Last Updated on May 30, 2023 by Shanta Roy
The flute is a remarkable instrument. People who are into music or handle musical instruments realize every bit of the magnificence of this mouthpiece.
Undoubtedly, a definition of the instrument is unnecessary.
So, we will start with learning about some history of the Native American flute, and then we will start with the details of making a Native American flute.
Brief Background Of Native American Flute
This flute is known by various names depending on which side of the world you are coming from. To our surprise, the name ‘Native American’ has controversy! You will find many commentaries on the invention of this particular flute.
The stories about the flute are intriguing too! Anyway, the Native American flute development came to light around 1823, and there isn’t any specific record of the early development of the flute.
Essential Ideas Relating to Making A Native American Flute
Many details are unique to this flute. Hence, to make a Native American flute, there is specific information that you should be aware of. Otherwise, you might end up making the wrong flute. Before we move on with the making process, we want to provide you with some potential information that you might be wondering about.
Materials That Were Used To Make This Flute
Traditionally, people use an array of materials to make the Native American flute. Any material hollow in the middle and sturdy can be suitable for making a Native American flute.
Examples of the material can be- cedar wood, juniper wood, walnut wood, cheery wood, redwood, bamboo, river cane, and saw grass.
Materials That People Use These Days
Aforesaid organic materials are not readily available in a place that doesn’t exist near some woodland. In other words, if you are a city person, the chances of finding pure natural materials will be a tough job.
Anyway, that’s why people are utilizing exotic hardwoods, plastics, pines, ceramics, and glass and converting them into an American Native flute.
The uses of natural materials aside, the Native American flutes made from contemporary materials can make identical sounds to the organic elements.
Traditional Measurements Of An Native American Flute
According to traditional measurements, the flute should have the same length as the person from the tip of the index finger to the elbow’s tip.
The air chamber should have the width of one’s fist. The flute diameter would be 1st part of the thumb and the 1st part of the index.
The distance between the first fingering hole and the should hole should be the width of a person’s fit, and the gap between the fingering hole needed to be the width of a thumb. The end of the flute and the last fingering hole should have a distance of a fist’s width.
Measurements Of Current Time
Specifically, you can select your diameter for the flute. Remember, the authentic Native American flute has a small inside diameter. Make sure you follow the fist and thumb measurements for making holes on your Native American flute.
Supplies For Making A Traditional Native American Flute
- Pinewood case/frames
- A drilling machine
- Measurement scale
- Wood glue
- Slim, strong straps
Steps For Making Native American Flute
Collect a pinewood flute frame. You can visit stores that have materials and parts for making musical instruments. Pinewood is easily available. So, there is a good possibility for you to collect them in order to make a Native American flute.
When the frames are in your hand, you can go ahead and mark the position of the holes. By the way, we are aiming for a 6-hole flute.
We have already talked about the measurements and distances of the holes. Kindly follow that. You need to mark both frames for the flute.
Next, you need to drill right on the markings to make the holes on the flute. You need to make a mouthing hole on the tip of the flute.
This is one of the differences between Native American flutes and other kinds of flutes. However, don’t make the hole for mouthing right now. We will give directions about that in some other steps.
Now, apply wood glue, and add the frames together. You have to use some strong clamps to keep the frames in place together. Also, leave them aside until they are completely dry and stuck together.
When the frames are adjusted properly, you will need to shape the flute body. The frame can be rectangular or square. You need to make it round in formation. You can cut off the edges with a knife. Cut the body very carefully, or you might cut deeper.
Once you are done roughly shaping the flute body round, you can use sandpaper to make the flute’s body perfectly round from every side. Professional people use special tools for shaping.
As a beginner, you can use the technique we are suggesting. Frankly, it will take longer, and it will be tough to end shaping the flute with your hand and simple tools.
After shaping the fluted round, you can work on the holes. This is to make sure they all have a half inch of diameter.
Now, you can drill for making the mouth hole. Also, you need to make 2 inches of opening in the flute box. For that, you can use a chisel and a knife. The flute box is situated 3 to 6 inches of distance from the mount pieces.
Next, you need to block the opening in the flute box with a piece of wood. Note that you won’t be blocking the entire opening on the flute box. Keep a little narrow opening, then place the woodblock and tie it on the flute with some stripe.
After that, you need to cut the end of the flute to open the other of the flute. You can use the hacksaw to cut the end off. And, with this, the process for making a Native American flute completes here!
On A Final Note
You have seen, the making of a Native American flute is different from the other flutes. While making the flute, making holes for fingering, and blocking the flute box properly are the two most critical aspects. Try to get them right.
After finishing the making, you can try playing the flute. If it doesn’t sound good enough or might find issues with the flute’s airflow, you need to work on the holes, block, and nest again.