0302 - 8-key conical flute by Willis & Goodlad (John Willis) #593
This beautiful flute was in a sorry state when I first bought it, but was returned to 'as new' condition by Chris Wilkes, who had to remake several blocks and the long and short F keys. It has a particularly exaggerated cutaway for the r/h thumb, and contouring for l/h1, both presumably original, as the Willis stamp curls into the latter. It plays beautifully in tune, without any flatness at the low end. This and the Ingram flute (1501) are my favourite playing instruments of this type, though as I am not comfortable with the silver lip band on this one I have had an additional unlined head made for the flute by Robert Bigio. The combination is outstanding. Given that changing the headjoint is a regular occurrence in the Boehm flute world I am surprised that this is not a more common solution among players of earlier instruments. It avoids having to make unwise alterations to historic instruments but often allows them to function better than original head joints which have been compromised by repairs. The flute dates from around 1820-1.