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Flute/Christmas upgrade on daughter's flute


My daughter has had a student model gemeinhardt since 5th and its been through a kick across the parking lot and stomped on by two different marching band students with big feet not paying attention to where they where walking an I've had it repaded and repaired.

Anyways, I want to surprise her on Christmas with a new flute but can't afford much and honestly don't know much either about them.

What do you think of the Buescher Aristocrat flutes? Or Felix flutes?

Hello Tabitha!

I think it's wonderful that you'd like to get your daughter a new flute for Christmas.  However, I don't think the ones you've been looking at so far are good candidates.

The Buescher flutes were made for many years, and varied in quality over time.  Some are pretty terrible, and some are acceptable (though certainly not exceptional) student level flutes.  If you get one of the better Bueschers, it will be more or less comparable to your daughter's current Gemeinhardt.  If not, it could be a step backwards.

I certainly would not recommend a Felix brand flute.  It's not a name brand I'm familiar with, and I could find no information at all about them.  This means that they're almost certainly among the Asian junkers I've warned other people of in the past.  The names on these "flutes" are ever-changing so that when one name gains too negative a reputation, they can simply change the name and continue selling.

In any case, these most often don't play properly when they're brand new, will generally break down in a matter of months if they do start out playing, and either cannot be repaired when they break or the costs of the repairs far outstrip the value of the instrument.  Most repair shops won't even work on such items.  In short, please steer clear of all such "flutes."  They're a serious step down from your daughter's current flute, and a huge waste of money.

Now, as for what WOULD be a good option, you'll need to look at intermediate level flutes for this to be a real step up from your daughter's current flute.  That will mean spending at least $1500.  Otherwise you'll be looking at a lateral move to what is basically another student flute, or a downgrade.  I don't have a lot of love for Gemeinhardt flutes, but they are reputable, solid student instruments, and there's no point spending a lot of money only to wind up with a more or less comparable instrument to what you already own.

As far as good brand names for intermediate flutes, keep an eye out for these brands:

Trevor James

Any of these would be a great option for an upgrade for your daughter.  They're not the only ones that would be good options, but they're a good place to start.  When you find something you're interested in, have your daughter play it against any other options.  Not all flutes will suit all players, and it would be a shame to buy her something she won't enjoy.

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



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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.

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