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Ask any flautist or flute teacher to suggest a first instrument, chances are the first model recommended will be the Yamaha 211. It is universally respected for its quality and reliability and has been an initial flute of choice for decades.
For a beginner, this flute is ideal. Constructing the tube from silver-plated nickel gives ease of response, particularly at extremes of register. The offset G allows a more natural hand position for those without long fingers, while the majority find the E mechanism facilitates the playing of that note in the top octave. The reliability of construction will carry the usefulness of the flute to a level far beyond that of beginner. It will easily carry a flautist to Grade 6, after which the life of the flute can be further extended by upgrading the headjoint to a handmade silver head while keeping the original body.
The 211 is more expensive than a number of flutes marketed as beginner instruments but it is worth the investment. The build quality ensures reliability and a long life, resulting in lower maintenance costs and a high resale value. A beginner will be encouraged by the ease of sound production, while the quality of tone will satisfy the more accomplished musician.
A number of exceedingly cheap flutes have recently appeared on the market. Though tempting, particularly for a beginner who may not persevere with the instrument, it is best to be wary - some are unplayable from the outset, and some have been set up in such a way as to make them impossible to repair. Seek the advice of a teacher or reputable supplier and remember if the price looks too good to be true it most likely is.
If the initial cost of purchasing a 211 is a concern, perhaps look into flute rental schemes. Many such schemes work on a hire-purchase basis, where after a certain number of rental payments the flute is yours at no extra cost.
My upgraded 211 saw me through Grade 8, DipABRSM and three years studying music at university - ten years service in all from the body of the instrument. I purchased a new flute only when postgraduate study at Music College approached.
If you are a beginner flautist looking to purchase a Yamaha 211, I wish you as much happy music making as I have enjoyed - best of luck!
I wanted to start learning the flute and my first instrument was a battered second hand thing and the pads would stick, so I did not get very far. I saved up and bought a new instrument, I cannot remember the name of it now, although this was easier to play it did not sound nice, so again I started to save up. I did more research this time and the general consensus was that Yamaha YFL-211 SL made a great beginners flute. At £400 I was hoping they were right as I did not want to go through another poor quality instrument. I tried it out in a shop first but in a large noisy room its hard to really hear the tone properly, but I took the plunge and ordered one from Normans online.
It arrived in a solid flute case with a canvas over the shoulder carry bag. It is made of durable nickel silver and coated with silver plating.
It fits very comfortably into my hands and produces a very nice sound. It is far superior to other beginner flutes I had tried in the past.
I have had it for two years now, play regularly and have developed no problems with it.
I just play for pleasure and am self taught so I personally do not know how this flute holds up when it comes to grades, however I have heard of people using this flute and passing their grade six with it.
The disadvantage with all instruments it the cost. I have tried to compromise with price in the beginning which lead to me wasting my money. However I have not been disappointed with my Yamaha YFL-211 and feel it was money well spent.
The Yamaha YFL211s is probably the worlds most popular student flute. Solid, reliable and they hold their value well. I play the flute myself and used to work in a music shop where the Yamaha 211 outsold all other student flutes 5 to 1.
You will pay more for a Yamaha but there are several reasons why this is worth doing:
- The Yamaha comes with a 2 year manufacturers guarantee whereas many others such as Jupiter and Pearl come with 1.
- The silver plated body is sophisticated and durable enough to out live the student head joint - what I mean by this is that usually when a student player progresses to grade 5/6 standard they usually need to upgrade to a flute with at least a solid silver headjoint (to allow for a better tone and sound). For players on a budget, this is tricky but an option with the 211 is to just replace the headjoint and keep the existing body.
- Yamahas hold their value second hand so if the player gives up or upgrades, the flute will be easier to sell on.
I had a Yamaha 211 and found it really easy to play and to maintain. They sound sweet and pure and the lip plate is comfortable too. All round a top quality instrument.
I started playing the flute about 7 years ago and since moving from the fife I have had the Yamaha 211. It has kept me playing all the way up to grade six so is definitely worth buying. Although there are many other models available with solid silver head joints and open holes, I think this is certainly, without a doubt, the best flute for a beginner upwards. Yamaha are very well known throughout the music industry and their range of instruments prove their reliability. It produces a warm tone and it very easy to play however, compared to other flutes it is said to be quite heavy in weight and the upper register can be quite muffled. Depite this, I would recommend it to anyone thinking about buying a flute because it is a good quality, cheap student instrument and is also an extremely good and well known brand.