The most important (and the first) question of a man/woman who wants to play panflute is so: "What panflute do I need to buy?"
This article is only about panflutes that are good choice for self-tougt beginners. If you want to learn with a teacher of panflute than you need to ask him so question. He/she will teach you his own manner of playing, so you need an instrument that is approved by your teacher.
When we are talking about student panflutes, we need to view on the instrument from so points:
1. Construction of instrument. Student instrument is not "cheep versions of profesional one". No, student instruments must be specially designed for quick and easy start and acquisition of panlute playing skills.
2. Price. It is possible, that you will not like to play, or process of learning will be hard for you. The panflute is rare instrument and it is hard to sell it on e-bay. So, your first panflute must be relatively cheap.
To purchase professional panflute as the first one - is inappropriate. It is more difficult to start getting skills (pissibility to neglect playing is higher) and it will stay on your shelf as dead weight (hard to sell).
We make our own student instruments, but for beginner some other student panflutes can be appropriate or useful (terms of purchasing, prices, orientation for concrete targets, other wishes).
Alto 15 tubes ABS plastic panflute, by UUPanflutes, 15 USD in China.
This panflute is monolith and not made of separate tubes; it has a strict system of tubes internal diameters and is a very good first instrument for any novice. Comes with case.
The thing is, due to construction peculiarities it provides for very easy sound generation and little air spent: this flute has rather narrow tubes, student mouthpieces on the lowest section of the range and relatively thin walls. Naturally, it limits the possibility to play half-tones on the lowest part of the range but is still great to demonstrate to the future panflutist what a panflute is, to prepare the student for instruments with wider mensure.
Ideal panflute for a small (4-9 years) child (teeth health). This instrument was worked out as instrument for children.
This instrument can well be bought as the first one or as a cheap option for extending the set of panflutes. For more experienced students, this panflute can be useful as the instrument of “constant presence” if the tubes are retuned a third or a fourth up; in this case tube diameters will be sufficient for playing half-tones
Alto 22 tubes, ABS plastic panflute, by UUPanflutes, 48 USD in China.
This panflute is monolith and not made of separate tubes; it has a strict system of tubes internal diameters. Comes with case.
For me as for person who wants to make panflute world-wide instrument appearance of so panflute is a big delightful event. It is analogue of plastic instruments in recorder (blockflute) area.
Internal diameters of so panflute is not for beginner (they are wide), but mouthpieces are good for easy sound elicitation. Wall thickness on long tubes something small.
This instrument can well be bought as the second one or as a cheap option for extending the set of panflutes (if you want to try out full alto range). For more experienced students, this panflute can be useful as the instrument of “constant presence” - it is durable and cheap.
This panflute also can be good first instrument for student who wants to learn panflute with a teacher. If you are wind instruments player than this panflute also can be your firs one (you have breathing skills and strong embouchure).
Student panflutes by Marek Tesluk (Poland)
Enough good for beginners. Sound of tubes in places of "neighbouring halftone" is "warbled". Varnished peel off often.
Two years ago these panflutes were on the first position in this list. Marek was the first person, who started making of enough cheap and smart panflutes for beginners.
Enough good for beginners. Sound of tubes in places of "neighboring halftone" is "warbled". Varnish peels off often.
In his shop you can see also panflutes of "Concert" and "Soloist" model. In acoustic these models are similar to "Student" one, but they are made in more scrupulous way (and have bigger price).
If you decided to order so panflute, please, know:
Panflutes with important disadvantages:
Student Instruments of HORA (sometimes the same panflutes are inscribed with the name of “Madeira”).
Wooden panflutes with a belt (not other panflutes). The main disadvantage is the ratios of tubes internal diameter and length, namely the diameters reducing unevenly, in big steps; due to this reason, the tubes around c3 are out of the timbre (sound “empty”) and are very awkward in playing. The groups each containing three/two tubes with the same diameter are clearly visible and sound of tubes in places of "neighboring halftone" is "warbled" much.
But flutes are looking good and are good element of interior design.
If you are already bought so panflute than you need to retune it on two tones (big second) lower and tune it in D major. Or to remake this panflute (to take off some tubes). For instruments made of maple (light wood) you need/can varnish inside surfaces of tubes.
MAXTONE panflutes of various range and other flutes similar to those of MAXTONE.
They are sold at many Internet auctions and online stores. They are made of plastic not meeting the requirements to the material for making musical instruments, labiums on the tubes are not formed but look as if they have been torn off, the tubes are separate and not adjusted to each other.
Panflutes from Robert Jach
Often sold at ebay.de. Presentable appearance. The disadvantage is low-quality processing of internal surface of the tubes; for this reason the instrument requires more air spent or a narrower embouchure.
Panflutes I can not estimate:
Soprano b1-a3 (14 tubes) plastic panflute, Aulos
This panflute is monolith and not made of separate tubes, comes with case. Price is about 100 USD in e-shops.
I don't have so panflute, and I don't know parameters of the instrument. Through the photos panflute looks smart but not oriented for beginner (inner diameters, type of mouthpieces, range).
About bamboo student panflutes:
The main disadvantage in student panflutes from bamboo is their being non-standard. That is, it is very hard to make two identical panflutes. That is why any review of this or that student model will pertain not to all instruments of this model but to a specific instrument only. For obtaining an instrument with the same standard adherence as wooden ones, it should cost no less than 200 to 300 USD if bought directly from the maker.