Flute

The 10 Best Intermediate Flutes

April 2, 2020
Anne

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The 10 Best Intermediate Flutes

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You’ve learned (or are learning!) the basics and you’ve decided that the flute is your instrument of choice. Whether it’s time to upgrade or if you’re a new player who is interested in an instrument that will pass the test of time, our list of the best intermediate flutes is for you!

Before we get started with flute reviews, we’d like to make a case for supporting your local music store if you happen to have access to one.

Seeing an instrument for yourself and speaking with someone who has sound, practical knowledge to offer is an excellent way to make a choice that you’ll be happy with.

As most people find that accessing a music store is difficult – and as not all music stores carry flutes these days – buying online is the next-best thing. Luckily, there are plenty of great options to choose from and many of these come with user reviews to help you make a well-informed decision about which intermediate flute is best for your needs.

At a Glance:The Best Intermediate Flutes Reviewed

Yamaha YFL-482 Intermediate Flute Inline G B-Foot

  • Excellent quality; Sterling silver components
  • Durable, versatile design
  • Exceptional sound for an intermediate flute
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Gemeinhardt Model 30B Open Hole Flute

  • High-quality instrument with a beautiful sound
  • Power-coined keys are responsive and durable
  • Excellent tone at low and high registers
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Yamaha YFL-222 Intermediate Student Flute

  • Good balance between affordability and quality
  • Excellent tone
  • Outstanding playability
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Gemeinhardt 1SP Student Flute

  • Good-quality instrument at a lower price than an average year’s flute rental
  • Durable, quality keys with a large surface area; easy for newer players and those with small hands
  • Attractive appearance and beautiful sound
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Gemeinhardt Flute 2SP

  • Durable student flute
  • Bright, warm sound
  • Triple silver plated finish offers numerous benefits
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We’ve gone over the options and selected ten of the best intermediate flutes available online right now. You’ll notice that two manufacturers – Yamaha and Gemeinhardt – stand out. These companies have stellar reputations and their mid-range flutes offer a good combination of quality, performance, and lasting value. Most others simply don’t compare.

Ready to create your shortlist? Enjoy!

What is the best flute for an intermediate player?

A good intermediate flute meets a few very important criteria, beginning with the quality of the material used in manufacturing.

Where we mostly recommended inexpensive nickel-plated flutes in our guide to the best flutes for beginners, we looked for better-quality options to suit intermediate players.

Sterling silver plated flutes offer far better tone than nickel, but aren’t quite so nice as professional silver flutes.

In case such a flute isn’t in your budget, we suggest settling for the best beginner flute you can afford and replacing the head joint with at least a silver-plated one.

This is a compromise – but it’ll make a world of difference in your playing while giving you some time to save up for the instrument you really want.

In deciding which instruments to include on our list of the best intermediate flutes, we’ve paid careful attention to certain features:

  • Overall quality of the instrument
  • Manufacturer’s reputation
  • Instrument lifespan
  • Quality of the case
  • Pad quality
  • Quality of sound and purity of tone

If you’re a beginner who is choosing an intermediate flute, please note that we recommend closed hole flutes for beginners simply because they’re easier to play.

Many of the flutes we recommend for intermediate players have open hole keys, which offer the advantage of fuller, richer tone.

You can get the best of both worlds by purchasing plugs to use while you’re learning the basics, and once you’re ready to progress, you can remove the plugs and work your way to the next level.

Top 10 Best Flutes for Intermediate Players

Yamaha YFL-482 Intermediate Flute Inline G B-Foot - Best Intermediate Flute Overall

Specifications:

  • Sterling silver
  • 16 keys; open style
  • Key of C
  • Padded carrying case included
  • Cleaning / care accessories included
  • Warranty: Yes

Pros:

  • Excellent quality; Sterling silver components
  • Durable, versatile design
  • Exceptional sound for an intermediate flute
  • Tested and hand-adjusted by Yamaha prior to delivery

Cons:

  • Priced higher than many competing options

For intermediate players who are ready to step into an instrument designed to stand the test of time, the Yamaha YFL-482 intermediate flute is likely to please.

This flute features sterling silver components for crystal-clear purity of tone, and its features – including upgraded pads and a newly redesigned offset G – certainly bridges the gap between lower-end Yamaha flutes and professional Yamaha flutes in the 500 series.

Stainless steel rods add strength and durability while greatly reducing the likelihood of corrosion. The B foot joint includes a Gizmo key for crisp, clear high C notes.

While this flute isn’t recommended for beginners (partly because it’s not priced for someone who isn’t sure that flute is right for them), newer players and those who aren’t comfortable with the open hole keys can easily add plugs.

When played with keys open though, this flute offers exceptional warmth, richness, and volume. If you’re ready to take your playing to the next level, you may very well want to give this instrument a place on your shortlist.

Gemeinhardt Model 30B Open Hole Flute – Best Affordable Intermediate Flute

Specifications:

  • Triple coated silver-plated finish
  • 16 keys; open style
  • Key of C
  • Padded carrying case included
  • Cleaning / care accessories included
  • Warranty: Yes

Pros:

  • High-quality instrument with a beautiful sound
  • Power-coined keys are responsive and durable
  • Excellent tone at low and high registers
  • Well suited to use in pit orchestras and more

Cons:

  • No split E key; however high E sounds good without it on this model

A very nice step up for intermediate players, the Gemeinhardt model 30B open hole flute offers a warm, rich tone with plenty of volume and intensity.

A specially designed embouchure adds to its overall quality and playability. Power-coined keys with pad cups make for confident performances, and the four-post footjoint design adds to its overall durability.

This flute is equipped with Gemieinhardt’s B footjoint, which features a high C facilitator – also known as a Gizmo key. A well-padded hard case is included, along with a chromatic tuner, an anti-tarnish strip, and a set of silicone plugs.

While this really isn’t the best flute for beginners, it can still accommodate new players who are willing to add plugs to the key holes. Longevity is a major benefit; this instrument has a good reputation for outliving the manufacturer warranty when properly treated, serviced, and stored.

Yamaha YFL-222 Intermediate Student Flute

Specifications:

  • Silver-plated finish
  • Nickel-silver headjoint
  • 16 keys; closed style
  • Key of C
  • Padded carrying case included
  • Cleaning / care accessories included
  • Warranty: Yes

Pros:

  • Good balance between affordability and quality
  • Excellent tone
  • Outstanding playability
  • Yamaha’s signature screw resistance inserts help prevent screws from loosening over time; less adjustment required

Cons:

  • No handle on the hard case (the soft case that it fits into does have a handle)

The Yamaha YFL-222 Intermediate Student flute offers an outstanding combination of durability and performance. Sixteen power-forged, closed-hole keys make this a great beginner’s flute but might not satisfy intermediate players who want to progress to an open-hole design.

This flute features a CY headjoint with a double flare taper and an undercut embouchure that contributes to its warmth and richness. Neoprene key bumpers add longevity, outlasting cork bumpers.

The silver finish contributes to this flute’s pleasing sound, and will develop a lovely patina over time, which is something you just won’t get with a nickel-plated flute. Accessories are included – you even get a padded carrying case with a convenient shoulder strap.

Gemeinhardt 1SP Student Flute

Specifications:

  • Silver-plated finish
  • Nickel-silver headjoint
  • 16 keys; closed style
  • Key of C
  • Padded carrying case included
  • Cleaning / care accessories included
  • Warranty: Yes

Pros:

  • Good-quality instrument at a lower price than an average year’s flute rental
  • Durable, quality keys with a large surface area; easy for newer players and those with small hands
  • Attractive appearance and beautiful sound
  • Beginner-friendly design includes an ergonomic offset G key

Cons:

  • Comes with a soft-sided case rather than a hard case

The Gemeinhardt 1SP student flute sounds marvelous despite being of somewhat lower overall quality than higher-end flutes from the same manufacturer.

Like other entry-level intermediate flutes, this instrument features closed hole keys. Overall, it is a good choice for beginners who are looking for an affordable option that will serve them well until they’re able to step into a better-quality flute.

This flute offers a beautiful silver finish that will develop a patina as time passes, and that contributes to its pleasant sound. While it is a step down from the Gemeinhardt 2SP, it is marketed as a good choice for middle school and high school students who need an affordable flute that will last for at least a few years.

It definitely bridges the gap between cheap beginner flutes and better-quality instruments built to serve the needs of beginning and intermediate players.

Gemeinhardt Flute 2SP

Specifications:

  • Triple coated silver-plated finish
  • Cupronickel body
  • 16 keys; closed style
  • Key of C
  • Padded carrying case included
  • Cleaning / care accessories included
  • Warranty: Yes

Pros:

  • Durable student flute
  • Bright, warm sound
  • Triple silver plated finish offers numerous benefits
  • Closed-hole design suits beginners as well as many intermediate players

Cons:

  • May require adjustment more frequently than some pricier options

The Gemeinhardt 2SP flute is a very nice step up from a cheap entry-level instrument. The triple silver plating contributes to the flute’s beautifully clear, resonant tone, and it offers greater durability than either a nickel plating or standard sterling silver plating.

While the silver plating may exhibit wear over time, it will last far longer if the flute is polished after each practice session or performance.

Stainless steel springs contribute to tight, decisive action. It’s worth noting here that to players who have only experienced lower-end flutes, the feeling might seem overly stiff at first.

This is simply something to become accustomed to; when you’re looking at mid-range flutes at the lower end of the pricing spectrum, you’ll find that manufacturers tend to err on the side of caution when planning for long-term durability.

It’s certainly a smart move on their part as flutes of this caliber are typically purchased for middle schoolers and high schoolers who tend to be a little harder on their instruments.

The 2SP flute from Gemeinhardt is particularly well-suited to beginners, as it features closed holes rather than an open hole design. At the same time, the sound quality is good enough to please intermediate students who want a flute that encourages the best possible performance. All in all, it brings quality and value together into one reliable package.

Gemeinhardt 30BGLP Offset Flute with Gold Lip Plate

Specifications:

  • Triple coated silver-plated finish
  • Gold lip plate
  • 16 keys; open style
  • Key of C
  • Padded carrying case included
  • Cleaning / care accessories included
  • Warranty: Yes

Pros:

  • High-quality flute with a beautiful sound
  • Unique appearance
  • Play with keys open or closed
  • Gold plate prevents “black lip”
  • Gizmo key makes high C notes sound crisp, clear, and bright

Cons:

  • No cleaning cloth included; be sure to purchase separately

Intermediate players who want something just a little different might like the Gemeinhardt 30BGLP flute.

It’s ideal for those with nickel allergies and unlike some flutes with silver embouchures, it won’t leave black marks on the player’s lips.

Like its close cousin, the 30B, this is an outstanding step up from a beginner flute. Rich, warm, sound, outstanding durability, and a reputation for longevity make this an outstanding choice.

Besides serving a practical purpose, the gold lip plate adds visual appeal to the overall design. Just like the 30B, it is fitted with a B footjoint with a high C facilitator.

A high-quality hard case protects the instrument during storage and transportation, and silicone plugs are included for those who prefer to play with holes closed rather than open. Extras include an anti-tarnish strip and a cleaning rod, along with a soft French-style outer case for easier carrying.

Gemeinhardt 3B GLP Flute 50 Series

Specifications:

  • Silver-plated finish
  • Gold lip plate
  • 16 holes; open hole design
  • Key of C
  • Padded carrying case included
  • Cleaning / care accessories included
  • Warranty: Yes

Pros:

  • Good quality overall
  • Responsive feel
  • Gold lip plate is suitable for players with nickel allergies
  • Beautiful sound
  • Attractive appearance

Cons:

  • Shorter warranty than some other options

Quality performance, great looks, and relative affordability are key factors that contributed to our decision to include the Gemeinhardt 3B GLP 50 Series on our list of the best intermediate flutes. Beautifully finished with sterling silver that contributes to its sweet, lively sound, this flute polishes up to a gorgeous shine.

A gold lip plate helps prevent breakouts in players with nickel allergies while also preventing the black marks that can appear on the lips when playing a flute with a silver embouchure. The open-hole design lets intermediate players work toward enhancing their skills further; at the same time, included silicone plugs allow beginners to play with ease.

This flute does come with a hard-sided French style plastic carrying case with a zippered outer case cover. While it’s not quite so nice as the case you’d receive with some competing models, it is certainly more than adequate and will protect the instrument during transport and storage.

A cleaning rod, anti-tarnishing cloth, and maintenance manual are all included. It’s a good idea to purchase a cleaning cloth separately as this isn’t part of the package.

Gemeinhardt 30SHB Intermediate Flute with Gold-Plated Lip Plate

Specifications:

  • Silver-plated body
  • Solid silver headjoint
  • Gold-plated lip plate
  • 16 keys; open hole style
  • Key of C
  • Padded carrying case included
  • Cleaning / care accessories included
  • Warranty: Yes

Pros:

  • Exceptional quality at an intermediate price
  • Incredible sound; colorful tone
  • Highly responsive
  • Bridges the gap between intermediate and professional flutes

Cons:

  • Higher price point

For middle school and high school students who want an instrument that will last into their college years and beyond, the Gemeinhardt 30SHB flute is an outstanding choice.

With a solid silver headjoint that contributes exquisite clarity of tone, it features an open-hole design and a silver-plated body with a B footjoint. The footjoint features a Gizmo key for bright, clear high C notes.

This flute boasts a gold-plated lip plate that mitigates common issues including “black lip” and irritation caused by contact with nickel. Professional-grade pads offer worry-free performance and a reliable airtight seal, while the stainless steel springs provide corrosion-free durability. A set of silicone plugs is included, along with a French-style carrying case, a cleaning rod, and an anti-tarnish strip.

The Gemeinhardt 30SHB does represent a higher initial investment than some other designs, however it offers exceptional performance. If you’re looking for a flute that will easily carry you (or your child) to the next level, this one is worth serious consideration.

Gemeinhardt Model 3 Flute with C Footjoint and inline G

Specifications:

  • Silver-plated finish
  • 16 keys; open hole design
  • Key of C
  • Padded carrying case included
  • Cleaning / care accessories included
  • Warranty: Yes

Pros:

  • Quality craftsmanship
  • Moderate pricing
  • Superb sound
  • C foot can easily be swapped out for B foot if preferred

Cons:

  • No gizmo key on the C foot joint

Not concerned about having a Gizmo key? Looking for an intermediate flute with a slightly shorter length overall, but with the richness achieved only via open keys? If so, the Gemeinhardt Model 3 with a C footjoint and an inline G might be the ideal option.

This is an outstanding student flute for intermediate players, and at an attractive, affordable price point. It’s a bit lighter and easier to hold than a flute with a B foot, however those who prefer the B foot can purchase one and swap out as desired.

The Gemeinhardt Model 3 flute offers a gorgeous, bright sound that lends itself beautifully to wind ensembles, orchestral use, marching band, and simply playing for the pure enjoyment of it! Overall, this is a fantastic flute that’s a very nice step up from a beginner’s instrument. A case and a cleaning rod are included.

Cecilio Premium Silver Plated Open Hole C Flute with Italian Pads – Low Budget Alternative

Specifications:

  • Silver-plated finish
  • Cupronickel body
  • 16 keys; open hole design
  • Key of C
  • Padded carrying case included
  • Cleaning / care accessories included
  • Warranty: Yes

Pros:

  • Good sound
  • Very low cost
  • Nice extras included

Cons:

  • Less durable than higher-end models

Tight budget? Need an open hole flute? The Cecilio Premium Silver Plated C flute will carry you through until you can spend more on a higher-quality instrument.

This flute covers all the bases, with an open-hole 16-key configuration, a silver-plated finish that contributes to an attractive appearance and a pleasing sound, and it comes with everything you need to get started, including a stand, a padded case, a cleaning rod, and a cleaning cloth.

Final Thoughts

While you’ll pay quite a bit more for an intermediate flute, the difference between these instruments and even the very best beginners flutes is night and day.

For most players who plan to use their flutes in marching band, orchestra, or a wind ensemble, an intermediate flute offers the ideal combination of excellent sound and reasonable pricing.

If price isn’t much of a concern for you, do take a closer look at professional flutes, which extend your range, offer even better clarity, and offer exceptional precision for the best performance possible.

We’d like to offer one more piece of encouragement: If you’re currently playing a closed hole flute and you’d like to transition to a flute with open hole keys, go for it!

Quality silicone plugs let you experience the best of both worlds and you can work your way up by removing just one plug at a time until you’ve got the strength to play with all holes open.

We hope that our reviews help you find the best intermediate flute for your needs – one that you’ll enjoy playing, and that will help you achieve even greater musical heights!

Anne

Since age 3, Anne has had a passion for music. Piano may be her first love, but she enjoys singing, too! She plays a few different instruments and can sometimes be found strumming a ukulele, mandolin, or guitar for the fun of it.
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