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 Lafin Headjoints
Author: BornAgainClarinetist 
Date:   2006-04-27 17:22

Apparently this guy's heajoints are a gift from god to professional flutist. Despite all the different flute makers out there and the strong loyalty they recieve from their customers, it seems like the Lafin Headjoint has crossed the divde and is finding it's self on all kinds of flutes; Sanyo, Murumatsu, Powell, Brannen, Burkhart and beyond.

Has anyone tried these headjoints? What did you think?

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 Re: Lafin Headjoints
Author: Gordon (NZ) 
Date:   2006-04-28 00:27

Ignore the following if you wish; I have not played one.

There is a strong fashion element in flute heads. For example if Galway happens to be playing on head XYZ, then many players assume it must be the Rolls Royce of heads. Some time recently Galway WAS playing on a LaFin. I don't know if he still does. If so, he may well be on a different one next year.

LaFin obviously makes very good heads, but take away that fashion element, and there may be many other brands of head that are equally as good, or better, depending on individual tastes.

Another factor to consider is that a head that is ideal for a top professional may need more skill to control, and be less suitable for a good amateur player. i.e., an average guy will probably be a lot happier driving an average sedan to do the shopping, rather than driving a racing car to do the shopping.

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 Re: Lafin Headjoints
Author: Hiroshi 
Date:   2006-04-28 01:40

I never played one either. Just FYI.

There are two choices: with or without 'Adler'. This is a kind of wing, which guides the air flow.

He recently found that the mass of head cork stopper will change the resonance of sound. He now adopts a much heavier stopper.

Of course, it will be better to ask details to him directly.

BTW, even Albert Cooper tried to start studying mouthpiece design more seriously after his study on scaling.(Unfortunately, he became ill.)
Mouthpiece design may be a field where many things remain to be researched.

Post Edited (2006-04-28 01:49)

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 Re: Lafin Headjoints
Author: Gordon (NZ) 
Date:   2006-04-28 11:20

"He recently found that the mass of head cork stopper will change the resonance of sound. He now adopts a much heavier stopper."

I am highly suspicious, in view of the hype and distortion of truth for the purpose of marketing, that seems to surround most if not all flute makers....

Did he give the details of NON-subjective testing that demonstrated this?

It is very rare for ANY flute maker to present results form valid experiments to substantiate claims. I believe that this is because most claims are closer to beliefs than reality. Most of them are probably in the same category as snake oil was in a bygone era, presented in order to extract money from the gullible.

I would not be a bit surprised to next see a magnet embedded in the crown, to enhance the sound waves.

Healthy scepticism? My exposure to the marketing wiles in the flute world certainly deserve it!

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 Re: Lafin Headjoints
Author: Hiroshi 
Date:   2006-04-29 03:14

I changed to a Muramatsu DS model and found its new pad system solved my problem I had for many years. Pads close perfectly.Instrument technology is developping.

My upper teeth and lower teeth are not in line.To make them in line, I have to push forward my lower jaw.This is another problem of mine relative to mouthpiece, which I would like to solve like pads.

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 Re: Lafin Headjoints
Author: Hiroshi 
Date:   2006-04-29 05:11

Sorry, I misunderstood. It's not cork stopper. Head crown.

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 Re: Lafin Headjoints
Author: lny005 
Date:   2006-08-25 23:26

I am playing a Muramatsu flute with a new J.R.Lafin 9/14ct gold headjoint with Adler wings. The headjoint is really great, beautiful tone color and easy to play. The Adler wings feels good to me while playing. The intonation is far easier than my Muramatsu original headjoint. Lafin make very good headjoints indeed.

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 Re: Lafin Headjoints
Author: shinta 
Date:   2007-02-06 23:27

Hello respected flute players from this forum, I would like to help clearing this little misunderstanding with the "Flute Headjoint" point.

A "professional" head joint is a blurry concept, you can find professional flutists from all over the world, and in asking them what do they understand for a "professional headjoint" you will get very diferent answers, or abolute silence... There is no elements wich are just available for profesional flutist and forbbiden for amateurs or students!

Also, a "poorly made headjoint" (bad quality) will stop an student from rising his level, and in many cases, the student will think that the problem IS in him.

I have played with poorly made flutes until past year, when I have bought a very good headjoint, Inmediately, I realized that EVERYTHING was easyer to do. I mean, the easyness of producing clean sound, in every dynamics (piano, forte...) the slurring process got easier, the ppppp gone without aall the stress. Even if I had to get familiar with my new headjoint, I was very happy that IT WAS THERE, the sound could get out, there was a change.

If this would have happened to me when I started, I'm sure that I would not have get a lot of bad "fluting habits" and my progress would have been faster, with a lot less of dificulties, that's sure.

Now, last week I got a new flute (used muramatsu) with a headjoint tube in silver, lip plate/riser Lafin in 14ct gold, and I have felt the difference with my old flute, I'ts a matter of quality of the composition of sound, I got a richer sound, without losing the easyness of response that I had in my Bonneville headjoint tube, with lipplate/riser Emanuel in sterling silver. So, the choice was obvious, the two headjoints are great, but this time it was the characteristic "sound" of materials wich was important to think about.

So, finally, I don't think that there are headjoints for professionals wich can only be used because of the difficulty of making a good sound out of them, I'ts just the opposite, much more easyer, much more richer sound, better! and as long as we can acces to higher priced headjoints, It will be to make our lives more easy, not to enter into the "Elite" of flutist with problematics headjoints...

PS: I didnt know that Galway used a Lafin headjoint... for me he was always mr. Muramatsu :)

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 Re: Lafin Headjoints
Author: Flute112 
Date:   2007-02-08 14:35

Actually James Galway has switch to Nagahara flutes

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 Re: Lafin Headjoints
Author: waqui 
Date:   2007-03-10 13:52

Hi, I played with one of his heads once, and let me tell you, it's really a pleasure. The sound is incredible, I love it ! In fact, I contacted him and asked him if he could make one for me. I hope he has the time to, because he told me he was very busy. I'll see in 2 weeks !

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 Re: Lafin Headjoints
Author: northernflute 
Date:   2007-06-20 21:14

Dear all,
Just to let you know,

I had been on the waiting list for a silver lafin head with gold lip for about 3 months when he emailed me to say that he was no longer making silver heads.

I was lucky enough to hear that just flutes in croydon, just outside london, have, i think three, of his last silver heads in stock and have recently bought one from them. They are fantastic, take a little getting used to, but amazing!

I just wanted to let you know in case there is anyone out there who was desperate to try one/get one as they will, if they allready arnt, become very rare.

Oh prepared to pay for more than most silver heads!!
(mine with a gold lip cost me just under 3000....ouch!! one, we like 0% on purchases til 3010!!)

Good Luck!!

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 Re: Lafin Headjoints
Author: magicflutist 
Date:   2007-07-06 19:28

So James, I've played several Lafin heads. The first of them was one that Lafin calls an alloyed head, probably because it's 15% gold. This head was a dream, even though the price was around $4500.00 (likely to be more now) Anyway I was so taken with this head, that I called Mr. Lafin, and I was more complimentary and effusive than I thought I could ever be. I must have done a good job 'cause he put me close top the top of the waiting list. I received my silver Lafin about 45 days thereafter and I have to tell was a dogggg. Slowww to respond, and just a whole lot of work to play. I called Lafin and very tactfully explained the situation, and to the great astonishment of many, he agreed to make me another one. Well a slight to moderate improvement there, certainly not the be all end all head I was hoping it would be. Keep in mind that I was trying it on an old Brannen with traditional felt pads. I've also played it on a Straubinger flute with drawn tone holes and it was excellent on that flute. Interestingly the head plays differently on every flute I try it on. What I'm saying here is that there are so many variables to consider, and a great head on one flute might be only so so on another flute. Finally the bottom line is that you always sound like you, and the best you can do is to find a setup that assists you in bringing out the positive characteristics in your playing while causing you to jump through the fewest number of hoops. Lastly, and I can tell you from lots of experience, pads can make a huge difference. Have your flute overhauled (Paul Rabinov is a great repair tech in L.A.) with Straubinger or Schmidt "digital pads" and you won't believe the difference. Happy head hunting, Magicflutist

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 Re: Lafin Headjoints (Galway Network Post)
Author: jrbrook76 
Date:   2010-03-17 20:37

Posted by Sir James Galway on July 10, 2004 at 12:08:43:

Dear Friends,

I have been watching this post for some time now and feel obliged to comment.

I have several Lafin head joints and play them all from time to time. My favorite is an 18k with a platinum riser which I use on my platinum flute which is my favorite flute of all my collection.

Let me clarify the term Adler. It was a name given to the little wings on the headjoint manufactured by Rainer Lafin. What better inspiration then the wings of an eagle. They are not there to help people get the “right “place for their lips. Rainer started to put them there because of the experiments carried out by some flute playing scientists who discovered that if you have the riser built too high it apparently gives better low notes bit is no good for the high register. Therefore they kept the riser the regular height and added the “wings” so that it would help the headjoint to play evenly over all the registers.

I personally think it is a great idea. I do have a Muramatsu headjoint 18k with wings and it goes very well indeed.

Penny claims that this is just a sales gimmick used to sell a headjoint. May I humbly ask her how many she has tried in order to write with such authority? ? In my case I tried them long ago but out of loyalty to my friends at the Muramatsu company, I stuck to their heads. About a year ago Rainer came over to see me. He lives about an hour and a half drive away from me. During this visit he showed me a head he had made and I thought it was really a big improvement on what I was using. He then gave me another crown and this also made a huge difference. I had thought the “crown” business was a lot of nonsense till I tried this one. Believe me it makes a difference and so do the wings.

Mark Richter in his note to both my list and the flute list said that the stopper on his Lafin was perfectly machined and I can well believe this. This is just typical of Rainer’s dedication to getting it right. I liked you article Mark and will have all my stoppers checked.

Well from all the people listed below I know that all of them had a choice and they all, like me, choose the “Adler” model. There are some very distinguished people in this list and I don’t think for a moment any of them bought a Lafin Headjoint as a crutch. They bought them because the tone is more even all over the flute, there are more colors, a better attack all over the flute and the intonation is also better.

Rainer is a very dedicated person when it comes to doing anything. He played with me in Berlin from time to time in the Philharmonic when I was there, 1969/75. He was the piccolo player in the Deutsche Opera orchestra when, it was conducted by Lorin Maazel, and when Maestro Maazel went to head the in RIAS Berlin he took Rainer with him.

When Rainer began to make headjoints he did so with the same dedication and research that he applied to playing the flute. At one point in Berlin there were several flute players who made flutes. I have two flutes made by Fenwick Smith who at the time studied with me and played all over town in various orchestras and ensembles. He now plays in the Boston Symphony. I still have these two fine Powell flutes.

All these people were influenced by the Cooper flutes I played when I was solo flute in the Berlin Phil. I had my flutes specially made at a=445. This is the pitch the orchestra plays at, or did when I was in it. They had never heard intonation like this on the flute before. Von Karajan took me aside one day and asked me what the secret was! You can imagine how frustrated he was with sharp high notes on the flute.

Now as to people not giving in to a good thing when they see it is normal. I took my flute to Hammig and asked him to copy it and he refused saying that his were better. Well they were certainly sharper especially in the high register. Here was a great flutemaker with a state of the art flute in his hands and he refused to copy it, even with Albert Cooper’s permission.

I believe that the Haynes company were the last to change their scale where as Brannen did it right away and many others followed.

I cannot say this is a gimmick for selling headjoints but will say that when the rest of the flute making companies wake up to a good idea we will all be better off just as we are better of with the influence of Mr. Cooper with his scale.

In summing up I would say this is not a sales gimmick but an advancement in the art of making headjoints and I am very proud to know Rainer as a friend and to play on his headjoint.

Following are a list of all the angels with wings.

Best regards,
Sir James Galway


Berlin Phil. Orch.: Michael Hasel Italy: Luigi Arciuli
Jelka Weber Mario Conti
Karlheinz Zöller Davide Farmisano
New York Phil. Orch.: Jeanne Baxtresser Bruno Grossi
Mindy Kaufman Deborah Kruzansky
Renée Siebert Giuseppe Nova
Philadelphia Sym. Orch.: David Cramer Massimo Marcelli
Jeffrey Khaner Renzo Pelli
Lorin Lind Renato Rivolta
Kazuo Tokito Mauro Scappini
Chicago Sym. Orch.: Mathieu Dufour Cl. Scimone
Richard K.Graef Japan: Noriko Asao
Concertgebouw Amsterdam: Emily Beynon Ryosuke Mikame
Paul Verhey Yoko Miyazaki
Austria: B. Gisler - Haase Madoka Achiwa
F. Karimi - Djafar Zadeh Tomoko Gotoh
Nils-Thilo Krämer Masahiro Hashizume
Reza Najfar Mieko Hayashi
Hossein Samieian Hakuyo Kaneko
Jvala Valazza Michio Kai
Australia: Mary - Anne Blades Y. Katazume
Belgium Gérand Noack Chang Kook Kim
Pascal Radermecker Ryuji Masumoto
Audrey Ribaucourt Takashi Kubo
Marie - Cecile Stévant Nami Iwas-hita
Jean - Michel Tanguy Hiromitsu Sato
Canada: Laura Nashman Kaori Fujii
Max Schoenfeld Korea: Kwang - Soo An
Czech Republic: Roman Novotny Sung - Chul Cho
Jiri Válek Jae - Hyuk Chang
Danmark: Bo - Juel Christiansen Jung - Yoen Huh
Søren Heerfordt Sung Jae Jeon
Henrik Svitzer Min-Su Kang
England: William Bennet Jae - Hyung Kim
Richard Blake Youn - Soo Lee
Angela Bradley Mi - Jung Oh
Wissam Boustany Malaysia: Sofia Cosme
Paul Edmund - Daries Cecilie Birkeland
Dave Heath Juka Yamamoto
Susan Milan Netherlands: Raymond Delnoye
Cheryl Ramsey Suzan van Dieren
Luke Strevens E. van der Grinten
Julian Sperry Carola Ligt
Robert Winn Peter Verduyn - Lunel
Trevor Wye Pauline van der Mark
France: Michel Bellavance Wil Offermans
Ph. Bernold Diane L. Webb
Mikaele Bexon Rumänien
Marie - Line Briffa Vinczz Ferenc
José - Daniel Castellon Schweden: Gérand Schaub
Sopie Cherrier Linda Ar Vidson
Martine Charlot Spain: Claudi Arimany
Stephanie Caputo Joan R. Boll
Anne Clayette Barba Capote
Sam Cols José Miralles Climent
J.Chr. Falala E. Gonzales
Robert Hériché Manuel Guerrero
Christian Lardé G. Lavado
Francis Martel J. Fr. Palou
Elisabeth Monterrain M. Antonia Rodriguez
Odile Renault Mikel P. Zulueta
Mathieu Vilette Anton Serra
Sibel Kumru Switzerland: Eva Amsler - Ledfuß
Germany: Andras Adorjan David Aquilar
Dagmar Becker James Galway
Ch. Jos. Bopp Kurt - Andreas Finger
Fr. Cinato Peter - Lukas Graf
Christoph Dürichen Andrea Kollé
Willy Freivogel Maxence Larrieu
Ulli Frey Aurèle Nicolet
Renate Greiss - Armin Alfred Rutz
Eckart Haupt Pierre Wavre
Burkhard Jäckle Südafrika: Rainer Strauss
S. Kussmaul Bridget Salonen
Walter Keller V. Milakovic
H. Klemeyer Türkei: Halit Turgay
Imme - Jeanne Klett United States: F.M. Arnone
B.-M. Kofler Hal Archer
Robert Lerch Rhonda Cassano
Paul Meisen Allan Cox
Miriam Nastasi Charles Davis
Jost Nickel Robert De Bellis
Jos Rinck Daniel Dorrance
Gülsen Tatu Michael Duckworth
Werner Tast Pedro Eustache
A.D. Tideman Patricia L. Evans
Steffen Trantow Bradley Garner
Fierk Zeijl Michel Göhler
Finland: Mikael Helasvuo Mark Hutchens
Ilpo Mansnero Harold Jones
Auli Kontinen J.P. Kelleher
Eva Tigerstedt Danilo Lozano
Greece: Maria Makkopodi - Mazaraki Judith Cl. Mendenhall
Israel: Bezaly Shoron Sato Moughalian
Avner Biron David Miller
Abigail Dolan Christine Locke
Island: Jón Sigurbjornsson Colette Michaan
James Newton
Craig Rivers
Mauricio Smith
Richard Graef
Adrian Spence
Jill H. Sokol
Jeanne Tarrent
T.H. O'Conner
Claudia Walker

Jason Brook
Flutist/Woodwind Specialist
New York, NY

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 Re: Lafin Headjoints
Author: sidekicker 
Date:   2011-02-03 17:36

I am looking for one of these heads. Specifically, I'm wanting an 18k rose gold (which comes with 14K rose lip plate, Adler wings, and, I think, crown). If anybody on here has one that has not been fitted to any other flute (I've run into this problem already), then I'm interested. Please let me know here or by private message if you have one for sale or no of someone who is wanting to sell theirs.

Thanks very much,

Reply To Message
 Re: Lafin Headjoints
Author: jrbrook76 
Date:   2011-07-13 15:13

Pretty much nobody is parting with Lafin headjoints except Rainer himself and Brannen. If you're looking for one, you'll have to have Brannen make you one. Also, the value doesn't depreciate on this kind of handcrafted instrument so you're not going to save any money buying one used unless the seller is ignorant. You should just bite the bullet and order one from Brannen. Rainer by contract is only allowed to customers in Europe.

I spent the morning at Brannen and tried many of them...amazing. I like the silver with the gold riser and adler wings, and a gold crown. Comes to about $3,400.00 .

Jason Brook
Flutist/Woodwind Specialist
New York, NY

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 Re: Lafin Headjoints
Author: ripoflutist 
Date:   2011-07-31 13:28

You should try one!

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 Re: Lafin Headjoints
Author: lperazza 
Date:   2017-02-27 22:56

New here. Hi everyone ! I am a Muramatsu guy and have on played their flutes for 30 years. I added a silver Lafin with18K wings, riser and crown. The difference was amazing. I've since bout a 9K and I am currently talking with Brannen about adding a 14K HJ to this flute. I found Lafin a dream to play. They are focused, clear, direct and make a beautiful sound. They are pricey not doubt, but they sell at what you paid for them and at a slight profit.

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