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When I was growing up, I saw my grandmother’s love of Native American culture. I’ve since inherited her Native American flute, but I know others aren’t as lucky and so have to learn how to find the best double flute.
Not all Native flutes have two chambers, but those that do can sound amazing. If you want to play Native music yourself, you should consider the right double flute for you.
Bottom Line Up Front: The best double flute has to be the Nova Double Flute from High Spirits. It sounds great and comes in different keys so that you can build a collection.
Finding the Best Double Flute
Playing the double flute can be an excellent way to expand your skills. It’s not part of the standard concert flute family, so the steps you’ll take to find the right fit can differ significantly.
Whether you already play a single flute or not, learning the double flute is great. You can share your love of Native American music with others, and you can learn about the culture of various tribes.
Here are some things to think about before you buy a double flute.
Consider the Key
If you play the concert flute, you can play any note within its range without any issues. However, Native American flutes are easiest to play in one or maybe two keys.
You can play other notes, but you’ll have to partially close the holes to get the pitch you want. And with a second chamber that doesn’t have holes, the key is even more critical. Popular keys to consider include F#, G, and A.
Native flutes tend to use pentatonic scales, which are the notes you play without covering partial holes. Some serious players will have multiple flutes to play different songs, but you should start with the key that you expect to use often.
Think About the Range
Another difference between Native and concert flutes is the range. You may be able to play three octaves or even more notes on your metal concert flute.
However, most Native American double flutes can only play one octave or maybe a couple extra notes. That means you may need to look at whether a flute is a high-pitched or low-pitched one.
If you’ll mostly play alone, you can choose the range that you like the best. But if you plan to play with others, you might need to buy a double flute that fits the needs of your group.
Review the Number of Holes
Like single flutes, double flutes don’t all have the same number of holes. Six holes is a pretty standard configuration, but you may find flutes with more or less than that.
While I don’t currently have a double flute, my Native flute only has five holes. However, you may be able to find flutes with seven or eight holes.
The number of holes can affect which notes you can play and what fingerings you’ll need to use. You might also have to pay more for a flute with more holes since it takes more work to carve the holes.
Decide on a Scale
Another difference between concert and Native flutes is the scales that they use. You can play almost any sort of scale on your flute, including major and minor.
With Native American flutes, you have to choose the scale when purchasing the instrument. Most Native flutes have a minor scale which starts on the note the key of the flute is in.
But you can also find flutes in major keys, which can change the sound you can get. If you want to play a lot of double flute songs, you can get flutes with various scales to meet your needs.
Get the Correct Fingering Chart
Since Native American flutes don’t have keys, you can expect them to use different fingerings from your concert flute. If you want to learn the notes easily, you should look for a good fingering chart.
Some flute makers will include a fingering chart with the instrument. However, it helps to look up charts online before you select an instrument to buy.
Then, you can get an idea of how to finger different notes. You can determine if it will be easy for you to play certain pitches or if you might want to look at a flute with a different scale or more or fewer holes.
Listen to Lots of Recordings
Unfortunately, you can’t just set up a trial of multiple double flutes. While that’s a great way to choose the right concert flute for you, you’ll have to rely more on recordings to buy a Native American instrument.
You can listen to recordings to hear the tone of a specific model. If the recording also has a coordinating video, you may be able to see if the flute is comfortable to hold and play.
Consider if the spacing between holes looks like it’s too far, especially if you have smaller hands. Try to listen to recordings for every Native flute you consider so that you can make the best possible buying decision.
Find Reviews or Recommendations
When shopping for the best double flute, you should look for some reviews. Makers might share reviews or testimonials on their own websites, or you can find reviews through a Google search.
If you know someone who plays a Native flute, ask them which maker they have. You can also ask about the range, and they may even let you test it out to see if you like it.
Another great place to ask for reviews or recommendations is the Facebook Group Native American Flute. You can ask questions about instruments, and some people even share flutes they have for sale.
Vet the Makers
Maybe you’ve read a few reviews or have gotten some suggestions for makers to buy from. Before you complete your purchase, research the makers a bit more.
Consider if they have a professional website with a security lock next to the URL. If so, it’s going to be safer to buy from the maker than if they’re selling on a random forum.
You should also review the maker’s website or contact them about their return policy. Since you can’t usually do a trial, it’s nice to know that you can get your money back if you don’t end up liking the double flute you purchase.
Watch Out for Scams
Luckily, I haven’t seen a ton of scams or Native American flute sales that seem like scams. However, I have seen some sellers try to sell other ethnic flutes using just a Whatsapp link.
Buying from someone through Whatsapp may be safe, but be careful. Don’t give out any personal or banking information through a platform like that.
If you really want to buy a particular flute, ask if someone is willing to sell it through PayPal, Etsy, or even Facebook Marketplace. If they aren’t willing to go that route, there’s a good chance it’s a scam.
Platforms like PayPal, Facebook, and Etsy have good buyer protection policies. That way, you can get your money back if someone tries to scam you.
Another great way to recognize a scam is if a flute costs way more or way less than what you expect. To help discover that, you should compare prices from different makers and on various flutes.
Most double flutes are much more affordable than a lot of concert flutes. But they can still vary in price depending on the size, materials, and brand.
Comparing prices can help you set a more realistic budget to help you purchase a Native American flute. Then, you’ll be able to save enough money to choose the best double flute for you.
Best Double Flutes
It can be hard to find double flutes, especially since most big music stores don’t carry them. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t at least try to shop for a good instrument.
I did a bit of research to find double flutes for beginners and people with a bit more experience. To help choose the flutes, I looked for makers with plenty of flutes for sale.
I also considered models in various keys, scales, and at different prices. Consider some of the models I found to help you narrow your search for an instrument.
High Spirits Nova Double Flute
The High Spirits Nova Double Flute is a model that comes in multiple keys. You can choose from A, G, and F#, but the flute is also available in high B and high D if you want something smaller.
These flutes use Spanish cedar to help you get a full, warm tone. They also come with two mouthpieces that you can swap out if you want to play the flute as a single flute.
If you’re a beginner, this is a good choice since you can play it multiple ways. Plus, it’s pitched at A=440 Hz, which is similar to the pitch of other instruments that you can play with.
- Easy to play
- Available in different keys
- Six holes
- Works as a single flute
- Standard concert tuning
- Requires quite a bit of air
- Not the most affordable
High Spirits Nova Double Pocket Flute
Like the standard model, this one has two mouthpieces so that you can play the flute as a double or single flute. It’s an excellent option for younger players or anyone with small hands.
Plus, the small size makes it perfect for traveling so that you can play music anywhere. The Spanish cedar makes this flute sound fantastic, even when a beginner plays it.
- Lightweight and portable
- Easy to play
- Great for beginners
- Suitable for small hands
- Works as a single or double flute
- Only in one key
Thomann Shaman Double Flute
There are only five holes, which can limit the notes you can play. However, it’s a bit easier to play than a flute with six holes, so it doesn’t require as much practice.
This model also features a special seal that protects against humidity and helps you get a good tone. You’ll get a storage pouch with it to keep the flute safe during storage.
- Wood isn’t the best
- Only five holes
Singing Tree Flutes Alternating Drone
It comes in the key of A, which is a good key for players new to the Native American flute. The drone side has one hole so that you can change its pitch even if you need to change the pitch on the other side.
That makes this flute perfect for players who want a bit of flexibility. You can do a lot with that extra hole, and you still get six holes on the right side so that you can play most notes you’d need to.
- Good key
- Great woods
- Easy to play
- Suitable for advancing players
- A bit expensive
- Not for beginners
Singing Tree Flutes Limba Drone
The Singing Tree Flutes Limba Drone is another great model to consider. Unlike other double flutes, this one splits the scale between both sides, so both parts can change notes.
You can play in E minor on one side and B minor on the other. Also, you can choose to get the flute with six, seven, or eight holes based on your needs.
Unfortunately, it’s a lot more expensive than many double flutes out there. But it comes in A=440 or A=432, so you can choose the pitch level you want.
- Good for serious players
- Plays in two keys
- Comes with different numbers of holes
- Made to order
- Nice sound
- Pretty costly
- Not for casual players
Singing Tree Flutes Snake Contrabass
If you love playing low notes, you may want to try the Singing Tree Flutes Snake Contrabass. This double flute plays in either B and F# or C and G, so you can choose the keys you want.
The flute is over three feet long, so it can be difficult to hold. It’s not the best choice for people with small hands since the holes are farther apart than on smaller instruments.
However, you can use this flute to add to the low end of an ensemble. It’s in A=440, so it works with other instruments as long as you play in the correct keys.
- Comes in multiple keys
- Good tone
- Uses standard pitches
- Great for an ensemble
- Requires larger hands
- Very expensive
FAQs About How to Find the Best Double Flute
Answer: A double flute is a Native American flute with two chambers that produce sound. Usually, the chamber on the left plays a drone, so you don’t have to change the pitch.
You can change the pitch with the holes on the other chamber. That allows you to play by yourself but make it sound like two people are playing the flute together.
Answer: You play a double flute by blowing into the end like you would on a recorder. Like any other flute, you’ll move your fingers up and down to cover or open certain holes.
Moving your fingerings allows you to play different notes on the instrument. You can cover a hole completely or partially depending on the note you want to produce.
Answer: Some double flutes are relatively affordable while still being of good quality. You can find a few flutes for less than $200, but most models cost between that and $500.
The cost depends on the maker, materials, and size of the flute. Keep those things in mind when deciding if a flute is too expensive.
Answer: You can keep a double flute on a display stand, usually resting on its side. That’s a great option if you want to use the flute as decor when you aren’t using it.
Another option is to put it in a soft bag for protection. You can make a bag yourself using wool or a similar fabric, but some Native flutes come with a bag.
Answer: You may be able to read some regular flute sheet music on a double flute. However, the double flute uses a pentatonic scale, so you might not get to play all of the notes a regular flute can.
Instead, look for some Native American songs or a double flute songbook. Then, you can play music written for the instrument so you’ll be able to play all of the notes.
Final Note on How to Find the Best Double Flute
If you love Native American culture and music, you should learn how to find the best double flute. This Native flute lets you play by yourself without sounding like you’re alone.
You can blow into two chambers to accompany yourself, and you can enjoy the process of making music. Be sure to check out the High Spirits Nova Double Flute if you’re a beginner.
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