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Who actually made Armstrong’s last line of Heritage flutes?

Flute History and Instrument Purchase

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rob80b
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Joined: Sun Jan 31, 2010 9:43 am

Who actually made Armstrong’s last line of Heritage flutes?

Postby rob80b » Fri Sep 28, 2018 8:20 am

Back in 2010 I picked up a used Armstrong Heritage 60B flute…( https://www.fluteland.com/board/viewtopic.php?t=4027 ) totally aware that they were said to be only pale comparison of their former glory…and always assumed they were made in the orient.
I’ve been an amateur flutist since the 70s and sort of stuck with Armstrong along the way..100, 105, 80B, never quite a fan of the Gemeinhardts and found the 60B a fairly descent flute and comparable with the Powell Sonares at the time…back in the spring I was considering doing an overhaul but came across a seller with nos 61Bs at very silly prices, the solid silver upgrade from the 60B and jumped on that.

I regress…for what ever reason I was recently scrutinizing the build quality and noticed the spring catches were not your standard round pillar seen on almost all flutes…

..a little googling and only found these little rectangular catches on the Powell, Haynes and Brannen custom flutes…no where to be seen on any Orient mass produced or Japanese of origin.

Armstrong Heritage 60 and 61B
spring catch.JPG
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Powell Custom
Powell .png
Powell .png (234.69 KiB) Viewed 329 times
Powell Custom.png
Powell Custom.png (154 KiB) Viewed 329 times
so now I am questioning the last Armstrong Heritage line…"The new Heritage line has been developed with these goals in mind, offering great value and providing performance that is truly deserving of the Heritage legacy."…may all be wishful thinking but maybe they are not made where I assumed…unfortunately it’s almost impossible to find any further information….maybe someone else here may have some further insight.

Thanks

Robert
Last edited by rob80b on Fri Sep 28, 2018 9:25 am, edited 1 time in total.

rob80b
Posts: 10
Joined: Sun Jan 31, 2010 9:43 am

Re: Who actually made Armstrong’s last line of Heritage flutes?

Postby rob80b » Fri Sep 28, 2018 9:23 am

Small pillar shaped spring catch seen on the majority of flutes...
spring catch.png
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....another example from a custom flute repair...
http://www.stevedeutschmusic.com/repair/repair.htm
stevedeutsch.png
stevedeutsch.png (141.67 KiB) Viewed 324 times


and one more.. Powell Custom flutes (top) as compared to the Powell Signature and Conservatory models.
http://www.flutebuilder.com/2012/05/gizmo.html
powell 2.png
powell 2.png (205.66 KiB) Viewed 321 times

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pied_piper
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Re: Who actually made Armstrong’s last line of Heritage flutes?

Postby pied_piper » Sun Sep 30, 2018 10:42 am

The spring cradle style may be an indicator of quality, but not necessarily an indicator of origin. I play a Muramatsu flute (Japan) and it has the "rectangular" style spring cradle.
IMG_3136a.jpg
IMG_3136a.jpg (110.37 KiB) Viewed 303 times
"Never give a flute player a screwdriver."
--anonymous--

rob80b
Posts: 10
Joined: Sun Jan 31, 2010 9:43 am

Re: Who actually made Armstrong’s last line of Heritage flutes?

Postby rob80b » Sun Sep 30, 2018 2:55 pm

The spring cradle style may be an indicator of quality, but not necessarily an indicator of origin. I play a Muramatsu flute (Japan) and it has the "rectangular" style spring cradle.
Thanks pied-piper....there's been so little information on Armstrong's last Heritage line from 2004?...they've been touted as being mass produced somewhere in China or similar and left at that...Armstrong appears to have been more or less dismissed as a serious flute maker once they became part of a much larger conglomerate and focused on entry level student flutes.
The industry has obviously evolved since since I first got my feet wet back in the early 70s when all that was available for mere mortals were Armstrongs, Artleys and Gemeinhardts...when I graduated up the an Armstrong 80B I thought it was the cats meow........

If I could justify it money and skill wise the Muramatsu EX was first on my list....anyway I've been content with my previous 60B and now the 61B and they are a big step up from my previous 80B...they appear to well made, movements are solid, no play in the keys, nimble action and if they are a mass made at least it's nice to see there has been given some attention to the details and they are IMHO a nice looking instrument.

Still curious though as the 61B appear physically to have more in common to the older hand crafted Heritage line than the previous Heritage II 50 and 55s.

rob80b
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Joined: Sun Jan 31, 2010 9:43 am

Re: Who actually made Armstrong’s last line of Heritage flutes?

Postby rob80b » Mon Oct 01, 2018 6:04 pm

.................... I play a Muramatsu flute (Japan) and it has the "rectangular" style spring cradle.
Now that I've looked a little closer .....as far as I can tell looks like all the Muramatsus have them...it's only a detail...but interesting all the same.

rob80b
Posts: 10
Joined: Sun Jan 31, 2010 9:43 am

Re: Who actually made Armstrong’s last line of Heritage flutes?

Postby rob80b » Thu Oct 04, 2018 8:06 am

Its only a name but interesting that the model prefix “60B” from the last line of Heritage flutes (2004-2008) was used before by Armstrong for their Emeritrus 60B (1960/70s?)

Just to quote the Wichita Band Instrument Co from one of their listings

https://reverb.com/ca/item/15211895-arm ... lid-silver

Re: 1960-70s
“At the same time the Heritage models were in production, Armstrong also produced a similar "Emeritus" (model 60 / 60B) flute: solid silver body, head and keys, but heavier and without the attention to workmanship the was found in the Heritage models.
By the early eighties, Armstrong was absorbed by King Musical Instrument Company and later by Conn-Selmer. The "Emeritus" name was dropped and the "Heritage" name was given to the flute previously stamped "Emeritus". "Heritage 60B" flutes were in production for several years, are the same as the earlier "Emeritus 60B" instruments.

Still doesn’t give us any information on the manufacturing origins of the last 60/61Bs though.

rob80b
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Joined: Sun Jan 31, 2010 9:43 am

Re: Who actually made Armstrong’s last line of Heritage flutes?

Postby rob80b » Fri Oct 05, 2018 3:46 pm

Maybe we'll never know... but the bodies and details of the Heritage 60B/61Bs are not quite the same but very similar to the Haynes Amadeus line made in "Beijing" at the time..the AF800 and AF900....the Amadeus having the advantage of the Haynes head joints and finished at the Haynes facilities in the US...the Armstrongs are touted as hand cut but then most are.

Amadeus AF-900
AF-900 Amadeus.png
AF-900 Amadeus.png (208.01 KiB) Viewed 219 times

rob80b
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Re: Who actually made Armstrong’s last line of Heritage flutes?

Postby rob80b » Thu Oct 18, 2018 1:11 pm

Renewing my library card I was able to access the Music Trades on line.....
so far came up with this.....

"Conn-Selmer CEO John Stoner reflects on a decade of change in the band business"
Music Trades. 161.1 (Feb. 2013): p108+.
"Your arrival at Conn-Selmer coincided with an unanticipated flood of low-cost Asian wind instruments that disrupted the entire market. How did it impact Conn-Selmer and the industry at large?
Unlike a lot of other industries, the band instrument industry in 2003 had been pretty well insulated from Asian competitors, and no one at our company or in the industry seemed to be taking them seriously."

.....
" Ultimately though, Conn-Selmer and most of its competitors had to source some student products in Asia to remain competitive. How did you go about this?
We adopted a "good, better, best" strategy. The "good" products are sourced in factories in China, the "better' instrument" are primarily produced in Taiwan, and the "best-instruments are built in our plants in Eastlake, Ohio and Elkhart, Indiana. All the product designs and specifications are proprietary, and we have a team of full-time employees"


Maybe not quite a definitive answer ...but seeing the 60B and 61B were released in 2004 and available until 2008 there may be a distinct possibility that the last line of Heritage flutes may have been made in the USA and not the orient....


and Product release......

Armstrong unveils new heritage flute line
Music Trades. 152.1 (Feb. 2004): p282+.
Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2004 Music Trades Corp.
http://www.musictrades.com/contact.html

Full Text:

"RETURNING TO THE HERITAGE Line tradition of quality instruments. Armstrong has introduced a new line of alto and C flutes. "Flutists are asking for instruments with premium performance and feature characteristics at accessible prices," said Gerardo Discepolo, flute product manager. "The new Heritage line has been developed with these goals in mind, offering great value and providing performance that is truly deserving of the Heritage legacy."

Boasting a solid silver body, head, and foot, the Heritage flute model #61 features a hand Cut head joint as well as solid one-piece ribbed construction. Designed for the advancing player, the scale is accurate and balanced while the response and quality of sound live up to the Heritage name. Elegant French pointed arms, hidden adjusting screws, and leather French-style case with cover add to the beauty of the instrument outfit. Key mechanism is silver-plated for feel and durability. The model #61B (low B model) carries a suggested retail price of $2,950, while model #61 (low C model) retails at $2.800. Available options include: inline or offset G, split E mechanism, engraved head joint, and gold springs.

Model #60 has the same features and options as model #61 but with solid silver head joint, silver-plated body, and silver-plated foot joint. Suggested retail price for model #60B (low B model) is $1,900. Model #60 (low C model) carries a retail of $1,750.

Featuring responsive action and sound, the Heritage alto flute model #703 features an ergonomically designed key mechanism for case of play. The scale is accurate and balanced, the response is wonderful, and the quality of sound lives up to the Heritage name. Elegant French pointed arms and French-style case with cover add to the beauty of the instrument outfit. Suggested retail price: $1,800.

NAMM Booth: 4800. Telephone: (574) 522-1675. Website: www.armstrongwinds.com. "


Armstrong have always been known to try and offer a comparable quality flute with a lower price point to the competition so the 61B listed at $2950 which came in at an initial higher price point than the Chinese made Powell Sonare SF7000 at $2700...might also point to a US made product made at Elkhart but again still it's only conjecture......

"Sonare's hybrid strategy: by mating a handcut headjoint with an affordable Chinese flute body, Sonare winds makes the coveted Powell sound available at a more affordable price point. Dealers love it!"
Music Trades. 152.12 (Jan. 2005): p142+.
Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2005 Music Trades Corp.
http://www.musictrades.com/contact.html

"At present the Sonare line consists of three flute models: the introductory SF5000 (MSRP $1,250), which features a silver-plated body, the SF6000 (MSRP $2,000) which has a silver body and 10-karat gold springs for a lighter playing action; and the flagship SF7000 (MSRP $2,700) which has pointed key arms that offer a more responsive playing action."

Same could be said for the Haynes Amadeus line and I guess their Q series.....

"Amadeus flutes: "made by us, not for us!" When Eastman Music set out to offer a step-up flute, the couldn't find a factory in China that could meet their quality standards. So, they set up their own factory"
Music Trades. 155.12 (Jan. 2008): p156+.
Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2008 Music Trades Corp.
http://www.musictrades.com/contact.html
"IN A VILLAGE OUTSIDE Beijing, China, hundreds of bicycles circle around the modern U-shaped factory where the Eastman Music Company makes its instruments. Inside, 80 specially-trained Chinese workers are building a new flute from the oldest name in Boston. "

"the Amadeus starts at just $1,350 and tops out at under $4,000 with all available options--a C# trill key, gold riser, and other premium features."


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