Buying a flute?

Here are some things to know/consider

Regardless of whether you have been playing the flute for years and are looking to upgrade your existing flute or whether you are just starting out and looking for your first instrument there are many things to take into consideration.  Below are some tips and links to useful information as well as links to Australia's best and most reputable flute dealers.

Regardless of which type of instrument you are looking for, the below resource may assist you:

Buying a first/student flute

It can be truly overwhelming to purchase a first flute.  There are many different brands available at a very wide range of price points.  When embarking on this journey however it is really important to realise that you get what you pay for....  

When purchasing a reasonable quality student flute you can expect to spend anywhere from $600 - $1200.  There are cheaper flutes available however a cheap flute will be made from cheap quality materials and will usually proove unreliable and make playing the flute more difficult than it needs to be and in some cases impossible.  A more expensive flute (remembering we are still talking about student flutes here) will usually be of better quality meaning that any adjustments are possible without risk of breakage and will generally hold for a longer time. Additionally better quality metals and workmanship will result in a more responsive (i.e. easier to play) instrument which will sound better and provide the student with a far more positive experience.

Personally I prefer Yamaha (with a split E mechanism) for an 'off the shelf' student flute.  This is the most reliable brand (in my experience) that most local music stores will be able to source.

When purchasing a flute your local music store will usually be able to provide you with access to Yamaha along with a range of other branded instruments.  If possible however I always recommend talking to a specialist flute store to ensure you get the best possible advice from people who truly know the instruments they are selling you.

When purchasing flutes for beginners I recommend:

If you choose to buy a second hand flute, please do be aware that what you get may require service and incur cost to repair/get working properly if it hasn't been well maintained.  If at all possible it is also important to see proof of purchase and also a recent service to ensure it is in working order.  Sadly there are many counterfeit flutes around pretending to be the better brands and with these come many many problems so proof of purchase from a reputable retailer and/or information from a reputable repair/service technician can be invaluable in mitigating the potential risk of coming accross such an instrument.

If you can afford a new instrument that is always a better option as it will come with a warranty for any tweaks needed at the beginning (flutes often need adjusting when new and felts etc start to settle in) unless the second hand instrument comes with the recommendation of a reputable repairer. 

Regardless of which type of instrument you are looking for, the below resource may assist you:

Buying a 'step up' or professional flute

Buying a 'step up' flute (or for much more advanced musicians, a professional instrument) is an incredibly personal decision for each flute player.  Just as in the Harry Potter books where "the wand chooses the wizard", so to does the flute choose the flute player!  The instrument that is right for one person will not be the right instrument for someone else.  Thus, at this level, it is not advisable to purchase a flute for a flute player, the flute player must be a part of the process and be given the opportunity to try out many different flutes within your price range.  

The sales people at the top flute stores are not just sales people, they are well respected and usually well known flute players and teachers within their own rights and can be trusted to provide honest feedback about which is the right instrument.  They are not just there to "make the sale" rather they want to see the flute player on the best possible instrument for them and I have witnessed situations in the past where they have happily steered a flute player to a much more affordable instrument if it is the better instrument for that musician.

When purchasing step up flutes I recommend:

Regardless of which type of instrument you are looking for, the below resource may assist you: