How to Find Hole Placements for Flutes

Written by georga hackworth
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How to Find Hole Placements for Flutes
Many styles of flutes (flutes image by Hubert from Fotolia.com)

It wasn't long ago flute making was viewed as something that only Native Americans or wood crafters did. However, more people are taking an interest in learning how to make their own wooden or bamboo flute for the personal experience and because they want a flute that is unique. No two handmade flutes are the same. Each produces its own unique sound based on a number of factors, including hole placement. Hole placement isn't an exact science, but is done based on what you want to achieve and in what key you want your flute to play.

Skill level:
Easy

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Things you need

  • Wooden or bamboo flute body
  • Measuring tape or ruler

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Create the mouth hole. Use the measuring tape or ruler to measure the diameter of the inside of the flute tube. Multiply that number by two thirds. Measure that distance from the end of the flute stopper -- not the end of the flute -- and mark the flute. That is the centre of your mouth hole. The placement of all remaining holes are measured from the centre of the mouth hole. See Resources for an online calculator to help determine where to place your holes if you are uncomfortable determining the distances yourself.

  2. 2

    Measure the distance from the centre of the mouth hole to the end of your flute.

  3. 3

    Place the centre of the first hole 43 per cent of the distance from the centre of the mouth hole down the flute body.

  4. 4

    Place the centre of the second hole 50 per cent of the distance from the centre of the mouth hole down the flute body.

  5. 5

    Place the centre of the third hole 58 per cent of the distance from the centre of the mouth hole down the flute body.

  6. 6

    Place the centre of the fourth hole 68 per cent of the distance from the centre of the mouth hole down the flute body.

  7. 7

    Place the centre of the fifth hole 73 per cent of the distance from the centre of the mouth hole down the flute body.

  8. 8

    Place the centre of the sixth hole 83 per cent of the distance from the centre of the mouth hole down the flute body.

Tips and warnings

  • You can made the notes higher by placing the holes closer to the mouth hole and lower by moving them further down the body.

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