This blog is dedicated to the sublime instruments called nose flutes and which produce the most divine sound ever. We have chosen to discard all the native models from S. Pacific and Asia, for they need fingering to be played. We'll concentrate on "buccal cavity driven" nose flutes : the well patented and trademarked metal or plastic ones, plus, by a condemnable indulgence, some wooden craft or home-made productions.

Mar 30, 2012

Enhance your flute - Part I : The Humanatone

By the past, the Humanatone nose flute, which was sold by the Fred Gretsch Mfg. Co., was made with injected polystyrene, a hard and breakable plastic. The shape was designed in accordance of this resonant polymer, and so were the technical specs. Why did Grover-Trophy Music change to a softer plastic ? I don't know... generally this happen for cost reducing.
Anyway, when they began the production with this softer and bad quality plastic material (PVC?), they didn't modify the moulds. And the air duct and labium specifications which were adapted to the hard and vibrant polystyrene, went off the "best setting range".

The most usual criticisms against the current Humanatone is that it produces a weak and hoarse whistling. Some other players don't like it's tone range. This is mostly attributed to its too broad mouth hole, too thick air duct, and the absence of a real "blade fipple". Some Japanese players made experiments with cellotape in order to reduce the mouth hole, and it gave some correct results (see here and there).

What we present here is a more significant modification, more permanent, yet made in less than one hour. The idea was to improve the power, the range, the precision and the clarity of the sound.

First I cut a little piece of aluminium in a 2mm thick plate, and filed a bevel. Then I filed the rear side of this future blade in order to create a little step just besides the part of the labium that was designed to inset the mouth hole. I just glued the new aluminium fipple with a bi-component glue.

Then, I cut a peice of cardboard fitting the air duct and stuck it on the "front internal side" of the flute. This was made in order to gently narrow the air duct (the cardboard could have even been thicker), and thus increase the air pressure on the labium and the power of the sound.

The result is a enhanced Humanatone. The new sound is clearer, louder, more precise and with a better attack.

Here is a little sound sample of a regular Humanatone immediately followed by the same excerpt with the improved flute. The recording conditions were absolutely the same and I took care of trying to blow with the same strength (the improvement is patent, thus not totally palpable with this mp3).


On the same topic, please visit :

- Enhance your flute - Part II : The Swan flute
- Enhance your flute - Part III : The Bocarina


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