2018-2019 Alto & Bass Recommendations

Here are my alto, bass and contrabass flute recommendations for 2018-2019 While at the National Flute Association convention in Orlando, I played all the NEW altos, basses and contrabasses I could find. Here are the companies making new instruments that I think are worth trying. Because there is no standard key configuration, a personal “hands-on” trial is necessary to determine which instrument fits your hands best.

This page includes the following information:

  • Stores That Stock Alto and Bass Flutes
  • Stores That Rent Alto and Bass Flutes
  • Additional Stores That Have Altos and Basses
  • Alto Flute Recommendations
    • Under $2500
    • Between $2500 and $5000
    • Above $5000
  • Bass Flute Recommendations
  • Contrabass Recommendations

Recommended Stores that Stock Alto and Bass Flutes

Stores That Rent Alto and Bass Flutes

Additional Stores That Have Alto and Bass Flutes Onsite

Alto Flute Recommendations

Models under $2500

Most altos in this price range have curved and straight headjoints available. You can get both. Different plating options are available on some brands, i.e. black nickel, copper alloys, rose gold.  Do not be distracted by a “different” look. How does it sound and how do the keys feel in your hands?

  • Amadeus
  • Dean Yang
  • DiZhao
  • Gemeinhardt
  • Jupiter
  • Pearl
  • Trevor James

Models between $2501 and $5000

  • Amadeus
  • Di Zhao
  • Trevor James

Models above $5000

  • Altus – curved and straight heads available. Beautiful tone.
  • Eva Kingma – wonderful tone, light action, very responsive. Has an open-hole and closed hole model, also gold-plated and curved head models.
  • Miyazawa – straight head only. Nice sound and action. Of the straight-head altos, I find this the most comfortable for the right hand .

Headjoints

  • Chris Abell – wooden straight alto head joint. Outstanding.
  • Arista – straight sterling alto head joint. Fabulous.

Bass Flute Recommendations

All basses listed include trill keys which are used for many alternate fingerings and response problems. I consider trill keys a “must have.”

  • Guo bass $2100 – only for people with shoulder problems, arthritis or other severe physical limitations. A light weight plastic instrument with a surprisingly wide dynamic range, but the keys are still too clacky and the tone is one dimensional. Comes in wild colors.
  • Di Zhao $2500. Comfortable to hold and good sound and response.
  • DiZhao vertical bass $4000 two years ago. One was not available to try. Play it off to the side like a saxophone and the right hand position will be okay.
  • Altus $8250. Gorgeous sound, nice action.
  • Eva Kingma $9800 and up.  Glorious sound. Available with a small or large bore.  Open hole option available.
  • Eva Kingma $13,000 vertical bass. Fabulous.
  • Kotato $14,500. A large bore horizontal bass with a powerful, rich and huge sound. Light and responsive key action. Has a b-foot and a wide bore. Adjustable support rod works well when sitting.
  • Sankyo Prima $14,000. Beautiful, strong consistent tone in all octaves. Excellent key action. Has a b foot and wide bore. Now has a support stick with interchangable segments to find the best height when sitting.

Contrabass Flute Recommendations

Jupiter is no longer making contrabasses. There are probably still one or two in stores.

  • Di Zhao $9500- they sell as soon as they are available so did not find one to try
  • Kingma $13,500+ at current exchange rate. Excellent tone, response and key action.
  • Kotato  $24,000 + Powerful rich tone. An outstanding instrument recommended by several friends who play a Kotato. There was not one to try at the convention.