Help with choosing your Native American style flute
Get a Love Flute with Heart
I understand that you have heard the call to play a Native American style flute. You are here, exploring my website, because you want to learn more about Love flutes and find the flute that is right for you. I also know that your search can become a bit confusing. So now I am going to offer some free advice gleaned from years of personal experience.
The first step is to follow your heart. This a difficult subject to put into words. You have heard the call. Now find out as much as you can about the Native American flute and the craftsmen who make them by carefully searching the web. Be patient - this is an important decision. This is not just another purchase. This is the beginning of a new and wonderful journey.
Now for some of the terminology. The type of flute you are looking for is variously called a Native American flute, a Native American style flute, a Love flute, an Indian flute, a pentatonic flute, a courting flute or technically - a dual chambered duct flute. All these terms refer to basically the same thing. What all these terms are referring to is a five or six-holed flute with two distinct chambers that is tuned to a pentatonic scale (or in the case of some traditional flutes, a Grandfather scale).
By legal definition a Native American flute is a flute made by an enrolled member of a registered Native American tribe. This is a matter of law to protect the property rights (the name Native American flute is a property right) of Native American people from being exploited by none Native people.
There are lot of 100% pure blood American Indians who can’t legally say that they make a Native American flute. This because they are not enrolled tribal members. There are also a lot of Individuals who are the children of cross-cultural marriages who can say they make Native American flutes. If you feel called to own a flute from a Native American flute maker then my flutes are not for you. I make what is called Native American style flute.
Anyone who makes a dual chambered flute and who is not legally entitled to claim marketing rights as Native American is making a Native American style flute.
Now the appearance of a Love flute doesn’t indicate much. You’ll find some Native American style flutes that mimic the appearance of a culturally native instrument – they are adorned with Indian designs, beads, feathers, and carved animal heads, the whole works. Conversely some of the best Native American made flutes I have seen and played look as contemporary as mine.
I know that money matters and the finances are real considerations. But remember, it is your heart that is seeking the a flute, not your wallet. Keeping that in mind we will next discuss the money issue.
Small amounts of money – a few hundred dollars say – are easy for most of us to come by. So don’t let money be the deciding factor in you decision-making process. If necessary save up and get the Native American flute that you really want. Taking a Love flute into your life is a life changing decision. So maybe start by changing the way you relate to money. Look around and find the flute that you feel is right for you. Then spend what it takes to bring that flute of your dreams into your life. I can guarantee that you will always be glad that you did. If you are experiencing money problems feel free to contact me and we can discuss about how you can get the Native American flute your heart desires.
Take some advice gathered from having see and played a lot of Native American flutes - don’t waste good money on a cheap beginners Love flute. I know you may be hesitant to buy a more expensive, quality flute your first time out. But, cheap flutes are just that. And they have no resale value. You want to make music. Spend a little extra and play an instrument whose craftsmanship and tonal quality will thrill your heart and encourage your growth as a musician.
Be warned, price is no guarantee of sound quality in a Love flute. There are some very expensive Indian flutes that don’t sound very good. These flutes a generally called 'wall hangers'. Conversely there are some reasonably priced flutes that are very sweet. What I am saying is that price doesn’t necessarily have a lot to do with how good the flute will sound. For example, my Collectors flutes that cost over $500 don't sound any different that the Backpacker flutes that cost much less. You don’t have to spend an arm and leg to own a good flute.
We can divide Native American style flutes into two general groups. First are flutes that are made by the hundreds in a factory like setting - Odell Borg and his High Spirits flutes are the prime example of this type of flute. And there are many others grinding out flutes by the hundreds. Then there are true Love flutes that are hand made in small shops by individual craftsman like myself. It’s sometimes difficult to distinguish one from the other because the mass producers try to blend in with the small craftsmen. Through deception they try and encourage the buyer to believe that they are getting a hand crafted instrument. You know ‘flutes made by so and so’ and the man has never touched or even seen the flute you are buying. You will see these flutes being sold all over the place – at fairs, in gift shops, on websites. But you will never see pictures of where and how these flutes are made. Some flutes being sold as Native American flutes are imported form abroad. If you’re looking for a flute with heart, don’t get a mass produced product. They look, feel and play like exactly what they are.
Your First Love Flute
The following guidelines have been gathered from personal experience. Over the years I have been involved with connecting a lot of people with the right Native American style flute both at flute shows and in my studio.
If this is your first Love flute I suggest you get a flute that is comfortable to play. The most important comfort factor is the distance between the finger holes on the barrel of the flute. On a Native American style flute if the chromatic (cross fingered) notes are to be in tune and of equal volume the tone holes must be located farther apart on a lower keyed flute. Consequently, the lower the key of the flute the farther apart the finger holes are. This is especially true for the ring and index fingers of the right hand which cover the holes at the bottom of the Love flute.
A comfortable key for a first time player is A, G or F#. On these flutes your fingers naturally cover the holes without having to stretch into an unusual position. The F# Native American flute is only a slightly greater reach for the ring finger than the G. Now you may have fallen in love with the sound of an F, E flute. You can do it but the learning curve is going to be a bit steeper at first. The D or C will wait till you gain some experience with breath control and your fingers get more flexible. If you are someone who already plays another instrument like the piano or guitar, you can play any of the keys I offer.
The second difficulty beginners have is getting the flutes tone holes completely covered so that no air leaks. I have designed my Ancient Territories Native American style flutes so that the top of the barrel of the flute - where the tone holes are - has a flattened rather than a round surface. This makes it easier for a novice to completely cover the tone holes of the flute. The size of the tone hole is also important and I make my flutes with medium sized holes. This, I find, is better than a large or, paradoxically, a very small tone hole.
Four Types of Ancient Territories Native American Style Flutes
I make four types of Love flutes – Backpacker, Craftsman, Collectors and Special. All four flutes are made to exactly the same specifications in respect to the sound generating mechanism. Therefore, the four Love flute types all produce a great, concert quality sound. The difference in price is in proportion to the amount of labor that goes into making each type of flute.
I am continually absorbed in the process of perfecting my flute making. My goal as an instrument maker is towards a Native American style flute with a clear, sweet tone and dynamic volume. By dynamic volume, I mean a flute that has a range of expression from a whisper to a shout.
Every Ancient Territories Native American Style flute comes with a complete tutorial booklet. The booklet will give you all the information you need to get started playing your flute. If you think you will need more help order the comprehensive CD.
I maintain an inventory of Love flutes of each type for sale in my studio. After you order a flute it will usually be shipped to you within 48 hours. I ship USPS Priority mail and the flute arrives in 3 to 4 days after entering the system.
If you have any questions feel free to contact me. Before doing so, please, familiarize yourself with all the information provided on the website. This will expedite our conversation. I request that you call after 6 PM Pacific time. This allows me to maintain an uninterrupted flow of activity in the shop during the day. Payment may be made by check, money order or by credit card through Paypal. I don’t take credit card info over the phone.
Every Native American style flute that I make is unconditionally guaranteed to meet with your 100 percent satisfaction for sound quality, tuning and craftsmanship. If you wish to return the flute for any reason you may do so – no questions asked. The flute must be in its original condition. You will receive a full refund of your purchase price. The cost of return shipping is your responsibility.