Thursday, March 13, 2014

Headjoint Styles

Have you ever wondered what style of Powell headjoint you have?  If you purchased the headjoint in the last 24 years, there is definitely a way to find out.  However, if your headjoint was made before 1990, chances are that it will not have been assigned a serial number,  In fact, Marketing Manager, Christina Cobas, helped shed some light on the subject.  She said that when Mr. Powell opened his company in 1927, he had one headjoint cut.  This remained for several decades, and the headjoints were not assigned serial numbers.  All of the headjoints were not exactly the same, though, because the headjoints could be cut to a basic style and then adjusted to allow for certain characteristics that the customer preferred.  She shared that in the early days of the company, Mr. Powell knew that teachers and performers liked their headjoints a certain way, so the headjoints would be customized to meet the preferences of the customer's teacher.

Fast forward to 1990, and serial numbers were assigned to headjoints since there were different styles available.  Today, there are four headjoint styles: Signature, Soloist, Philharmonic, and Venti.  The computer database at the Powell office maintains all the records of the headjoints by serial number.  The database records provide specs on the headjoints, including the style and materials (of the tube, lip plate, and wall).

In order to find out what style of headjoint you have (assuming it was made within the last 10 years), you will first need to find the serial number.  The serial number is etched by hand in the inside of the headjoint, between the cork assembly and crown.  So, you'll need to unscrew the crown and then look for the serial number.  Flute finisher Karl Kornfeld helped us a bit by telling us that the number should be located on the side opposite the embouchure hole.  It can be difficult to see the number, so we made a video below to demonstrate.  You may need to use a magnifying lens -- or even the zoom feature of your camera or smartphone to help get a better look.  Once you find the number, you'll need to contact Powell to find out what style you have.  Unfortunately, only the flute serial numbers are searchable through Powell's online search feature on the website.  However, the website does have a "contact us" page that lists contact information for the company.

* Note - If your headjoint is more than 10 years old, the serial number will be on the underside of the lip plate. 

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