I have recently had inquiries about the new Mystic Auto Flutes and Fifes. Why are they Mystic? and what is the difference between the two instruments?
Well…the Mystic part comes from the fact that most folks cannot see how the instruments play. Without exception, everyone picking up the instrument puckers up and tries to play it like a regular flute,because the hole you blow in doesn’t look like a hole at all! These flutes and fifes are made to play automatically and require no special skill that a whistle player doesn’t already possess. The fingering is the same as a regular whistle that everyone learned to play and the tone is very clear and air requirements
Because these instruments are purpose built ( by that I mean that I designed them to be the way they are and perform in a certain way) they do not fall into the “traditional” manner of flutes and fifes other than a general way. I believe they are the right instrument for beginning players, folks with a bit of stiffness in the joints and all of us who just want to have fun and don’t have that much time to practice. Every time I say things like this, someone will write and correct my assumption by saying that “its
not a toy or plaything…this is a serious instrument with great sound” as a lady in Colorado did recently. Its hard to be humble when you get a comment like that.
The Flutes are in lower keys, A,G,Low D etc. and the instrument is larger. The Fifes are smaller with higher keys, Bb, C,D etc. The fifes are pleasant sounding instruments and not shrill, but they can be played much harder than a whistle and still behave themselves in the upper octave. Folks that try the G Auto flute for the first time generally just smile, because they like the sound,and then they say “I’ve always wanted to play a Sideways instrument!”
The appeal of playing these instruments is the fact that you really look great playing in the flute position and others notice your ability and recognize it as being exceptional. It is a great advantage to play the Auto Flute, because you never miss a note and the sound is right on key every time.
The Sideshooter mouthpiece is adjustable by sliding slightly forward or backward to improve the ease of playing the high notes or adding a bit more volume into the low notes. Rotate the mouthpiece slightly right or left (thickness of a piece of paper) and you can add as much chiff as you like or eliminate it entirely. The best feature of both the flute and fife is that they are easy to clean and fast to remove moisture from the windway in high humidity conditions. My grand daughter Marilyn is visiting this summer
for a month and she has been playing both instruments in the various keys and making comparisons for me. She just grins when I ask if they play OK. “Sure she says, you can play it sideways and thats just better.” Appearances are everything when you are sixteen and looking your very best.