Best Professional Flutes Reviewed in Detail

5 Outstanding Professional Flutes – High Quality Instrument and Sound

29 Models Considered
54 Hours of Research
5 Experts Interviewed
155 Reviews Analyzed

A high-quality flute is a necessary investment for someone hoping to play professionally. The best professional flute is made of top-quality materials and are usually handmade rather than mass produced in a factory. The springs are a lot more precise and they’re generally capable faster, more consistent performance. All professional concert flutes have open holes, which can be difficult for a beginner to learn. Other professional flutes, such as piccolos and alto flutes, aren’t ideal for someone just starting to play.

If you’re ready to upgrade from your intermediate flute, you’re in the right place. There are several important features to consider when upgrading to a professional flute. Sterling silver is preferred because it’s durable and helps produce quality tones. An open hole design is essential for concert flutes but special flutes, like an alto or piccolo, usually have closed holes. It’s also really important to consider the warranty. These instruments really are an investment and the longer the coverage, the better.

Top 5 Professional Flutes Review 2019

To put together this review, we spent hours researching different brands and types of flutes. Then, we analyzed information from manufacturers and professional musicians as well as comments and reviews from people who use these flutes professionally or otherwise. The first thing you’ll find is a chart where you can easily compare all of our choices, side by side. Next are detailed reviews of each product followed by an in-depth buying guide to help you figure out the best professional flute for you and your needs.

Editor’s Choice

Made of sterling silver this professional flute with a bright sound has a B footjoint and a pointed key arm

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9.8
Best Open Hole Professional Flute

Great C-key flute has a wide rib construction and split E mechanism with gizmo key

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9.7
Best Alto Professional Flute

Elegant and brightly sounding alto flute made of nickel silver with a sterling silver headjoint

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9.4
Best Piccolo Professional Flute

Compcat instrument – piccolo flute made of grenaditte wood with silver plated split E mechanism

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9.3
Budget Pick

Moderately priced sterling silver professional flute with unbleached treated pads and an offset G jey

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9.1
1.

Yamaha 677HEditor’s Choice

Features
  • Keys: C, offset G
  • Metal: sterling silver
  • Hole: open
  • Warranty: 1-year limited

More features: E mechanism, pointed key arm, B footjoint, case and cloth included

VIEW ON AMAZON

Our Editor’s Choice for best all-around professional flute is the Yamaha 677H. Yamaha is one of the best-known flute brands in the world and is known for their quality and impressive designs. The 677H is no exception. Not only does it deliver deep, robust tones but it also looks amazing.

This is an ideal choice for a musician that’s ready to move on from an intermediate flute to something with a bit of a professional edge. It features and open key design, French-style key arrangement, and Straubinger Phoenix Pads for a better seal and faster responses. This key style is perfect for advanced players and built to handle the music on the level of a professional musician.

The body, headjoint, and footjoint are plated with sterling silver for a uniform look and reliable tone. They also used a special finishing technique called annealing. This process involves heating the outer surface which creates a more durable surface. To keep it protected, a hard-shell case with cutouts to for the main body, headjoint, and footjoint is included. You also get a cover and cleaning rod.

This is a great step up from an intermediate flute and, although it’s not one of brand’s top-of-the-line models, it’s much more affordable than high-end models and delivers a professional level sound.

Pros
  • Well-known, trusted brand
  • Open key design
  • French-style key arrangement
  • Straubinger Phoenix Pads
  • Offset-G
  • Sterling silver plating
  • Annealed treatment for durability and shine
  • Hard-shell case, cover, and cleaning rod included
Cons
  • Not one of Yamaha’s high-end models
  • A bit pricey
2.

Azumi AZ3Best Open Hole Professional Flute

Features
  • Keys: C, offset G
  • Metal: sterling silver
  • Hole: open
  • Warranty: 3-year limited

More features: split E mechanism, gizmo key, wide rib construction, case and cover included

VIEW ON AMAZON

Next up is the Azumi AZ3, a great choice for anyone aspiring to play professionally. It responds quickly and effectively when going from low to high tones and is a good fit for a band, orchestra, or jazz ensemble. It’s a good choice for professionals or amateurs who are ready to take their talent to the next level.
The thing that really stands out about this flute is the Z-cut headjoint, a feature of all Azumi flutes. It responds quickly and easily and produces a rich, full sound in all three registers. The embouchure hole is fairly rectangular which gives the player a lot of control. The sound is responsive and clean and it allows for crisp articulation.

Pointed key arms give this flute a refined, elegant look while improving key strength and helping the pads wear evenly. Open hole keys give the player a lot of control. It includes an offset-G, C-sharp trill key, gizmo key, and a B-footjoint as well as a French case and cover. That’s not all, both the headjoint and body are made of sterling silver which gives this flute a deep, warm sound. User have little to no complaints about this flute. In fact, they’re amazed that a flute with a sterling silver body is available at this price point.

Pros
  • Z-cut headjoint
  • Quick response across all 3 registers
  • Rectangular embouchure
  • Pointed key arms
  • Open hole
  • Offset-G
  • Sterling silver headjoint and body at a great price
Cons
  • Users had few complaints about this flute
3.

Jupiter 519SBest Alto Professional Flute

Features
  • Keys: G
  • Wood: grenaditte
  • Hole: closed
  • Warranty: 3-year limited

More features: silver plated E-mechanism, pinless construction, omni synthetic pads, case and cover included

VIEW ON AMAZON

The best piccolo we found in our research is the Pearl PFP-165E. Piccolos are the smallest member of the Western flute family and have the highest pitch with a range that’s an octave above a concert flute. Because piccolos are so small, they’re sometimes difficult to tune which is why it’s so important to use a high-quality instrument.

The Pearl PFP-165E features a Grenadilla wood headjoint and a Grenadilla wood composite body. This is the same wood that’s used to make clarinets and oboes. It’s a hard, durable, oily black wood that’s uniquely suited to manufacturing woodwinds. As we said, this model uses composite for the body. It’s called Grenaditte and was developed by Pearl. Not only does it have a warm tone, it’s also impervious to temperature and humidity. It’s exceptionally durable and tolerates different environments without a change in tone.

This piccolo features Omni synthetic pads that are durable and responsive. It also has a pinless mechanism and one-piece core bar developed by Pearl for smooth, continuous key movement and fast, precise movement. A case and padded case cover are also included.

Users had few complaints about this flute. In fact, most were very impressed by its performance, especially the ease of play and consistent performance across all registers.

Pros
  • Grenadilla wood headjoint
  • Grenaditte composite body
  • Body is impervious to humidity and temperature
  • Omni synthetic pads
  • Pinless mechanism
  • One-piece core bar
  • Smooth, precise movement
  • Case and padded cover included
Cons
  • Users had few complaints about this flute
4.

Pearl PFP-165EBest Piccolo Professional Flute

Features
  • Keys: G
  • Wood: grenaditte
  • Hole: closed
  • Warranty: 3-year limited

More features: silver plated E-mechanism, pinless construction, omni synthetic pads, case and cover included

VIEW ON AMAZON

The best piccolo we found in our research is the Pearl PFP-165E. Piccolos are the smallest member of the Western flute family and have the highest pitch with a range that’s an octave above a concert flute. Because piccolos are so small, they’re sometimes difficult to tune which is why it’s so important to use a high-quality instrument.

The Pearl PFP-165E features a Grenadilla wood headjoint and a Grenadilla wood composite body. This is the same wood that’s used to make clarinets and oboes. It’s a hard, durable, oily black wood that’s uniquely suited to manufacturing woodwinds. As we said, this model uses composite for the body. It’s called Grenaditte and was developed by Pearl. Not only does it have a warm tone, it’s also impervious to temperature and humidity. It’s exceptionally durable and tolerates different environments without a change in tone.

This piccolo features Omni synthetic pads that are durable and responsive. It also has a pinless mechanism and one-piece core bar developed by Pearl for smooth, continuous key movement and fast, precise movement. A case and padded case cover are also included.

Users had few complaints about this flute. In fact, most were very impressed by its performance, especially the ease of play and consistent performance across all registers.

Pros
  • Grenadilla wood headjoint
  • Grenaditte composite body
  • Body is impervious to humidity and temperature
  • Omni synthetic pads
  • Pinless mechanism
  • One-piece core bar
  • Smooth, precise movement
  • Case and padded cover included
Cons
  • Users had few complaints about this flute
5.

Gemeinhardt 33OSBBudget Pick

Features
  • Keys: C, offset G, A
  • Metal: sterling silver
  • Hole: open
  • Warranty: 5-year limited

More features: treated unbleached pads, case and cover included

VIEW ON AMAZON

Our budget pick is the Gemeinhardt 33OSB, a hand assembled design finished by experienced artisans. The result is a gorgeous, high-quality concert flute that’s surprisingly affordable. It features a sterling silver headjoint, body, and footjoint which contributes to the quality of the sound.

The French-style open keys are silver plated and give the player a lot of control. Plus, the springs are made of 12 karat white gold which are responsive and exceptionally durable. The offset-G makes for a more natural hand position, especially for players with small hands who may be uncomfortable with an inline. It also features a split E which some players prefer well as a gizmo key which helps hit a high C more accurately.

This model also has unbleached professional pads and a heavier crown which produces a dark, rich tone. That said, heavier crowns can cause a slower reaction in the headjoint which can take some getting used to. This flute includes a case with cover for safe storage and travel and a wooden cleaning rod. Overall, this is a great buy. Users had few complaints and it’s a well-made instrument with quality sound.

Pros
  • Hand assembled
  • Sterling silver headjoint, body, and footjoint
  • Silver-plated keys
  • 12K white gold springs
  • Offset-G
  • Unbleached professional pads
  • Heavier crown
  • Case and cover included
  • Wooden cleaning rod included
Cons
  • Some players may not like the heavier crown as it slows headjoint reaction time
  • Users had few complaints about this flute

Buying Guide

When it’s time to take your talent to the next level, buying the right professional flute can help you get there. Here’s what you need to know before you shop so you can feel confident you’re getting the right instrument for you.

Why do you need to upgrade to professional flute?

professional flute

If you’re a professional musician or hoping to be one, chances are you spend a lot more time practicing and performing than a hobbyist or student. Professional flutes are made of higher-quality materials that last a long time and can tolerate a lot of use.

The springs, key arms, pads, and keys are all made of better materials, too. That means they’re more precise and function quickly and smoothly. This is really important when you’re playing complicated music and need an instrument that can keep up and sound amazing across all registers.

Price tag

The prices on these flutes vary a lot. They’re all more expensive than a beginner or intermediate flute but how much you’ll pay really depends on what you’re looking for. Expect a high-quality professional flute to cost anywhere from $2,000 to $3,000.

Features to consider while buying the best professional flute

If you’re thinking about upgrading to a professional flute, it’s important to know what to look for when you shop. There are several important things to keep in mind when deciding which is the right flute for you.

Metal

The metal that a flute is made of affects the sound and tone but, more importantly, it affects the price tag. Professional concert flutes are usually made of sterling silver or a lower-quality metal with sterling silver plating. Piccolos are an exception as they’re made of wood or specialized laminates.

If you’re considering a professional flute, it really doesn’t make sense to skimp on material. It’s one of the most important factors in sound quality and durability. There are a lot of great options available, too, at various price points.

Headjoints

Headjoint of the flute

The headjoint is the top portion of the flute. It contains the embouchure and attaches to the body of the flute. If you can’t afford a flute with a sterling silver body or footjoint, make sure you invest in one with a high-quality headjoint. The right headjoint can drastically improve the responsiveness and quality of sound. Handcrafted ones are better than those mass produced in a factory.

Choose open holes

If you’re considering a professional concert flute, make sure you get one with open keys. Beginner and intermediate flutes often have closed keys which are easier to learn on but don’t provide the same level of control of quality of sound.

That said, we included some unique products on our list that you should know about, too. The Jupiter 519S is an alto flute which has a much lower range than a concert flute. Alto flutes are considerably larger and have closed holes because it’s not possible for the player to cover open holes of this size.

Piccolos are another exception but for the opposite reason. A piccolo is so small that it would be impossible to effectively cover an open key without interfering with one on either side of it.

Footjoint

Footjoint of the flute

The footjoint is the end portion of the flute that attaches to the far end of the body. Footjoint keys are all located on the right-hand side and the player uses the pinky finger to engage them. Professional flutes often have extra keys on the footjoint to extend the bottom range to low B. Another possibility is a gizmo key which provides extra support to hit a high C accurately.

Lip plate

As the name implies, the lip plate is the part of the flute that’s held to the lip. The material of the lip plate can drastically change the tone of the instrument. Sterling silver is ideal though some professionals use lip plates made of rose gold or yellow gold which gives the flute a truly unique sound.

Flute family

Flute family

The main instrument in the flute family is the concert flute. All flute players start by learning how to master the concert flute and may choose to add another type of flute as their secondary instrument. This is something unique to the flute family. For example, saxophonists might start with a tenor, alto, or soprano sax but a professional flutist always starts by learning and mastering the concert flute.

Alto flutes have a lower, more mellow tone than higher pitched flutes. Concert flutes are always in the key of C while altos are in the key of G. The finger placement is the same on an alto flute as a concert flute but on a slightly larger scale. Alto flutes are slightly more difficult to play. Because of their size, they require more breath support which may be difficult for a new musician.

Bass flutes are rare and usually only seen in flute ensembles. They’re larger than alto flutes and require even more air. Bass flutes are only played by highly-skilled professionals as it takes a lot of talent to achieve good intonation and pitch.

One the other end of the spectrum is the piccolo, the smallest member of the flute family. It’s pitches a full octave higher than a concert flute. A lot of people assume that a piccolo is just a tiny flute but they’re actually two very different instruments. The piccolo requires a powerful airstream to hit those high notes and most beginners aren’t conditioned enough to give it the lung support it needs. It’s also tricky to play because the keys are very close together which can be challenging for a beginner.

G-keys

Flute G-keys

One of the biggest options you have when choosing a flute is the G key. An offset-G is a little easier for smaller hands because finger placement is a little more natural. Most professional flutes have an inline-G though some experienced players prefer an offset one. The bottom line? This is all about personal preference. If you have experience with one or the other and are comfortable with it, it might be best to stick with what you know.

Sound

When you play professionally, it’s important to sound good all the time. Your flute should respond when you articulate and easily switch between octaves without losing quality. Tone should be consistent across all registers and tuning should be consistent.

Warranty

Warranties are always important, especially when you’re making a big investment that’s going to affect you professionally. All of our picks are covered, though the length of the warranty varies from one model to the next. Our budget pick, the Gemeinhardt 33OSB, is covered for five years while the Yamaha 677H is covered for one, yet is proven to serve long years without any need for repairment.

FAQ

Singing in your flute is a really cool technique that’s often done in jazz, rock, and other modern music. Check out this video to see what singing into your flute sounds like and great tutorial that shows you how to do it yourself:

Adjusting the headjoint is an easy way to tune your flute. You should adjust it every time you play because there are so many factors that can affect the sound of your flute. If you’re playing flat, you can raise the pitch by pushing the headjoint in, thereby shortening the flute. Hold the body firmly above the keys and push it in as far as necessary. If you’re sharp, pull the headjoint out, lengthening the flute. Never push or pull on the lip plate to avoid damage. You might need to twist a bit to get the headjoint moving at first but be careful to only move it a few millimeters at a time

Our Verdict

The Yamaha 677H is our Editor’s Pick for best all-around professional flute. It delivers deep, robust tones and is a great choice for someone looking to move on from an intermediate flute. The open key design allows for more control and Straubinger Phoenix Pads provide a better seal for faster response.

Next, we recommend the Azumi AZ3. It’s a great flute at an affordable price that responds quickly when going from low to high tones. The unique Z-cut headjoint helps keep the full, rich sound consistent over all three registers and the rectangular embouchure gives the player a lot of control.

Finally, if you‘re looking for an alto flute, check out the Jupiter 519S. The silver plated, nickel body produces a rich, mellow sound. It looks great and is really durable, too. This choice for best professional flute has a curved headjoint that makes it easier to play than some other alto flutes.

9.8/10 Total Score
Yamaha 677H - Editor's Choice
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