Updated: Feb 19, 2019
For many years, I had played on my Powell, serial #1899, and it had been lovingly cared for by flute maker and repairman David Wimberly who has lived in the Halifax area these last 3 decades. Eventually I switched to one of his silver head joints, and then to a gold head joint made by him because it offered superior projection, always helpful for a principal flautist of an orchestra.
A few years ago, I felt it was time to have an instrument custom made for me to suit my hands and help take some strain off of them. How convenient to have a master flute maker living 20 minutes away!
So I contacted David, discussed options and my journey began, switching to a new instrument. What I loved about this process was that I wasn't getting a 'factory-made' instrument. This instrument was being made specifically for me by just one person, not in an assembly line. Absolutely every part was hand-crafted by David. This concept was very pleasing to me, and in a sense, the instrument came out of the ether through David, with the intent of it allowing me to express my deepest inner feelings through it.
While the instrument took longer than anticipated to make, I remember vividly the day that David delivered it. Anyone who has fallen in love knows that as a defining moment in one's life. And this was just like that, absolutely falling head-over-heals in love with this instrument.
I've been to flute conventions and tried many different makes of flutes over the years, and many are just lovely. But nothing could compare to how I felt when I tried this instrument. Beautiful key work, incredible sound capability, but what immediately struck me was the actual vibration of the instrument.
When one plays a really good flute, one can feel this kind of hum or vibration in one's finger tips. That is always a good sign. When I played my current instrument, however, there wasn't just the vibration in my finger tips, but a vibration all around my fingers, even above them, not just at the contact points with the instrument. This was an extraordinary feeling and one that gives me great pleasure every time I pick the instrument up. It's changed my artistic life, and I feel like I have no limitations as to what I might be able to express as a result. Flute players out there, note too that the gold-plated Jim Schmidt pads are heaven. No stick, excellent seal, and they last much longer than standard pads.