buying a flute without having metal allergic reactions – 2

words wtage

23rd November 2018

part 1: buying a flute without having metal allergic reactions – 1


choosing an instrument is a very exciting process yet it can be difficult to ‘meet’ a perfect one.

i went to yamano music in ginza, tokyo, one of the most famous music stores in japan with a very long history. 

they have an extensive number of flutes from all over the world, new and second hand. 

there are some professional flautists who run music lessons for all levels.

and on top of that, they run a repair shop, which is quite helpful and gives me peace of mind. 

(just to add, the location of yamano music in ginza has been famous for being the most expensive land price in japan for 12 consecutive years, a square metre being ¥55,500,000 / £370,000 in 2018, announced by the ministry of land, infrastructure, transport and tourism, japan)


i did research on a flute since i decided to get one and as i only sought information in english, opinions are based on flautists in the uk, usa, canada, and other major english speaking countries. 

from that ‘western’ point of view, offset g is the norm, and an optional c# trill key is becoming a standard. 

either split e mechanism or high e facilitator is also a useful option which helps the high octave e (e6). 

having a d# roller is quite useful as well.


some terms are specific to flutes, so here is a useful website if you are not familiar with them:

sankyo flutes – specifications:


i had a funny experience buying a flute in japan.

i discussed with one of the staff members at yamano music and i found out japanese norm is completely different. 

i was told that inline g is their default and no one (yes no one) chooses a c# trill key option, in japan. 

a c foot joint is still a first choice for many, as many flautists cannot properly hold a flute with b foot joint due to its weight.

and a d# roller is considered to be utterly unnecessary apparently. 

i discussed what i really want in my flute.


fundamentally i wanted to choose a japanese flute maker, due to my identity.

second, i must play on the one i do not suffer from allergic reactions. 

generally speaking silver flutes are made of sterling silver, its alloy is 0.925, i.e. 92.5% is silver and 7.5% is other metals. 

different purity makes different sounds, so it is said. 

purer than sterling silver is britannia silver which is 95.8%. 

sankyo uses 99.7% ‘pure’ silver which is perfect for me. 

99.9% pure silver is too soft for flutes so sankyo uses 99.7% silver instead.

altus flutes, also a japanese flute maker based in nagano, makes pure ‘powdered’ silver flutes so i tried this model as well. 

as my passion for a flute always lies with sankyo flutes, it was clear from the beginning that i was meant to choose a sankyo pure silver. 


flutes are very customisable and the choices vary depending on the player of course, but also where you purchase. 

i chose a sankyo pure silver 0.997, also known as cf-901 outside japan. 


the result is below: 


model: sankyo pure silver (cf-901)

soldered tone hole

standard lip plate 

standard wall tubing

open hole

pointed arm keys

inline g

b foot joint 

c# trill key


no split e mechanism nor sankyo nel (sankyo’s original high e facilitator)

no d# roller

no engravings


as i opted for a c# trill key, it automatically meant to be a fully customised model and i need to wait for a few months!


it is believed that offset g is more ergonomic and comfortable to play. 

but i do not like the looks of it. 

inline g is for me the perfect looking flute. 

my left ring finger is about the same length as my middle finger so i do not have any problems with covering the g key. 


i omitted split e mechanism or high e facilitator as the former does affect some trills being impossible to play and the latter affects the middle octave a (a5) being slightly darker or unclear. 

also, why do i need either one for just one note?

many flautists can play high e without having split e mechanism or high e facilitator. 

sir james galway prefers inline g as it is easier to produce high e and playing the high quality flute makes a lot easier to play the note.


d# roller might be helpful but i do not fancy the looks. 

its complicated parts makes harder to clean. 

i want to keep my flute clean as my hands can be quite sweaty when i play. 


this is the same for engravings as they are for aesthetic and i would love to have engravings on my flute. 

but i keep it simple for easier maintenance. 


there it is. this is my very personal customised flute. 

when i ordered it, i was told that sankyo flutes was going to make one for me from a pure silver tube they stocked, meaning that it is made almost from the scratch, as they do not produce pure silver flutes a lot. 


just a quick disclaimer, i do not recommend my customisation for everyone as it is based on my very personal preference and may not be suitable for anyone else. 

offset g is more comfortable for many people and if you ever decide to sell your flute, offset g is a safer option definitely. 

c# trill key is useful but if you do not see it is beneficial to you, then it would become just an unnecessary heavy metal parts (an extra trill key, trill key rod, key post and so forth) stay on your flute. also most flute makers charge quite a lot for this option so you may not opt for it. 

a d# roller would be extremely helpful if you have difficulties moving your right fourth finger/pinky. 

and i repeat myself, engravings are beautiful. 


i am so excited to have this flute soon!

who wrote this?

wtage, an english-japanese bilingual linguist based in london, uk.

i am curious about human communication in which language plays a crucial role.

i am an avid writer with a creative mind.