1. Tuning slide - Absolutely essential if you want to play with other musicians or recordings.
2. Tapered bore - It is virtually impossible to get a strong tone across the range of the instrument (especially at the low end) without a tapered bore.
3. Bottom end tone holes - The best flute makers often include these holes to fine-tune their instrument.
4. Material - The particular type of wood is not a key differentiator. Poor quality flutes are often made from high quality woods such as African blackwood.
5. Price - It is very unusual to find a high quality flute costing less than $400. A good flute costing less than $600 is an excellent buy.
6. Instrument maker - The best Irish flutes are made by craftsmen that have also mastered playing the flute. Final tuning of a particular instrument can only be done by a flute maker that knows exactly how the flute should play, and that can verify that each instrument actually plays to that standard. If you don't know the name of the craftsman that made a flute, you might think twice about buying it.
These guidelines should provide you with a means of comparing our
to others available in our price range.