About ten years ago I switched to playing old French (Boehm system) flutes exclusively.  For me, the sound and flexibility or these instruments took my playing in the direction that I wanted to go.  I now own three of these instruments.  The oldest is a L. Lot, #1207.  It dates from around 1868/9.   It is a silver plated instrument, and the base metal (so I have been told) is "white brass". This flute was literally rescued from the junk drawer. The keywork on this instrument was so badly worn that unfortunately it had to be replaced if it was to be used as a "working" flute.  A new retuning had been started on this flute and abandoned. I had the retuning completed to a William Bennett A-440 scale by Nick Crabb in London.  This Lot has a C foot and is closed G#. The new keywork is was fitted by the Altus company.

The lip plate had been replaced before I got the flute. A new L2 lip plate by Miguel Arista was added. This addition made an amazing difference to the sound of this flute. It is wonderful to have to tonal characteristics of a vintage Lot with the reliability of a modern instrument. This is my number one performance flute.

My second oldest flute is a Barbier, #704 made in Paris around 1892.  It is a silver instrument and also is C foot and closed G#.  This flute also has been retuned to A-440 with a William Bennett scale by Nick Crabb.  This flute had also had some retuning attempted when I bought it.   This flute came to me with no head joint. The head joint I use with this flute is the one I call the "worlds ugliest working head joint."  The tube is a plated Lebret (how old is anybody's guess).  The plating is coming off, it has several small dents in in, and when placed in the flute it comes out at a slight angle.  But WOW what a sound.   It has a new L2 lip plate by Miguel Arista, which also gives it a great advantage in the sound and response departments.

The flute keywork that you see in the headings of my web pages are photographs of the Barbier.

Flute number three is a Lebret  It is silver with a plated B foot, also closed G#. The foot was not original to this flute. This flute dates from the early 20th century (we think around 1910.) The keywork on the foot was rebuilt by John Lunn.  This is done to avoid injury to my exceptionally small hands.   This flute has a very unique and interesting sound.   Fortunately it plays fairly well in tune with it self at A-440 and will not have to be retuned. The lip plate on this flute had, like the other two, also been altered. Not it too has an L2 lip plate by Miguel Arista.

The only "modern" flute I own is an Altus 807. I seem to prefer the way I sound on plated instruments over silver (fortunately over gold and platinum too!) This instrument has a B foot, and if I have need of a B foot on my Lot, it slips right on with only a little change to the sound. I believe the tonal change is due largely to the extra weight of the B foot.


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