Thursday, October 25, 2012

B Foot or C Foot?

We recently came across a Powell Aurumite Conservatory flute in the testing room, and something seemed a bit different...  The footjoint seemed a bit "shorter" and seemed to be missing a tone hole.  Was this a mistake?  Of course not!  It was simply a C Foot flute.  With Powell Flutes, every model is available as either B Foot or C foot.  This includes, Signature, Conservatory, and Custom models.  In fact, there is an option to buy an additional foot for the custom flutes.  So, for example, if you were to by a Custom with a C foot, you could purchase an additional B foot as well.  Powell Sonaré flutes are available as B foot or C foot models, which are actually identified by the first letter of the model.  You can see a listing of these models on the Powell Sonaré page of the Powell website.  You will notice codes for various model numbers.  If the code begins with a C, it's a C foot -- if it begins with a B, it's a B foot.  Examples would be CGF and BGF.  A CGF would have a C foot, inline G, and French cups.  The BGF would have a B foot, inline G, and French cups.

So, what exactly are the differences between a C foot flute and a B foot?  Well, the C foot, as you can see in the photos, has a range that extends down to C.  With this range, there are only two tone holes on the footjoint, no B key, and no gizmo key.  A B foot flute would have a range that extends down to B, so it would have three tone holes on the footjoint, a B key, and (on Powell flutes) a gizmo key.  The gizmo key helps facilitate the high C -- you can read more about its history in our previous post on the gizmo key.  However, B foot models of Powell flutes are also available without a gizmo key.  Because a C foot flute has less physical material in its construction, it will also be lighter to hold and will be priced lower than a B foot.  In the U.S., the majority of Powell sales are for flutes with a B foot.  In the UK, many players prefer the C foot.  Regardless of your choice, Powell has the option with each model (as mentioned above).  There are also cases available from Powell for either a B foot or C foot flute.  The photos below show Aurumite Conservatory C foot and B foot models.

C Foot -- two tone holes, no B key, no gizmo.
Close-up on C footjoint.
B Foot has three tone holes and additional keys.
Red arrow points to gizmo key, yellow points to B key.


  1. I have played all my life( even though I have pupils and have played on B foot flutes)and prefer C foot.
    Jean-Pierre Rampal and Marcel Moyse only played C foot flutes. Let's you think? B foot flutes have the tendency to make the higher register more difficult to produce.

  2. Now I wish I could afford a Powell Flute even if it were the Sonare model 708 or 709.


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