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Flute/Yamaha 221 or 225sII?

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Question
Hi Holly,

I'm a student flutist and I bought a cheap flute a while ago that wasn't the best quality. I've sold it and now I'm planning to purchase a Yamaha, which everyone reccomended over the Gemeinhardt 2SP. Right now I have to choices: the Yamaha YFL-221 and the 225sII. Can you tell me which is better in general, and which would last me longer?

Answer
Hello Marissa!

If you're set on a student Yamaha, either of those models is fine. The series II is a slightly newer version of the 225, a discontinued label for the current 221, but both will play very much the same, and should serve you well for YEARS.  

In about 2000, Yamaha changed their model numbers, and their basic student model (for the US, at least) changed from being the 225 (pre-2000) to the 221 (post 2000).  The series II was introduced a few years after the initial introduction of the 225 with some very minor changes (note that they are changes, rather than improvements), which have almost no impact on the instrument's performance.  None of these models will need any more maintenance than the others, and any of them will last you LONG after you need to need to upgrade, and can serve as a back-up flute when your next instrument needs maintenance.  If you're looking at a 221 and a 225SII in the same condition, I would recommend choosing whichever is cheaper.

Now, Yamaha is a highly respected maker of student flutes, and does produce some excellent products.  However, in choosing a flute, you MUST play as many instruments as possible before deciding what to purchase.  ALL flutes are slightly different (even those of supposedly the same make and model), and thus some will play better for you than others.  In fact, there will be some you just won't be able to stand.  While Yamaha has excellent student models available, they may or may not be a good match for you and your playing style.  No matter how well built a flute is, if it doesn't perform well for YOU, it's a bad choice.  As such, I recommend taking a trip to any local music stores to play some flutes, rather than taking other people's recommendations for instruments.  

Here are the names of well-respected makers of student flutes.  A flute from any of these manufacturers would be a fine choice, so play instruments from as many of these as possible, and then choose whatever works best for YOU.  Anyway, here's that list:

Emerson
Gemeinhardt
Trevor James
Yamaha
Jupiter
Pearl

I hope this is helpful.  If you have any further questions, please don't hesitate to ask.

Herbert

Flute

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Herbert Smith

Expertise

I can answer questions about almost any flute-related topic.

I have trained professionally as a flute repair tech and music educator, and have a broad range of experiences as a performer. I also have experience with a huge array of flutes with any imaginable material or specification, and can comment on the quality of various instruments, as well as guide people through the flute-buying process. I'm willing and able to discuss various flute gadgets (Valgon rings, Foster extensions, etc.) as well.

I'm very familiar with piccolo, alto, and other harmony flutes (including those in unusual keys, such as Eb flute, Db piccolo, G treble, Ab alto piccolo, Flute D'amore, Contrabass, etc.).

I am also glad to offer advice on how to approach difficulties within pieces of music, offer teaching tips to those who give lessons, or answer just about any other flute-related query you can throw at me!

Please note, however, that I am not an appraisal service, and will not provide estimates of value. Please do not ask me about the value of your flute. I also must decline to date instruments based on their serial numbers.

Experience

I'm a professional repair tech with years of experience, and a veteran high school band director. I've maintained a successful studio for private flute lessons for many years, and have performed professionally in just about any imaginable venue.

Education/Credentials
I have bachelor's degrees in music education and performance from highly regarded universities, and have trained with one of the best flute techs/flute makers in the US.

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