Product Reviews: Guo "New Voice" Composite Flute
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“Guo New Voice Flute (White)”
I am not a professional flute player, far from it, a keen amateur returning to playing after learning at school and not playing for 25 years or so since I left. I started playing again about 2 years ago and purchased a new Trevor James Cantabile flute which I have always liked. My teacher estimates my grade to be 5-6 although I have never sat any formal grades.
I have to admit I was a little nervous and sceptical about purchasing this flute. At a cost of £725 for a plastic tube with plastic keys this felt like a lot of money. I should not have been concerned this is a lovely instrument that really is a complete re-think of flute design from the ground up, a washable headjoint, undercut tone holes and redesigned G sharp key (it looks backwards compared to conventional flutes) are just some of the design changes Guo have made.
The reason I wanted to try the Guo was that I have been suffering from a shoulder impingement injury and my physiotherapist suggested that my flute playing posture and weight of the instrument could be a factor in aggravating the injury. Not playing was simply not an option as it is my light relief from a work life full of technology. The Guo is extremely light at about 240gm's instead of the 500gm's my Trevor James with Muramatsu head (thanks Just Flutes I love my pre-owned Muramatsu headjoint) comes in at.
Excellent service as usual from Just Flutes with my order, placed at 2:30pm on Wednesday, arriving on my doorstep at 8am the next day having travelled nearly 300 miles to get to me.
Initial reactions were that again this was a lot of money for a plastic flute. In addition I was going from a silver head joint, closed hole, offset G, C foot to the lightweight polymer, open hole, inline G, B foot flute which was a big change in itself without the radical design of the New Voice which feels very different to play.
I spent 10+ hours over 3 days playing, adjusting my embouchure and getting used to the flute. Because of the wooden tone of the instrument I found myself leaning towards irish jigs and folk music instead of classical pieces but when I went back to some Vivaldi and Bach I found it performed equally well.The Guo description describes this flute as more like a metal flute but I have to say it has a warm mellow sound which is very unlike a metal flute. Not unpleasant at all, just different.
The keys feel extremely light, fast and smooth. The tone is delightful and does not reflect the appearance of the head joint at all with high register, low register, forte and pp all playing easily. I found the intonation to be spot on with the Korg tuner indicating almost perfect pitch in the mid-range.
I arranged a longer lesson with my teacher to get her opinion and practiced my homework to play on the new flute. Her reaction was similar to mine on seeing the instrument but really liked it when she played it and was somewhat shocked when I just washed the head joint under the tap afterwards! Overall she told me that she could not tell I had changed my flute and felt I had settled in well with the new instrument despite the technical changes needed.
I have decided to keep the instrument as it certainly is lighter to play, it really isn't just plastic it is a precision instrument which plays just as well as my Step Up Trevor James. As it will not tarnish I have found myself leaving it out on the peg and picking it up far more often than I would have done with my Silver TJ Cantabile flute. My shoulder feels better already despite significant amount of practice and combined with some advice on flute playing posture from my teacher I feel sure it will be allow me to continue to play without discomfort.
If you suffer from shoulder, back or neck pain this is the flute for you. If you want a practice flute which will easily cope with intermediate and probably beyond and you can leave on the peg without it tarnishing then this is well worth trying. If your looking for a flute in this price range then with Just Flutes excellent return policy, if you purchase via the website or over the phone, try it, you may be surprised at what you find.
“Lovely white, light weight flute”
I have the white GUO flute. It is perfect for playing when your arms or shoulders don't cooperate on a heavy wall silver flute. I also like to play it for outdoor conserts when the weather is rather moist... I mean rain or snow. The sound is kind and easy to love. What I also love is the vibrations the flute gives to my fingers and hands. The exterior of the flute is wood-like and rough. I have had comments that is looks like ivory, and I think that says how lovely it also looks.
“A very pleasant flûte”
The Guo new voice is really what it pretend to be. A very smooth sound, easy to play. Its material permit to play outside and to travel without fear. Superb. It's very light and my arms and shoulders saiy "Thanks"!
“Bought for a beginner but Not worth the cost”
I had an old flute to learn on, it was hard and awkward. So decided my son would have a quality instrument. But of a mistakes with this flute. At first it was ok. But six months on its practically useless. It's not been played a lot, the biggest reason was the head is really loose in the body. The grease worked at first but it's not a great fit at all. Considering this is a purpose built flute it should be perfect.
The head fell out during playing last month and chilled on the floor. Really upset as My son is still far from paying for the flute on a Music loan.
Can't fault this site for the fkute, I think guo is just a cheap brand with a premium price. My advice would be use the music loan to get a more solid flute for your child, one that will last.
Just Flutes response
Hi Chris, thank you for taking the time to write a review.
We have sold many Guo New Voice flutes over the years and have rarely encountered any problems with them. We recommend these as an alternative to a wooden instrument (for players looking for a particular sound), or for players who have difficulty holding a weightier flute. We would not especially advise their use as a student flute, primarily because of the open holes and B footjoint; a traditional metal flute (such as a Pearl, Yamaha or Jupiter) would in our opinion better serve a student.
If you purchased the flute from us, you are entitled to a first year check over within the first year of ownership as part of our Perfect Performance Plan. Please get in touch with us via phone to discuss this so we can help with your queries.
“A new voice indeed ”
I decided to purchase a GUO New Voice flute in white as I am getting back into playing regularly following a long-term health break. I currently play at an advanced level and hope to get myself back to a semi-professional standard. As I have chronic pain and inflammation which often leads to shoulder, neck and hand pain (especially in the winter with the cold!!) I have really struggled to maintain playing my silver flute when I am having a flare-up or not 100%.
The reason I purchased this flute was for ease, lightness and to ensure I could continue to play despite my health. But since I've purchased it (and it's only been just over a week!!) my reasons keep expanding...
First off, this flute is exceptionally light. It is like picking up air. The flute itself is extremely responsive. Anything you do, it will pick up immediately. It really does have an amazing response time to articulation. The p and pp on this flute are gorgeous, the high registers glide out near effortlessly. It is worth noting that louder passages have a very different response from metal. It does not quite have that 'sparkling brilliance' of metal, but it can still cut through a texture well. But worth noting the mellow nature of the tone makes it feel a tad more muted. The tone is a lot more contained within itself.
I have also found that my jaw tension (from TMJ) has even improved from playing this flute and switching back to my silver. My embouchure has really felt more durable and flexible! Touched on briefly - the sound of this flute in my opinion is a lot more like wood rather than metal. It has a very warm timbre with a mellow 'dolce' colour at the top registers. It sounds really beautiful and emulates wood very well. For classical and early music, alongside jazz and folk, it really shines with the ability to bring out these interesting timbres and colours.
Whilst I have missed the dark colour that silver and metal bring, the warmth is just so beautiful and equally as rich.
The keys are very quick and fast to respond. Best to have pad paper to hand after a session as I have found you can get a little more moisture at times. But this does not leak or impact anything, just something to note when cleaning/packing away.
The open holes feel great, just as comfortable as my silver! Interestingly, this flute is an inline G, which should be noted if you are not looking for that. My silver flute is offset, and I've never played inline before. However, as my hands are quite big, I have actually found the inline very comfortable on this flute!! My hands seem to really enjoy the placement of this flute. Whilst the tube looks wider on the outside, a comparison of my silver beside each other reveals that the inner tubing diameter is the same.
As with any flute, it takes time to get to know the instrument. I would say adjusting from the metal flute to this, it's best to go in with an open mind. It certainly has a new interesting look to it, I think it's so cool :D. I have the GUO piccolo in white as well, and they look very nice together!
Give yourself time to explore what feels right and where the best resonance is (for this GUO, I have found personally it sings best towards the front of the face and behind the mouth, but I am still experimenting). I feel I am getting to really know the properties of this flute and its colours now, and the way it plays. I have to say, it has brought so much joy and relief into my daily practice! To know I always will be able to play no matter my condition.
Regarding price, I think the 'new voice' model with open holes and B foot joint + gizmo key is well worth the price. In fact, I'd say it's quite a steal. You get a lot of the properties of a wooden flute at a fraction of the price. I would say this flute plays at an intermediate-to-advanced level. I think it even gives my current silver flute a good run for its money on some days! But ultimately, it brings very different things to the table also (tone properties differ, weight, responsiveness, dynamic variations ect.).
It's also been an invaluable tool for eliminating excess tension and showing very clearly where less may be needed - as aforementioned, anything you do on this flute shows up, it will pick up immediately!
I had a local concert last weekend, which I used this flute as I have been in the middle of a chronic illness flare-up. Despite my pain and symptoms, I was able to play both the rehearsal and concert itself comfortably on this flute. Intonation did not change despite how cold the church was! Overall, the tuning is really good on this. I have noticed it doesn't respond to environmental temperature changes as much. With the church acoustic, it also resonated beautifully, I got a lot of lovely comments on the interesting sound it produces!! I have to say, it blends beautifully with other woodwinds and in an orchestral setting. I will be trying it out with a pianist in a few weeks, but I am curious to see.
Overall, the GUO has changed my world for the better. It has brought back confidence in me to keep going no matter the circumstances. I am now able practice daily again and play for longer periods with ensembles and concerts without strain or pain. I know this flute is going to assist me in keeping myself in shape during the winter months and times I didn't think possible due to my health constraints. It will allow me to keep growing as a player.
Cannot recommend enough if you have chronic pain, shoulder/neck/arm ect. injury, or physical limitations where the flute may become difficult ect. But also - if you're interested in developing some new colours and styles on something with a slightly different sound palette to metal, it really does in that respect give you a 'new voice' !!
“First flute but can't see needing any other”
First let me say that I have paired this with the Red Kite Philharmonic mouthpiece as I have never played "silver flute" before, therefore I can't comment on the Guo head joint or how it sounds "normally". I love the tone I get with this setup. The keys are quiet and quick. The flute is very lightweight. The first octave plays very well all the way from the low B up to high C#. (The second octave is a bit of a challenge for me, but again, I'm brand new and not using the "real" mouthpiece.) I like the open holes for doing "bending" techniques, but I'm also thankful hole plugs were included as I had to plug one as my left ring finger wasn't reaching the hole easily. I can't find anything not to like about this flute. I might even decide to play it as intended, and if so, I'm sure it would take me a long way.
My experience is that this is a flute that sings beautifully. It’s not perfect for me but I feel that this flute helps me develop my playing style. I see it as necessary muscle training to be able to do more, and my piccolo sound better after practicing with this flute. In short, a nice and pleasing purchase.
It’s great when your shoulder is hurting due to it’s light weight.