Drelinger Headjoint
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Why Choose Drelinger?

Over the years, Drelinger Optikut® headjoints have earned the most significant measure of success—overwhelming customer satisfaction. As the stream of virtually endless testimonials reveals (click here to view comments from flutists), Drelinger headjoints have universally met or exceeded the demands of the most diversified and demanding flutists.

Part of the reason for this popularity is Drelinger’s patented one piece lip plate assembly and exclusive non-destructive fitting method, named Perfect-MatchTM. Another is the availability of an extraordinary variety of models offered in several unique patented lip plate stylesand a large precious metal assortment of silver, gold, platinum, and Drelinger’s proprietary Karritium®.

Karritium® may very well be considered the most appealing precious metal, as it has proved to combine the acoustical benefits of gold and silver in one solid metal.


The best of all reasons
Mr. Drelinger works with you personally


Each of us must get the right headjoint to make beautiful music. If you don’t, you may have to work harder to compensate for the mismatch. Understanding the criticality of headjoint selection, Mr. Drelinger personally works with every flutist in his workshop near New York City and in several other cities throughout the United States. Like the optometrist fitting eyeglasses, Mr. Drelinger helps you choose the right headjoint, usually in a single tryout session. A description of how he works and detailed information about headjoints is provided within the accompanying Headjoint Buying Guide and Q & A.

Pictured here, Sanford (Sandy) Drelinger handmakes his headjoints from the very beginning through the final voicing and engraving process. Each headjoint bears the Drelinger registered trademark and a one of a kind number. Mr. Drelinger has specialized in the design and making of headjoints for over 40 years. He is credited with having established headjoint making as an expertise totally separate from flute making. To date Mr. Drelinger has been awarded three patents for his headjoint designs. His ongoing headjoint Q & A series in flute magazines is regarded internationally as the most comprehensive and authoritative source on the subject.

Mr. Drelinger is also a flutist, having studied at the Juilliard School of Music. Drelinger’s credo in making headjoints is: "science and engineering bring me from nowhere to almost. From there on, art takes me the rest of the way."

Drelinger Headjoint Company is constantly involved in the research and development of headjoints. Our ongoing work is never ending and when it reaches a significant step forward in improvement of an existing design or the creation of an entirely new concept we introduce it as part of our ever expanding variety of headjoints.


Drelinger’s research during the early 1980s demonstrated that blow edge shape and material has a profound effect on modern headjoint performance. This was authoritively recognized when Drelinger was awarded a US patent for this as an invention. Since its introduction literally thousands of Drelinger headjoints have been sold incorporating the Platinum Air Reed™ and Gold Air Reed™ technology. And most recently the Grain Oriented Wood Air-Reed™
Sandy Drelinger (left) discusses blow-edge technology with Albert Cooper (right) at a flute show display circa mid 1980s.
Sandy Drelinger (left) discusses blow-edge technology with Albert Cooper (right) at a flute show display circa mid 1980s.


What Is the difference between a conventional headjoint design and Drelinger's patented Optikut®? The lip plate cross-sections shown here are a conventional modern headjoint (a) compared to Drelinger's patented Optikut headjoint (b). The arrows in the conventional cross-section show two solder joints connecting the three parts of the voicing structure. Compare this to the Drelinger cross-section which has no solder joints in the voicing structure. Its lip plate, chimney, and section containing the undercuts and overcuts are one seamless piece.

The overcuts and undercuts of the Optikut® are contoured in a continuous uninterrupted, solder-joint-free path, allowing the smoothest flow of air. The arrow shows the entire one-piece lip plate assembly soldered to the headjoint tube at a single acoustically non-critical point.

What is Drelinger’s exclusive non-stretch fitting process named Perfect-MatchTM ? Slightly loose headjoints are fitted using burnishers or other stretching tools. Often these tools are used to extremes, permanently enlarging and distorting the tenon’s wall and bore. After this occurs, the headjoint may not play as well as it did.

Now this problem has been solved by Drelinger’s proprietary Perfect-Match
TM technology.

TM eliminates the need for bore and wall stretching by the use of turbo-spinning which adds metal to the outside of the headjoint tenon. Perfect-MatchTM is available exclusively with Drelinger Optikut® headjoints. There is no extra cost for fitting our headjoints to your flute body using Perfect-MatchTM.

When I purchase a Drelinger headjoint, do you need to have my flute in order to size it? No. With Perfect-MatchTM there is no need to have the customer’s flute to provide a precisely fit Drelinger headjoint.  

What is Drelinger's precious metal, Karritium® ?

Karritium Metal

It is not generally known that the traditional precious metal alloys such as sterling silver and 14 karat rose gold used to make quality headjoints and flutes are the same as those originally created for the jewelry and metal crafts industries. Since these alloys were so readily available from foundries supplying jewelry makers, they have been traditionally used by headjoint and flute makers and have proven over the years, to provide excellent acoustical results. The characteristic timbre that these traditional precious metal alloys produce has provided flutists with a defined variety of quality choices which have evolved into the status-quo.

Some years ago I asked myself if a precious metal formulation could be developed based on acoustical merit, rather than ease of availability. I did a great deal of research and development, experimenting by combining various proportions of gold and silver with other metals in search of an acoustically superior combination that would provide a timbre of extraordinary variety. The Drelinger proprietory formulation that evolved from this work came to be known as Karritium®. Unlike plated or fused topical applications of gold to silver, Karritium® is solid throughout. As you would expect, Karritium® is not easily produced, but we feel the results are worth the effort. Karritium® is, however, considerably less expensive than our gold headjoints and has found a devoted following who prefer it to all other precious metals. While Karritium® is ideal for some people, an equal number of our customers prefer traditional silver, gold and platinum. Happily, we offer all the choices.