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.

Oct 22, 2012

Review: A Nose Flute by Don Luis

Don Luis, regular reader of this blog, is also an amateur nose flute maker. He lives in Mexico, and explains on his website: « I make simple things with simple materials like paper, wood, cord, wire, etc. » and you can see there different samples of his craft. Specifically for his nose flute work, please check his blog.

Luis generously sent me one of his nose flute. It is a huge nose flute, with carvings, a blue cord and red tassels: a great "country" version of the instrument. The front is ornated with a celtic knot, between a pair of bevels made to block a rubber head cord for handsfree playing.

All the work was done by hand, with simple tools. This explains some irregularities, but totally fits the choice to make a "country" nose flute. The whole is perfectly consistent.

As the front side is angular, the back side is carved with curves and creates a soft nose rest.

Compared to the large size of the instrument (90 x 55 mm), the technical holes and "windows" look very small: The air entrance is a 15 x 8 mm rectangle, and the mouth hole 15 x 6 mm.
Despite the raw hand carving, the airway exit is very thin and blows on a sharp angled labium.

On the sound side, all of these lead to a sweet but rather precise and quick sound, comparable to a wooden barrel organ, oriented towards the medium-bass. Despite its large size, the instrument by Don Luis is comfortable to play. The bevels designed for the hands-free cord are perfectly placed.

Here is a sound sample:

Thank you Don Luis! Your nose flute has got all its place in my collection!

Useful links :

- Don Luis website
- Don Luis Youtube channel


  1. Harry Partch meets American Indian! I love the fact that it was made from very plain materials and with very basic tools!

    I really like the playability and its sound properties, which probably mostly comes down to the wood not being so dense. This makes me wonder if porous wood wouldn't make a better body instead of expensive, laborous hardwood!

    While we are constantly looking for 'better' and more 'professional' materials, the simplest of reeds still produces the finest flute tone. I would always prefer grainy character and fuzzy reediness over 'clean', 'classical' tones. I also really liked the Uke Heid's cardboard nose flute, although that undoubtedly loses its playability after a minute or two.

    The great thing about the nose flute is that anything goes and since it's such a small item, it can be made from all sorts of scrap material! I look forward to seeing more experiments such as these: great work!!!

  2. My work is not of good quality. Though I find much satisfaction in making and playing nose flutes.

    I am glad and feel honored to see that one has found a place in your collection.

    As I see the pictures I remember defects in the wood such as a small knot on the cover and an ugly crack right across the blade and window. I like to see them as signs of its rustic character, and believe that they don't affect its playability.

    Thank you for the review.

    Thank you Maikel for your comments.

  3. Luis, this is a whole. Yes, you used simple tools and there are some imperfections. So what? Your flute works well and has a consistent rustic/country look. It is very welcome in my harem! :) Thank you very much.

  4. I would always prefer authenticity over perfection. This one is authentic, already perfect as it is.