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Flutes have a long history - the longest, in fact, of any musical instrument on record. The earliest known flutes are estimated around 40,000 years old, and though they didn't have much in common with a modern concert flute, they could still be considered something like a great-great-great-(etc.)-grandfather to the professional flutes found in this section. Unlike their ancient wooden ancestors or their contemporary relative, the piccolo, these flutes are virtually all metal: usually sterling silver for a professional model. Differences tend to be subtle, but those little details can easily be the deciding factors in finding the best fit for your personal playing style.
Of course, there's still room for exceptions: in the case of the Yamaha YFL-874HW Handmade Wooden Flute, the difference from standard instruments is anything but subtle - and it's one of the only flutes you'll find still made of wood. It's fashioned from grenadilla, which is the same wood that's used in piccolos, clarinets and oboes. Yamaha uses the same curing process for this flute as they do for those instruments as well, which promises a long lifespan and good crack-resistance to keep the flute playing like new as long as it's taken care of.
While Yamaha's wooden flute is definitely an impressive option, there are plenty of ensembles and musical styles that will demand a standard metal design instead, and thankfully there are all kinds of those here to choose from. For instance, the Pearl Flutes Dolce Series Professional Flute is an accessible option for the pro player on a budget. On the other hand, if you're one of the most discerning flautists in town, you might prefer the peerless craftsmanship and gold risers on the Haynes Handmade Drawn Tonehole Model Professional Flute, which is available with your choice of inline or offset G.
An instrument is like an extension of the player's own body, so it makes perfect sense that every musician has his or her own tastes and preferences when it comes to picking one out. That goes double for players at the pro level, so as you approach this lineup of professional flutes, it might help to prepare an advance checklist of the traits you're looking for. Then you can easily sort the selection by material, plating, weight, features, key design and more, which makes it surprisingly easy to narrow down your options.