The Flute Show - flute expert

Should you have an offset G or an inline G flute?

Two different kinds of flutes may have different applications

In this video, Florence and Robert talk about the difference between an offset G or an inline G flute. Is this really that important?

Released on October 7, 2015

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DISCLAIMER: The views and the opinions expressed in this video are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Virtual Sheet Music and its employees.

Video Transcription

Robert: Hi, welcome to the Flute Show with Florence Estrin. I'm Robert Estrin. Today's subject is should you have an offset G or an inline G on your flute? This sounds like a very technical question. How important is this? Well, I can tell you, I know a bit about this, and you're in for a real treat. It's a very interesting subject, and the lessons learned from this apply to other instruments. Thank you so much, Florence, and maybe you can tell us about the offset G and the inline G. I know there's two different styles of key arrangements on the flute.

Florence: Right. Well, this flute, my flute is an inline key flute and you notice the keys just go straight down. Now if you have an offset G on your flute, this key here, the G key, is going to be more to the left, my left, and the A fleck key's also a little bit further out so that instead of holding the flute like that, you are a little bit more like that. Which means that you're not stretching so far to reach these keys.

If you haven't seen my video on how to hold the flute, which shows the ergonomics way to hold the flute so that you don't stretch your arm too far, I encourage you to look at that because that's probably even more important whether you have an offset G or not. But the question is, a lot of people say, "Well if you're starting the flute," or like, "You are starting the flute and you're going to get a beginner flute, it's always going to have an offset G. It's very rare to find an inline G key on a beginner flute."

The reason why the inline key flutes have been so popular is that back when I was a kid the professional flutes were all inline flues. So there became this kind of bias that beginners started with an offset G and then as you progress to be professional, you had an inline.

Robert: It's kind of like open-hole flutes and closed-hole flutes.

Florence: That's another very...

Robert: That's a topic for a future show, isn't it?

Florence: That's a big topic. But with the inline versus the offset G is that today you can get professional flutes that are either offset G or inline. Is there an advantage to inline? No, there is no advantage. I've talked to several repair people.

Robert: It's just whatever you get used to, right?

Florence: It's kind of what you are used to. Although, if you get used to a beginner flute and you haven't been playing very many years, and you go pshhh for your first step up flute. You know, if you switch, it's not a big deal because you haven't been playing forever. But why make the switch? Because it's less ergonomics. So there's more possibility of injuring your arm by stretching too far when you play. There's really no compelling reason to switch to inline, because you can get professional flutes with offset G keys. Now that all being said, why do I have an inline flute?

Well for one thing, I've had a professional flute since I was way younger, and it was an inline key flute. I have yet another one that is now my favorite flute, and to switch constantly between offset to inline any time I'm changing flutes, is not so easy to do.

Robert: But your outdoor flute is offset.

Florence: Well, outdoor flutes because you have to stretch so much further, they have to angle the keys a little bit.

Robert: I see.

Florence: Yeah, so.

Robert: I wonder why they didn't just make offset years ago.

Florence: I do not know.

Robert: Except for students. That's a good question. Anybody out there who knows the answer, we'd love to hear from you. Well, I look forward to doing a show about open-hole versus closed-hole flute. That's a great topic.

Thanks everybody for joining us at the Flute Show. I am Robert Estrin, and Florence Estrin. See you next time,
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Comments, Questions, Requests:

Mary loonam * VSM MEMBER * on August 25, 2018 @11:11 pm PST
Do you have a video on vibrato
Fabrizio Ferrari - moderator and CEO, on August 26, 2018 @8:12 am PST
Yes, of course, here it is:

I hope you'll enjoy it!
George * VSM MEMBER * on August 1, 2018 @10:31 am PST
Inline G keys are like french pointed key arms: they are mostly a status symbol that shows that you've got a a fancy flute. As a repair person,I know inline G keys have the asset of placing all of the left hand keys on a single hinge rod, But from an ergonomic standpoint, offset G keys are superior, an important issue because so many flautists eventually develop hand problems.In terms of flute sound, there is no difference,
Kate * VSM MEMBER * on October 22, 2015 @4:40 pm PST
Offset flutes were designed for people with abnormally short fingers, or poor hand positions. The idea originally was that by a professional level, players would have learned the correct hand positions. Also, inline was more popular to save money on production costs. Offsets require an extra rod.
Florence - host, on October 25, 2015 @12:46 pm PST
I have known many professional flutists who have developed hand problems. Many of these flutists have modified their flutes to be even more ergonomic than an offset G which enabled them to keep on with their successful careers. The good news is that there is no downside to utilizing an offset G.
George * VSM MEMBER * on August 1, 2018 @12:12 pm PST
I have both offset and inline flutes. To ease the switch from one to another, I simply use a silicone hole plug in the G key for the inline flute. That allows me to use the same hand position on both. At age 69, I've become well aware of hand issues for flautists.
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