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Straubinger vs Muramatsu pads

Flute History and Instrument Purchase

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Flutisms
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Joined: Tue Apr 17, 2018 11:54 am

Straubinger vs Muramatsu pads

Postby Flutisms » Tue Apr 17, 2018 12:53 pm

Greetings,
I have two questions:
1. Do any of you have experience with and particular opinions about Straubinger pads Vs. Muramatsu pads? After a few tryout sessions I have narrowed my search for a new instrument to the Muramatsu brand in general, and most likely the EXIII. My budget dictates buying a used one, looking to spend under $4k, preferably closer to $3k. I have seen very few of this model available, but one that I have found has these Straubinger pads installed. There is a brief trial period offered, so it is returnable; but before I pull the trigger and order it I thought I'd ask here about pros and cons. Should I expect much change in the tone or performance from the EX with original pads?

2. I also wonder if the older solid silver models like the AD or DN (many are available and affordable, but I've not had the chance yet to try them) would suit me just as well or better than the newer designs like the EXIII. I played the EX, GX, DS, and SR at a display a few months ago and loved all of them. I felt that they had essentially the same voice but with a bit more weight and projection in the DS and SR. For a non-pro with 4 kids to feed I'd have no justification for spending so much more money. I found the EX very easy to play and loved the tone, and I want one!

I'm replacing my old high school flute (1988 Gemeinhardt 3S). I'm a professional pianist/organist, but played flute pretty seriously in my school days and still play from time to time at church or for enjoyment. Just want to finally get something more responsive and with a more professional quality of tone.
I'm actually about to "come out" as a flutist and perform the Faure Fantasy in an upcoming concert. That will be the first time I've performed a real piece of flute rep since my HS competition days!

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pied_piper
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Re: Straubinger vs Muramatsu pads

Postby pied_piper » Tue Apr 17, 2018 10:20 pm

I've played a Muramatsu AD for about 20 years and love it. I've also been to several NFA conventions and regional flute fests and tried a number of the newer Muramatsu flutes as well as other brands. I don't find a great difference between any of the Muramatsu models.

Straubinger pads seem to have a love/hate relationship with some flutists. Many say the Straubinger pads make a flute respond easier and quicker than traditional felt pads. On the other hand, some find the Straubinger pads more noisy when closing than felt and Straubinger pads have a bit of a reputation for being more easily damaged than felt pads. If you are very careful with your flute and play with a very light touch on the keys, you may like Straubingers, but if you have a heavier finger touch, you may find yourself making more frequent trips to visit a repair tech for adjustments or to replace pads (they are a lot more costly than felt pads). Also, Straubinger pads must be installed by a Straubinger trained tech. You local music store may or may not have a qualified tech.

A good friend of mine who is a flutist with a pro symphony, plays a Powell flute and at one point she had Straubinger pads installed. She kept them for a year or so but decided she didn't like them and had them replaced with firm felt pads.

YMMV...
"Never give a flute player a screwdriver."
--anonymous--

Flutisms
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Joined: Tue Apr 17, 2018 11:54 am

Re: Straubinger vs Muramatsu pads

Postby Flutisms » Mon Apr 30, 2018 11:06 pm

Thanks, that helps. I'm a little concerned about having a feature which offers "high performance" but is possibly fussy and high-maintenance.

Do you have any experience with Winds101 which appears to have a couple of stores in the US and advertises on ebay and reverb? They have some ex and gx models on which they've installed Straubinger pads. It doesn't look like they offer a trial in the same manner other shops do, but the flutes are returnable. There are few other places I have found any of them used.

On the other hand, Muramatsu America and some others have a number of older models like the AD. I'm thinking about getting a couple of those on trial and getting one of the ex from Winds101 to compare.

Any more thoughts you have are appreciated.

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pied_piper
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Re: Straubinger vs Muramatsu pads

Postby pied_piper » Wed May 02, 2018 8:16 pm

I have no personal experience dealing with Winds101. I've heard both favorable and unfavorable comments. There have been a few mentions of Winds101 and Liz (the owner) on this board. If you search from the Fluteland main page, you should find a few comments. As far as I knew, Winds101 is a small one person operation that operates solely as an online store. I am not aware of a brick-and-mortar store - just their website and presence on eBay and Reverb. There is one review on Yelp.

The Fluteland FAQ (under the general category) lists a number of reputable flute vendors you could consider:
http://www.fluteland.com/board/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=5859

Getting a few different flutes on trial is an excellent idea. When I went shopping, I fully intended to buy a Powell flute because that is what the local professional flutists were using and recommended to me. When I tried the Powells, they played very well but when I tried the Muramatsu, I was blown away by everything about it - the sound, the feel, the ability to play it with varying colors, and the ease of playing it. I frequently use use this analogy when recommending flutes: They are like shoes. You have to buy what fits you or you will be uncomfortable and unhappy. There are many different excellent flute brands. I personally like the Muramatsu flutes best, but I can't say for sure that a Muramatsu will be the best for YOU. Look at the list of flute brands in the FAQ. If possible, try to visit a major flute store and try as many as you can.

Another good option is to try to find a regional flute festival that you can attend. Most often, a number of big flute vendors will be there and have dozens and perhaps hundreds of flutes available to try. The National Flute Association also has a national convention each year and every major flute vendor is there in force. However, you must join the NFA to attend the convention and there is also a substantial fee to participate in the convention. I've attended a few of them over the last 10 years and found them to be an enjoyable and worthwhile experience. There will literally be thousands of flutes on display that anyone can try or buy.
"Never give a flute player a screwdriver."
--anonymous--

SylvreKat
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Location: KC metro

Re: Straubinger vs Muramatsu pads

Postby SylvreKat » Thu May 03, 2018 6:00 pm

On the other hand, and despite so many folks recommending trying multiple brands (and myself recommending the same), I have to say that I've never done any trials before buying any of my horns. I think the clerk brought out the one Gemi when Mom took me to buy my first one. She ordered the Armstrong from WWBW based on my teacher's recommendation. I did play the Yami, and had a friend play it, but didn't consider anything else (then again, there WASN'T anything comparable for $900!) Ditto the piccs--the piece o' crap was the only, the silver I bought from an individual although I and a picc-friend both did play on it, the wood I bought from a fellow who'd found it in his mom-in-law's house, needed a full repad and cork, tested like garbage, but plays beautifully now. The bass I will say that Dr Potter play-tested for me before allowing the lady to sell it. However, I took it on faith that it would fit my hands and that I would indeed like it. The treble was again a total leap of faith.

So while testing out various brands is loverly, sometimes just buying what's available also works out. Probably depends on the level you're playing at. A pro needs to be way pickier about his/her horn than someone like me who just plays for church and the civic Band and the flute quartet.

>'Kat
Flutes:1975 Gemeinhardt M2 in chrome nickel;1982 Armstrong 80;2006 Yamaha 584

Piccs:1978 Artley piece of crap 15 P;1982 Gemeinhardt 4S;1980s? Armstrong all wood (no model)

Bass:2006 Jupiter di Medici G0199
Treble:2009 Guo New Voice

+ many flute-cousins

mawilson
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Joined: Fri Jun 08, 2018 11:45 am

Re: Straubinger vs Muramatsu pads

Postby mawilson » Fri Jun 08, 2018 12:06 pm

On a tangential note, when shopping for a used Muramatsu flute, try to find out if the flute was sold through Muramatsu USA. If not, you might not be able to get Muramatsu pads, etc. I bought a used AD about 13 years ago and when I took it to a local flute technician for an overhaul, he called and said he could not get Muramatsu pads for the flute because it was a gray market import. (So it has traditional felt pads and plays fine.) You might want to check with Muramatsu USA if they still have this restrictive policy.


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