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Suggestions Before Trying Headjoints



Think about this general advice before trying new headjoints:

Make a wish list of all the qualities you would like to have in a new, improved headjoint.  Also include the qualities you most like about your present headjoint.

Don't practice on your old headjoint for any length of time before starting out to try new headjoints.

Bring along your old headjoint as a reference for comparison.

Always play the headjoints being evaluated on your own flute body.

Bring along another pair of ears, preferably a person whose musical judgement you respect. Have this person listen up close and at a distance when comparing headjoints. If the headjoint is correctly made and matched to the player, it will more than likely sound as good from far away as it does close.

To make your comparison, choose a short musical selection that comprises all of the elements that put a headjoint to the test. Play this selection on your headjoint first, then try it on each headjoint to be compared. It is interesting to note that often there is a greater perceived difference between headjoints to the player than to the listener. This is especially true of silver compared to gold headjoints. Please note that each headjoint to be tried should have its lip plate cleaned with alcohol.

It is important that a new headjoint produces all registers evenly and easily, especially in the low register. If, after a few minutes of trying, you still have trouble focusing the tone, that headjoint is probably not for you. It is similar to buying a new pair of shoes: if they do not feel good in a few minutes, they will, more than likely, not "wear-in." Ask yourself how comfortable the headjoint feels against your chin, lips, and facial muscles. A well matched headjoint should meld with you without introducing any stress.

Test how rapidly and clearly you can articulate, especially in the low register.

Test to see how loudly you can play in the low register and how softly you can play in the third octave. Then, try the reverse.

Test for middle register break-up. Play as loudly and cleanly as you can to hear at what level of intensity the sound cracks. Listen also for stuffiness on certain notes in this same register.

Test note to note and octave to octave for tuning and timbre consistency. A suitable headjoint can make it easier to lip up or down for pitch regulation. Additionally, a properly made headjoint can help a flute play more in tune with itself and other instruments.

Listen for embouchure hiss and compare how this extraneous sound varies from headjoint to headjoint. All headjoints to some extent have this noise; however, some project it less than others.

Try the headjoint in a dead to neutral acoustical environment. Remember, recital halls, when filled with listeners, lose much of their live reverberant quality.

All headjoints, to some extent, are one of a kind. When you have found the headjoint you want, that should be the one that you take. If it's only a sample or is already sold, you should try the substitute all over again before paying for it. It may very well be what you want, yet because it's an entirely new entity, it requires careful re-evaluation. Remember, a maker's quality is only as good as the particular headjoint delivered to you. To assure the unique individuality of every Drelinger headjoint, each is engraved with own individual serial number to confirm its identity.