Flute Buying Guide

With all the many different makes, features and strange terminology it can be a challenge just to know where to start with flute. Hopefully this guide will answer your questions and point you in the right direction.


When buying a flute there a few important descriptors to look out for which will affect the way your flute functions.

Open Hole vs. Closed Hole

As a beginner or intermediate player, a closed hole flute is preferable

The open hole flute does several things; the most useful being the variations and sounds and notes that the player can achieve. The open hole allows for micro tones, multi phonics, and slides mainly featured in contemporary or jazz music. It is recommended that from Grade 6 flute studies a player moves to an open hole model.


Offset vs. Inline G

The offset G was designed to better accommodate the natural hand shape of the player and also allows instrument makers to add extra strength to the flute.

An offset G feels a little more natural to beginners if they are young or have smaller hands.

Some people with larger hands may prefer the more traditional inline G.

Split E Key

The split E mechanism increases the stability of the flutes third register E. It also improves intonation and just generally makes the note easier to produce.

On the flute, the third octave E is very unstable. This happens because a number of our keys have partners. This means that when we press down one key its partner is also pressed down. The mechanism allows one of these pairs of keys to function separately from its partner. This means that when you press the E key down it also presses down its partner plus G’s partner. But the actual G Key is not pressed down, only its partner.


B vs. C Footjoint

The most commonly used foot joint for flute is C. This allows the flautist to play down to middle C. The B footjoint extends the range by 1 semitone to a B.

Beginners usually start on a C footjoint.

A player moving up from a closed-hole student instrument with a C footjoint, will usually move up to an open-holed instrument with a B footjoint.


Flutes are broadly split into 3 categories - student, intermediate and pro. 


  • Nickle with silver plating

  • Closed hole

  • C foot joint

  • Offset G

  • Some student models  include a slit e mechanism


  • Solid silver headjoint

  • B footjoint

  • Open holes

  • Split E mechanism


  • Solid silver keys 

  • Soldered tone holes

  • Can be made of silver, gold, and even platinum

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