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Do you want to expand your flute choir with the best double contrabass flute options? Before you buy the first one you find, you have to consider if it’s right for you.
A lot goes into choosing a lower-pitched flute, especially since they tend to be expensive. So make sure the purchase is a good idea before you go through with it.
Bottom Line Up Front: The Kotato Double Contrabass Flute is the best one on the market. If you can’t get it, consider a contrabass flute from Kotato or another brand since those are more affordable by comparison.
Best Double Contrabass Flute
For better or worse, there’s only a selection of double contrabass flutes out there. And from what I can find, only one model is readily available for purchase, the Kotato Double Contrabass Flute.
This flute features chrome plating over a brass body, so it doesn’t look like your standard flute. But the lip plate uses silver, and it sounds in the key of C, like most other flutes.
Being a double contrabass, it sounds three octaves lower than the standard flute. Thanks to keys, you can still play most of the written range of the flute.
This model looks like the number 4, and some of the tubing folds back up at the bottom. You’ll have to place a special order this flute, so they won’t make it until you buy it.
- Good sound
- Nice range
- Quality construction
- Has keys to help you play
- Decent materials
- Quite expensive
- Only made after purchase
Double Contrabass Flute Alternatives
While you may not have many choices as far as double contrabass flutes go, there are some alternatives. If you want to play a low flute, you can choose from some other sizes of flutes.
Then, you can still enjoy playing the lower notes, but you won’t have to search so hard for a good instrument. Here are some options you should consider if you want to play flutes lower than a bass flute.
Kingma Subcontrabass Flute
Eva Kingma’s Subcontrabass Flute plays in the key of G, so it sounds a fifth higher than the double contrabass. It features a solid silver embouchure hole and lip plate.
The rest of the body uses silver plating, and the pads are Straubinger pads, which are popular on professional flutes. You’ll also get a good case, flute stand, and a cleaning rod.
This instrument is about as rare as the double contrabass, but it’s a bit smaller. Unfortunately, Kingma doesn’t list the price of her flutes publicly, and the prices are in Euros, so you may have to account for the exchange rate.
- Good sound
- Not as big as the double contrabass
- Nice materials
- Professional pads
- Hard to order
- Pretty rare
Kotato Contrabass Flute
If you like Kotato flutes but can’t get the double contrabass, you may want the Kotato Contrabass Flute. This instrument sounds an octave higher than the double contrabass flute.
You can play down to a low B, and you can get the instrument with or without trill keys. Like the double contrabass, this flute is only available as a special order.
It features a silver-plated body and headjoint, but the lip plate is solid silver. That can help keep the cost down while also giving you a good, warm tone.
- Good sound
- Easy to play
- Low B
- Nice tone
- Pretty expensive
- Only made to order
Kingma Contrabass Flute
The Kingma Contrabass Flute is another model from Eva Kingma in The Netherlands. It has a solid silver lip plate, but the rest of the instrument uses silver plating.
You can get a good sound on this flute, and it sounds amazing in a flute choir. One of the members of a flute choir I’ve played in has this model, and she sounds amazing on it.
While this model isn’t the most expensive contrabass flute, it still costs a pretty penny. However, it’s handmade, and it can be easy and fun to play.
- Great sound
- Blends well
- Perfect for ensemble playing
- Looks nice
- Somewhat expensive
- Can be hard to find
The Pearl PFC-905 is another excellent contrabass flute to try. If I were to buy a contrabass flute, especially one I couldn’t try first, it would be this one.
I own and play other Pearl flutes, so I imagine this would be a good fit for someone like me. It has silver plating throughout the entire instrument, so it looks and sounds good.
While I haven’t played it, I’ve played in a flute choir that had it, and the people who played it sounded great. You can play the entire range of the instrument and sound great on it, and you get a stand to keep it safe if you need a small break.
- Easy to play
- Good construction
- Decent price
- Looks and sounds great
- Works well in a flute choir
- Not the most professional
Di Zhao Contrabass Flute
Another relatively affordable model is the Di Zhao Contrabass Flute. It features a silver-plated headjoint and body, and it’s made on special order only.
That means it can be hard to try one before buying, but I’ve heard it sounds good. You can play down to a low B on this instrument, so you can cover most notes that you’d need to play.
I haven’t heard the instrument or tried it myself, but it’s a good deal. If you want to explore the lowest flutes, this is a good option to start with.
- Nice price
- Easy to play
- Good materials
- Low B
- Special order only
How to Choose a Low Flute
Whether you want to buy the double contrabass flute or go with another size, you have a lot to consider. Choosing the best low flute is a bit different from choosing a regular C flute.
If you want to explore some of the bigger flutes, you need to think about the following. That way, you can get the best low flute for you and your needs.
Be Open to Other Flutes
You may go into your search thinking that you want to play the double contrabass flute. However, it’s so rare, and you may not be able to get your hands on one.
If you want to look into other low flutes, consider a contrabass flute. There are more options in that size, so you can choose from various brands, some of which you may have played before.
You can also look at a subcontrabass flute, which is smaller than the double contrabass. I’d recommend getting a contrabass flute first since it’s the most popular out of those three sizes.
Consider the Use Case
Pretty much the only place you’ll find contrabass flutes and lower is in a flute choir. I have yet to see them in wind ensembles and orchestras, and there isn’t a ton of solo music for these flutes.
Even then, a contrabass flute is going to fit in the most easily with many flute choirs. If your local ensemble doesn’t already have a contra, you should play that.
Then, you can blend in more easily with the bass and alto flutes. It could be hard to blend with instruments that play multiple octaves higher than yours.
Know Your Price Range
You’ll also want to think about how much you’re willing to pay for a flute. The Kotato Double Contrabass costs close to $50,000, and most of us don’t have that kind of money.
Some contrabass flutes, like those from Pearl and Di Zhao, are a bit more affordable. They’re still not cheap by any means, but $10,000 to $15,000 is a more reasonable goal for a lot of people.
Be sure to determine how much you’re comfortable spending on an instrument. That way, you can get the most use out of your new flute.
Prepare to Wait
A lot of super low flutes, like the contra and double contras, are only available as a special order. That means most flute shops don’t have any for you to buy and receive the same day.
Of course, that means you probably can’t try the flutes unless you know someone who owns one you want. You have to wait for weeks or months for a company to make the instrument.
I heard from one of the Pearl employees that they only make about one contrabass per month. So if there’s a backlog of orders, you could end up waiting even longer.
Rely on Your Ear
Since you can’t try most contrabass flutes and lower, you have to rely on your ear. You may want to look for recordings of people playing the instruments so that you can get an idea of the tone.
In some cases, you may realize that you don’t like how a model sounds. Or you might find that a specific size of flute sounds a bit too low for your liking.
Either way, you should use your ear to help compare low flute models. Then, you’ll have a decent chance of choosing the right flute for you.
Think about the Brand
You may also want to look at the brand of the low flute that you’re considering. Pearl and Di Zhao are common makers of every type of flute from a piccolo down to a contrabass.
Kotato and Kingma make quite a few low flutes, such as the alto and bass flutes. So if you’ve played another flute from those brands, you can use that information.
As I mentioned, I play a Pearl C flute and a Pearl alto flute. Buying a Pearl contrabass would probably be a relatively safe choice for me, but it might not be for you if you don’t like other Pearl flutes.
Why Play the Double Contrabass Flute
If you can get your hands on a double contrabass flute, that’s exciting. It may take a lot of saving up, and it can take some time between placing your order and receiving the instrument.
However, it can be well worth it for some players. If you really love the low end, you should consider getting a double contrabass flute to fill your craving for the bass line.
Then, you can enjoy some of the following benefits as well.
The double contrabass flute can play down to a C1, which is three octaves below middle C. It’s also the lowest C on a piano, so that note is quite low.
If you want to experiment with music for instruments like the string bass, the double contrabass flute can help you do that. Its low range is a great asset when playing alone or with others.
Even the high notes on the double contrabass are relatively low. And you don’t even need to learn how to read the bass clef since all flutes use the treble clef.
Find Playing Opportunities
The double contrabass flute’s rarity may help you get more gigs and opportunities. If a flute choir wants to fill out the low end, they may ask you to join.
You might not always get into an ensemble if they have a ton of C flute players. But any low flute is almost always in need in flute choirs, so you can fill that requirement.
Then, you won’t have to wait to get into the group, and you don’t have to be the best flute player. Sometimes, owning a super rare flute can come in handy.
Learn New Parts
When you play the double contrabass flute, you get to play the bass line. Some flute choir pieces have parts just for that instrument, but others use the bass flute part.
Either way, you can focus on your tone since most bass lines are slower. You don’t have to worry about playing a ton of fast notes in many cases.
But you can explore what it feels like to play a lower part in a group. As a flute player, you never get to do that when you play the C flute.
Probably the best reason to play any low flute is to have fun with it. You’ll most likely struggle to play the double contrabass at first since it takes a lot more air than other flutes.
Once you get used to that, playing can get easier and more enjoyable. You may have a lot of fun cranking out some of the lower notes.
If you find yourself getting bored playing your C flute, find a new flute to play. Then, you can renew your love for the instrument and look forward to practicing.
Make Other Flutes Easier
Since the double contrabass flute takes a lot of air, you can use that to your advantage. When you return to playing your C flute or even an alto or bass, you may have better breath control.
After some low flute practice, you might not have as many problems playing a regular flute. While you’ll need to practice all of your flutes to maintain your playing, you can use one to help the others.
I don’t play any of the crazy low flutes, but playing the alto flute helps me when I switch back to the C flute or piccolo. I imagine it works the same way with a contra or double contra.
Keep Flute Choir Just Flutes
Sometimes, flute choir pieces call for a string bass or bassoon part. Even the bass flute only goes down to the C an octave below middle C, so it’s not a true bass.
However, the double contrabass flute fits right in the standard bass instrument range. If you want to keep other instruments out of your flute choir, consider getting a double contrabass flute.
Then, you can make sure all of the instruments have the same type of sound. It can be like the flute version of a string orchestra since all instruments are part of the same family.
FAQs about the Best Double Contrabass Flute Options
Answer: Many reasons exist for why the double contrabass flute is rare. For one, it requires a lot of materials so takes up more space than many instruments, and the materials make the flute expensive.
Also, only one company is actively making the flutes, which can make it harder to find one for sale. Plus, there isn’t a ton of solo or ensemble music specifically for the double contrabass flute.
Answer: The double contrabass flute sounds one octave lower than the contrabass flute. It plays two octaves lower than the bass flute, three below the C flute, and four below the piccolo.
Because of that, the tubing is also much thicker and longer than the other flutes.
Answer: Beginners should avoid playing any low flutes. Also, you’ll need to be the right height to reach the lip plate on a double contrabass flute, so kids shouldn’t attempt to play it.
You’ll also need long arms to reach the keys and play the double contrabass without hitting other keys accidentally.
Answer: Many flute choirs don’t have the double contrabass flute as a member. However, you can find it in some ensembles, and some players focus on the contrabass flute and below.
Final Note on the Best Double Contrabass Flute Options
Whether you’re bored of the C flute or like the bass line, consider the best double contrabass flute options. The right model may help you explore the low range and keep playing the flute fun.
I’d recommend trying the Kotato Double Contrabass Flute if you can afford it. Otherwise, you may want to hold off on that purchase and get a contrabass flute instead from Pearl or Di Zhao.
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