Whether you’re looking to play in an orchestra or just like the idea of starting to play an instrument, the flute can be a great beginning, whether for a child or an adult. As one of the most popular instruments in the world, you can pick it up regardless of skill and age, however, despite its easygoing nature, it has been known to take part in band programs, orchestras, choirs, and even jazz ensembles. You can also play a ton of different genres of music with the best beginner flute—from jazz to even rock.
The flute has various family members, from the piccolo to the E flat, from the concert to the alto and bass flutes. However, the concert flute is one of the best options for beginners. This guide can help you choose not only the best flute you’ll need depending on your skill level but also which features are best for your playing level and preference. As you get better and better, the “right” flute choice for you can easily change, so you can always check back in with this guide to stay on top of your flute game.
Top 4 Beginner Flutes Review 2020
This guide has highlighted all the features we consider important in the flute—from the instrument’s length, plating, key and holes, to the warranty information. Within this guide, we’ve laid out all the important features side-by-side with in-depth reviews, rated out the top flutes in a comparison table, take you through our buying guide, and given you a run-down of our top three choices. We hope that this guide is informative in helping you make your decision!
Yamaha YFL-221 – Editor’s Choice
- Plating: silver
- Key: C
- Holes: closed
- Warranty: 5-year limited
More features: offset G key, case included, neoprene bumpers
The Yamaha YFL-221 is rated as our top, best all-around beginner flute. Not only because of its design, with the headjoint, body, and footjoint of these Standard series flutes made out of durable nickel silver, but also because of the features and overall finish of the flute.
The Yamaha YFL-221 features neoprene bumpers, which when used instead of cork, the level of durability is raised—as well as the possibility that the maximum fit against the body can be achieved.
From the previous model, the Yamaha YFL-221 has a few more upgraded features for the beginner, including a stronger post design to prevent bending of the posts, some easily accessible adjustment screws when assembling, disassembling, and adjusting, as well as an improved adjustment screw material.
For a beginner, we know that the world of flutes can be scary—with so many different notes and finger placements—which is why we chose the Yamaha YFL-221 as one of the top flutes—since it has body marking for proper positioning of the footjoint, making it so much easier for beginners.
Overall, the Yamaha YFL-221 plays at a Yamaha Standard, making it an extremely easy go-to choice for music teachers who favor the notable open sound—although it is a closed hole type, and easy playability. This flute also comes with a case included and an offset G key.
The Yamaha YFL-221 is backed by a 5-year limited warranty.
- The silver-plated design is high-quality
- Open sound for better acoustics
- Great value and flexibility for a beginner
- Has a sort of airy sound and may need to have the keys reset
Gemeinhardt 3 – Best Open Hole Beginner Flute
- Plating: silver
- Key: C
- Holes: open
- Warranty: 5-year limited
More features: J1 head joint, offset G keys, gold plated lip plate, plugs included
The Gemeinhardt 3 is one of the best, open-hole styled flutes for beginners. If you’re interested in learning with a French-styled flute, the Gemeinhardt 3 is a great option.
With a silver-plated J1 headjoint you can get that professional styled sort of play at a beginner-style cost. You can also have an option of choosing from a choice of inline G (3) or offset G (3O).
The Gemeinhardt 3 is designed with a silver-plated body to truly get that sound you’ve been looking for but still keep the price low. With this flute, you’ll also be working with a C footjoint and is a great choice to have if you’re upgrading from your absolute beginner flute.
The Gemeinhardt 3 comes from a traditionally-recognized brand that has history and quality in its reviews. Using a finished, silver-plated, straight headjoint measured at Wall Thickness Standard of 0.016”, you can get everything you need for your first music lesson.
This flute plays with an open-hole style and C-foot option. You can even enjoy the choice between optional Inline or Offset, which makes it highly versatile.
The Gemeinhardt 3 also comes with a hard-shell, plastic case, and a plastic cleaning rod. Not only that—it also comes included with flute plugs—which eliminates that extra accessory necessity.
The Gemeinhardt 3 is backed by a 5-year warranty.
- Not only does it comes with a hard plastic case, it also comes with a cleaning glove, and instructions
- The flute is highly-responsive to fast playing—perfect for an upgrade
- It doesn’t have that high-quality, heavy feel
- It’s not completely silver
- Not for the absolute beginner because of the open keys
Selmer Prelude FL711 – Best Close Hole Beginner Flute
- Plating: silver
- Key: C
- Holes: closed
- Warranty: 1-year limited
More features: offset G key, hard case included, split E mechanism
The Conn-Selmer Prelude FL711 is a perfect choice for the ultimate beginner. We’ve even ranked it as one of the best plateau-style flutes for beginners, which helps you place it in order with other flutes on the market.
This Prelude line of instruments are built with the beginning musician in mind. Not only are the functioning features of this instrument easy to play, but it also has above standard quality set at an affordable price.
As for the features? Well, the Conn-Selmer Prelude FL711 focuses on that central sound so a student can truly hear each note and see where he or she needs to make improvements. It works with an offset G key, which normally follows the natural contour of a student’s hands. This simple detailed feature makes the Conn-Selmer Prelude FL711 a great choice for beginners since it makes playing much more comfortable.
Some other features that come in handy is the fact that it has top-adjusting screws, which make it easy to repair and adjust. The keys on a flute are normally hard to work with for beginners, but the Conn-Selmer Prelude FL711 makes it easy.
This flute, played in key C with closed holes, also has a split E mechanism which makes the third octave E natural easier to play. The Conn-Selmer Prelude FL711 is backed by a 1-year limited warranty.
- The sound and quality of the flute is consistent
- Great upgrade for beginner
- Quality craftsmanship to last way longer than 1-year warranty
- It is specifically designed for smaller hands
- Only comes backed by a 1-year warranty
Kaizer FLT-1500NK – Budget Pick
- Length: 26’’
- Plating: silver
- Key: C
- Holes: closed
- Warranty: 45-day trial, lifetime limited warranty
More features: power forged padded keys, beveled embouchure, offset G key, split E mechanism
The Kaizer Flute FLT-1500NK is not just highlighted on our guide as our budget-pick—it’s also a high-quality flute. Combining high functionality, versatility, and playability, this is a great must-have for all beginner students who don’t want to break the bank picking out a flute.
Regardless of its cheaper price, it still delivers smooth action, improved springs, and quality intonation. Some features of the Kaizer Flute FLT-1500NK include 16 closed-hole keys, an offset G with split E, a detachable foot-joint, and plateau keys. You can also see that it’s not all about a more affordable price—because it still has incredible features like a beveled embouchure and professionally-padded keys.
The Kaizer Flute FLT-1500NK also works with an offset G key to help you land that note. The entire package also includes a molded case, a maintenance kit, a cleaning rod, polishing cloth, gloves, and joint lubricant.
With a nickel-silver body and power-forged keys, you can be sure that this flute is built-to-last, especially with steel springs and adjustable screws. This budget flute can grow with you as you get better and better as a player.
Playing French-style, the flute features a high-sensitive response which makes it easy to play, as well as excellent intonation.
- The entire assembly fits together well
- Contains quality pads
- Plays a pleasant tone
- The joints can be found as a bit tight
- The G-sharp key pad may not cover the key hole entirely
Before you go on choosing a flute blindly, reading up about their features is a very important step to take—and how it will affect your playing.
In this buying guide, we’re going to let you know the various details to pay specific attention to. Just like how every note can make a difference—every feature of the flute can also have an impact on your playing experience.
Why start with the beginner flute?
Designed specifically with the beginner in mind, these types of flutes are often much easier to play, are lighter in weight, and are not as delicate when it comes to bangs and bruises.
However, if you’ve been playing for a little while, you should definitely opt for a more advanced flute—since they are often heavier like the real deal, can give off a much fuller sound, and be louder when you need it to be.
Starting with the beginner flute—especially as a beginner—means that you should really get used to the instrument, its basic anatomy, the material, and how it sounds. Another great skill that a beginner flute can teach you without having fear of breaking would be to learn how to assemble and disassemble the instrument.
When it comes to its anatomy—the head joint, body, and the foot joint—you should really familiarize yourself with these parts and how to put the instrument back together.
Another interesting fact you’ll learn about flutes is that there isn’t a mouthpiece on the instrument—just a hole.
Flute playing tips
Before you go on and struggle with learning the notes—as any beginner will do—here are a few tips to help ease that playing transition:
- Slow and steady always wins. Especially since this is a completely new instrument and experience, you will need to be patient with learning. Take it one note at a time, some of them will be easier than others. Once you’ve started to master certain note combinations, then you can increase your speed.
- Practice makes perfect. Like everything in life, not only does practice help you get better and better, repetition of the notes and song will help with fluidity—as well as confidence.
- Try melodies you like. Especially if certain traditional songs don’t interest you, there are so many melodies and tunes you can work with and try to achieve. This can help increase your enthusiasm, as well.
When it comes to techniques and various breathing tips for beginner flute players, this video can help you work through a few necessary pointers:
You’ll definitely be able to find a flute within your budget—even if you’re choosing our budget pick, the Kaizer Flute FLT-1500NK. Feel assured that you’ll still be getting quality for your money. Investing in your musical hobby, of course, is priceless—however, doesn’t have to break your bank.
Features to consider while buying the best flute for beginner
Before you choose from one of these flutes on the list blindly, consider these features:
Especially as a younger child, the arm length might not be where it should be to be able to fully play—without struggle—on a full-sized flute.
If your child or if your own arms are not big enough for a full-sized one just yet, you can opt to play on a recorder, a wooden flute or a curved head beginner flute instead.
A huge difference between a beginner-style flute and a pro one is the hole—whether it’s open or closed.
The open-hole, like the Gemeinhardt 3, is French styled, made generally for more skilled players. Especially if a child has smaller fingers, they’ll find it much more difficult to play. Beginners are often more inclined to go with the German styled flutes, like the Conn-Selmer Prelude FL711—the closed holes.
If you’re looking for the ideal flute, you should aim for one made with spot metal bodies. However, most beginner models will be designed with plastic.
For some in-between choices for beginners, you can also go with chrome, nickel, silver or wood.
If you get more and more advanced, however, you should definitely try out the flutes made out of gold or platinum.
Air leaks and keys can be a continuous problem with flutes—especially since it’s played through a sideways angle.
Each flute should have some sort of airtight seal—however, along with it, the keys should also be made out of stronger material.
If you want to get one of the strongest keys, you should aim for forged metal keys—which can bend without breakage.
Interestingly enough, flutes have foot joints. The two different types of foot joints you’ll find on beginner flutes are B and C.
The C-foot is the shorter of the two, which is pretty commonly found on beginner models, since there are only two keys. The B-foot, on the other hand, has three keys and makes it much harder to play.
All these flutes here are C-foot.
Brand does matter
Although brands are often related to quality and price, when it comes to flutes—brands normally don’t matter. Most flutes are designed with integrity and can hold throughout most of your lessons and music-playing years.
A starter flute should also come with a few accessories to complete the true “beginner’s package”. You should either look into seeing if the flute comes with extra accessories—like the Yamaha YFL-221 and its included case or look into buying it extra—making sure that it fits the flute you have.
A flutist, especially when starting from scratch, will need a hard case, grease, and polishing cloth.
With all the products on this guide, you’ll get warranties from 45-days to 1-year to five and all the way to a lifetime-limited, like the Kaizer Flute FLT-1500NK. If you’re going to be willing to make the investment, you might as well make sure that it has a warranty to back the product up.
Flute maintenance tips
Especially if you’re a beginner, you might want to gather as much information as you can before buying a flute. Taking care of an instrument is a huge responsibility as a musician.
To help you out, here are a few tips you should read through to help you care for a flute:
- First and foremost, make sure you remove all jewelry, like rings and bracelets before playing. You should also be aware of any zippers or buttons.
- Familiarize yourself with how to assemble and disassemble your flute. Especially since there are risks of it being forced out of alignment, knowing how to properly align it is helpful.
- Clean your flute after every use—even just wiping it down with a cloth can make a huge difference. When deep-cleaning, use the cleaning rod found in your case and invest in a good care kit.
- When not in use, store your flute properly in a case. This will keep it away from moisture, which can actually damage your instrument.
After reading our buying guide, if you still have questions—here are a few answers to the most frequently asked ones when it comes to a beginner flute:
If you’re on a budget or if your child is just beginning to learn to play, a used flute isn’t a bad choice—a new one is just better. Especially since most beginner flutes can get banged up pretty easily, buying a used one is a risk. If money is the issue, there are plenty of budget options, like the Kaizer Flute FLT-1500NK, which can be a great choice.
The great thing about the flute is the fact that almost anyone can learn how to play it! If you’re thinking about taking it on as your next instrument, try and focus on proper breathing techniques and breath support. This is one of the most important factors when learning how to play. Especially since a beginner player can’t actually see their finger placement (which is located on the side and not in front of them), this also might be a difficult learning curve. However, buying the proper beginner flute can make a lot of difference in his or her experience.
As we mentioned at the beginning of the article, as a player progresses, they can step up from any of these “beginner flutes”. The first factor you should try to change when going for a new sound would be to upgrade the headjoint. The material of the flute can also be upgraded to a better toned—but more fragile—material.
If you’ve skipped everything else on our guide, here are the three best beginner flutes as our top choices:
The Yamaha YFL-221 is the Editor’s Choice for best beginner’s flute because of its 9.7 rating, silver plating, and 5-year limited warranty. It also comes with a case included.
The Gemeinhardt 3 is our upgrade pick and best open-hole styled flute. Longer in length at 26”, plated in silver and also backed by a 5-year warranty, this flute comes with features like offset G keys, a gold plated lip plate, and plugs included.
The Kaizer Flute FLT-1500NK is our Budget Pick for best flute when you don’t have much wiggle room in your wallet. You can still get amazing features, like a lifetime-limited warranty, silver-plated, a beveled embouchure, and a split E mechanism, all while on a budget.
We hope that this guide has helped you pick out the best beginner flute to spark an interest in your new musical hobby!