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So back in 2006, my father and I had the privilege to be invited to come up to the Conn-Selmer facilities in Elkhart, IN. We were brought up for several things, but one of the principle reasons was to give our input on a new flute project to be made at the woodwind facility in Elkhart and designed by master flute-maker Bickford Brannen.
These new flutes would become the new Avanti flutes.
For those who don't know who Bickford Brannen is, he is a co-founder (along with his brother) of the Brannen Brothers Flutemakers company (http://www.brannenflutes.com/) that is known by many professional flautists as one of if not the best flutes in the world.
In 2008, Bick was awarded the "Lifetime Achievement Award" by the National Flute Association (http://www.nfaonline.org/convention/awardwinner/1)
Bick is also one of the most genuine and best persons that I have had the pleasure to work with in this business.
The Avanti flutes are Bick's design, made at the Conn-Selmer Woodwind facility in Elkhart, Indiana. They are in a relatively new classification of flutes that we refer to as "Pre-Professional" or "Advanced Intermediate" flutes. This classification of flutes essentially are flutes that feature professional hand-cut headjoints but are priced closer to the "Intermediate" price range.
The headjoint itself accounts for well over half of the performance of a flute. So when you combine a $1,000+ headjoint on a flute that sells for a total of $1,579, the overall performance of the flute will far exceed what a typical $1,500 flute in the "Intermediate" category would.
However, there are MANY things about the Avanti flutes that differ from the other flutes in this emerging category that really make the Avanti the most impressive flutes in their category.
Made in the USA!
ALL of the other flutes in this category outsource some level of the production to other countries, mainly China and Taiwan. While this isn't necessarily a "bad" thing, anytime that we can support a product made in the USA, especially in an economic time like we are facing now, we feel that we should. This means more jobs in the USA.
The "Scale" of a flute refers to the size and placement of the tone holes. There are many "scales" used on modern flutes, however the Cooper scale is the modern professional scale of choice on the professional handmade Brannen flutes, and it is the same scale used on the Avanti flutes.
Straubinger Phoenix Pads
Straubinger pads are the highest end professional pads available for handmade flutes. These pads offer superior performance and feel. However, typical Straubinger pads are expensive and need more technical experience to work on, making them not ideal for a flute in this price range.
The new Phoenix Pad was design specifically for "performance" level flutes like the Avanti in mind. The new pad uses a synthetic body just like traditional Straubingers but has a thin cushion layer of special "felted" rayon.
This new pad gives the benefits of feel and playing performance of a professional Straubinger pad but allows for more standardized technical skills in adjusting.
These pads are truly revolutionary and for the first 2 years, are exclusively found on Avanti flutes! For more information, please visit our page on these pads here http://www.kesslermusic.com/html/flutes/straubingerphoenixpad.htm
Investment Casted Keys
Investment casting is a type of manufacturing process that is very different then what is used on standard flutes. This is the style of key manufacturing that is used at Brannen Brothers on their professional flutes. In fact, back in 2006, the Discovery Channel's show "How It's Made" did a segment on flute manufacturing that was focused on flutes made at Brannen Brothers.
This show did a GREAT job of showing how professional flutes are made at Brannen Brothers. This video unfortunately did not specify this... however it does have a great segment in it that shows what investment casting really is.
Also, the video talks about the pad life of 5 years and costing $90 to replace a pad... this is not accurate on the Avanti flutes. One should be able to get 5-10 years life out of pads and to replace ALL the pads and perform a full overhaul will vary by technician, but does not come to $90 a pad.
This process gives the key mechanism a more professional feel and higher tolerances then standard key production techniques. It also makes the key parts stronger than standard methods.
The end result of this is a stronger mechanism that FEELS like a professional flute rather than an intermediate model.
Solid Silver Barrel and Footjoint Receiver
Did you know that most "Solid Silver Body" flutes actually are not as solid silver as you might believe?
While a "Solid Silver Body" does mean that the actual body TUBE is made from silver, it does not count the headjoint and footjoint receiving pieces as parts of the body, but rather pieces that are soldered on to the body. So in other "Solid Silver Body" flutes in this price segment, these pieces are not actually made of silver!
On the Avanti flute, Bick's principle concern was in making the best PLAYING flute in this category. So instead of spending money on features like pointed key arms or gold plating, which are for most practical purposes cosmetic, Bick insisted that the headjoint barrel and the footjoint receiver were both alto made from Solid Silver on the "Solid Silver Body" model (model 2000).
This gives the Avanti 2000 model a higher silver content then any of the other flutes in this category helping to produce a richer and sweeter sound from the Avanti 2000.
I feel that the Avanti flutes are simply amazing. Their quality, features & manufacturing techniques are second to none. While in the end, finding the right flute for the player is purely personal preference, I believe the Avanti should be on anyone and everyone's list of flutes to try.
For this reason, through the store that I work for, we offer a 100% Risk Free Trial. We are SO confident that these are great flutes, that (inside the continental USA) we will pay for all the shipping to you, and if for any reason you decide that it is not the flute for you, we will pay ALL the shipping back!
This means that if you don't keep the flute, you are not out a dime!
If you have any further questions about the Avanti flutes or any other instruments, please feel free to contact me direct through either the company.