Are you ready to shop for a new flute? Consider what stores and websites you should use to find your next instrument.
I’ve bought flutes from a variety of places, all successfully. Keep reading to learn where you should shop.
But first, this post contains affiliate links. Read my full disclosure policy to learn more.
1. Flute Center of New York
One of the best places to shop for a new flute is the Flute Center of New York (FCNY). They have a massive selection of new and used flutes as well as piccolo through contrabass flutes.
As the name suggests, they’re based in New York. But you don’t have to live in the Big Apple to order from the store. You can order a flute that you know you want, or you can set up a trial.
2. Flute World
Another major flute shop where you can shop for a new instrument is Flute World. They have locations in Detroit, Charlotte, and San Francisco where you can visit and try flutes.
Like FCNY, Flute World also ships instruments and offers trials. You can also buy sheet music and other accessories to go with your new flute.
3. Flute Specialists
Flute Specialists has a selection of flutes that you can try and buy. They’re based in the Detroit area, but you can order from anywhere in the country.
While they aren’t as large as some flute shops, they offer a great service. If you can’t get the flute you want from somewhere else, Flute Specialists is worth checking out.
4. Carolyn Nussbaum Music Company
I bought my current piccolo through a trial from Carolyn Nussbaum Music Company (CNMC). They’re based in Plano, Texas, but you can order a trial anywhere in the states.
Of course, if you know what model you want, you can order directly on their website. Now, their trial period is a bit shorter than some stores, but it’s a good choice if you live in or around Texas.
5. Flute Gallery
Another great place to shop for a new flute is Flute Gallery. It’s a division of Schmitt Music and is based in the twin cities.
They’re a bit smaller than other flute shops. However, they have a good selection of models whether you’re looking for a flute, piccolo, or low flute.
Woodwind & Brasswind (WWBW) is an online-only music retailer. Unlike the prior stores, they carry more than just flutes. So if you’re a woodwind doubler, it could be a good shop for you.
While I haven’t purchased a flute through them, I did buy a saxophone mouthpiece when I was playing alto sax. It’s pretty easy to order items, and you can buy accessories and sheet music, too.
7. Music & Arts
If you want to shop for a new flute in person, consider if you live near a Music & Arts. They’re basically the band version of Guitar Center, so you can find locations all over the country.
I contacted my local store when I was looking to buy my first alto flute back in 2018. They were only able to bring in one of the altos I wanted to try, but I was able to go to the store to test it out before buying.
I know that I’ll probably get some hate for saying this, but Amazon isn’t as bad of a place to buy a flute as you may think. For one, there are third party sellers, including FCNY, that use the platform.
You can search for reputable brands and filter out all of the junk. Then, you can still get a good instrument. And you can take advantage of any Amazon gift cards you have.
eBay is very similar to Amazon in that it can be a good or bad place to shop for a new flute. You have to be very careful to review the instruments and the sellers on there. I’d also recommend only buying from a local seller or someone who offers returns.
That way, if something goes wrong, you won’t be out the money you spent on the instrument. And if a seller is unwilling to let you do a trial, don’t buy from them.
Facebook marketplace can be an excellent option when looking to buy a used flute. However, some smaller music shops use it to list their new flutes, so you have options.
You can join groups like Flutes for Sale to learn of new listings. Of course, you can also search your local area if you don’t want to deal with shipping.
11. Your Flute Tech
One of the ways I’ve bought multiple flutes is through my local flute repair tech. She also sells flutes for a few brands, and she’s sold used instruments for her other clients.
Not every technician will also sell flutes. But it’s not a bad idea to ask the next time you take your current flute in for maintenance. Plus, when you buy a flute this way, you can support a small business.
12. Direct From the Maker
Some flute brands will sell flutes directly to players. However, they may only sell flutes directly on certain occasions. You’ll want to contact the brand in question to ask if they sell flutes.
I was able to buy my professional flute from the maker, Pearl. The nice thing about this option was that they did a last-minute tune up as I paid for the flute, so it was in great shape after. I also got a good deal because they put the flute on clearance.
13. Flute Festivals and Conventions
Another great place to shop for a new flute is at flute events. There are small, local festivals, but you can also go to the massive National Flute Association (NFA) Convention.
Of course, these events often have an exhibition hall featuring the big flute shops and flute makers. However, you can also meet up with an individual looking to sell their flute, and you can test it out without having to ship it back and forth.
How to Shop for a New Flute
No matter where you want to go, you should know what steps to take when shopping for your next flute.
Start With Your Budget
First, you need to consider the finances. Some flutes cost $1,000 or less, but others cost close to $100,000. Most models cost around $8,000 to $12,000 at the professional level.
Intermediate flutes tend to cost $1,000 to $3,000. And student models cost $1,200 or less. Think about how much you’re willing to spend as well as if you’re willing to finance the flute before setting a budget.
Know What You Need
Another thing that can help you set your budget is the type or level of flute you want and the specs you need. A silver-plated flute with a C footjoint will almost always cost less than a solid silver flute with a B footjoint.
If you’re in school, ask your professor if they require any specs. When you’re out of school, you get full control of what to look for. That can help you narrow your search for your ideal flute.
Try Multiple Models
As you shop for a new flute, you may luck out and love the first one you try. But it’s more common to need to test out a few different ones. The flute you thought you’d love may not be the right one for you.
So stick to your budget and try flutes from a few different brands. Pay attention to how each flute feels and sounds as you play. You can also ask your teacher or another flute player for their thoughts.
Stick to Reputable Brands
If you’ve played the flute for a while, this probably sounds like common sense. But a lot of beginners will opt for the super cheap flutes on Amazon or eBay. They may work for a while, but they’re far from perfect.
Unless you can afford to buy a new flute every month, save up a bit more now so that you can get a flute from a good brand. That way, your flute will last you, and you can enjoy playing it.
As you compare flutes, record yourself playing each one. Then, listen to those recordings and figure out which one you like the best. You can miss a lot of things when playing, so listening back may reveal more.
Another benefit of recording yourself is that you can send the recordings to your teacher or flute friends. Then, you can ask for their thoughts on which model you sound the best on.
If you’re ready to shop for a new flute, you need to know where to go. There are tons of options available, so consider your needs. Then, you can shop somewhere that will have the selection you need.
Don’t forget to check the intonation on any flute you try. Use my flute fingering chart to help!