(The Folk Flute)
The Folk Flute:
Nothing Less than Great Sound.
It is possible for all flute players to have an instrument which:
What it is and how to get one
The Folk Flute is a three-piece wooden flute for playing traditional music: nothing more, but nothing less! Crafted individually by hand in America from European Boxwood, Mopane or African Blackwood by an artisan flute maker with 30 years experience, each Folk Flute is unique and will only gain character and depth of tone with age--as will all traditional wooden flutes. It is designed for:
The Folk Flute is the Best Choice for beginning players, period. The Folk Flute features the same accoustical design as my more expensive Standard Model Flutes, voiced and tuned with the same degree of care and attention, using exactly the same reamers and processes. Making these gives me lots of practice in this particular aspect. The Folk Flute plays as well as my more expensive models! Available in African Blackwood (Grenadilla), European Boxwood, and occasionally in Mopane, right or left handed, Ergonomic Standard and Small-Handed versions, Standard and Small Handed Straight Line versions. In the last 10 years, I have shipped over 1000 Folk Flutes all over the world.
"It plays beautifully: intonation is excellent, response is really good, the tone is wonderful, and it is very comfortable to play. I give it two thumbs up." Grey Larsen, noted Irish flute player and author of The Essential Guide to Irish Flute and Tin Whistle
Is the Folk Flute is an appropriate choice for me? YES! Beginning traditional flute players want an easy to play and maintain instrument that they can grow with. The Folk Flute fits these requirements well. Intermediate players want an instrument that has a good tone and quick response that will hold up well in sessions. My more expensive flutes (many without all the acoutrements such as tuning slides and keys) are widely used in sessions. The Folk Flute is acoustically identical - and thus works well for sessions. The player is not limited by this instrument.Why buy a Folk Flute when less expensive plastic flutes are available? When you are getting a Folk Flute you are getting an instrument with the weight and experience of 30 years of my acoustical and ergonomic design behind it, tuned and voiced with the same degree of care (even using the same set of reamers) as my more expensive professional grade flutes. The Folk Flute IS a professional grade instrument, rendered down to its barest essentials and manufactured in batches so that I can provide these at a price most can afford. A wooden flute just feels better to the player than a plastic instrument - and its voice will evolve as the instrument ages. The fingerholes are closer together than in a cylindrically bored plastic flute and feel better on the hands. The wood adds something complex and lovely to the sound that is lacking in any plastic instrument. Wooden flutes are easy to care for, similar to other common woodwinds such as recorders.
Many choose plastic flutes especially ones made out of Delrin on the theory that then one doesn't have to worry about humidity, temperature or oiling. This may be true but then would you want a guitar made from plastic, or a violin or mandolin, especially if such instrument was hand made? All of the good and better quality instruments such as these are made out of wood. This is true for flutes of this type. And taking care of such an instrument doesn't require that you be a rocket scientist. Its actually quite easy and simple and there is no reason to fear it. Care instructions are provided.
I am considering keys or a tuning slide later on. Should I get one of the other models? The Folk Flute is a good reference point even for those unsure about these extra options. Many of my Folk Flute clients decide eventually that they want a flute with all the bells and whistles from me or one of my contemporaries, many of which who make fantastic instruments. Once in hand, some have reported keeping their Folk Flute as a handy traveling instrument, or a comfortable and familiar fallback when they just can't cope with the new keywork. Others have reported quickly selling their Folk Flute to a new owner - commonly for the same price as the purchase price.
Is the Folk Flute tuneable? I make the Folk Flute with a 32-33mm long headjoint tenon, which allows for some adjustment for when tuning to other players. The headjoint can be pulled out or rolled inward to flatten it as needed. Since most everyone plays at A-440Hz only a small range of tuning adjustment is needed. The range is similar to that found on wooden recorders.
I have small hands. Will the Folk Flute work for me? YES! YES! YES!!!! I started addressing the needs of smaller handed players as far back as 1985, and iteratively developed flutes that are comfortable to one's hands with the narrowest finger spacings available in the Irish Flute market. Distances between fingerholes (measured center to center) range from 32 to 35mm on my Standard flute, and from 29 to 32mm on my Small Handed Flutes. Holes are usually offset for further comfort.
Fingerhole Spacings for my flutes - measured center of hole to center of hole, for comparison purposes.
What doesn't come with the Folk Flute: end cap, rings, tuning slide, keys and retrofit capabilities, specific customizeability. Leaving out these options allows me to quickly make these flutes available with quick delivery times - for a price most can afford. A simple cloth case is provided.
What wood should I choose? Blackwood is the most popular wood for these, is readily available, durable for all climates, and has a solid reputation in the Irish Flute world. I also use European Boxwood and Mopane, subject to availability. These are also excellent woods that share many of the same characteristics as Blackwood. Currently I am readying some Mopane for Folk Flute production. Contact me if you really want Mopane. I am running out of Boxwood and my primary source is almost out as well. I may end up using more with heart center if necessary. I am looking for another source. If you are confused about which wood to select, simply choose Blackwood. 95% of the Folk Flutes made these days are in blackwood. For more discussion on these three woods, go to my Wood Description Page. Also, if you live in a dry climate, Blackwood is probably your best choice.
Not the highest quality cuts? Industry-wide, instrument makers are finding it increasingly difficult or impossible to get premium quality wood for flute making. My attitude is to use all available to me even if it means that there are filled knots, sapwood or bark inclusions (see the note below about sapwood inclusions in Blackwood), insect holes etc. in the resulting instruments. I draw the line when such defects cause structural concerns such as at sockets, could promote a crack, or somehow cause the instrument to fall apart and fail. I do what I can to cut around these flaws but if a piece of flute wood will make a decent flute that stays together I will use it regardless of what cosmetic "horrors" may be present. Boxwood is particularly challenging with frequent knots. This is the best utilization of the resource, however! If your aesthetics demand a flute free or almost of such defects, order one of my more expensive Standard Flutes starting at $700, not the Folk Flute!
How to select your wood type.... The "Wood Choice" buttons are up and running - simply order your flute with the current "Buy it Now" Buttons below and click on your wood choice. Email me for any other parameters (such as straight in line or my "ergonomic" biased tone holes, left handed versions, etc).
Boxwood versus Mopane versus Blackwood: All woods warp to some degree - even blackwood. Boxwood is the worse culprit but it also is heat treatable, which I do to it. Not so with the other woods. The blackwood I have is pretty, and bone dry. The Mopane is prettier but wetter which sometimes can delay a delivery. If you live in a very dry climate I would choose the blackwood over the other two. If you want the lightest weight flute (this has certain ergonomic advantages for some) choose Boxwood. Again, if you are unclear about which wood to pick, choose Blackwood. You cannot go wrong with this wood.
Blackwood Sapwood Inclusions African Blackwood occasionally will be cut near the outside of the tree, and turned so that an "inclusion" of the yellowish sapwood is left on the finished surface. This used to be considered a sign of an inferior quality instrument until guitar makers in the 1980s started exploring the use of Blackwood with these inclusions as an attractive feature. To me these represent the best use of the resource. And these inclusions can be very striking, wild and photogenic as the one illustrated here. These do not affect the tone or the stability of the flute in the least. Let me know if you would prefer not to have such a feature, or if you would really like me to include it if possible. I cannot guarantee that the flute will have this little accent though I try to select wood with such features when picking out Blackwood.
What is the difference between the Folk Flute and the more expensive $700 Standard Models? Acoustically these are exactly the same flute, made from the same woodpile and the same reamers, and tuned and voiced the exact same way. Tuning and voicing so many Folk Flutes means that these and my more expensive flutes will all play and sound great. In 2012 I produced 167 flutes out of which 140 were Folk Flutes. This gives me lots of practice with tuning and voicing compared to some other flute makers who may only tune and voice a few flutes each month. Tuning and especially voicing (this is what determines how well the flute plays and how it feels to the player), like anything musical, requires constant practice and application to remain being really good at it. I prefer it if these flutes play as well or better than the more expensive flutes of my competitors!The Folk Flute is my low cost "loss leader" and is a good way to get my flutes in the hands of many players, who then come back for the more expensive models. The difference between these and my more expensive models is what is offered and not offered. On the Folk Flute the flute is set up without any customization to the clients hands aside from small or regular hands. Tuning slides, bands, end cap and keys are not offered for this model. For my $700 flutes, a I offer a wider variety of acoustical models. Usually a single piece middle joint is used which many prefer. Customization to fit your hands specifically, tweaking after you have played it some if necessary and all the bells and whistles (tuning slides, bands, keys) may be added either when you order or retrofitted to the flute later on(at $400 for the slides and bands, and $450 per key). All of my flute models including the Folk Flute play excellently.
If you want your flute "tweaked" and custom fitted to your hands etc., order one of my more expensive flute models. The Folk Flute is designed to be an acceptable model within the range and preferences of most players, and to play really well. At this point I have shipped over 1000 of these and the feedback has been overwhelmingly favorable.
Folk Flute versus Other Inexpensive Flutes: I notice that people on discussion lists commonly ask questions about this or that inexpensive flute. Frequent answers suggest this or that flute made from PVC, Bamboo, and other materials. These flutes do work for some. But in the majority of cases, these flutes will have a cylindrical bore, widely spaced holes, and are frankly disappointing. I simply recommend against them as these are not Irish Flutes. I recommend getting the real thing. The Folk Flute is the real thing! You will getting a true wooden flute with a proper tapered bore, undercut toneholes, etc. You are also getting an instrument made with the skill and experience of someone who has been mastering this art form for over 30 years. Your instrument is probably worth more and I could probably charge more, since these play as well as the many expensive flutes made by my peers (and these also play as well as my expensive flutes). I just like the idea of providing a low cost but very high quality instrument to as many players in the world as possible. In terms of access, my smaller handed flutes especially serve a need for small-handed players. I have been working on perfecting a smaller handed flute model since 1986. Only a few other makers seem to have any grasp of this concept and all are way behind me in terms of experience and practice.
Buy the Folk Flute now using your Credit Card or PayPal account. PayPal is my online credit card transaction provider. It is free to you, secure, and for credit card purchases, does not require a PayPal account. [ More on why I use PayPal... ]
Domestic (US) Shipping: $16.50. I ship via USPS Priority Mail, insured at full value.
Canadian Shipping: $32. I insure and document your shipment at full value. Any duty or sales tax (VAT/TVA) is your responsibility. Consult your local authorities. Delays in Customs processing are not my responsibility. If an invoice is needed for accelerating such processing let me know or simply use the email acknowledgement generated automatically by PayPal. Your flute will be shipped by International Priority Mail. United Kingdom Shipping: Please use the International shipping rate button.
International Shipping (except Canada): $48. This now includes UK Customers. I insure and document your shipment at full value. Any duty or sales tax (VAT/TVA) is your responsibility. Consult your local authorities. Delays in Customs processing are not my responsibility. If an invoice is needed for accelerating such processing let me know or simply use the email acknowledgement generated automatically by PayPal. Your flute will be shipped by International Priority Mail.
Shipping status as of 19 Jun 2013: Note: select blackwood for quickest delivery. Boxwood takes a little longer. I have some Mopane ready for Folk Flutes finally. Current delivery times depend upon when ordered, which batch of flutes, wood type and my production schedule. Delivery usually takes up to 60 days or longer, especially in the summer months. All of the March and previous orders have been shipped. All but one of the April orders were shipped on June 14th - the remaining one will ship next week. May orders will ship in July. A few of the earlier June orders will be part of this flute batch. Flutes ordered after June 8th and some of July orders will ship in late August. Later July orders will ship in late September. I take some time off in late July and August to attend a yearly music camp, and enjoy some summer vacation time, hopefully on a warm beach. The growing popularity of these flutes means that I have had many more orders to fill than expected. Thus filling orders for these flutes is taking longer. (June 14, 2013)
Buy the Folk Flute together with Grey Larsen's Essential Guide: For convenience, you may order a Folk Flute together with Grey Larsen's book, The Essential Guide to Irish Flute and Tin Whistle.
Domestic (US) Shipping: $20. I ship via USPS Priority Mail, Flat Rate, insured at full value.
Canadian Shipping: $39. New rate thanks to Endicia. I ship via USPS International Priority Mail, and insure and document your shipment at full value. Any duty or sales tax (VAT/TVA) is your responsibility - consult your local authorities. United Kingdom Shipping: Thanks to Endicia shipping is at the same rate as International as of May 20, 2013. International Shipping (except Canada and the United Kingdom): $59. Note the reduced Rate thanks to Endicia! I ship via USPS International Priority Mail, and insure and document your shipment at full value. Any duty or sales tax (VAT/TVA) is your responsibility - consult your local authorities.
Canadian customers: Please use the Canada Customer "Buy Now" buttons above for your purchase. If you have questions or problems completing your order, please e-mail me. Also, please email me your phone number so that I can include it with the required postal documentation. All transactions are in US Dollars.
International customers (except Canada): Please use the International Customer "Buy Now" buttons above for your purchase. If you have questions or problems completing your international order, please e-mail me. Also, please email me your phone number so that I can include it with the required postal documentation. All transactions are in US Dollars.
If you do not wish to purchase with PayPal or Credit Card: Please e-mail me with your purchase request to arrange payment details. For US Customers I accept personal checks and money orders; For International Orders, I accept only secured payment methods in US Dollars. Orders will ship after funds are verified.
All sales are final. Customization, servicing, tweaking and repairs if any will be considered on a case by case basis. You will receive an automatically generated acknowledgement of your order. Please refer to this website for delivery updates, which are updated weekly, instead of contacting me. This allows me to concentrate on the flutes, not answering email. By ordering, you agree to these terms.