Low B Cherry flute with Badger block



Earth Spirit flutes

This series of flutes comprises the larger style, low-keyed NAFs made in Red and Yellow Cedars or the lighter hardwoods such as Cherry and Lime, or spalted woods such as Walnut and Beech. They can be lathe-turned or hand-shaped, plain finished or decorated in any of the standard ways. The essence of these instruments, however, is to
be relaxing to play, and produce deep haunting melodic sounds. Traditionally, bass flutes have often been side blown to help the fingering positions, and needed a lot of air blown through them. However, after a lot of development work on air flow systems and voice box design, all SVF bass flutes are now end blown and respond to very gentle breath, and have close, easy-to-play, playing holes, while retaining the rich resonant voice expected of such flutes.



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American Red Elm, low Bm with cherry mouthpiece; close finger holes, very responsive, and an unusual voicing system accentuating the sort of sound that only Elm flutes can give. Designed for recording.

The flue channel and ramping system beneath the block is carefully designed to keep the notes stable (particularly the fundamental) and reduce the risk of 'breaking' to the higher octave. The voicing of these flutes is something I have spent a lot of time on. Based on my studies of organ pipe voicing, I now make some bass flutes with score lines (called 'nicking') on the floor of the flue channel; this dramatically increases the resonance of these flutes, and gives an altogether different quality to the normal clear-note voice of SVF bass flutes. One flute on its own can now produce a wide range of voices from clear-note (with a lot a high frequencies in it) to deep and breathy (where the ear hears far more low frequencies), depending simply on how far the block is drawn back from the rear edge of the sound hole. The responsiveness of these flutes is remarkable; even though the sound hole is wide (giving good volume), the notes do not suddenly 'cut off' when the breath is light (which can be a problem in NA bass flutes) so they can be played with enormous expression, and make good concert flutes (click image opposite). For those who want even more versatility from such a flute, I also make these instruments with interchangeable ebony flue floors, which can also be adjusted forwards or backwards relative to the back of the sound hole giving a huge range of voicing options.
Low B NA flute in concert

A client and good friend playing the Seal flute at Black Swan Folk Club in York


low B Native American bass flute

A custom low B bass flute in English Lime, a wonderfully resonant yet lightweight and durable wood. Offset playing holes, a nicked languid and twin upper chambers make this a flute for recording, playing quietly inside or loudly outside. (Click image to enlarge)

seal head totem block


The accents on this flute are all about the metamorphosis and transfiguration of the human form. The Green Man is a powerful symbol of the fusion with nature, while the young common seal, which forms the basis of the Selkie myths and stories, is shown just starting to change to its deeper bluey-grey adult colours. (Click image to enlarge)

These flutes are available in keys from low A to D. To ensure that all SVF flutes are easy to play, each one is custom-made to fit the player's hands; this is particularly important with bass flutes.

Please also see the Custom flutes page for a rather special low C sharp flute!....



Please feel free to call or email if you would like any more details on the above flute range.

 The Owlhouse • Milford • Surrey • UK • dc@secondvoiceflutes.co.uk

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