lifespan. In addition, you'll need a flute cleaning rod to clean up any dust buildup inside the flute and a silver polishing cloth to protect your instrument from rust.
Q: How do I know I have a good flute?
A: A good flute will not frustrate you, its sound projection, intonation, and playability will be better than a sub-par budget flute. Also, its tone will be clear and there will be clarity in all ranges instead of some. Low-quality flutes do not have a great finish and their material will not last long either.
Q: Is playing the flute good for health?
A: Yes, learning the flute has many benefits, and improving your health is one of the top ones! The optimal position while playing the flute improves your posture, promotes healthy breathing, and the strength in blowing air to make music develops core strength and control. Also, you'll have much better finger dexterity.
Q: How long does a flute last?
A: A flute's lifespan depends upon a lot of things, the material used to construct the flute, its finish and the type of care you administer, and how regularly it is done. Flutes can last anywhere between 4 to 10 years and above when they are properly taken care of.
Q: How can I learn to hold my breath longer when playing the flute?
A: If you're a beginner who has tried to play a few tunes already, you may have run into breath shortage right away. This issue is only encountered with lots of practice and breathing techniques that let you hold your breath in for longer while letting you play flawlessly.
Within the city limits of NOLA, you may find Camilla hammering away on her 88, playing anything from old jazz to modern country music. Camilla's goal is to one day open a piano studio in New Orleans where she can teach the black and whites and other common jazz instruments to enthusiastic students. Ms. Haywood hopes to bring instruments to old and new musicians alike, reviewing pianos, orchestral instruments, and other products that make her tap her fingers to the beats.