The wood flute has been making something of a comeback in recent years with many top brands, Powell, Sankyo, Yamaha (just to name a few) offering them as part of their product line. However, these flutes are not cheap ($6,000 – $11,000 +). In response to the cost, what invariably happens for many flutists wanting a wood flute – but not wanting to pay modern prices – is that they start shopping for used instruments and therein lies a problem.
Why? Because most of the old wood flutes floating around on the used market are either low-pitched to A-435 (Haynes for example) and/or in the key of Db. While the relatively low prices for these old flutes at first appear as bargain (even with the costs of a full overhaul factored in!), the problems of scale, pitch and tubby headjoint design, quickly take their toll on players used to modern metal instruments. One of the exceptions to the above are *some* old Rudall-Carte wood flutes pitched at A-439/440 which, because of their pitch, can be played reasonably well in modern ensembles.
Unfortunately for bargain hunters, the word is out on the old Rudall-Carte wood flutes at modern pitch with many flutists, dealers and collectors all looking everywhere for them. Consequently prices have risen for these flutes, and risen dramatically. Be advised too that there are plenty of Rudall-Cartes on the market that are not anywhere near modern pitch – stay clear of these flutes unless you plan to play solo most of the time.