10 Of The Best Flute Brands In The World

Written by Sian Hughes
Last updated

Do you want to be the next Sir James Galway and travel the world playing the flute? If you do, or if you just want a quality instrument to last a lifetime, you should consider some of the top flute brands.

There are dozens of flute makers to choose from. Some offer budget-friendly instruments for beginners and others are specifically for professionals, but whether novice or pro, quality is important.

So for you, readers, we’ve listed 10 of the best flute brands in the world. Read on, and perhaps you might find a suitable flute for your playing goals.

1. Yamaha

Ask anyone to name one of the most well-known instrument makers in the world and the answer will most probably be Yamaha. Entrepreneur Torakusu Yamaha founded the brand in 1887, starting by repairing reed organs. Since then, the company has made band and orchestra instruments of all levels, including flutes.

When it comes to flutes, Yamaha is best known for its student models, such as the YFL-222. However, the company makes intermediate and professional flutes as well. You can also find piccolos as well as alto and bass flutes from Yamaha.

Yamaha still operates out of Japan, with three of its main factories there, but sells instruments all over the world.

2. Jupiter

Another brand that offers top-of-the-line flutes is Jupiter, which has been operating since 1980. The company makes flutes as well as other woodwinds, brass, and percussion instruments.

If you’re a student or just a beginner playing the flute, you might want to consider Jupiter. They’re best at making student models, including the JFL710 which is ideal for newer players.

Piccolos, intermediate C flutes, alto flutes, and bass flutes are also available. Jupiter even has contrabass flutes, which play two octaves below the regular flute!

While the brand doesn’t make professional flutes, the instruments it makes are reputedly durable and can last a long time. Jupiter operates in the USA, Europe, and Taiwan.

3. Azumi

Next up we have Azumi. They are a sub-brand of the professional flute company Altus, which has been operating since 1981. Both brands are based out of the city of Azumino, in the foothills of the Japanese Alps.

All flutes from Azumi are notable for the Z-Cut headjoint. The handmade piece creates a more flexible sound, making the transition from the low register to the high a smooth one.

The company also offers what they call Step-Up Flutes, recommended for those students with a few years of experience. For intermediate players, the Azumi AZ2 is probably something you might be looking for since it’s in the middle of the line.

4. Pearl

Katsumi Yanagisawa founded Pearl musical instruments in 1946 in Tokyo. They make beginner and professional model flutes, as well as piccolos—all distinct for hand-manufactured top quality.

Unlike other flute brands, Pearl uses the Pinless Mechanism as well as the One-Piece Core-Bar Construction. This ensures accurate pitch, smooth sounds, and reliable mechanisms.

Because they are traditionally handmade with the best material available, a Pearl flute might not be kind to your pockets. Prices range anywhere from $600 to over several thousand dollars, depending on the model. Quality, however, is guaranteed with each instrument.

5. Selmer

In 1885, Henri Selmer founded his company in Paris. While musicians associate the brand with its clarinets and saxophones, Selmer developed a new line of flutes in 2020. This includes student and step-up models, so they’re a great brand for new players.

The SFL301CG is an example of the new model, and it features standard flute specs. All the headjoints are handmade, so you can get the best possible sound.

On the used market, you can find older Selmer flutes made before the design change. There are also Bundy flutes, which is a sub-brand of Selmer and is suitable for beginners.

6. Powell

Verne Q. Powell makes some of the best professional flutes in the industry. The founder previously worked for Haynes, another flute company. In 1926, Powell left and started his own flute-making business in Boston.

Nowadays, the company makes professional flutes and piccolos. It also makes the Sonare line, including the 501 series. This series of flutes are step-up and intermediate models, so they have professional elements but for a more affordable price.

Powell is well-known for its development of the material aurumite. It is a combination of gold and silver to offer a warmer flute tone without the heavy cost of solid gold.

7. Trevor James

If you prefer flutes from across the pond, you’ll love UK-based Trevor James Flutes. Trevor James founded the company in 1982. Though the brand also makes saxophones, flutes are its leading product.

One of the most popular models is the 10X, which works great for beginners. It comes with a straight headjoint or a curved headjoint, which is excellent for younger flute players. The beginner flute is also a step above other models, and it can support your playing for longer.

Trevor James also makes fantastic alto and bass flutes. They have even experimented with different materials for their instruments, such as a copper alloy on the alto flute.

8. Miyazawa

Next up we have another professional flute brand, Mayizawa. Founder Masashi Miyazawa started the company in Japan in 1969. Since then, their flutes have become popular all around the world. The company makes C flutes as well as alto flutes, and all the models are handmade.

The company’s 958 series is probably the most popular among professionals. Flutes of this series features silver tubing, French-style pointed tonearms, and the Miyazawa exclusive Brögger System pinless mechanism.

If you want a classier design, their gold flute series might interest you. Models are available in 9, 14, 18, and 24 karat gold, as well as platinum.

9. Gemeinhardt

If you’re a student flutist, Gemeinhardt might be for you. They are one of the brands who offer a wide range of affordable models for all levels of skill.

Kurt Gemeinhardt moved from Germany to Elkhart, Indiana, in 1928 to work for other flute companies, but he eventually set up a flute shop of his own, with factories in the US, China, and Taiwan.

Gemeinhardt’s most popular model is the 2SP, which is one of its beginner flute. The silver-plated finish instrument has the classic J1 headjoint and plateau keys.

The company acquired the brand Roy Seaman, which has made plenty of great piccolos. Between that and Gemeinhardt itself, flute players have a lot of models to choose from.

10. Muramatsu

And finally, another handmade, professional flute brand to consider is Muramatsu. Koichi Muramatsu built his first flute in Japan in 1923. However, the brand didn’t come to the US until 1975. Now, it claims to sell more professional flutes than any other brand.

Muramatsu’s silver flutes are its most popular though gold-clad and platinum-clad instruments are also offered. These are created through a unique gold or platinum plating over the solid silver flute, said to make extraordinary, smooth sound.

Muramatsu offers professional models at all price points, starting at around $4,000 to $5,000. Their flutes come with case and case cover, as well as a lifetime warranty.

Summing Up Our List Of Flute Brands

Searching for a flute brand can be daunting. As what you have read, there are many brands out there, and they all offer a variety of models.

When selecting a flute, be sure to consider the type of flute you’re looking for, your budget, and your level. Gemeinhardt and Trevor James are great for beginners, while Miyazawa, Muramatsu, and Powell would probably suit professional players.

We hope that this list has helped you in your search for the best flute. If you think a particular brand should be on here, let us know so we can add them!

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Sian Hughes is a music teacher, pianist, and flutist who has been playing since she was only six years old. She studied her undergraduate in music at the University of Huddersfield and now works as a musician and tutor from Shipley in Yorkshire.