Folk Flute - Anticipated Questions

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[ folk flute bodies showing different finger hole spacing ]

Your questions not answered here? Write us: info@folkflutes.com



"I'm looking for a Beginner's Flute."

When someone asks for a "good beginner's flute," it usually means:

I REALLY want a good, basic, "traditional Irish flute," BUT I simply don't have $500 or $1000 to spend.

I want something good until I find out if I am good at this, or if I like it.

IS there a beginner's flute which plays in tune with a strong low D?

I can get the best whistle on the planet for half that!

I want something that won't make me sound bad!

Until now, purchasing a "beginner's flute" has meant:

  • a metal or plastic instrument, sometimes cylindrical
  • uncomfortable finger holes and spacing
  • less-than-gratifying tonal strength and voicing
  • inconsistent intonation
  • less-than-attractive appearance
  • less "value for money" than other instruments such as whistles and recorders.

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What We Believe

Several options for good-quality, well-performing "practice" or "beginner" instruments are available for every other instrument. Why not for the traditional flute?

We feel strongly that a beginning Irish flute player should have access to an instrument which:

  1. has a traditional conical bore, made of well-proven tonewood
  2. speaks easily, with a strong low D
  3. Has correct intonation
  4. is simple and attractive in appearance

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Our Terms

  • No exchanges, adjustments, or tweaking. All sales are final.
  • As with all wooden instruments, you must follow the care instructions carefully: it will last AND improve in tonal and aesthetic richness with age. Plastic can't do that.
  • While our professional flutes are offered a "check-up" at the first year at no cost, we cannot offer this free service for the Folk Flute. Should you wish, we offer a Folk Flute check-up at USD 40 plus shipping.
  • We believe that the Folk Flute will play better than any "beginner's flute" available.

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    Small-Handed or Standard Ergonomic Model?

    How do I know if I should order a Standard Ergonomic model or a Small-Handed model?

    Please see the simple instructions on our page "Should I Choose a Small-Handed Flute?" (opens in a new browser window).

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    How are we able to offer the Folk Flute at this price?

    We were unwilling to sacrifice choice or quality of tonewood, as wood selection determines the flute's fundamental capacity for good tonal qualities. To lower the cost, we reduced only the production time and "extras:"

    • The Folk Flute uses the same acoustical design of Casey's professional instruments, but we found ways to cut production costs that are impractical with our professional flutes. Acoustically, the Folk Flute is a professional flute with no compromise made in materials or voicing - it can speak as well as a professional flute!
    • As the instruments will never have rings, tuning slide, or keys, we can make a flute which is mechanically much simpler, and more economical with wood. Production simplification and conservative use of wood allow us to focus on tone and voicing issues to provide an accessible instrument with a professional voice.

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    Why are we willing to do this?

    Beginning players should not have to compromise fundamental playability or aesthetics.

    • Beginning and casual players sustain and revitalize musical traditions.
    • Younger players need economical yet correct and playable instruments on which to learn.

    While we enjoy the technical challenge of offering a very low-cost yet satisfying instrument, we see a tremendous need for such a flute in the traditional music community.

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    How does it differ from our professional instruments?

    We use a minimalist aesthetic throughout, maximize our production efficiencies on this model, and provide no options or extras.

    In no way do we compromise on materials or time which would benefit tonal quality. The Folk Flute features the same accoustical design as the Casey Burns Standard 3-piece flute, voiced and tuned with the same degree of care and attention.

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    Is the Folk Flute tuneable?

    Like good quality wooden recorders, the socket-tenon joint allows plenty of room for tuning.

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    How does Mopane rate acoustically?

    We have heard it said that Mopane is not as good as African Blackwood.

    Blackwood certainly sets the standard for flute woods. However, we couldn't offer a $250 flute in this wood.

    Mopane's tonal and playing qualities are almost identical to blackwood. Mopane is superior to blackwood in stability. On a well played-in, seasoned instrument, these differences become quite hard to distinguish, which is why we offer this wood as an option for our professional flutes. Folk Flutes may have sapwood inclusions. Mopane sapwood can be quite light in color, providing a striking and beautiful contrast to the dark colored heartwood. In no way do sapwood inclusions affect tonal qualities or durability of the instrument. Through utilization of Mopane pieces with sapwood inclusions we improve our stewardship of this resource while providing beautiful, affordable flutes.

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    Why do we use PayPal, instead of taking credit cards directly ourselves?

    In short, PayPal is free to you, the buyer, does not require a PayPal account, is as secure as any other transaction on the web, and allows us to accept credit cards without spending hundreds per year on merchant fees for each type of credit card.

    In keeping with the spirit of reducing costs, we decided not to take credit cards directly. This would cost us a several hundred dollars more every year, and we'd have to adjust the Folk Flute price accordingly. PayPal asks for the same information as any other credit card order transaction for any other web site, and charges the buyer no fees--it is free for you! We are charged a small percentage to accept credit card payments through PayPal, much less than setting up and maintaining merchant credit card services ourselves.

    If you prefer not to use PayPal, you may send us a check or money order for the cost of the flute plus shipping. Your flute will be shipped after the funds are verified.

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    When will my flute be shipped?

    This is the most common question we receive from Folk Flute customers, soon after they have ordered their flute. We understand your excitement and anticipation.

    However, please allow us time to complete your instrument! Checking up on your instrument's progress, especially long before it is promised, requires much time answering emails or returning phone calls that could be better put towards making your instrument.

    Remember that we are a small shop, producing flutes in small batches or one at a time. We can only make these so fast, and prefer to enjoy the process rather than be rushed. Occasionally, flaws in material discovered late in the process of building require us to start over, slowing things further. At best, delivery times are a rough approximation.

    Due to the popularity of this instrument, the current wait time is 6 to 9 weeks.

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    Still have questions? Write us: info@folkflutes.com

    Page last modified:
    April 07 2010

         © Casey Burns 1981-2007