Choosing a Flute under $500
This price range up to $500 represents beginner and intermediate flutes. The intermediate flutes tend to be better constructed and are made with higher quality materials. The greatest benefit, however is that they produce a higher quality sound and have greater intonation. The biggest difference between intermediate and beginner flutes is whether they are open or closed hole flutes.
Many beginners start with a closed hole flute as it is easier to learn but then progress to an open holed flute. It makes sense to choose a flute that can be closed hole (with the use of plugs) and then as your skills improve transition to an open hole flute by removing the plugs.
Following is a review of six of the most popular and best-selling flutes you can find on the market today for students and intermediate flutist. This guide will hopefully help you in choosing the right flute, so that you’ll have a blast while playing your instrument.
What Is The Best Student Flute?
Whether you’re still starting out, shopping for someone else, or just upgrading your instrument, buying a flute can be hard. You’ll be amazed at the variety of flutes found in the market and you’ll definitely have a hard time taking your pick, since there are so many choices to choose from. Aside from that, you’ll also have a lot of thing to consider before purchasing your flute. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a beginner, a student, or an expert, because there’s definitely going to be a flute available for you.
If you’re a musician, a music enthusiast or someone who is new to musical instruments, you should know that the flute is one of the easiest and most enjoyable to learn and play. In fact, many people always start with learning how to play the flute or soprano recorder before proceeding to more advanced instruments like the guitar or the piano.
Beginners always find that the flute is pretty easy to learn because it’s small, light, and is also very versatile. You can carry it around or put it in your bag without any difficulty, and you could also practice playing it anywhere you like.
Flutes also sound great when played alone and when played with other instruments. You could easily jam with a friend who knows how to play the guitar, create classical harmonies with a pianist, or simply play alone as a solo act.
Since the flute is a melody instrument, it won’t even take you a long time to fully learn how to play it. A great thing about the flute is that you only play one note at a time, which makes it easier to learn. You could gain an increased ability to focus on clarity, sound quality and tone, and be able to read music faster if you start playing the flute compared to other instruments.
There isn’t anything else in the world as universal as music.
As Ian Foster once said, “Classical music is the deepest of the arts, and it goes deep beneath the arts”. It’s extraordinary because there isn’t one person on earth who can’t understand or feel a range of emotions through music.
Music is like a language that a lot of people don’t know they’re fluent in. It’s the one thing that could save your life when bad things are happening. When things are going wrong, you could just listen to music and everything changes.
If you’re looking for a good flute, you’re going to want to buy something that’s affordable, and that sounds good and has a good feel to it.
Beginners would want to invest in something that isn’t too high-end, but is decent enough to constantly practice with. After all, you wouldn’t want to spend a lot of money on something you might not be interested in in the long run, right?
Gemeinhardt is a US based company that specializes in the manufacturing of flutes. The company is also one of the most well-known and respected brands in the flute industry.
They are renown for producing good flutes at reasonable prices, which makes them a common choice for both beginners and for parents who want to buy their children their first instrument.
The Gemeinhardt 1SP student flute is one of the lowest priced models the brand has to offer. It was created to appeal to a market that wants an affordable and dependable student flute. Its design isn’t anything special, since it looks pretty much like all the other flutes found within its price range.
The Gemeinhardt 1SP has:
- Nickel silver head joint,
- An offset G key,
- Plateau (closed hole) keys,
- Silver-plated finish.
- It comes with an easy to carry padded case and a cleaning rod.
What we like
Many customers choose this flute because of its price and its quality (when you get a good one). Compared to other flutes of the same price range, it’s sturdily built and has excellent intonation and response.
The Gemeinhardt 1SP is a flute ideal for both beginners and for budget-conscious flutists. It does the job decently, and is also very easy to use. You could easily pick this flute up and start playing even if you haven’t practiced for a while because it’s so easy to use.
Customers also say that the Gemeinhardt 1SP is a fine choice if the player is a student or belongs in a band. It harmonizes with other instruments perfectly and also has an excellent intonation and response, helping players hit the right notes almost all the time.
What we didn’t like
Inconsistencies in the quality of the final product. It seems like they don’t inspect their products for quality issues before selling them. One customer could receive a perfectly working flute, while another could receive one that’s out of tune. There have been many issues regarding customers receiving flutes that are too flat and are damaged.
Another problem with the Gemeinhardt 1SP is that it can only be bought online. You can’t find a music store that sells these flutes and you can’t see the flute in person before buying it. A lot of people prefer checking the instruments they buy for quality issues before buying them, but you just can’t do that with this brand and model. You can’t be assured that you’re getting your money’s worth if you can’t see what you’re buying in person. You can never tell if you’re buying a lower quality or substandard instrument with this model.
What makes things worse is that the company also offers a very limited 1 month warranty, which doesn’t give its customers a lot of time to fully inspect their purchase before returning them.
If you’re wondering what the main difference between the Gemeinhardt 1SP student flute and the Gemeinhardt 2SP flute is, you’re in luck.
To be honest, the main difference between these two flutes is their price. You’re basically just buying a more expensive Gemeinhardt 1SP by buying the Gemeinhardt 2SP flute. Aside from their cases, which they upgraded from a molded plastic material to a zippered and more durable case, there’s not much that differs between them.
They’re from the same brand, and essentially have the same features. Both have a silver head joint, an offset G key, plateau (closed hole) keys, and their signature silver-plated finish.
What we liked
Although the Gemeinhardt 2SP has a lot of similarities with the Gemeinhardt 1SP, it’s still the best selling model Gemeinhardt has to offer.
It has top adjusting screws for easy adjustments and is more reliable and is easier to play than the 1SP.
It’s significantly smaller and lighter than the 1SP too, weighing only 1 lb. In fact, the Gemeinhardt 2SP weighs less than half of the 1SP.
It is a lot smaller and thinner than the 1SP model, making it easier to handle.
It sounds beautiful, plays excellently and fits comfortably in its player’s hands. This model is great for students who want a high-quality flute from a trusted brand. If you take really good care of it, you might even be able to hand it down to someone else 20 years down the road.
What we didn’t like
It easily tarnishes. The plating completely wears off the keys after a short amount of time, which is disadvantageous for beginners. Once the silver plating wears off, the flute could end up looking old and dirty even if you just bought it a few months ago.
It’s also quite expensive and has more or less the same features as the cheaper and bulkier 1SP. It’s like you’re paying for the brand and the flute’s aesthetics rather than paying for an improved high-quality flute.
Like the 1SP, the Gemeinhardt 2SP can also be only bought online. While it has a longer warranty period of 5 years, customers still can’t see what they’re buying in person until they’ve finally bought the model and the package arrives. It would have been nicer if the company sold these flutes at real music stores, rather than selling them online. For the price it comes with, customers need to see what they’re buying in person to get their money’s worth.
Moreover, the company has been sold and resold so many times that the instrument’s quality may be of question.
Yamaha is a Japan based company that amongst other things produces top quality musical instruments. Almost everyone has heard of the company, because it’s quite famous for being a brand that produces quality products. In fact, Yamaha is a manufacturer known for its superb quality control ethics and for its wide range of products.
When it comes to musical instruments, Yamaha has made a name for itself too.
Yamaha flutes have been one of the top choices for students and professionals all over the world. The Yamaha 200 series in particular has been a trusted choice by flutists everywhere because of its great design, sound, and quality.
The Yamaha YFL-222 Intermediate student flute is the newest of all Yamaha flutes. Yamaha released it a mere 2 years ago and it’s been making waves in the music industry since then.
What we liked
The Yamaha YFL-222 Intermediate student flute is the perfect flute for students and beginners. A great thing about it is that it’s engineered to meet the needs of starters.
This model has been designed in such a way that that no repeated adjustments are needed over time. Players won’t have to worry about constantly tuning their flutes and they won’t have to worry about notes sounding flat, too.
The YFL-222 has an incredibly even tone throughout the range and easy to play in any register. Younger and more inexperienced students will feel more comfortable and confident in playing this flute because the key action is evenly smooth and requires only a light touch.
Not only is the Yamaha YFL-222 easy to play, it’s also very durable. It’s made of nickel and silver, and has been ergonomically designed to guarantee its players a smooth and comfortable experience.
What we didn’t like
When you first purchase the flute, it comes with a warranty attached to the side of its box. You’ll have to refrain from throwing the box away, unless you don’t care about the warranty attached to it.
Yamaha instruments can also be quite pricey, so you have to be sure that you’re in it for the long run if you’re going to buy one.
Aside from all that, not much can be said of the Yamaha YFL-222 Intermediate student flute. It’s a great flute for both beginners and professionals, but it sure does come with a hefty price tag.
Whenever you hear the word Yamaha, you’re always going to associate it with excellent quality assurance standards and high quality products. It’s definitely no surprise why Yamaha’s one of the top brands to turn to when choosing musical instruments such as pianos, guitars, and flutes.
The Yamaha YFL-221 student flute is the one of the first models of Yamaha’s 200 series and is the predecessor to the famous YFL-222. Much like the Gemeinhardt 1SP and the Gemeinhardt 2SP flutes, the Yamaha YFL-221 and the Yamaha YFL-222 also have very few differences.
The YFL-221, has been a flute that has been trusted by students and even professionals since its manufacture.
What we liked
Even though the Yamaha YFL-221 is considered an ideal flute for beginners by many, but it is also a flute professionals use and recommend.
This flute wasn’t only built to suit the needs of beginners. On the contrary, the YFL-221 is a model that’s suitable to different kinds of players. It’s extremely easy to use and has ergonomic keys that are ideal for people who want to have a good time while playing the flute.
What’s more, the YFL-221’s design gives its users the ability to play to their heart’s content without the need for constant tuning. It’s a free-flowing flute that won’t need a lot of air to make high quality sounds and beautiful music.
Tthe Yamaha YFL-221 is also made of silver and nickel. The mixture of these metals makes the flute extremely durable, which is great for people who aren’t that good with taking care of their things. You’ll be very surprised to know that this flute can last you a good 20 years or so with minimal maintenance.
What we didn’t like
Like all other Yamaha models, the YFL-221 comes with a more expensive price tag compared to other brands.
You need to buy your flute from an authorized dealer to be able to avail of its warranty benefits. If you didn’t buy your YFL-221 from an authorized dealer and you have to make a repair, you’re not going to be able to take it to a Yamaha music shop and have it fixed. This can be hard, because repairs without warranties can be on the pricey side as well.
Lastly, completely opening up the flute can cause issues with the quality of the sound it produces. You might be expecting a flute without flaws because of the price tag the Yamaha YFL-221 comes with, but it isn’t perfect. You might as well leave the flute dissecting and repairing to an expert if you don’t want your flute to be damaged in the process.
The Pearl Musical Instrument Company is a brand established in Japan during the late 1940’s by a man named Katsumi Yanagisawa. It successfully rose from the ashes of World War 2 and has since then been recognized as a manufacturer of high quality musical instruments.
Pearl is known for being a global producer and exporter of drums, pipes and marching band equipment. It’s also well-known for being a seller of a variety of musical instruments, parts, and accessories.
Of all the flutes Pearl has to offer, the Pearl PF500 student flute is one of the most loved and requested models. Like all the flutes mentioned above, the PF500 is beautifully silver plated.
It also has closed hole keys, standard quartz head joint cut, and an exclusive pin-less mechanism, which makes it ideal for both beginners and experts alike. The offset G mechanism provides its users with a comfortable experience that will encourage them to play and practice even more.
What we liked
The Pearl PF500 is a model that was specifically designed to suit the needs of students and beginners.
Players can comfortably position their hands and play however they like without straining their wrists. What’s more, the model’s pin-less mechanism makes it easier for students to use and carry around, since it eliminates any possibility of the flute snagging your clothes.
You also won’t have to worry about rust forming around your flute, because its pin-less mechanism makes it harder for perspiration to enter the flute and eventually destroy it.
In terms of sound, this model can be easily played in any register and will also sound beautifully when played alone or alongside other instruments.
What we didn’t like
For a student-grade flute, the Pearl PF500 is a pretty expensive one. For a beginner it is a pricey purchase, especially because it’s pretty expensive and is of “okay” quality.
You could find other brands that are of better quality than this one if you’re willing to pay the same amount.
Jupiter Band Instruments, Inc. is company based in Taiwan that was founded in the early 1930’s. It’s quite an old brand, but it’s well-known throughout the world as a manufacturer and distributor of brass, woodwind, and percussion instruments.
Jupiter flutes have also gained a reputation as a solid but high-end flute designed for students and beginners.
The Jupiter Plateau offset G Flute has been considered as a trusted model by students and experts all around the world. One thing customers love about this model is its offset G mechanism, which makes playing and practicing easier and more enjoyable for players who haven’t mastered playing the flute yet.
What we liked
The Jupiter Plateau offset G flute has a silver-plated nickel-silver body, keys and head joint.
It also has power-forged plateau keys with rolled tone holes, an offset G mechanism, a reinforced post base, and top adjustment screws. Its plateau keys create a better sound that most flutes and its offset G mechanism makes the note easier to reach, which is ideal for students and beginners.
What we didn’t like
This model is fairly expensive, but it isn’t anything special.
Jupiter flutes also aren’t that sturdy and they don’t last that long. Since it’s silver plated and not coated with real silver, you could expect this flute to quickly tarnish and to lose its shiny glow.
You could find a better and sturdier flute in the market at the same price, which is a much better buy than the Jupiter Plateau offset G flute. It’s a good flute, but it’s way too expensive given its quality and specifications.
Of the six flutes reviewed, the best flute of them all is the Yamaha YFL-222. You could also get yourself a cheaper YFL-221, but buying the newer YFL-222 is a purchase that will definitely be worth your money.
The superior craftsmanship of Yamaha flutes and musical instruments is simply above all the other brands. It’s definitely no wonder why so many people trust the brand for their high-quality instruments.
A great thing about the Yamaha YFL-222 is that even though it has been specifically engineered to meet the needs of beginners, experts love it. This model is also very reliable in terms of sound quality and durability.
You could buy yourself a YFL-222 today and it would still have the same quality of sound 10 to 20 years later. It’s also a great instrument to pass on to your kids and your grandchildren.