Friday, March 6, 2015

Inline or Offset G

Left to right: 14k Custom with inline G, 19.5k Custom with offset G.

One of the standard options for a Powell flute is to have either an inline G or offset G.  For some, the choice may be simple.  For instance, if your fingers are not long enough to play an inline G flute comfortably, you'll probably choose the offset G.  But, is there a difference in sound between a flute with an inline G and one with an offset G?  We asked Steven Wasser, President of Verne Q. Powell Flutes, if he could shed light on this topic.  His response is as follows:
Because a flute is not an efficient converter of your air stream into sound, the tiniest things can make a difference in response and acoustics.  If we had a keyless flute where the only choice was to position the G tone hole in-line or offset, there would be no difference in intonation or response.  However, the presence of the offset G key requires a small additional rib, and additional keywork.  The independent G keys, with their additional mechanism, add a small amount of mass to the flute.  All other things being equal (ceteris paribus, as the economists like to say), there will be a slight acoustical difference between an in-line and offset G flute.  The difference is likely to be so subtle that it is not material, and my suggestion would be to go with whichever mechanism is most comfortable for you.
So, now we know the answer!  As mentioned in the introduction, the option of inline or offset G is available on all Powell flutes, including Powell Sonaré models.  Follow this link to view additional information on the Powell and Powell Sonaré flute models.

Close-up on 14k flute with inline G.

Close-up on 19.5k flute with offset G.  The yellow line outlines the side of the extra mechanism tubing that is part of the additional keywork for the offset G.

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