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Alex
Here is your chance to reveal your sources for DAMN GOOD CHEAP FLUTES. I know that we all want to protect our sources for fear that once the word is spread we will overload the maker with orders and limit our ability to obtain more. But, it is time to FESS UP!

I hope that our flute circle will forgive me (and especially you Sue), but I was recently fortunate enough to have played a little bamboo flute belonging to a friend. For a high B, it had none of the shrillness associated with higher pitched flutes and could handle different playing styles effortlessly. It played smooth and warm with pop. I felt myself coveting that little flute and was stunned when I learned that it only cost $50!!!

I went home after the circle and immediately located the maker's website (www.nztdesigns.com/jadeagle.html) and then sent an email to the maker (Dennis Frederiksen) and ordered a flute. I figured that even if he just got lucky with my friend's flute, I would only be out $50. Dennis was a pleasure to work with and my flute arrived in a week. It is a high C and damn is it sweet. It has become my hiking flute, not to say that I don't play it all of the time at home. My friends will tell you that I am much more taken with bass flutes, but I really love that little flute. And besides did I mention that it only cost $50!!!!

The only thing about the flute that I would change (and please understand that this is being extremely picky and I feel awful for even bringing it up) is that upon close inspection a glue seam is visible between the bamboo and a piece of cedar that acts as the nest. This is purely cosmetic and really not noticeable. Our circle members have picked up more of these bamboo flutes and I can tell you that they really are beautiful and the colors/characteristics of the bamboo make them one of a kind.

The website is a little confusing as there are no pictures of the bamboo flutes on the site. Dennis has photos of his wood flutes and they look beautiful, but I have never had the pleasure to play one and therefore could not say if they play as nicely as his bamboo flutes.

I definitely recommend giving Dennis your business. Take a chance on one of his bamboo flutes and you will not be sorry. Besides, did I mention that it only cost $50!!!!!! I am sure that if Dennis gets flooded with orders he may have to raise his prices a bit, but hell it will still be an outright steal. Keep in mind that the price was for a high key flute, though I believe that his mid ranges keys are priced similarly.

Now that I have confessed this source (and again my apology to Sue who found this maker for our Circle and who will probably kill me), it is time to FESS UP and reveal your source for DAMN GOOD CHEAP FLUTES.

Alex
Rick McDaniel
Good cane flutes are out there from several makers, and Dennis is one of those. (I have an amazing Lakota style artwork in F# from Dennis, that is really a special flute, in cedar.)

Among others, Charlie Toyola (last name?), a rivercane flute maker in the Fla. panhandle, makes a very fine flute for under $50. Keys are not specific, but the workmanship is excellent. You can also find his cane flutes on ebay.

In wood flutes, yo can get a flute under $50., that is an excellent player from Butch Hall and Jonah Thompson (JT Navajo). Jonah's flutes are also on ebay all the time, from various dealers.
Rick McDaniel
Correction on that maker name......it is Charlie Mato-Toyela, of Blue Bear flutes. He is a 5 hole maker, but his cane flutes are excellent. His cedar flutes I have not tried.
greybeard
QUOTE(Rick McDaniel @ Jan 20 2008, 03:38 PM) *
Correction on that maker name......it is Charlie Mato-Toyela, of Blue Bear flutes. He is a 5 hole maker, but his cane flutes are excellent. His cedar flutes I have not tried.


I picked up a 6 hole River Cane from Blue Bear for about $25 on E-Bay. No specific key but nicely tuned and fun to play. It's my backpacker.....


freckledsophie
For a tiny flute, Odel Borg's high A pocket flute is rather good fo 40 dollars. They were all pretty good, but I used my tuner to sort through about a dozen and found a real gem.

Butch Hall makes some excellent student flutes for under 100. Around 60 as I recall.

And if anyone is in Taos, there are some mid A's at Robert Mirabal's shop that for 85 dollars are rather nice. I don't remember the maker's name but he's in Arizona as I recall.
Cryss
I have three experiences with cheap flutes (granted, I am actively looking for a river cane flute so I reserve the right to have more opinions later biggrin.gif ). The first two were when I went to the local music shoppes where I was pleasantly surprised to see them stocking the High Spirits flute line after Mary Youngblood's last visit to the area for a gig. I know the owners from buying and selling bass gear over the years and left some fliers for the Sierra Raven Clan. As I was leaving I noticed them on the counter; I had never played one before, and was pretty impressed with them. Granted, they are made by a machine and, in my opinion, do not have the living soul of a handmade flute... but rather a decent, static representation. I picked up an "A" to have as a "kick around" flute for flute circle attendees who would like to try before they buy. I quickly gained an appreciation for it as Odell's flutes are decently made and all sound pretty darn good. I subsequently picked up his high A pocket flute on a return trip, as well, which I am tickled with!

The third experience was with a high "B" flute I picked up at a flute gathering. I really bought it to "render unto Cesar while in Rome" kinda thing and to give back to the flute community that has given so much to me; I did so against my better judgment, however as I spent $130 dollars on a crappy flute that I didn't really have time to get to know. In hindsight the money could have been better suited for birdcage liner. At least it would have gone to some good use and the level of regret afterward would have been no worse for the loss. I swore to myself that I would never again spend more than 50 dollars on an unseen or a flute maker that was unproven to my satisfaction as to their reputation. There are only about 10 flute makers I would buy from sight unseen and this wasn't one of them.

While one might not consider it cheap, I did spend $200.00 on a nice wood-burned drone flute from Singing Tree Flutes that retails for 550 while searching around on ebay.... so from that perspective it was cheap biggrin.gif. I am actually pretty darn happy with it! He has a CD coming out soon that this drone was used to record on one of the songs.
Karenna
I have a couple bamboo flute, one from Charlie/ Blue Bear Flutes... I love it, a deep sounding flute.... sounds great in a flute gathering, long sustained notes under a higher and mid range flutes playing.



Rick McDaniel
Neatest inexpensive flute I have tried, is not inpressive to look at, but had an intriguing sound quality, which I was told by the owner was inherent in the flute design, as all of his flutes had that sound, when he tried them.

It was about $65. and was found in a shop in Sedona. The maker chose not to mark his flutes, as he did not wish to be sought out. I have no idea who he was, but he was local to the Sedona area.

I also took notice of some neat flute sounds from a CD, as the artist was related to the flute maker, who was unknown to me. He is in the upper midwest area, and although I do not know his pricing, his flutes seemed simple in appearance, but had a unique sound to them as well.

I have yet to make contact with that maker, but I am still interested in trying to find him.

As I said elsewhere......so many good makers.
greybeard
I guess Cheap is a relative term.

I concur with Cryss, the High Spirits Flutes make a nice starter flute. I have a High Spirits A that after struggling, taught me that perhaps I could learn to play afterall. I know several folks that have the same flute and they all look and play the same. I guess this makes them a bit of a "cookie cutter" flute but are a solid value and consistent performer.

Miguel Medina of Singing Tree makes some beautiful Flutes, I have a couple of his that I really like and picked up both on E(vil)Bay in the $100-$125 range. I'd recommend him to anyone.

I have recently sold a few of my flutes on E-Bay. All went for my opening bid(s) $85-$95 The buyers got a great deal IMO tongue.gif ,.I reluctantly went that route to fund some wood purchases to be able to afford making some more flutes. IMO At the present time E-Bay is a really awful option unless you are an established maker , or, a buyer purchasing from an established maker (this coming from an unknown huh.gif ).

The abundance of folks selling thier wares on E-Bay has jumped tremendously and prices dropped with so many cheap sellers entering the scene its really impossible to tell the good from the bad. There are surely some great deals in the bunch but at minimum an equal amount of firewood. I would recomend to anyone, after you have your first couple instruments, can play a little bit, don't buy without being able to play it first or at . Join a Flute Circle, go to some shows, talk to some Flutemakers and other players, there are definately some bargains to be found.

Sorry for the rant and hope that it doesn't come across negative. In the end I feel that the increased interest in the NAF is a positive thing for us all.
Rick McDaniel
Ebay is about the quality of the flute, and unknown makers are unlikely to get good money, if they get any bids at all.

I have had to return the couple of flutes I took a chance on, from unknown makers, and I no longer bid, unless I do know the maker.

A friend of mine, on the other hand, buys almost exclusively on ebay, and while he likes what he gets, I would not buy some of his flutes. rolleyes.gif
greybeard
QUOTE(Rick McDaniel @ Jan 23 2008, 10:41 AM) *
Ebay is about the quality of the flute, and unknown makers are unlikely to get good money, if they get any bids at all.

I have had to return the couple of flutes I took a chance on, from unknown makers, and I no longer bid, unless I do know the maker.

A friend of mine, on the other hand, buys almost exclusively on ebay, and while he likes what he gets, I would not buy some of his flutes. rolleyes.gif



My sentiments exactly Rick.

To continue that thought, there are a some makers that have been able to establish themselves on E-Bay and produce a quality flute. BUT, at this point in time that is near impossible.

As an "unknown" I make the recomendation to avoid buying from an unknown maker on E-Bay huh.gif .

That aside, the best flute for you can be from someone yet undiscovered by you. So attend whatever local events/ circles that you can and talk to your fellow fluties for recomendations.
Michele
I like Tsunami flutes. They are about $100.00.
Michele
Karnalis
QUOTE(Alex @ Jan 19 2008, 09:49 AM) *
I went home after the circle and immediately located the maker's website (www.nztdesigns.com/jadeagle.html) and then sent an email to the maker (Dennis Frederiksen) and ordered a flute. I figured that even if he just got lucky with my friend's flute, I would only be out $50. Dennis was a pleasure to work with and my flute arrived in a week. It is a high C and damn is it sweet. It has become my hiking flute, not to say that I don't play it all of the time at home. My friends will tell you that I am much more taken with bass flutes, but I really love that little flute. And besides did I mention that it only cost $50!!!!


Huzzah! I have one of Dennis' walking stick flutes myself - a mid-G burned bamboo number - and I absolutely adore it (it's my walking stick and hiking flute wink.gif )! I was fortunate enough to meet Dennis and his wife Kapi at the inaugural Oklahoma Flute Festival in Tahlequah, OK. I kept unavoidably picking up the same flute and playing on it each time I passed by their tent. Little did I know, it was actually my flute...I just hadn't purchased it yet! Dennis and Kapi are fantastic people and talented artists, and it really comes through in all their work, flutes, carvings, and all. I recommend checking out their website, if only to see their amazing Maori artwork.

If you'd like to hear my NZT Designs bamboo flute made by Dennis, I've got a video of it on YouTube here.
Rick McDaniel
I ran out of money at the OK flute fest, but my wife was able to get me the flute I liked from Dennis for Christmas, that longish cedar Lakota style F#, with a ton of decoration on it. I am having a great time playing it, and the wife says it sounds great, when I play it. biggrin.gif
Nightflyer
Just a couple off the top of my head...

High Spirits
Kuzin Bruce
Butch Hall
Stellar Flutes (Basic flute)

Mark
Can't beat Butch Hall's High B or A flutes. I think they are around $40 out of eastern cedar. He was selling them for around $30.00 at the Arlington Indian Market as a show special a couple of weeks ago. Mark Holland used one of these on his last recordings and RC Nakai uses Hall's and Ken Light's flutes for all recording. He also plays Maurice Bigham's flutes but they are impossible to get!

Mark
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