Hey Flute Players,

I want to get my first Irish flute and I need some guidance as to where and what type of Irish flute I should get.  I've played tin whistle for about 2 years and classical flute for 7 years --so I think I'm kind of familiar with how to play those. 

I was thinking of getting a delrin plastic flute. 

Any thoughts?

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Replies to This Discussion

Christopher: ok I understand what you are saying about Doyle flutes. As for Delrin vs African Blackwood, as an engineer, it seems to me that those reputable makers who use the latter should abandon it in favour the former and yet they don't. Either they are pandering to customer expectations or to an outdated tradition or else Blackwood and cocus wood really are superior materials. Wwhat do you think is the true situation?

Chris Corbett said:

No Mike, I have tried lots of other Doyle flutes.  Also everyone I've ever met with a Doyle flute has said how happy they are to have bought one.  The one I bought for my daughter was perfectly in tune. Most other people would have found the flute perfectly acceptable.  I just found that the bottom D was not as strong as my own Doyle.  When I saw Martin to get a replacement, I played about a dozen and they were all excellent.

As for Delrin, I haven't played that many Delrin flutes.  I have played one made by Desi Seery which I found to be excellent.  I don't think that the material a flute is made from is of paramount importance, as long as it is dense enough.  Ther are some differences in timbre but probably less than one would imagine.  I think that the smoothness of the bore is a far more important.  As long as a flute has been made with enough care and attention, I think that there will be little discernible difference delrin and wood.  You can buy a Dixon plastic flute for £80 or so.  It's just a shame that it's got holes in it otherwise it would do for plumbing.  A delrin flute is only likely to be cheaper because of the cost of the material.  If it's any good, the labour cost should be the same as a wooden one.  You get what you pay for in the end.  I would advise against trying to learn on a bad instrument, just because it's cheap.

If i may barge in.. What's the difference between car upholstery made of leather vs. synthetic leather?

difference between a uilleann pipes leather bag vs synthetic, between a folding knife handle made of wood or a synthetic one?

(my) answer: Nothing, except it "feels" better to use natural materials..

In the case of a flute, Delrin tends to be heavy and have a slightly slippery surface than wood.

I challenge you to do a "Pepsi challenge" regarding sound between for example Francois Baubets Delrin vs his blackwood flutes ;)

EDIT:

For car seats, plastic is inferior to leather. Plastic smells bad when hot. It cannot stand up to the environmental extremes or the depredations of sunlight as well as leather. Customers perceive that leather looks nicer. That is why there is an enduring demand for leather. As for bagpipe bags, one is only concerned about performance, cost and endurance, so plastic may well be a better choice.
But I still ask why, if Delrin performs as well as more traditional materials, is cheaper to obtain and easier to fabricate into a flute, is anyone still using wood? It is a genuine question. If I buy a flute from say Stephane Morvan or Chris Wilkes, why is it not made of Delrin and therefore a hell of a lot cheaper?


Lars 'Larry Mór' Mott said:

If i may barge in.. What's the difference between car upholstery made of leather vs. synthetic leather?

difference between a uilleann pipes leather bag vs synthetic, between a folding knife handle made of wood or a synthetic one?

(my) answer: Nothing, except it "feels" better to use natural materials..

In the case of a flute, Delrin tends to be heavy and have a slightly slippery surface than wood.

I challenge you to do a "Pepsi challenge" regarding sound between for example Francois Baubets Delrin vs his blackwood flutes ;)

EDIT:

As for the Pepsi challenge, it's difficult. It would be better if the same tune was played on both clips and if the recording equipment was not overloaded and therefore clipping. But the point is well taken that both sound to be very good flutes. Well played BTW!

I think the reason is that wood *is* a "nicer" material, more traditional, more attractive etc etc, besides, the work involved in making a flute out of Delrin vs a wooden one is identical, the only difference really is that you can do all steps in rapid succession on a Delrin flute whereas with a wooden one yu have to let the wood settle between turning, boring, reaming etc.

So the way i understand it, Delrin is really more time than labour saving.

(Btw i agree on the clips i provided, they were not meant as a parallell test as such but more of an eye opener to haw good a delrin flute can sound.

Of course you still have the weight and texture issues..

But there is one important point that you are overlooking. I paid Euro2600 for a six-key Pratten-style flute in Blackwood from a famous maker. So now I have to believe that a cheaper flute in Delrin could not possibly be as good. No amount of evidence can be allowed to get in the way of that belief!!! :-)

Never underestimate the placebo effect!

At the end of the day it's what *you* hear and feel, and are happy with :)

I had a uilleann piper friend drop his jaw to the floor when trying out one of Andreas Rogges Delrin chanters. He still plays his 4-keyed ebony Donncha Keegan though.

I am a fellow flute player totally smashed by all the different opinions out there as I also try to upgrade from my Casey Burns folk flute. I love my CBFF, however, I cannot tune it and it is missing a little bit of power. As I gain more experience, the key for me is ease of playing. My ring finger is shorter than my index finger. After 10 minutes of playing a flute with the holes straight across my wrists began to hurt! A lot! How can I concentrate on playing if my hands hurt? I found out I needed the holes set at an angle, whether  that is "traditional" or not is a moot point for me. The flute should sound rich and full, not need a tremendous amount of adjustment (it will always need some) by me (embouchure, rolling in/out) to stay in tune, and be comfortable to play. Unfortunately it is hard to find a place to compare a lot of different flutes at the same time. I would pick a seller/maker who is willing to let you return the flute you buy so you can figure out what you want/need.

 

I am loving the discussion by the way. The more information/opinion the better. Plus I just like to "hear" people talk about flutes! This site definitely needs more discussions. I may have to start some of my own.



Danna Hotmar said:

I am a fellow flute player totally smashed by all the different opinions out there as I also try to upgrade from my Casey Burns folk flute. I love my CBFF, however, I cannot tune it and it is missing a little bit of power. As I gain more experience, the key for me is ease of playing. My ring finger is shorter than my index finger. After 10 minutes of playing a flute with the holes straight across my wrists began to hurt! A lot! How can I concentrate on playing if my hands hurt? I found out I needed the holes set at an angle, whether  that is "traditional" or not is a moot point for me. The flute should sound rich and full, not need a tremendous amount of adjustment (it will always need some) by me (embouchure, rolling in/out) to stay in tune, and be comfortable to play. Unfortunately it is hard to find a place to compare a lot of different flutes at the same time. I would pick a seller/maker who is willing to let you return the flute you buy so you can figure out what you want/need.

 Dave Copley fits your bill regarding the offline holes (although i would advice you to adjust to the flute instead of the other way around) What if you find a "killer" large hole Rudall or Pratten model you absolutely want, then you will have to start all over again adjusting..  I couldn't play a low D whistle at all when i tried it the first time, but by using "pipers grip" (covering some holes with the second joint pad) it's a non issue nowadays.

Rob Forbes has a return policy, and i think Francois Baubet has too.

I have never played a Burns, but the Forbes can be as loud as you want, and at the same time it is easy to fill.

Good luck in finding a flute you love!

Thanks Larry Mor! I will consider that. Even if flutists have different opinions you cannot deny our passion!

Lars 'Larry Mór' Mott said:



Danna Hotmar said:

I am a fellow flute player totally smashed by all the different opinions out there as I also try to upgrade from my Casey Burns folk flute. I love my CBFF, however, I cannot tune it and it is missing a little bit of power. As I gain more experience, the key for me is ease of playing. My ring finger is shorter than my index finger. After 10 minutes of playing a flute with the holes straight across my wrists began to hurt! A lot! How can I concentrate on playing if my hands hurt? I found out I needed the holes set at an angle, whether  that is "traditional" or not is a moot point for me. The flute should sound rich and full, not need a tremendous amount of adjustment (it will always need some) by me (embouchure, rolling in/out) to stay in tune, and be comfortable to play. Unfortunately it is hard to find a place to compare a lot of different flutes at the same time. I would pick a seller/maker who is willing to let you return the flute you buy so you can figure out what you want/need.

 Dave Copley fits your bill regarding the offline holes (although i would advice you to adjust to the flute instead of the other way around) What if you find a "killer" large hole Rudall or Pratten model you absolutely want, then you will have to start all over again adjusting..  I couldn't play a low D whistle at all when i tried it the first time, but by using "pipers grip" (covering some holes with the second joint pad) it's a non issue nowadays.

Rob Forbes has a return policy, and i think Francois Baubet has too.

I have never played a Burns, but the Forbes can be as loud as you want, and at the same time it is easy to fill.

Good luck in finding a flute you love!

I also (try to) play the Northumbrian smallpipes and the set I have (by Dave Shaw) is made from lovely natural materials, i.e. wood, brass and leather (ok, one could argue that brass is not a natural material). There is something wonderful about the cobbler's-shop smell when I open the case and the whole set looks great when newly polished. (If only I was a better player and could do it justice). There is something special about those natural materials, even if there is no sound engineering justification for using them. But of course, I don't care that the inner bag is neoprene - so long as it works and lasts a long time.

Lars 'Larry Mór' Mott said:

Never underestimate the placebo effect!

At the end of the day it's what *you* hear and feel, and are happy with :)

I had a uilleann piper friend drop his jaw to the floor when trying out one of Andreas Rogges Delrin chanters. He still plays his 4-keyed ebony Donncha Keegan though.

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