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How good is a silver hopson flute?

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All things being equal, I would avoid Hopson as the overall quality seems to be low. The company works to make things LOOK good, bu they'd do well to save their efforts and actually make things work well. The problems start with the embrochure (hole you blow over to create sound) which seems to be poorly positioned and shaped for optimal tome. All the pretty etched designs in the world won't help that. The head joint seems very light and insubstantial, and the resultant sound is thin, pale, and whiny; it's not the full, round, resonant singing you want from a good flute. The Hopson flutes I have seen have thin keys. Every flute of theirs that I have seen so far shows defects in the shaping of the keys - ripples, dips, wrinkles, etc. - on the surfaces and edges that suggest a lack of manufacturing controls OR a failure in the sturdiness of the metal itself to withstand the pressure of fingers playing the instrument. Ordinarily, even sterling instruments may have keys of a harder metal - even harder silver - that are then plated with .925 silver. Keys should always be smooth and defect free, absent a major accident (drop, etc.). But even then, I'd expect minimal damage (scratches, maybe some bending out of position), not the blemishes and shape defects I have seen on even new Hopson flutes. I could keep on with more - the springs are not the best, in my humble opinion, especially given the price asked for the flutes. The long bars that support the key system seem to lack adequate supporting structure themselves, and they are quite flimsy. If you hold a flute with these issues around the body in the area of the keys, it's a recipe for potential disaster (and continual repair). Without the requisite sturdy toughness the flute develops air leaks, pad damage, etc. These are a problem when the flute is held at the body for assembly, adjustment, and even just playing. (I have a student who is dealing with this right now.) Given the issues with some of the new, inexpensive flutes coming into the market, I tell parents of my flute students who ask for buying advice to look for a good quality, used instrument from a reputable instrument maker like Armstrong, Bundy, Emerson, Artley, Gemeinhardt, Powell, Haynes, and the like. I encourage them to shop around, and to appreciate that the full retail price of a new instrument is a somewhat mythological figure that is rarely what is paid - like sticker prices on cars! I emphasize, too, that there are a lot of FINE older instruments that can be had for less than half the cost of a new flute, and that the quality of some of the older flutes is unsurpassed by the new. It's OK to buy from private sellers if you have some clue what you are getting into, but for most people, buying from a music store is a good idea (preferably one that works with school music programs or a lot of woodwinds). You might pay a little more for the instrument, but you won't have to pay for repairs before it is playable!

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