Buying a musical instrument is often uncharted waters and with woodwind instruments, the decision can be even more confusing, mainly because they have so many keys.
Many times, parents want to buy the cheapest flute possible in case their child does not like playing the flute.
This, however, can be a big mistake.
You see, playing a cheap flute can be difficult, discouraging the student before he or she ever really gets started. But, don’t give up! There are many great flute reviews available that will help you choose the right flute for you or your child!
Keep reading to find out what the best flutes are!
- So, Let’s Get Started Looking At The Best Beginner Flutes!
- Best Flute Reviews on Beginner Flutes
- There’s More! Here Are The Best Flute Reviews On Professional Flutes!
- What Should You Do? Here’s a Buyers’ Guide for Flutes!
So, Let’s Get Started Looking At The Best Beginner Flutes!
When you’re looking for the best beginner flute, you want something tough and responsive. All of the beginner flutes reviewed here have closed holes, which reduces leaks. You will see that they also have offset G keys, making it easier for smaller children to reach the keys.
Best Flute Reviews on Beginner Flutes
Nickel Silver plated, gold-tone keys
stand, case, cleaning
Jean Paul FL-220
Nickel Silver plated
Nickel Silver plated
Mendini by Ceilio
Nickel Silver plated
stand, case, cleaning
1 Mendini by Cecilio Premium Grade Closed Hole C Flute
This may be the flashiest of the 4 instruments listed here. The manufacturer says they have made the instrument of brass, with nickel-silver plating and gold-plated keys.
They undercut the embouchure hole of the Mendini, helping to focus the air stream. It is also beveled for the same reason. This should help the beginner to find a tone on the flute more easily.
The Mendini models come with a flute stand, which is a big plus. The best part of having a flute stand? They can keep the flute upright when not in use. Many students will lay their flute in their chair when they get up, and then inevitably sit on the instrument.
As for tone, the Mendini is said to have a responsive low register and an adequate high register. Beginners often struggle with the two extremes of register on the flute. With this instrument, a beginner can get fairly round low notes and keep them from going flat, and can probably find the “sweet spot” on the high notes without being extremely sharp.
These are closed-hole instruments. Why does this matter? There are a lot of keys on the flute, and each one of them has the potential to leak. When they leak, they don’t play well.
That’s not all! The flute also has a low C foot joint. This reduces the weight of the instrument so that the beginner’s hands and arms don’t get so tired. Most beginner and much advanced flute literature don’t call for notes lower than low C, so this doesn’t limit the student.
- Closed holes
- It’s pretty, with the gold keys
- Offset G
- Acceptable low register
- Fairly responsive high register
- The gold will probably wear off of the keys quickly
- May not be responsive enough in the high register
- Not a nationally-known brand, so local repairmen may not be able to repair it
2 Jean Paul FL-220
The Jean Paul FL-220 beginner flute is nickel-plated, as most entry-level flutes are made. Its name brings to mind the famous and beloved professional flutist, Jean Pierre Rampal, but there is no connection with that famous person.
The FL-220 has an offset G key, which is important for children, smaller adults, or people with upper-body joint problems. It helps the hands reach the keys without stretching as far. Most beginner flutes have offset G keys, and some professional flutes do, as well.
The embouchure hole is said, by the manufacturer, to be “student friendly.” We take it to mean that it helps to focus the air stream so that sound is more easily produced.
Why does this matter?
If a student can’t get any sound out of the flute, he or she will get discouraged and quit. And that’s not the goal here, is it? We want the student to have success as soon as learn how to hold the instrument and form the right embouchure.
There is no information about the pads on the Jean Paul. We must assume that they are soft enough to seal fully, but tough enough to withstand the wear and tear of use.
One of the challenges of playing the flute is to play in tune in different registers. The low register tends to be flat, while the high register is sharp. The Jean Paul will have some of the same problems, and may be harder to correct, since this is a beginner instrument.
- Offset G key for smaller hands and shorter arms
- Closed holes to reduce leaks
- Low C foot joint makes the flute more lightweight
- Fairly responsive low register
- Fairly responsive high register
- Not easily repaired
- Some band directors will not approve the instrument
- Often has issues with leaking
- May have tuning issues in different registers
3 Yamaha YFL-222
The Yamaha YFL-222 is a beginner flute that is designed to help beginning flute players get off to a strong start. The instrument is solid nickel silver.
Why is this important?
Nickel silver is sturdier than sterling silver, and not as soft. This keeps the flute from bending and going out of adjustment as quickly. But, the nickel is more responsive than brass, which is used in constructing some beginner flutes. Quicker response means the instrument is easier to play.
In addition, the solid nickel silver construction makes the instrument easier to repair, which is important with student flutes, especially.
The tone holes in many beginner flutes are soldered in place. This allows for more opportunity for corrosion and leaks. The Yamaha YFL-222 has drawn tone holes with the edges turned for a smooth seal.
The Yamaha YFL-222 has an undercut embouchure hole. This helps focus the air stream so the beginning flutist has quicker success in obtaining a tone. The embouchure plate also has a double flare taper for the same objective.
This is a closed hole flute. Therefore, there is no chance of leaking between the player’s fingers and the keys, as with open hole flutes. The tone holes are drawn, turned tone holes. This keeps the pads from wearing out as quickly and reduces the risk of leaks.
There is more! The Yamaha YFL-222 has an offset G construction, which is more ergonomic for smaller hands or younger players. It has a C foot joint, which is adequate for most beginning music.
- Drawn, turned tone holes, rather than soldered
- Well-known brand accepted by band directors
- Pointed key arms on non-fingered keys
- Offset G
- Low C foot joint
- Nickel silver
- Some players have tuning problems
- Not a professional flute
- Some beginners will have response problems in the high and low registers
4 Mendini by Ceilio
This is the second Mendini flute we have reviewed here. This one is not as flashy as the other model. There are no gold keys on this flute. But, it is nickel plated brass, so the structure is strong and the finish is pretty.
This flute is made with closed holes so that there is less chance of leaking. Open hole flutes that are popular with advanced flutists depend on the pads of the player’s fingers to seal the opening on the surface of the keys.
The low C foot joint is standard on beginner flutes. It encourages reasonable response in the low register and does not restrict the ability to play beginner repertoire. The embouchure plate and hole are designed to focus the air stream. This makes it easier to get a sound.
The Mendini comes with the standard case and cleaning equipment. This one, though, has something extra! The Mendini flutes come with a flute stand. These fold up nicely and fit into the case for easy transport but are handy for keeping the flute upright when it is not in use.
As a beginner flute, it has an average response in the low register. The high register can be difficult on any beginning flute. The Mendini is about the same as any other.
- O ffset G for smaller hands
- Low C foot joint, making the flute more lightweight
- Closed hole to reduce leaks
- It comes with a stand
- Band directors may not approve of this model
- With the brass base, it may be hard to repair
- Local music shops may refuse to try to repair this instrument
- It may not be strong enough construction to be durable
There’s More! Here Are The Best Flute Reviews On Professional Flutes!
|Name||Keys||G Key||Materials||Lip Plate||Foot|
Pearl 525RBE1RB Quantz Series
Gemeinhardt Model 3OB Flute
1 Pearl 525RBE1RB Quantz Series
Pearl is a recognized brand in the flute world, and known for quality flutes. The Pearl 525RBE1RB Quantz Series flute is recognized as one of the best intermediate flutes.
There’s more on intermediate flutes, later.
The Pearl has open holes. This means the flutist’s fingers actually make up part of the surface of the key as they fill in the holes. There is supposed to e a slightly better tone as a result.
You can order the Pearl 525RBE1RB Quantz Series with either offset G or inline G keys. This option gives you access to a great instrument in either construction.
This instrument is entirely silver plated. That means the inside of the tube as well as the outside is silver plated. This is probably nickel silver, since there is no record of a sterling mark.
In addition, a flute that has more consistent construction materials usually sounds better. As the player moves between registers, he or she will have to make fewer adjustments to tuning.
However, the lip plate and riser are solid silver. What does this mean? It means the flute will have a quicker response. Solid silver responds more quickly to the vibrations of the air stream, producing sound with less effort.
This professional flute has a low b foot joint. This provides the player with an extended range for orchestral and some band music.
- Solid silver lip plate and riser
- All silver plate on body
- Quick response
- More accurate tuning between registers
- Pointed key arms should be stronger
- This model is usually approved by band directors
- It is more of an intermediate flute, rather than a professional model
- The body is not solid silver
- There can still be tuning issues between registers
2 Gemeinhardt Model 3OB Flute
Gemeinhardt is another well-known name in the flute industry. The Gemeinhardt Model 3OB Flute is a nice intermediate level flute that will help the more advanced student achieve better progress in his or her flute playing.
This model has the offset G key. This is perfectly acceptable for this level of flute, and many professionals continue to use the offset pattern throughout their careers.
The open hole feature allows for more control of the tone of the instrument. Most professionals use open hole flutes.
This flute is silver plated both inside and out. This helps to improve the tone and tuning. Tuning between registers can often be a problem, and consistent use of materials helps that.
The tone holes are drawn and turned. That means the tube of the flute and the tone holes are all one piece with no seams. That keeps the flute from leaking. The rolled edges create a solid seal for the pads to rest upon.
The Gemeinhardt Model 3OB Flute has a low B foot joint. This expands the player’s access to repertoire in the orchestra and advanced bands.
Gemeinhardt traditionally has its own interpretation of the shape of the embouchure hole. It is a little more rounded than some versions, which helps some players obtain a focused tone more quickly.
- Silver plated, both inside and out
- Pointed key arms for extra strength
- Offset G for smaller hands
- Low B foot joint
- Accepted by most band directors
- The lip plate and riser are silver plated, rather than solid silver
- It is not available with inline G
- Embouchure hole is Gemeinhardt shape, which puts some players off
3 Gemeinhardt Model 3SB Intermediate Flute
Here is another Gemeinhardt flute that may interest you. Designed for intermediate players, it is durable yet responsive. This is a nice looking flute, and your band director will probably like it.
This is a solid silver instrument. That’s good, because solid construction means that the instrument will respond more quickly to vibrations from the air stream. There is also less opportunity for the finish to wear off if the instrument is solid silver.
The inline G construction makes this a good instrument for the grown flutist who does not need help in reaching the keys. Most professional flutists prefer inline G flutes. Part of the reason may be because the inline placement may help with tuning.
Why is this flute so pretty? Because it has a gold lip plate. There are practical reasons for this! Gold does not tarnish the way silver does, so it won’t leave black marks on your lower lip and chin, as some silver does. Also, the gold responds differently to vibrations, which may give you more choices in tone.
This is a low B foot joint flute. With this foot joint, you have access to a broader range of repertoire. There is a lot of advanced flute music that is composed with low B.
The tone holes of the Gemeinhardt are drawn and rolled. This reduces the number of seams in the tube, which is crucial to tuning and durability.
- Drawn and rolled tone holes
- Inline G
- Gold lip plate
- Open holes
- Band director approved
- Solid silver construction
- Still not a professional instrument
- They are hard to get
What Should You Do? Here’s a Buyers’ Guide for Flutes!
What should you look for in flutes? We have some good pointers, here, so KEEP READING!
- Look for known names! You may not know the names of flute manufacturers, but band and orchestra directors do. ALWAYS buy known brands, because your flute WILL need to be repaired. Knock-off brands usually cannot be fixed by local repairmen. Do you want to send your flute to China every time it needs a new spring?
- Look for silver construction! Of course, you could always look for gold, platinum, or titanium flutes, but you’ll have to sell your house to buy one. Silver is more affordable and the structure of the metal responds well to the vibrations of the air stream that is forced through it. This is what makes sound.
- Low C or low B? To be honest, there is very little flute literature out there that uses a low B. The benefit of the low B foot joint is that it may help the low register to have more body. For beginners, low C is better because there is less metal to make vibrate. Those low notes can be rather hard to get out.
- Inline or offset G? Again, it’s kind of up to the player. However, most professional flutists play the inline G. This is probably because of two things. Inline G may help with dexterity on very fast passages. It may also help with tuning, since the placement of the holes in the tube of the flute affects tuning.
There’s More To Come!
- Open hole, or closed hole? Open hole flutes are almost universally popular. Smaller players, or beginners, can put plugs in the holes until their fingers are big enough to cover the hole and their hand position is strong enough to keep their fingers centered.
- Does the embouchure hole matter? Yes, the embouchure hole matters. Pearl and Gemeinhardt use a slightly different shaped embouchure hole than other models of flutes. This can affect the overall type of sound produced, whether mellow or bright. It can also make the flute harder to play. You should try them out before making a purchase.
- Are pointed key arms crucial? More to the “point,” are they molded or soldered? Pointed key arms are traditionally the mark of a handmade flute. The points are soldered onto the key for a strong connection on a well-made flute. If they are just molded onto the key by the manufacturing plant, they LOOK handmade, but are no stronger than other stamped keys.
- Is “silver plated” acceptable? Well, it really kind of depends on the base metal. The cheapest flutes are actually made of brass, which is a heavy metal that doesn’t respond well to vibrations from an air stream. That’s why brass players have mouthpieces that they “buzz” to start the vibration. With flutes, common construction is of nickel silver with sterling silver plating. That way, you have silver throughout the flute, which makes it more responsive.
So, what is the bottom line? Based on the best flute reviews, there are seven flutes listed here that have almost identical descriptions. How do you choose which one to buy?
Using the Flute Buyer’s Guide for reference, we would go with one of the three known brand names: Yamaha, Pearl, or Gemeinhardt.
In music history, Pearl and Gemeinhardt were powerhouses of flute manufacturing. A handmade Pearl flute was the Holy Grail of flute-dom. Gemeinhardt was patterned after the Pearl, and American made to be sturdy and high quality. Yamaha was a motorcycle.
These days, things are a bit different. We would go with the Gemeinhardt Model 3SB Intermediate Flute because of the solid silver construction and the gold lip plate. Unfortunately, this model is often not available.
SO…The Yamaha is our choice. This flute is a known brand, and Yamaha has made a name for itself in musical instruments over the last 50 years. Yes, it is a beginner’s flute, but we think it is capable of doing anything the other instruments can do (except play low B). The Yamaha will probably be a sturdy musical instrument that you can play for years.