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You’ve been playing for a while now and you’re ready to step into a professional flute. The question is, which professional flute is best for your overall needs?
It can be very confusing to decide on a new instrument, as many flutes marketed as professional models are better suited to intermediate players or even to beginners.
So, What Exactly Is A Professional Flute?
In general, any flute that is designed to meet the demands of a professional flautist is considered to be “professional.” These instruments are in a category of their own: They’re crafted of the finest materials, and most offer handmade components.
They are designed to deliver the best possible performance, whether that’s in a recording studio or in front of a live audience.
Full disclosure: Professional flutes (particularly the best ones!) are not cheap. Be very suspicious of a flute that’s marketed as a professional instrument and that’s being offered at a price well below $1,000.
Unless it’s a pre-owned model that has been fully inspected, recently serviced, and offered for sale by a reputable dealer or someone you know personally, a professional flute priced below about a thousand dollars is probably too good to be true.
Speaking of reputable dealers – if you happen to have access to a local music store with professional flutes for sale, consider patronizing them.
If, like many people, you aren’t able to shop at a brick and mortar music store, shopping online is the next best thing. Our professional flute reviews are aimed at separating the wheat from the chaff, so that you can make a well-informed buying decision and ultimately bring home an instrument that’s worthy of its title.
What Features Will You Find In The Best Entry-level Professional Flutes?
Professional flutes – even entry-level models – meet the highest standards in terms of craftsmanship. Manufacturers and custom flute builders use the finest materials available to ensure that playability and sound are second to none. In curating our list of the best professional flutes available online now, we opted mainly for those featuring entry-level pricing and we paid close attention to a few very important factors:
Solid silver construction, or at least a solid silver headjoint
Exceptional intonation and projection
Excellent quality overall
As for setup, you’ll find plenty of options, so it’s easy to get the sound and level of playability that you prefer. For example, you can easily find a professional flute with a B or C footjoint, and you have the option to choose between inline or offset G keys. Over time, you’ve come to know exactly what you prefer; don’t sell yourself short even if that means paying a bit more for a custom flute that meets your specifications!
Ready to create your shortlist? We hope that our choices help you find the best professional flute for your performance needs – or at the very least, help you through the decision-making process.
The Yamaha Professional 577H Series Flute offers a combination of warmth and brilliance thanks to its hand-finished sterling silver headjoint and its silver-plated nickel silver body. During the finishing process, Yamaha uses a proprietary annealing process on the headjoint, body, and footjoint. You’ll hear the results in this flute’s even tone.
This remarkable flute receives top marks for responsiveness throughout its entire range. It is wonderfully dynamic, with excellent clarity at low and high volumes alike.
Besides silky-smooth sound, the Yamaha Professional 577H flute offers excellent craftsmanship and attention to detail. In hand, it is wonderfully ergonomic; all mechanisms offer an effortless feel, and of course the offset G contributes to your comfort.
As this is not a solid silver flute, its price is near the lower end of the scale – still, it feels and sounds marvelous. All told, the Yamaha Professional 577H is among the best professional flutes for those on a budget.
Exquisite looks and outstanding playability in one moderately priced package: If these are among the key factors you’re looking for, then the Azumi AZ3 may be one of the best professional flutes to add to your shortlist.
This flute is solid silver and offers ample warmth. Finely crafted components lend incredibly fast action and excellent precision. The Azumi AZ3 is wonderfully responsive, with consistent tone quality throughout all octaves, and even the highest notes are easily played.
Warm, colorful tones, exceptional responsiveness, and stunning beauty make the Yamaha Professional 677H stand out. This instrument features solid silver construction with the exception of the keys, which are of sterling-plated nickel silver for enhanced durability.
In terms of feel, there’s nothing lacking. The Yamaha 677H professional flute is built to deliver wonderfully smooth performances, and every motion you make is lightning-fast.
Like other professional flutes from Yamaha, this one features annealed joints for outstanding acoustics throughout the entire range. Rich, even sound makes for memorable performances across every genre imaginable.
If you’re considering this professional flute but you prefer one with a gold-plated lip plate or in a different configuration, you’re in luck: Musician’s Friend carries a few different versions including options with and without the C# trill key.
Gemeinhardt Galway Crusader 33 Series Professional Flute
Gemeinhardt has been manufacturing flutes since the 1940s, and is among the most respected manufacturers. It’s not surprising then, that this brand is a favorite with professionals; in fact, the Galway Crusader flute showcases the popular C1 headjoint, which is based on the headjoint used by Sir James Galway when playing with the Berlin Philharmonic.
This is an astonishing instrument, with keys, head, and body available in your choice of solid sterling silver or silver-plated. All options come with sterling silver headjoints as well as risers and lip plates made with Gemeinhardt’s proprietary blend of platinum and sterling silver.
All professional Gemeinhardt flutes are hand-assembled and hand-finished, and are presented in fine cases to provide protection during transport and storage.
If you’ve never been fond of open keys, or if you’re looking for a closed key professional flute, then the Gemeinhardt 23SSB may be your ideal match. This flute is unique for its plateau keys and its low B footjoint, which allows you to enjoy a somewhat extended range.
As expected, this flute delivers exquisite tone and pure, perfect clarity. The sterling silver body provides rich, beautiful warmth, however the closed key design does detract somewhat from the flute’s ability to play at a high volume; however, for those who prefer to blend in with other orchestral voices, this may be a bonus!
Like other Gemenhardt professional flutes, this one is hand-finished and hand-assembled, with precision-crafted components designed to deliver many years of enjoyment.
In search of an affordable professional flute? Pearl’s Dolce series flute is priced about the same as an excellent intermediate model, with options to suit your unique needs. The headjoint on this flute is pure sterling silver, which adds ample warmth, while the rest of the components are silver-clad in an effort to keep prices low while providing clear, pleasant sound throughout the entire range.
In the upper register, you’ll find that notes sound crystal clear, minus any sharp, overly edgy tonality that can make for unpleasant listening. Lower notes are resonant and colorful, not at all muddy or forced.
Wonderful articulation, excellent accuracy, and stout reliability come together in this instrument, which is handcrafted by the same artisans who build higher-cost professional Pearl flutes. If budget is a primary consideration and you’d like to have some options where G and E keys are concerned, you’ll want to give this flute more than just a passing glance.
Incredible quality at a comparably affordable price: These are just two reasons to fall in love with the Brio B3 professional flute. There are five different versions of this flute available. All are fitted with solid silver Dana Sheridan series headjoints, and all provide exquisite, colorful tone with the character and richness you desire.
The 12k white gold springs make for a light, ultra-responsive feel, while the solid sterling components contribute stunning timbre with brilliance throughout the upper register and lower notes with a pleasing, mellow sound.
Inline G with C# trill
Offset G with C# trill
Offset G with E facilitator
A beautiful French-style case with a case cover is included with all available models.
Whether you prefer an inline G or an offset G with a split E, the Pearl Quantz 765 series delivers. This professional flute is made of solid sterling silver, with strong silver-plated keys poised on French pointed arms.
Stunning, fluid tone and exceptional quickness are two reasons to appreciate this masterfully crafted flute, which features Pearl’s exclusive one-piece core bar and pinless design. The special Quantz wall, named in honor of Baroque flautist and composer Johann Joachim Quantz, contributes ample depth to this flute’s rich, sweet sound.
For advanced students, hobbyists, and pros alike, the Yamaha Professional 587H series flute brings a combination of wonderful playability, desirable features, and outstanding value to the table.
This flute offers outstanding clarity throughout its entire range of octaves, with plenty of brilliance at higher registers and mellow, warm colors lower on the scale.
There are a few different options available in this series. You can choose a Yamaha Professional 587H series flute with:
C# trill, B foot, Gizmo key
C# trill, Gizmo key, Gold-plated lip plate
While moderately priced, this flute offers excellent craftsmanship and exquisite sound. Like other Yamaha professional flutes, this version has been treated to the manufacturer’s acoustic annealing process, resulting in spectacular tone.
If you prefer to shop at Amazon, you may find Yamaha Professional 587H series flutes in stock. Do compare options as well as prices, since different sites tend to feature different offers.
Longing for a sterling silver flute with a gold-plated lip plate? If so, you’ll want to take a closer look at the Yamaha Professional 687H series. These flutes are finely crafted of solid silver, with nickel-silver keys for durability and brilliant sound quality. The Straubinger Phoenix pads offer a tight seal and enhance your dexterity, allowing you to play with the lightest possible touch.
As expected, the sterling silver lends warm, rich tonality to this flute. Yamaha’s proprietary annealing process has been applied to the joints, enhancing the flute’s acoustics while assuring even, responsive tone.
You can choose a Yamaha 687H professional flute with:
C# trill key, Gizmo key, and gold-plated lip plate
C# trill key and Gizmo key
Gizmo key and gold-plated lip plate
Beautiful intonation and outstanding artistry make this flute one that you’ll enjoy playing – whether you’re a soloist or one of many instrumentalists in a larger ensemble.
When deciding which professional flutes to include in our review, we opted to go for those offered at low to moderate prices. As a seasoned instrumentalist, you may want to choose a handmade flute in 14k gold or platinum. If so, you’ll find options do exist, with some priced about the same as a new mid-range vehicle. The differences between these flutes and our choices are sometimes notable, and sometimes not so clear.
For those gasping at the prices of the professional flutes we’ve curated here, and for whom exceptional solo performances may not be a central deciding point when comparing options, we suggest checking our intermediate flute reviews. Yamaha, Gemeinhardt, and a handful of other manufacturers offer excellent flutes that are well worthy of a place on the stage, in the marching band, or in the orchestra pit!
Whether you’ve chosen one of our recommended professional flutes or if you’re making other plans, we’d like to extend our best wishes. Whichever you choose, we are certain that your musicianship will reach new heights – and that you’ll enjoy every moment of your musical journey.
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.