FLUTES HANDCRAFTED FROM DARTMOOR WOODS
by Nigel Shaw
Nigel has been creating traditional wooden flutes for over 25 years, making nearly all of the instruments with which he performs and records. During this time he has developed the original ancient Native American design into flutes that resonate with the ancient songs and prayers of these British islands, especially echoing the sounds of forest, woodland, river banks and open moor.
Each flute is carved by hand from a variety of native woods and takes several days from initial preparation to final tuning. Firstly, the wood is cut into blocks and slowly seasoned inside the workshop for 2-3 years. All of the wood comes from Dartmoor: some of it is cut from fallen trees on our own land, some of it sourced from a traditional family-run hill farm and timber mill on the moors. Each flute is uniquely shaped and can emerge from the process with stunning markings and unusual spalting (colouring produced by natural changes within the wood).
Each flute is carefully tuned to a specific key and the final tuning is done to professional concert precision. The flutes may be played using either the primary (or pentatonic) six-hole scale or the expanded six-hole scale. Every flute is accompanied by a finger chart as well as useful information about playing and care of the instrument.
Nigel also makes drone (double-barrelled flutes) for sale. These are especially loved by those who want to deepen and enrich their experience with flute playing. Most flutes are made to commission and created to individual specification. The availability of different wood types varies but generally includes: Oak, Ash, Silver Birch, Yew, Alder, Hazel and Cedar and occasionally Wild Cherry, Rowan, Hornbeam, Beech, Holly, Walnut and Scots Pine. Prices range from £180 – £250 for a single flute and £250 – £350 for a drone (double-barrelled) flute. Postage is charged in addition. Please email Nigel if you have any questions or would like to discuss a commission.
Every year Nigel teaches flute making workshops on Dartmoor, Occasionally he offers advanced master classes for double drone flutes. One-to-one flute making tuition is sometimes available by arrangement. Below is a gallery of some flute commissions made during the last few years.
FLUTES BY GUILLERMO MARTINEZ
Guillermo made Nigel’s first flute in 1993 and shared many flute-making techniques with him. He is a Native American master flute-maker living in California and fellow member (along with Nigel and Hiroki Okano) of the flute brotherhood Bamboo Cedar Oak. Guillermo makes some of the finest flutes in the USA. We sometimes have some of his instruments available (see below). To see more of Guillermo’s flutes, visit Quetzalcoatl Music.