It’s a rather long story, but I’ll make it as short as possible.
In the early seventies, Haynes promised us twenty-four flutes a year. Time of delivery was “three years plus”.
Powell promised us two (only) flutes a year. Time of delivery was “maybe five years”.
As our customers were wanting pro-quality flutes and since it was before Muramatsu (and others) were in the pro-flute business, I made contact with (plus other firms) “Flutemakers’ Guild of London”. Got on the plane, paid ‘em a visit, came away very impressed. Mind you, I’d purchased a new Morgan “Plus Four” roadster only a couple of years before, so I was (still am, actually) very pro-British.
I imported a handful of them, found them to be of high-quality but just not quite what American players wanted. I recall selling three instruments to a member of the Dallas Symphony, including a rather special piccolo with 14K gold keywork.
Not totally sure why it all stopped, though. Might have had to do with Japan, as Muramatsu’s flutes soon became well-accepted and others became popular with our clients. And at 350 yen to the dollar, the price of Japanese flutes was very low indeed.
I’ve since sold maybe six or eight second-hand Flutemakers’ flutes. All have been of premium quality, well accepted by some and not so much with others. There’s a bit of history of the firm on the internet, so there’s little reason to say more with this posting. Or write Howel Roberts (Munich) He has info about them as well, as he started his career there.
In the meantime, I was recently offered this superb flute by a fellow music-merchant and couldn’t resist not acquiring it.
It arrived this morning, looks as if it’s never been played. And there is, I believe, a reason why…
Everything on the flute, save the steel rods and the pads, is of solid .925 pure sterling silver. The body and foot have English hallmarks to guarantee the purity of the metal.
The flute was constructed with soldered tone-holes, extended key arms over the pad-cups and on the traditional “French” model without the adjusting screws for the stack keys.
Tube thickness, as I measure it, is .015 / .016 inch.
Sounding length with the original head is 634 mm. That means it was built to A = 441 maybe 442. SL of 635 / 636 means A = 440, so it’s a shade higher. With the original head, I mean.
But with the original head, the one from FMG, the flute is (in my estimation) miserable. For me, an amateur adult player, it just doesn’t work right.
And that explains, I believe, why the instrument appears to have never been played.
Having discovered how miserable the original head section is, I sorted through the bits and pieces in the vault and found a head that works wonders with this particular flootie.
Do a Google search for Michael Allen, Flutemaker, in London. Eccentric genius who’s built only a handful of high-dollar flutes (I’ve had four) plus several hundred head sections. Michael works on his own and even though no two of his flutes are identical, they are museum pieces that show the highest possible workmanship and acoustic design.
Bottom line… This FMG flute that was produced in 1975 with a totally goofy head section is now fitted with a Michael Allen sterling silver head (embouchure size 10.1 X 11.7) and is now wonderfully sings anew. Sounding length with the Allen head is 635, so figure 440, less likely 441 pitch.
NOT like a modern Boston or Japanese flute, though. Tone-color is clear and clean, not brassy but with a subtle voice that I find magnificent.
Yes, we would be pleased to send “on approval” for a few days.
Comparable with the finest, highly recommended!
Ah…almost forgot. The price includes BOTH the original miserable high-rise head and a far better sterling silver head from Michael Allen: two heads are part of the deal…. Just in case there’s somebody out in Floot-land who might like the original FMG head more than I do!
*** In business since 1953, not a "back bedroom" operator. Come visit us!
Flute questions? Write me! Always glad to hear from flute people!
top of page
bottom of page