Dave Corsby's Jazz Notes



Audition, collection/delivery can be arranged

Try before you buy is strongly recommended
but to ensure satisfaction we are happy to accept returns within ten days of purchase.

Contact 01843 841501


As a collector rather than a dealer my interests lie in trying out different instruments, but I get to the point where I cannot justify for instance having four metal clarinets however beautiful or unusual they are. So from time to time I turn over items from the collection.

In recent years the saxophone and woodwind market has been flooded with cheap poor quality instruments from Asia and Eastern Europe many with weak metal that bends, dents or breaks easily and is uneconomic to repair.

Some of the older second hand instruments if in good condition offer better value. The early Artley Gemeinhardt and Emerson flutes can offer good value bearing in mind that they were made by specialist family businesses who only made flutes. Some older wooden clarinets such as the Boosey and Hawkes Edgeware and Regent models and the ebony Buisson were affordable instruments built to a standard rather than down to a price. If they are in good condition they can often be a much better instrument than a new plastic far eastern import.

Emerson Flute with Solid Silver Headjoint (£305 inluding UK postage) - With the market flooded with low priced "student" flutes it is becoming rare to find a quality instrument in precious metal. There are no online serial number records for Emerson flutes so it is difficult to say what age this flute is. The main body is engraved with the Emerson logo and "Emerson Flutes USA" plus the serial number 032874-6. There is no model number. The headjoint is engraved with the Emerson Logo and "sterling" indicating solid silver. The main body and foot are silver plated. The instrument has been serviced and adjusted (the G sharp pad was replaced). It comes with the original Emerson hard case.
My experience is that played acoustically a solid silver head does make a noticeable improvement to the tone. On the other hand an ordinary player using an average flute without a solid silver head playing miked up with plenty of reverb can in truth sound pretty impressive. Jethro Tull produces a very acceptable sound while admitting that his daughter tells him he is not blowing the instrument properly.
This Emerson flute is actually an open holed model. The five holes have been plugged so it plays exactly like a covered hole flute. Open holed flutes are more difficult to master because of the demands of ensuring that your fingers completely cover the holes. Flute maker Albert Cooper advocates covered holes on the left hand and open holes on the right. I play an open holed flute with one hole plugged (the A key middle finger left hand). So the Emerson as it is plays like a covered flute but with the option to convert to open holed flute if you wish.
Emerson Deford designed and developed flutes until retirement when he passed the company to Conn Selmer. Development and innovation has continued with many custom options available. Emerson along with Armstrong, Gemeinhardt, and Artley were small businesses dedicated only to flute making. They survived through quality and recommendation until they were scuppered by cheap inferior far east imports. Older second hand models by these makers if they are in good condition usually offer greater value than cheap new flutes. Because there is no model name or number on the flute it is not possible to compare it with the current range of Emerson flutes. But sterling silver headjoints are only available in the top ranges of their catalogue. As a pure guess I would think the current equivalent flute would be listed at around £1,000 and be available for £700 or £800 but this may be a wild over or under estimate. I recommend that before purchase you try out this flute to see how good it is.
Silver ClarinetSilver Clarinet keys