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William Bennett - Flutes of Distinction

A rare opportunity to own a special piece of flute history

Some time ago Michie Bennett asked if I could visit her and look through William Bennett's flutes and offer my opinion.  I was in the first instance very honoured to be asked but also - as a lifetime flute enthusiast - was fascinated to see what treasures this remarkable man, musician and flute player may have collected over the years.  Needless to say, I was not disappointed.

William Bennett (Wibb) held a lifelong passion for the flute. He was not only enchanted by the sound and captivated by the instrument's voice and expression, but also fascinated by the mechanism, and he famously had an intense desire to improve the overall scale and tuning of the instrument. He was renowned for this passion and was continually searching for an evenness of tone throughout the entire range of the flute without having to adjust the embouchure for poor tuning. He was genuinely striving to improve the flute for everyone.

This unique collection of instruments represents a lifetime of discovery.  Wibb has hand-written specific notes on each flute commenting on individual notes or areas of the flute he felt could be improved, or little snippets such as “this flute plays remarkably well in the high register”. We have left all of these personal handwritten comments with each instrument as a memento of his attention to detail and his thoughts on that specific instrument.

It is safe to say that each instrument is a “work in progress”, and these flutes and piccolos are in varying degrees of playability. In short, every instrument is as Wibb left it and is sold As Seen.

There are some real treasures here. Many are Open G#, Wibb's preferred system - however, a high proportion could be reversed and converted back to Closed G#, and these are noted on the flute's listing.

With Wibb’s memory so fresh in our minds many of you will I am sure remember him playing some of these instruments. Michie feels that Wibb would have wanted these flutes to be played and enjoyed, and not placed in a museum only to be looked at.

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