© Copyright 2019 Adam St. John All Rights Reserved aldglenmusic@gmail.com 

Flute Models

This page contains information about the different models and styles of flutes that I have developed.

If you are curious about existing flutes or interested in commissioning work from me, please contact me at aldglenmusic@gmail.com . While I may have existing flutes available for purchase, I urge you to consider commissioning one from me, as then we can be sure that you are receiving both my most recent work and exactly what you are looking for. All questions and ideas are welcome!

Trees

The majority of the flutes that I have made have been experiments into different sizes and tunings, scales, modes and of course, different species of wood. While many flutemakers exclusively work with the hardest of hardwoods, such as African Blackwood or European Boxwood, I strive to make flutes from a variety of species, including softwoods-- and especially salvaged wood from trees native to the Pacific Northwest, or local to my home. It is true that hardwoods provide an acoustically superior instrument, presumably due to their precise machinability and more smoothly polished surface. But I find that there is something special about being able to connect with an instrument which is part of a specific tree -- a flute from wormy Alder, old growth Western Red Cedar from reclaimed lumber, or an old, spalted Big Leaf Maple felled by a windstorm.

Bores

My flutes have cylindrical bores-- unlike some flutes which have conical bores-- and have either a slight taper in the head of the flute, or are entirely cylindrical, untapered. There and benefits to both tapered and untapered bores. Renaissance flutes are untapered, while most Modern cylindrical flutes-- such as silver concert flutes-- are tapered. The tapering in the head of the flute brings the highest notes of the instrument more in tune with the lowest, and thus provides a more precise intonation across the entire range. On the other hand, my untapered cylindrical flutes have a more easily played lower register with a bold, harmonic sound-- they also can have a thicker wall, and therefore can be a much sturdier instrument. Which one is best for you, depends on your unique intentions. Again, I am happy to answer your questions.

Walnut Oil

Most of my flutes are treated with organic, refined walnut oil. The flutes I make today are entirely organic, made of only the wood and the oil. Walnut oil is my choice oil because it is a domestic/local product-- unlike other oils which come from beetles or trees overseas.

 

Is it an allergen? Walnut oil is commonly used in oil paints, and to treat cutting boards, wooden bowls, and furniture. It is one of a class of oils that are called "hardening oils"-- It reacts with air and heat to form a hard surface (unlike olive oil, for example, which would stay liquid and turn rancid!). The walnut oil I used is organic, refined walnut oil. It is not cold pressed. The refining process intensively removes particulates and proteins by a number of methods, including heating the oil at very high temperatures. Furthermore, I bake the oil at home, in the oven for several hours, in a cast iron pot at a high temperature-- this further unwinds any possibly remaining proteins-- just to be extra safe. All of this serves to rid the oil of its allergenic content. The oil is then painted onto the wood. The oil soaks into the wood and hardens. If you have any concerns about nut allergies, please send me an email.

Developing Flutes

While I have made flutes in a variety of scales and tunings, out of a variety of types of wood-- sizes of holes, bores, etc--, only a handful have I really developed into a more stable form (these are listed below). You see, for how simple flutes are, there is no set of equations which can fully describe the enormous complexity of their acoustics with reliable accuracy (see my essay in the Acoustics section of this website)-- so flutemakers must experiment, develop and even prototype their flutes, in order to find ideal designs. As the designs stabilize, they also then bifurcate or branch into multiple possibilities of different instruments with different characteristics, like apples and oranges, none of which can be said to be better than than the other.

Below, you will find a handful of my most prototyped and developed flutes-- But note that these do not represent the wide range and variety of instruments I have made, nor that I aspire to make. Please check out the photos page. I urge you to contact me with your own ideas, so we can create together.

Can you afford a flute? Can I afford to make you one?

 

I want to support anyone who wants a flute, regardless of their ability to pay. Please talk with me if you cannot afford a flute. There is no method here, and I cannot make guarantees, but I will see if I can afford to make you one. My stable models have set prices-- however, custom work can be different. At the end of the day, my model flutes are already priced far too modestly for how much craft I put into them-- But alas, the road is not easy.

Email me.

Low D minor Flutes

These are my largest models and are available in three styles. They are seven-holed flutes (including an octave tonehole for the thumb). Because of their size, they are best suited for large hands, although the toneholes have been placed for ergonomic ease of playing. They are made from one piece of solid wood, without a cork. Especially for the untapered bore, and any of my flutes in general, I strive to stretch tuning compromises in a smooth arc across both registers. All three shown here in Big Leaf Maple.

Low D minor scale with untapered bore. Medium sized toneholes. The untapered bore allows it to have a thicker wall -- it is very strong-- and a bold and easy low end.

Low D minor scale with tapered bore and medium toneholes. The smaller holes of this flute allow for faster playing and more responsive forked fingering for chomatic notes. The upper register is tuned 25 cents sharper than the lower-- this is standard and I am happy to answer questions.

Low D minor scale with tapered bore and large toneholes. The larger holes of this flute make it more ideal for slower playing with much flexibility in bending notes; they also bring the registers more precisely in tune with one another for a more wholesome harmonic sound.

Large model flutes are $200

Medium G Flutes, major and minor

These medium G flutes have been developed in major and minor scales, with seven toneholes (including the octave thumb hole). They are one piece of solid wood, without a cork. These flutes are ideal for adults with smaller hands. The holes are aligned for ergonomic ease of reach. Most children can also play them, however very young kids may have difficulty reaching. These both have tapered bores, although I am developing untapered versions as well. They have a smaller bore than the Low D flutes, but a larger bore than the small D fifes-- this medium bore allows them to reach high into their second and third register.

Medium model flutes are $125

Small D Fifes, major and minor

These are my smallest models. They are also the loudest of any flute! They have an untapered bore and are tuned to my style of arcing the tuning compromises across both registers. Their size obviously makes them the ideal flute for very young children; however, they are very serious instruments for adults as well: Easily fitting in a pocket while hiking, and due to their ability to be played at extraordinarily loud volumes, hundreds of years ago fifes were appropriated by militaries and are known for being heard over the sound of snare drums and gunfire. They also played a large role in early american folk music, and european folk music as well. Highly recommended for echoing mountain meadows.

Fife model flutes are $75