Irish Flutes - Foot Joint Considerations


For Keyless Flutes (and flutes without an Eb key)

My keyless flutes, and keyed flutes without an Eb key normally come in three pieces.  The foot is integral with the section containing the right hand finger holes, except on models with long one-piece bodies, such as the Prattens (see below). 

The Integral Foot was one of my innovations from way back in the mid 1970's.  It uses the least amount of materials and joints, thus keeping cost and size to a minimum.  It also offers complete control of the lower bore and minimum obstructions to achieving a bold low D.

Some prefer separate right hand and foot sections instead of the Integral Foot.  Short D and Long D feet for keyless flutes are available at slight additional prices.  They look the same as the feet pictured below but do not have the Eb key.

The Short D foot is acoustically identical to the Integral Foot; the extra ring to the right of the 6th hole breaks up the bare wood.  The Long D Foot looks like the C foot on the original 19th century flutes, but has no keys, just the holes where the keys would have been.  I rework the bore of the Long D foot to prevent it weakening the low D as the C foot can do.  It offers a slightly better weight balance than the Short or Integral Feet, and perhaps looks a little more elegant.

Prattens models have all six finger holes are on the long central section, and the foot is already separate.  So the choice here is between the Long D Foot or Short D foot.  

For Keyed Flutes

If you intend to have an Eb, C# or C key, it is very desirable that the foot be separate to permit it to rotate for best access to the foot keys.

There are three foot joint options for keyed flutes:

  • the Short D foot, which terminates visually and acoustically at D.
  • the Long D foot, which terminates acoustically at D, but appears to extend down to C.
  • The C foot, which terminates visually and acoustically at C.

D Foot

I recommend a D foot for Irish music (rather than the original C foot), unless you know you are going to need the low C and C# keys.  If space is at a premium (eg cramped sessions or stage) the short D is ideal.  On flutes with a short D foot, I shorten the head a little to maintain a good weight distribution.  Many prefer the Long D, feeling the extra length is more visually satisfying and affords a better balance of weight.  I rework the bore of the Long D foot so that it does not weaken the low D.

Top: Short D foot with Eb key.  Bottom: Long D foot with Eb key

C Foot

For those who want low C and C#, I make a Revised C Foot which retains the block-mounted grasshopper-knees keys, but relocates the touches for far better access.

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