The Flute Academy
Should you buy a $100 flute?

Should you buy a $100 flute?

May 04, 2020

After last week's video of me trying out a "cheap and nasty" ALDI flute (that sounded pretty good for $100), were you left wondering:

"Should I actually buy a $100 flute?"?

Should you buy a $100 flute?

Someone emailed me that exact question - and I thought, "oh I've got to do a video on this, and fast!"

Luckily, I had some flowers hanging around my apartment and my peace lily looked healthy, so I slapped together this video response.

I explain the 3 reasons why you shouldn't buy a cheap flute, and hopefully enlighten you with the 2 exceptions of when it's actually ok to buy one.


Should you buy a really cheap flute?

Good morning from Australia in this video. I'm going to answer the question so should I buy a $100 flute? Because I actually did get asked that in the last week, the short answer is no. And I'm going to tell you in this video about why.

I'm also going to explain the exceptions about when it actually is okay to buy a $100 flute, because I bought one, right? And I did a video on it last week.

I'm also going to tell you what to spend instead, because obviously you don't need to spend $10,000. And I'm also going tell you what I did with the a hundred dollars flute that I had last week cause I don't have it anymore. And I'm gonna tell you where it went.

Here are the three reasons why you shouldn't buy a hundred dollars flute.

Reason #1 to not buy a cheap flute: They don't last

The biggest reason is because they don't last very long. I've seen them last six months. The best one, the best case scenario was it lasted two years, but that is rare. I have also seen them totally not work straight out of the box. So brand new and they do not work at all.

So you’re taking a bit of a gamble when you buy one of these flutes. It might work okay for a few months. It might work for a year, but it might not work at all.

Reason #2 to not buy a cheap flute: They're impossible to fix

The second reason is because when they do stop working, so they mechanically go out of alignment and keys don't close properly. And the sound doesn't come out because the holes are not closed.

When that happens, they're almost impossible to fix because they're not well made at all so they're not fixable. And good flute repairers refuse to fix them. If you actually have a good flute repairer that you go to, they will refuse to fix one of these cheap and nasty floats.

Reason #3 to not buy a cheap flute: You'll get confused

And the third reason why I do not recommend you buying a hundred dollars flute or  a cheap flute is because when they go out of alignment, mechanically out of alignment, you are going set yourself up for confusion because you don't know if it's your flute that's the problem, or if it's you, and that is no good for your learning. And it's no good for your confidence.

When it is ok to buy a cheap flute

Now, the exceptions for when I think it's totally okay and a good idea to buy a cheap and nasty flute, there are two exceptions.

The first exception is if you are in regular contact, for example, you have a flute teacher who can test it out for you and tell you when it has gone out of alignment and that it's worth throwing out because then you'll know that it's not you that's the problem. It's the flute.

And the second exception, if you are okay with taking the gamble, that it may sound great straight out of the box and it may last you a year or even maybe more, but you may get something dodgy right out of the box and that you are prepared for this gamble of not knowing what you're getting and also you're prepared for the confusion that it might cause you, if you don't have someone like a professional who can help you work out when it's not working and that you are okay with basically buying a disposable flute. So that's the second exception.

Now, if you're wondering what to spend, instead, you already know that I do not recommend spending thousands and thousands of dollars on a flute to make yourself sound better.

Of course, if you are in the elite level or you are getting very advanced, this of course is important because elite flute players, orchestra flute players, professionals, they're like Olympic athletes, Olympic athletes, no doubt spend thousands of dollars on a pair of shoes or a tennis racket, or probably even a swimming costume.

Professional flute players need an elite instrument for the elite sport of professional music. But you need a flute that is in mechanical working order for sure.

Which flute brands are good?

For my students, I recommend that they go out and they buy themselves a brand new student model, Jupiter or Yamaha.

Now there are other brands that are good as well. So I recommend that you talk to a  reputable flute shop and get their suggestions for other brands as well.

Are second hand flutes ok?

Now you'll notice that I said brand new that's important because over time, flutes can go out of whack, which a good student flute it's okay, because they can be fixed.

But the problem is if someone has fixed a secondhand flute and they haven't fixed it very well, if you buy a secondhand flute and you don't have a professional that can try it out for you  and check that it's in good order, you are buying bad, potentially bad repairing of someone else's repair.

So that's why I recommend brand new. This is going to cost you less than a thousand dollars for a good brand new student flute in many cases, far less than a thousand dollars.

So if you are wondering what happened to the a hundred dollars Audi flute that I had last week, my dad has been watching these videos that I make, and he's all keen to learn the flute now.

So that flute has gone to him. He has acquired and Audi flute. And he's in one of those exception categories where, because he has me that can constantly monitor this flute for him and at any point where he comes to me and he goes, Jane, I can't play my D, he'll know, straight away whether it's the flute or if it's him, because I'm there to try out the dodgy cheap flute for him and, and check that it's still in working order for him. So he's the exception, not the rule.

Playing with a flute that works well, mechanically

Remember this, remember that once you have a flute that's in working order 95% of what you hear in the flute playing is the player, not the flute.

This is why I am such a big advocate. And this is a big part of my teaching about investing in yourself as a flute player. Invest in your skills, your ability, your learning, combine that with a flute that works mechanically and you are going to sound pretty darn good. You're gonna get a lot better with the flute that you've got as long as it works, regardless of how expensive it is.

Improve your flute tone instantly

So come and join me to improve your sound instantly. If you haven't already at www.flute.school/ free and do a free minicourse that goes over three days to instantly improve your tone on the flute. And this is the beginning of investing in yourself.

I know it's free, but you are gonna be investing time goes for three days. Invest in yourself and improve your tone with the right skills. I'd love to see you there. See you later.

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