It can be difficult to buy a wooden flute, especially if it is your first time buying one. It doesn’t matter if you are looking for a beginner or an advanced model, it can be difficult to choose the right one.
Everyone has the same question. What is the best wooden flute?
This is why we looked to the experts at McNeela Instruments who sent us a handy guide for buying a wooden flute. It will help you make the right decision and find the perfect Irish flute, regardless of your stage.
They have a large selection of traditional flutes that we have in our Irish Flute Store. I will do my best to help you find the perfect fit.
Wooden Flute Basics
The basic system that inspired the Boehm-style flute is the basis for Irish flutes and Celtic flutes.
These simple-system flutes are usually made of wood. The most common tonewoods are African Blackwood and Mopane, Rosewood, Rosewood, Mopane, Mopane, Rosewood, Boxwood, and Mopane. You can also make modern flutes from plastic-like composites made of wood, such as Polymer and Delrin.
The Pratten model is the most common basis for wooden flutes. It dates back to the mid-18th century. Traditional Irish flutes are available in a variety of key options. They can be keyless or have 3-8 keys to allow for playing accidentals and chromatic notes.
Today, Irish flutes can be made in many keys. Traditional wooden flutes are made in the most popular key, D. This is because the majority of traditional Irish music can be played within this key.
Anatomy of the Wooden Flute: a Brief Guide
The head, body, and foot joints are the main components of the wooden flute. Some Irish flutes, however, only have the head joint or the body.
- The Head Joint
The flute’s top is where the head joint is. It contains the tuning cork, embouchure hole and tuning slide. It is the most important component of the flute, as it affects the flute’s flexibility, tone performance, and response. You must take care of it!
- The Body
The flute’s body connects to the foot joint (if one exists). It is the largest and midsection of the flute. Here are the keys and tone holes.
- The Foot Joint
The flute’s foot joint allows it to reach a low C# or C. Keys are needed to expand the flute’s range to these notes. These holes are not available on a keyless Irish flute.
How to buy a wooden Flute?
You don’t need to spend a lot to buy a high-quality Irish flute. However, it is not a good idea to choose the cheapest brand. It’s important to set your price expectations before you shop. You can use this price limit to help you determine which flutes will be best suited for your needs.
Low quality Irish flutes will make a poor sound, and their playability will be greatly affected. This can cause frustration for beginners and even lead to the player giving in.
We advise beginners to evaluate prices and brands to avoid this. If it sounds too good to true, it probably is. Below are my top recommendations for the best Irish flutes available.
Questions to Ask:
When shopping for a wooden flute, it is important to understand your goals. Do you want to improve your playing? Are you looking to make a long-term investment? Or are you simply looking for a starter instrument that you can use immediately?
These are questions to ask before you start your search.
- This is a hobby, or would you prefer to learn Irish music professionally?
- What length of time do you plan to play the traditional Irish flute? This is an important consideration when determining your budget.
- You will be playing the flute wherever you are. Do you intend to use it as a solo instrument? Is it something you will be bringing to a session with? Are you going to be playing gigs or performing? Do you want a flute that stands out from the crowd or blends in with the background? The tone and volume of your chosen instrument will be affected by this.
After you have answered the questions, you can start to dig in. Keep reading to learn all I can about making a purchase that you will be completely satisfied with.
Tips to Buy a Beginner Irish Flute
Some Irish flutes may not be suitable for beginners. Some are more difficult than others and require more airflow. There are many sizes of Irish flutes. Some require a greater stretch of the fingers, while others may be smaller. Keyholes and embouchures can also differ in size.
An Irish flute is the best choice for beginners.
- Easy to use and light weight
- A smaller embouchure
- It doesn’t require too many stretch or have excessive tone holes
I have a few ideas to help you get started.
Budget Flutes for Beginners
A polymer practice flute can be a good alternative if you have a tight budget or are concerned about long-term investment.
These flutes can only be used to learn the basics and test the waters. Once you have decided that the Irish flute is right for you, then you will want to make the move to a wooden flute. A beginner plastic flute won’t give you the authentic sound of the Irish flute.
Polymer Practice Flute
Tony Dixon offers a great selection of flutes and tin whistles for beginners. This Tuneable Polyester Practice Flute in D, is a great way to get started with Irish flute playing.
For children who are just learning to blow and fill the flute, practice flutes can be very useful. Although they don’t produce much volume, this is not what you require in the early stages.
These instruments are great value and a good choice for parents who don’t want to spend too much or fear that the instrument will be forgotten in a few months.
Beginner Irish Wooden Flutes
A keyless wooden flute is a great way to get that authentic Irish sound. You don’t need to spend a lot of money to buy a beginner wooden flute. These days, there are many low-cost options that offer high quality and affordable options.
Cygnet Irish Rosewood Wooden Flute
My most popular beginner wood flute is the Rosewood flute. This flute is specifically designed for Irish music and beginners. It is suitable for both children and adults. Many music teachers have rated it as the best Irish flute for students.
Cygnet flutes have a slightly smaller embouchure (the hole that you blow into). This design allows beginners to fill the flute more easily. The Cygnet is very easy to use. The Cygnet requires only moderate amounts of air to fill it, so beginners won’t feel dizzy from too much blowing.
Cygnets also produce a pleasant sound. If an instrument produces a pleasant sound, the player will be more likely to continue playing it. Rosewood flutes have a softer sound than other wood flutes. Its soft tone will make it easy to hear for everyone who listens to it. It is being played by Robert Harvey, one of the most talented modern flutists today.
This flute looks great! Rosewood is beautiful and sounds great! The Cygnet has the standard headjoint, silver tuning slide, body, and footjoint. Each is finished with silver fittings.
The footjoint on this flute has two holes. These holes are for C# and C. However, you would need keys to access them. This is not something that you should worry about at beginner level. It was better to bring them to your attention than to have you wonder if you should grow two more fingers on the right side of your hand. They also play an important role in tuning the flute, which we will discuss later.
Value for Money
The wooden flute is very affordable, but it offers all the advantages of a real Irish wood flute. It’s an incredible deal at only $399, which includes worldwide shipping!
McNeela Cocuswood Irish Wooden Flute
The McNeela Cocuswood Irish Flute was designed to be easy to play, just like the rosewood cygnet. It is a great beginner flute.
It is easy to fill the Cocuswood and get a great volume and tone from the flute.
Characteristics for Cocuswood:
Cocuswood has a bright and rich tone. This flute has more volume than the Cygnet because it is a dense tonewood like Rosewood. The cocuswood is a beautiful, pale blonde color and gives the flute a lovely finish that makes it pleasing to the eyes. It’s hard to imagine anyone not wanting to be able to play an instrument that looks great.
Value for money
McNeela Cocuswood’s Irish flute is one of the most affordable on the market. They take great pride in making quality instruments that are affordable for all levels of playing and budgets. The Cocuswood costs just $350, which includes worldwide shipping.
Tips to Buy an Intermediate or Advanced Irish Wooden Flute
Research is important when making a purchase. Listen to your favorite flute players . What flutes are they playing? Which tone is your favorite? What flute playing style do you want to imitate?
If you don’t have a favorite flute player yet, I recommend looking at great Irish musicians as inspiration. A good place to start is Matt Molloy or John McKenna . There are many styles of Irish music, so you will find plenty of inspiration from other flute players.
Advanced and intermediate Irish flutes can be quite expensive. It’s important to set a budget so you don’t go overboard. A professional-level flute can run upwards of EUR10,000 depending on its maker.
It’s especially important to consider the future when purchasing a flute. This will help you choose a flute that meets your current needs and will be able to fulfill your future Irish flute playing needs.
The search for the right flute is a time-consuming task, but it’s worth the effort. Enjoy the journey. You’ll be happy you took the time to find the perfect flute.
To make your job a little easier, I have compiled a few tips below. For my personal recommendations, read on…
The Best Irish Flutes
Intermediate Flute Players
The Lon Dubh flute
Lon Dubh fmeans “blackbird” in Irish. The Lon Dubh Irish Polymer Flutes emits a clear tone, just like its namesake.
The Lon Dubh flute is made from polymer but produces a lovely woody tone that is especially suitable for Irish music. It is also very loud, making it perfect for Irish music sessions.
The LonDubh Irish flute has been made from polymer resin. It also looks from a distance like an African Blackwood flute! This flute is made of polymer resin, which is one the strongest plastics.
This flute is almost indestructible and unlike its wooden counterparts, the polymer flute is not affected by weather conditions. This instrument can be passed from generation to generation. The Lon Dubh’s resistance to weather changes or humidity makes it an ideal flute for travelers or people who live in more temperate climates.
Value for money
The flute costs only $534 and includes worldwide shipping. It is definitely worth the long-term investment.
McNeela African Blackwood wooden flute
Finally, the African Blackwood is the preferred tonewood for traditional Irish flute players. It is easy to understand why once you hear it.
This McNeela African Wood Flute produces a powerful tone and has a rich resonance. It’s a powerful instrument and the perfect session flute. You can be heard clearly above other instruments like accordions and concertinas thanks to its high volume.
African blackwood is a dense hardwood. This hardwood produces a rich, dark and woody sound that is perfect for an Irish flute. It is also resistant to moisture, which will ensure that your instrument lasts a long time.
Value for money
The McNeela African Blackwood Flute is comparable to higher-end blackwood flutes. It is currently priced around $600 including worldwide shipping.