Product Reviews: Muramatsu GX-III Flute
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“A flute that everyone sounds great on!”
If I was asked to pick one flute that everyone can get a great sound out of, one flute that I'd recommend if somebody had to buy blind (which is not recommended...but go with me on this) it would be the Muramatsu GX. Until recently I had a GX RCI but had to part with it due to needing a light flute with offset keys. It was a bit of a tug, I have to say. Muramatsu have fewer options within the intermediate range and only one headjoint cut but it's because they don't have to do any more. They are bang on the money with their design. A little more pricey than others but, like many of the flutes in the intermediate range, absolutely the only thing "holding them back" from the conservatoire category is the plated keys (which, for me, are an advantage anyway because solid keys add serious weight and I have disliked pretty much every flute with solid keys), so I would not be put off by the "intermediate" label one bit. I believe that the Muramatsus have white gold springs too.
Muramatsu are the the most classy looking flute, the open holes feel lovely and seal better than any other (the holes have more pronounced edges), and are reliable beyond belief. So well made. I had many, many people play my GX and everybody commented on the sound. Muramatsu seem to have put all their energies into producing a headjoint on which every player can find their sweet spot. It is velvety, dark chocolaty, smoldering, smokey, sublime. Really smooth, flexible and expressive. If you can handle the inline keys, the model without the E mechanism plays beautifully and the lack of this mechanism was far from a draw back. I would very happily have swapped for another GX with offset keys because it did absolutely everything I needed it to. In fact the EX is the only plated body + silver head flute I have ever got on with (in all other makes there was too much of a disconnect between the solid head and the body, weight-wise and sound-wise) as it produced the richest sound in its category.
In terms of flute bodies, my recommendations are Muramatsu (GX and EX) and Altus (1007 solid tube) but for flute + standard headjoint, Muramatsu outplay them all. To get anything that played close to the Muramatsus it took serious investment in a headjoint, so the Muramatsu is worth its weight in...err...sterling silver and worth the higher price! In comparison to Muramatsu and Altus, Miyazawa were way off and lacked the build quality of either and Sankyo sounded very unfocused (although the mechanics felt solid and far better quality than Miyazawa). I can't comment on Pearl Elegante but their professional level flutes did not come close to my Muramatsu or Altus, not even vaguely.
“On Serious Flute Cloud Nine Right Now!!”
Just received this flute this morning, and I couldn't be more pleased!! I was on a Yamaha 481 for nearly 20 years. While this is a fantastic flute that served me well through middle and high school and amateur adulthood, I was definitely feeling like I was being held back a bit. It felt like I could only play up to a certain speed, and then I couldn't go any faster, which is a huge issue if you're wanting to learn more advanced music. (I also thought this was my fault for ages, which was very disheartening!)
I seriously am still in shock at how quickly and clearly the notes come out on this flute! It's absolutely perfect for me!! There's so much more depth to play with tone- and dynamic-wise, and I don't feel so defeated and intimidated looking at French Conservatory flute music anymore. I honestly feel like I can play the pieces I've always wanted to with this flute. The sky's the limit! (pun intended)
Like the other review, I wouldn't be too disappointed by the 'intermediate' level label. I've tried the DS and, while this is also obviously a fantastic instrument, I'm still not convinced that the sterling silver mechanism makes a significant enough difference, especially if the price point is a major determining factor for anyone. (It was for me.)
I have yet to find cons! Perhaps the only one I can think of is that it doesn't come with its own gig bag. But perhaps including the gig bag with the flute is an American thing, and I'm just being a spoiled brat! It does come with the official Muramatsu cleaning cloth, cleaning (Rosewood) rod, and gauze, though, which is quite nice!
Overall, a phenomenal flute, practically perfect in every way!
My daughter fell in love with this flute straight away. Sounds magical - great clarity. Worth every penny! Having tried quite a number of other flutes around the same price point (new and used), the Muramatsu really stood out for it's quality of sound, and unobtrusive playability.