Apart from the player, of course, the head joint is responsible for the greater part of the sound characteristics of any flute. Today the majority of players of all levels are finding that they can improve many aspects of their playing by choosing a head joint that suits their individual needs.
Every head joint maker uses a different compromise of the fourteen different dimensions in the embouchure hole to produce their own unique style. Any player wishing to improve facets of their sound is always advised to try the widest range of head joints possible. At any one time Top Wind has over one hundred different hand made head joints in stock, in addition to our range of head joints supplied as standard with our flutes. We offer the option of purchasing any new instrument without it’s original head joint, giving you the chance to customise your own combination of body and head joint.
Our range includes both new and second hand head joints, which allows you to choose from a wide selection of styles associated with different makers and time periods.
All of the makers offer different material combinations on risers and lip plates.
For your interest we’ve given a few pieces of background information on the makers of the head joints we stock. Many of these makers are extremely popular in the United Kingdom and Europe, you may not have heard of some of them in other parts of the world.
AllenMike Allen (United Kingdom) trained officially as a jeweller and silversmith. He has made about 1000 head joints and approximately 40 flutes. He has a reputation for radical design ideas, including both 'high wave' and 'low wave' lip plate styles. He has experimented with seamed tubing and has some interesting ideas on material combinations. He also has the equipment to produce fine engraving on both key work and lip plates and even on the inside of the flute tubing!
BigioRobert Bigio (United Kingdom) is most noted for his work with wood and experiments with crown assemblies. He is acknowledged as an expert on the history of the English flute making company Rudall Carte.
BurkartLillian Burkart trained as a head joint maker at V.Q. Powell and is now better known in Europe for her work in piccolos, although she is still highly acclaimed as a flute and head joint maker.
MatitMatti Kahonen has a world wide patent on the use of carbon fibre in head joints, taking the manufacture of head joints in new materials into the 21st Century. He is also the maker of the carbon fibre flute, a radical change to the traditional instrument, which uses magnets instead of springs and has teflon rings instead of pads.
OxleyAndrew Oxley (United Kingdom) trained as a flute player at the Royal College of Music and is largely self-taught as a flute maker. He now specialises almost exclusively as a head joint maker and makes a very popular range. He has experimented with many materials including copper pipe and also has made many seamed head joints.
RobertsHowell Roberts trained at the Flute Makers Guild in London and has worked for many years with Jaeger in Munich. He is recognised as one of two official experts on woodwind instruments in Germany. He is best known for his wooden head joints as well as making bass and sub-contra bass flutes to order.
SheridanDana (pronounced day-na) Sheridan started his career in flute making with a holiday job at Haynes. He later became foreman at V.Q. Powell and, after a short time with the Brannen Cooper company, set up on his own. Now living in Germany, he specialises in the very highest quality handmade flutes and head joints.
SimmonsWilly Simmons (United Kingdom) is largely self-taught, coming to the profession later in life he is acknowledged as one of the finest repairers of flute mechanisms. After specialising for a while in the making of G treble flutes, he now has a commanding reputation as a head joint maker as well as for his concert flutes. Willy also produces some very nice crowns using cabuchons and inset gem stones.
This collection of head joints is made for us by leading head joint makers, specifically deigned to give a good improvement to tone, projection etc. when used in conjunction with a good student instrument body such as the Yamaha or Pearl.
John Webb (United Kingdom) trained as an eclesiastical silversmith and is well known in the U.K. for his head joints. He uses flat silver sheet to form the head joint tubing rather than drawn tubing and so all of his head joints have a 'seamed' tube. A characteristic of the head joints is the novel 'pepper-pot' crown he uses.
|Top Wind Europe's Favourite Flute Shop|
|2 Lower Marsh, London, SE1 7RJ. Tel: 020 7401 8787|