My Musical Equipment Closet

An opinionated collecton of short reviews of saxophones and woodwinds and the accessories which they require.

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Location: Santa Cruz, California, United States

"Other cultures are not failed attempts at being us. They are all unique manifestations of the human imagination and the human heart." Wade Davis

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Another killer instrument . . .

You better hold on to your wig, because it's likely to flip. I've always dug the sound of charanga, the Cuban music where violins play the montuna and a five-keyed (usually) flute dances on top of the stings and the rhythm section. Artie Webb used to kill me with Ray Barretto! I suppose I dug it because it was a way of playing rhythm flute, if you know what I mean.

This weekend I had a chance to play one of the prototypes of the Richard Egües Model flute from Orpheus, which is almost ready for sale at your dealer. Richard was himself a fine flute player from Cuba, notably for the nearly 30 years spent with Orquestra Aragon.

What's prevented everyone from cranking out wooden flutes is the same reality that's slowing down clarinet production worldwide: bad wood, green wood, knots in the wood, declining craftsmanship, and so on. The wood cracks. Simple as that.

Orpheus decided to make a noble experiment out of the new model. It's a composite version of the wooden flute, only it's got all modern keywork, like a spilt E and low B with Gizmo.

I played another gig this weekend and brought the Egües Model for a workout, and let me tell you, this flute is something special. With that sharp attack you get from a wooden (or in this case composite) headjoint you get all kinds of percussive effects just by playing arpeggios. Your only limitation is the speed you can tongue.

The flute is LOUD, which is something I didn't think was possible, but there you are. I was playing into a Sennheiser condensor mic, which is really sensitive but once I pulled the gain down a little bit from where I usually have it, I was cool. This is a very well-made instrument, with perfect finish and fit of the keywork.

How'd the gig go? Did I ever get compliments! How it looked (it has gold-plated keywork, and a silver-plated keywork version is available), how it sounded, how clear the high end was, how ballsy the low end was . . . Sweet!

It may not be the flute of choice for somebody who just plays in flute ensembles and does section work, but for someone doing solo work--especially Latin jazz--you've got a flute made just for you. It looks like street price for this model is going to be $1300, although if enough folks buy them, look for them to go down in price.


Blogger Guitarbug said...

Wow, thanks for the article!! I have been looking at this flute for a few months now, if you know any retailers that will be selling this flute in the near future, please let me know. I would really appreciate it. You can email me at

10:40 PM  

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