When I wrote a blog post about French pointed key arms back in 2015, most step-up brands that I carried in the shop still came with Y-cup arms, which has been the standard for beginner and intermediate flutes for years. Since then, the intermediate flute world has just exploded with brands, features, and options, and now it is much more common for these level flutes to come with French key arms. In fact, every instrument in the Indy Flute Shop (with the exception of some older closeout models) now has this feature! Read the blog for more information.
This week’s burning question: What are French pointed key arms, and how do they differ from “regular” keys?
French pointed key arms have traditionally been a feature on semi-professional and professional-grade instruments, due to their handmade features and greater time associated with creating them. Unlike the traditional “Y-cup” arms that are found on student and some step-up instruments, French key arms consist of a pointed tone arm that extends to the center on the pad cup and is soldered to the top of the cup. This type of construction is stronger than the standard “Y” cup mounting where the tonearm is soldered to the edge of the pad cup. The key is pressed in the center of the key with this design rather then the edge with a “Y” cup, allowing for more even pad wear and less maintenance. There is a definite visual difference between the two types of keys, as can be seen below:
In addition to the functional differences that French key arms provide, they add a beautiful element of style and professionalism to the instrument. If you are interested in checking out an instrument with this feature for you or your student, make an appointment to come check them out!