Updated: Sep 19
Since the era of 2020, more people have been inclined to picking up an instrument and learning from Youtube videos, courses, and online private lessons. As all that is wonderful, Amazon is generally the go-to for many purchases, including instruments. But all instruments are not the same... Let's dig deeper into seeing why a flute from Amazon may not be your best option.
It's very tempting to purchase a flute from Amazon. With different fun colors, extra accessories, and cheap prices, what could really go wrong?
It's truly crazy how these flutes can range from $49-$185.
Keep in mind, this article is about the cheaper flutes. There are some brand-name flutes that are good, though it's still not recommended to buy those on Amazon as well because you miss out on the warranty or they may not be authentic.
Amazon Flute Quality Concerns:
Flutes are delicate instruments that require precise construction and materials to produce a good sound. The quality control of flutes sold on Amazon can vary significantly, and there is a risk of receiving a poorly made or substandard instrument. Cheaply made flutes may have intonation issues, inconsistent tone quality, or mechanical problems that can hinder your learning experience.
Flute Repair & Maintenance on an Amazon Flute:
Every flute will need maintenance and repair done by a professional. Due to the low quality of the cheap Amazon flutes, most flute repair technicians will not work on these flutes. The cost of getting a flute maintained or repaired will already be pricier than buying another cheap Amazon flute. The costs will not make much sense.
Limited Trial and Return Policies:
When purchasing a flute, it's crucial to spend time playing and testing different models to find the one that suits you best. Many music stores offer trial periods or return policies that allow you to try out multiple flutes before making a final decision. Amazon's return policies for musical instruments can be more restrictive, making it harder to ensure you are satisfied with your purchase.
Buying from a reputable music store often comes with additional benefits such as warranty coverage, repair services, and ongoing support. In contrast, the after-sales support provided by Amazon for musical instruments may be limited, making it more challenging to address any issues or concerns that may arise after your purchase.
Lack of Professional Advice:
Buying a flute is not just about the instrument itself but also about finding the right fit for your playing style, skill level, and musical goals. When purchasing from a reputable music store or a specialized flute dealer, you have the opportunity to receive guidance from knowledgeable staff or professional flutists who can help you choose the best flute for your needs. Amazon lacks this personalized guidance, which can make it challenging to make an informed decision.
Not All Flutes Are The Same
If you are just picking up flute, flutes are not all the same. That's why flutes can have a HUGE cost range. Even with beginner flutes, it all comes down to quality. We had our flute instructor Reesa try out some of these flutes.
The first flute she received was a fun purple flute. The flute worked okay and sounded okay. The mechanisms were heavier and slower, but nothing that would really interfere or be a problem to someone who was just learning. About a year after we had the flute, the keys started breaking and falling apart, and that's without her playing the flute that much.
The second flute received was a black flute. It played some notes but not all notes. We actually had to do some work to make the flute play. There was no way a student flutist would figure out what needed to be done in order to make the flute work. The flutes sound was still pretty out of tune.
The third flute we bought was a red flute for the holidays. All the notes work but it's tone was also pretty bad. The notes are not exactly the same as a reputable flute. Some notes were sharp, some were flat. It's was impossible to keep the flute in tune.
The fourth flute we bought was a green flute. It was absolutely trash. It didn't work and we were not able to fix it. The foot joint didn't fit the flute either, it was very loose. This flute is unplayable.
So most of the flutes we received were not in playable condition. Only 1 we received was okay. But it is unplayable after 1 year.
What About The Ratings? People Say It's Good
When it comes to ratings, you really have to dig deeper than what's just posted. It's important to check if the person writing or recording the review got a commission, got paid, or is an affiliate. Anybody who checks off that list will say whatever they need to do to make the flute look good.
What If I Have A Small Budget For A Flute?
If you have a small budget, there are different options in getting a flute to play.
Rent a flute. Many music shops have an instrument rental program. They'll work with you to make something work. Even though you won't own this flute, you'll still be able to learn and maybe you'll be able to save for your own flute. Rented flutes are usually of good, reputable brands. Rental programs usually include maintenance and repair as well, so you'll always have a flute in working condition.
Finance a flute. Most retailers and music shops have some form of a financing program. This will give you lower monthly payments and not have to purchase your flute all in one shot. It's a little easier on the wallet.
Purchase a cheaper, but reputable flute from a dealer or shop. You can find some flutes starting at $300, depending on the retailer. Make sure the music shop includes a warranty and have the ability for repair. We love working with the Flute Center Of New York, as they are a specialty shop for flutes. Their cheapest flute is (as of 6/21/2023) is $479. They offer a 12-month warranty - unless you use the code REESA. Then you'll get an 18-month warranty and free shipping. They also ship flutes to you to try before you buy.
Apply for a donated flute. This applies more to kids, but there are a few non-profits that donate instruments to a child who's family cannot afford to provide them with one.
IF your budget is too tight for any of these options, then an Amazon flute might be your option. Just keep in mind that there is a risk to purchasing this flute and they don't last very long.