FAQ

How is the NAF different from the silver flute?

The native American style flute is a two-chambered (slow air chamber and bore) fipple designed flute whereas the silver flute is a side-blown or transverse style flute, which requires you to practice embouchure to create a sound.  The tuning is also different in that the native American style flute is a 15-note flute and the silver flute plays many more notes.

 

What is the scale and range on your flutes?

Butch Hall flutes are tuned to the minor pentatonic scale - a very easy 6-note scale.  You can achieve a complete 16-note chromatic scale by using things such as cross-fingerings or half-holing.  There are also a few notes above the octave that you will be able to get as well.

 

I played a wind instrument in school, will this be similar?

Yes, to a degree. The breath work you achieved on the clarinet, saxophone, flute or any other wind instrument can be applied to the  native American style fllute.  Just remember that the native American style flute requires a more gentle approach.  The tuning of the native American style flute is different than any other band woodwind, so the finger placement will vary, however trills and finger exercises should be transferable.

 

I have no musical background.  What flute should I start with?

First and foremost it's a good idea to start with a flute that's a match for you in size.  It's best to start somewhere in the mid-range to high-range area as a large percentage of folks are comfortable with these sizes of flutes.  Our starter flutes were designed for folks who have never played before.  They are offered in the key of B minor, A minor and G minor, and are made from red (aromatic) cedar at a phenomenal price!

 

What is the best flute for children to play?

We highly recommend the B minor Little Bird for ages 5 and up; the A minor Little Horse for ages 6 and up; the G minor Le Mita Cola for age 7 to 8 and up.  These are great sounding and looking flutes for the young players!

 

What's the difference in the 5 and 6 hole flutes?

There is no difference in tuning or playability in a 5-hole flute vs a 6-hole flute. The only difference is that 6-hole flutes tend to be easier to play when you want to play extra notes outside of the standard minor pentatonic scale.

 

Why are the flutes different in size and price?

Flutes vary in size depending on the key.  Lower sounding flutes will typically be larger in size and higher sounding flutes will be smaller in size.  The size of the flute also dictates the price of the flute due to the cost of the material and time to build.

 

How do I play the native American style?

Simply hold the flute, covering the 6 holes with three fingers (index, middle and ring) from each hand.  Use your thumbs under the flute to balance it.  Rest the mouthpiece on your bottom lip and secure around the flute with your top lip.  Make sure that each playing hole is completely closed and then blow softly.  Slowly lift each finger from the bottom, working your way to the top.  Remember, keep the third hole from the top closed - this gives you the basic scale of the flute.  You will start to venture out on your own as you progress in your playing.  You are playing from your heart!

 

What is the thing tied on top of the flute?

That is called the bird, totem or fetish.  It contributes to the functionality of the flute and its sound.  The bird directs the airflow so that every time you blow into the flute, it hits the splitting edge at the perfect angle to create a sound.

 

Does the wood make a difference in sound?

Yes!  A softer wood, such as red (aromatic) cedar, Spanish cedar or fir will produce a warmer tone, whereas hardwoods like walnut, cherry, maple, cocobolo and other exotic woods will create a brighter tone.  Not that one is better than another, just different.  It's hard to beat classic red cedar, in that it gives you that hollow wood tone, rich with harmonics.

 

Does temperature effect the tuning?

Yes!  Warmer temperatures make the flute slightly sharper in pitch, as colder temperatures make the flute slightly flatter in pitch.  You can control this by moving the block of the flute forward (for flattening) or backward (for sharpening).  Be careful not to move the block too far in either direction as this will cause your flute to become airy (to far backward) or overly sensitive (too far forward).

 

What's the gold/black plate under the block?

You may notice a black or gold plate under the block of your Butch Hall Flute.  This is normal for our concert quality flutes.  The plate helps create a fuller, cleaner and louder voice in the flute.  Perfect flutes for recording, performing or general play!

 

What is watering out?

You may notice after playing your flute for a bit that it starts to become less responsive.  Our breath is naturally warm and moist and having all this humid air pushed through a small opening creates condensation.  That condensation is building up in the flue and getting in the way of the airflow.  A simple solution is to hold the flute by the end and shake out the water, forcing it out of the mouthpiece end.  Please be cautious of your surroundings!  Also, always remove the block after playing an extended time.  We want to prevent that condensation from splitting the flute or turning into mold.  Never use cotton swabs as the tiny fibers of cotton can get hung up on the wood and be hard to retrieve later.

 

How do I care for my flute?

Native American flutes are fairly low maintenance instruments.  The biggest factor is moisture.  You want to make sure to keep your flute as dry as possible.  Always remove moisture from your flute before storing and never leave your flute in a cold or hot environment as the wood can either contract or expand and change your flute.  It's a good idea to oil your flute about once a year to maintain the beauty of your instrument.  Use a salad oil such as almond, walnut or grapeseed.

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