How to Buy a Flute
When one is new to the flute, buying that first one can be a confusing decision. Where to look: Direct from the maker; second hand; music stores; Pow Wows; Flute Circle flute exchanges; craft shows and fairs; e-bay and such? We recommend buying a first flute somewhere that allows you to try what they have on hand. Placing the pointer, middle and ring fingers of each hand on the six holes, determine that the reach is not too great or too small for your hands. Flutes come in many sizes. Pick one that is comfortable in your hands.
One place you can look at, touch and try a flute is downtown Crystal Lake at Evolve. This is an incredible store that you should visit anyway, even if not interested in buying a flute. There are a few flutes at The Player's Bench Music Store, also in downtown Crystal Lake.
Soft woods like cedar or redwood tend to produce a more mellow tone while hardwoods such as oak produce a brighter, crisper sound. Which appeals more to you? The larger flutes have a deeper, more soulful sound while the smaller flutes have a more bird song quality to them. If you prefer the deeper sound, remember to not go too large, such that your fingers can't comfortably reach and cover all six holes. Speaking of the finger holes, they also come in various sizes, affecting your ability to cover them. Larger flutes also require more breath to play.
Drone flutes are beautiful sounding flutes that really grab the attention of listeners. They come in various configurations with two or more sound chambers, thereby able to produce two or more notes at the same time. They are more challenging to hold, and to play, and require more breath, therefore are not recommended for beginners.