Buying a New Flageolet

Surprisingly, for many people, buying a new flageolet is not an impossible proposition. Although flageolet-making has hugely declined in the last century, there are a number of people who still make traditional instruments. One of my aims for this site is to seek out people who are willing to continue flageolet making and encourage them to take up the challenge so hopefully this list will continue to increase in the future.

In addition to makers who advertise that they will make new flageolets, many other recorder, flute or whistle makers will be willing to accept commisions for flageolets. Back in 2005, I approached two tin whistle makers, David O’Brien and Daniel Bingamon who both made metal flageolets for me which I have separately reviewed.

French Flageolets

Two recorder makers currently produce high-quality French flageolets.

In Villes-sur-Auzon in Provence, France, Philippe Bolton makes a boxwood copy of a 19th Century French flageolt by Prudent Noblet. I have not had a chance to play his instrument but the sound recordings on his website are very promising.

In Berlin, German, Guido M. Klemisch makes a variety of recorder-style French flageolets, including a small bird flageolet. Again, I have not had the opportunity to play one of his instruments, but his recorders are held in the highest regard.

Retired Makers

For many years, the main source for new French flageolets was the English recorder-maker, Charles Wells. His instruments are based on the traditional recorder-style design (as played by Thomas Greeting, Samuel Pepys etc.) and were very reasonably priced. As well as producing instruments in the standard key of A, he made other keys to order.

A sepia photograph showing a French flageolet by Charles Wells resting on some sheet music.

I have owned a Wells flageolet in the slightly unusual key of G for many years. It is a very attractive instrument to play and has an unusually mellow tone for a flageolet, sounding less piercing than many originals.

English Flageolets

At the moment, I do not believe any maker is producing a classical English flageolet. For some years, I recommended Alba Whistles which is a Scottish company which specialises in making high-quality penny whistles. They used to make a metal English flageolets but it seems that model has been discontinued.

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