Written on: 28/11/2005 by southpawami (2 reviews written)
Sterling Silver (92.5% Silver, 7.5% Copper) from top to bottom... in other words, tone, tone, tone...
None for the price I paid
The Selmer Signet; Series 11xxx flute is not something I bought yesterday new, it is years old. I found it in a Music store that sold beat up instruments now and then. I noticed the 'Sterling Body' on the body section, and thought for up to 300 bucks I couldn't go wrong. It was less.
The keys have gotten more difficult to move, which is only because of years of build up. I'm still deciding what I'm going to try to use to fix that, I'm considering the synthetic Alysin right now. The foot joint has a much tougher movement than the body, and the pads seem to have worn down. It is a testament to how well the flute was made to see that the pads have held, and all the keying still works fine. The location of manufacture is Elkhart, Indiana which is the same place Blessing is. Since the 1950's, Blessing has been making instruments for other companies under contract, which makes me believe that this is one of those flutes. Years ago, a solid Sterling Silver (92.5%silver,7.5%copper) was a relatively cheap material to make a good flute. Guess that went by the wayside these days, sadly.
If everything is just right, posture, the floating of the flute, the position of the lips, the lightness of grip, and the amount of wind etc ... this flute has an incredible sound for the price that I paid. The flute at that point makes a light vibration throughout the flute, and makes a purer than average tone without edge, that seems almost stereo to the flute player. Of course, you have to do everything just right, which is why all the notes just don't seem to sound that way to me... yet. I've got the entire 1st octave and some of the 2nd octave, and I'm still working on it.
Recently, I played a Gemeinhardt with open hole keys, solid silver head joint, and gold plated riser (place of position of the lips)... in other words, the works. It was probably worth about 15 to 1600 dollars. The body was not solid silver like the dreamed of 'Muramatsu', but it was silver plated to complement the solid silver head joint. Since working for this perfect tone of the instrument on my instrument... that point of vibration where the musician and instrument are responding to each other... in other words, you support the sound by the feeling of the instrument, and support the feeling of the instrument by the sound you hear. I have to say that the Gemeinhardt just couldn't seem to vibrate throughout the instrument evenly, no matter how good I landed the note, and the lack of even vibration throughout the instrument made it lack the 'bell affect' or 'tuning fork affect', which essentially made the note never 'land' the pure way I wanted it to land. Although, I doubt most people understand what I'm talking about here, and so if you don't understand, you'll for sure think the more expensive one sounded better. The Gemeinhardt also said Elkhart, IND, which makes me think that was another contracted flute through Blessing. ( Blessing's best flutes you can't usually find through online, only via their website http://www.ekblessing.com )
In light of that experience, I am compelled to believe that any instrument is better if it is completely one metal or one alloy. Because, if my experience with the Gemeinhardt told me anything, it was that two different metals together will never give you a 'pure' vibrational tone that a single metal or single alloy throughout the instrument will.
If you have never experienced pure tone, and you've been playing mixed metal flutes your whole life, and this instrument happens to be there for you to politely test, then I'd say try it. Try it until you feel the vibration throughout the instrument, then try to make that vibration even better... when you hear it... you'll know... and then, you'll never go back to mixed metal again.