Flute/Inline/offset G


Hello Herbert,
I have recently bought a 381 Yamaha inline flute.  I have't played for about  since I was in High School about 25 years ago.
It has come back to me very easily.  My old flute was an offset G.  I tried both the 361 offset and the 381 inline at the store before purchasing and there was not much of a difference for me comfort wise as well as being able to reach the keys.
Now that I have brought it home however, I can feel some discomfort in my wrist.  I have read of the ergonomic/repair issues of the inline,  and how the offset has become more popular because of these issues.
My question is...I have 30 days to exchange my flute for the 361.  I am not playing a whole lot right now and can feel some discomfort which I'm not sure is because I haven't played for so long or because of the inline issues or both.  Would you recommend that I go back to the offset G just to be safe?  This will be my only flute purchase and I don't want to have wrist issues later on when I start playing more often.  I'm not so young anymore.

Hello Kim!

Welcome back to flute playing!  I think you'll find your decision very rewarding!

As for your question, I would certainly advise you to swap out your flute for one with an Offset G if that's possible.  As you've read, from a mechanical standpoint, the design is far from ideal, and it can (and often does) cause serious problems in the hands/wrists, particularly when paired with open holes, though it usually takes many years for these to develop.  If these problems can be avoided from the get-go, I see no reason not to swap out flutes.

The VAST majority of players will be more comfortable with an Offset G, and if you're already feeling strain in your wrists, you are likely one of them.  It's also highly likely that there is something wrong with your hand position that is introducing excess stress, so it would be wise to seek out at least a few lessons with a good teacher in your area.  Not only will they help you avoid developing (or re-developing, in this case) bad habits, but they will be able to help you get back up to speed more efficiently.

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



All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Herbert Smith


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.


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.

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.

©2017 About.com. All rights reserved.