How to make a Native American Style Flute – a new series!

With this series of posts, I’m not going to be telling you the only way – I’m not even going to be telling you the best way. Mainly because there are dozens, perhaps even hundreds of ways, all as valid and as useful as the rest, all producing lovely instruments.

No – what I’m going to be telling you is MY way. My way isn’t my own entirely; and it is of course derived from things I have learned from lots of different people over a lot of years… and I’m still learning today… but it’s a way that works and is producing the flutes you see and hear on the site – and it has a kind of logic and rhythm to it. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that there’s only one right way, or that there’s a wrong way, to make a flute of this type… it’s simply not true – even down to the way it’s tuned and whether it fits with the European 8-note scale or not.

These flutes can be tuned to a minor pentatonic scale; a major diatonic; and various other scales – they can be tuned based on A=432Hz or A=440Hz; they can be tuned to any number of different “Grandfather Tuning” schemes… or anything else you can think of. When you’re making one, you need to have a basic (at least) understanding of the scale you’re going to use.

The next post will start with the minimum equipment you’ll need and how to select wood… I hope you’ll enjoy learning as you go (or simply reading about my methods if you have your own way).

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4 Responses to “How to make a Native American Style Flute – a new series!”

  1. Larry Thunder Wolf 13/07/2015 at 00:06 Permalink

    I am looking forward to your posts as I am preparing myself to undergo making flutes for me. ..not to sell but to have and play. It’s my belief that a flute player should learn to make his/her own flute. So I am very glad you’re going to show your way. Thank you in advance for the teachings.

    • Tom Kelsall 13/07/2015 at 17:30 Permalink

      Great to hear that at least one person will be watching Larry 🙂

      My mentor was descended from the Lakota – and it is said the Wakan Wicasa has a sacred duty to share the knowledge. If this helps you make a flute, then I will be fulfilling that duty! (Although I cannot call myself Wakan Wicasa because I am not NA… still I feel the pull of that duty!).

  2. Larry Thunder Wolf 13/07/2015 at 23:56 Permalink

    Yes, I will be watching. I have several that I have purchased from different flute makers. One of the best I have known is a good friend of mine Dana Ross. He is the one who said a flute player should make his own flute. I’m ready to start, but finding the right person is crucial. I’m glad to hear your not a “my way only” guy. I’m of the Apache nation, Mescalero tribe, Wolf clan and I would be honored to learn from you.

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