Flutes are very popular instruments. Many flute learners are school students, encouraged to learn through lessons within the school system, but it is a popular instrument all around the world with people of all ages. Knowing the best flute brands is vital as unfortunately there are definitely some brands to avoid. Luckily, as with most musical instruments, there are some reputable companies with big reputations making products of exceptional quality. This article is designed to help you avoid the pitfalls and ensure that you are only buying from a brand which is going to produce something built to last (and stay in tune).
It is important to make clear that there is a huge variety of price in the world of flutes. There are some flutes under the price of $100, mainly designed for beginners, but it is not unusual for professionals to be playing flutes worth many thousands of dollars. It isn’t always a case of ‘you get what you pay for’ and at each price point, there are some brands who stand out above others. Ensuring you buy a reliable, well-built and durable flute as well as one that sounds good ensures years of use, resale value, and quality. This is only offered by certain brands.
Yamaha is a household name and not just in the world of musical instruments. When it comes to flutes, their offerings tend to be very good, made of high-quality metal and with a rich and full sound. The Yamaha 211 student flute is the industry standard for those learning the flute and even some intermediate players, with many reporting that this particular model of flute has lasted years or even decades. Yamaha is definitely a brand to trust, and they have offerings at all the different price points in which flutes are sold. The 211 has older siblings, and if it is the ‘beginner’ model then the Yamaha 311 and 411 with their rich, airy sounds are the intermediate and professional, step-up models respectively.
I can’t put Yamaha into a category of either beginners, intermediate, student or professional as their range is so huge. There is something for everyone within the Yamaha flute catalog!
Flute Brands for Beginners and Those on a Budget
Some of the brands mentioned in this article cater for an elite end of the market, but there are some brands which are simply great for those not looking to spend a fortune. Say you’re looking for a high school band instrument and have opted for the flute, there are brands who will give you the quality you need without breaking the bank.
Lazarro may have only been operating for a decade, but their range of instruments is pretty hefty, and there are some impressive budget models in there. Many of their products are sold as kits which are great for students and beginners, as you get a case, cleaner and more, sometimes for under $200 or even under $100. Excellent value flutes which aren’t flimsy, but don’t cost the earth. Lazarro may not be what the pros use, but if you’re just getting started they can be the ideal stepping stone.
Similarly, Mendini offer products at the lower price points, and kits including everything from stands, cases and more. Plus you get the flute itself. Again, don’t expect to see these on stage at a worldwide concert venue anytime soon, but for just getting started you can buy everything you need at a good price.
Professional Flute Brands
Although coming from humble beginnings in the 1970s, the brand Trevor James has gone from strength to strength. Specializing in not just flutes but Saxophones and other brass instruments, Trevor James (sometimes known as TJ Flutes) have multiple models at different prices, so again will cater for your needs whether you are a professional or a beginner (or anywhere in between).
Miyazawa is a real premium brand, and that comes at a cost, this certainly isn’t a brand which is going to be top of the list if you are looking to get a first student flute, but if you are truly looking for the best, Miyazawa’s range of high-quality flutes, made with sturdy, even precious metals, can ensure you have the best sound and quality available on the market. Handmade, luxurious and although one of the most expensive, these have to be mentioned on any list of the best flutes.
Gemeinhardt is a brand which is reportedly the largest manufacturer of flutes and piccolos in the world. Based in Indiana, a lot of their products are still made in the US. Founded by a fourth generation flute maker from Germany, their range is huge, with over 30 models of flute on the market in all sorts of variations, student flutes, bass flutes, alto flutes, professional flutes and more make up a very impressive range. A little more on the high end of the market, so don’t expect to find budget flutes under this brand, but they do offer some products a little more light on the product than many of the costly pro flutes.
Another extremely high-end flute maker, Altus Flutes is a brand name that is synonymous with quality. Another Asian manufacturer, Altus offer handmade flutes made with precious metals and with a huge amount of skill, craftsmanship, and quality. Expensive, but worth every penny if you have the money and are looking to buy the creme-de-la-creme in the world of flutes.
Just like any instrument, there is a huge difference in what the best players in the world will be using and what those going to their first band practise will be using. Flutes are instruments that have a lot of nuances, and require some excellent craftsmanship to create, so they can easily go wrong. Be sure to stick with reputable brands, look for flute reviews and don’t get stung!