Clinton's Extended L1 model


At the time of writing, this appears to be the earliest of Clinton's Equisonant flutes that offers full keying.  That situation may change as more flutes are unearthed.  We would therefore hope to see some of the characteristics we are familiar with on the later flutes, and some simplifications that are later abandoned.

This example

No 148 is currently in the hands of English player, Dan Dixon, and he and another London player Craig Herrity have been restoring it to playing condition, while communicating images and information to us for inclusion in these pages.

Clinton & Co Equisonant # 148, cocus & silver

Characteristic features

We can immediately see a number of features in common with Equisonant flutes in general:

  • the foot has assumed its later form

  • the left-hand section similarly, probably adopted from Carte's 1851 design

  • the characteristic right thumb key, offering both Bb and C (depending on whether A or B is being fingered).  This is surely Clinton's trademark feature.

  • retention of the short F key, but not the long F (Carte retains this function)

  • closed G# (Carte employs Boehm's open G#)

Unusual features

It's the left hand section that is a little different:

  • L1 is simply an extension to enable c# to be placed in a more desirable location

  • the C key is arranged to be opened by the thumb key, and closed by a ring-key under L2 or by L3.



  • L1 closes c#

  • L2 (ring key on B) closes c key and duplicate Bb

  • L3 closes c, duplicate Bb and A

  • L4 opens G#

  • L thumb opens Bb, and c key if not held closed by L2

  • R1 closes G

  • R1 trill key opens Bb, and c key if not held closed by L2

  • R2 closes F#

  • R2 trill key opens d trill

  • R3 closes F#

  • R3 adjacent key opens F

Bore (graph)

Low octave Venting

This chart shows us which holes are open and which are closed for all of the notes of the first octave.  The second octave is fingered the same apart from the d, which has the c# hole opened as a harmonic vent. 

We can see that this is a fully vented design with only a few exceptions:

  • F is fully vented if you use the Short F key, but the E hole gets covered if you use the very convenient xxx xox fingering.  It might also be possible to press just the ring on the E hole, not covering the hole.

  • the G# key remains down for notes above G#.  We have seen on other Equisonants that various means have been offered, apparently as options, to eliminate this shading.

  • The "normally closed" c key is closed for c# (although could be readily opened if required by pressing the thumb key for c#).  

The keys that deviate from full venting are easily seen below the green diagonal line.  The only notes likely to be noticeably affected would be c# and A.

Hole: c# c   B  Bb A G# G F# F E D# D C#
Finger L1 Lth L2 Lth L3 L4 R1 R2 R3 R3 R4 R4 R4
C# X X X X X X X X X X X X  
D X X X X X X X X X X X    
Eb X X X X X X X X X X      
E X X X X X X X X X        
Fs X X X X X X X X          
F# X X X X X X X            
G X X X X X X              
G# X X X X X                
A X X X X   X              
Bb X X X     X              
B X X       X              
c X         X              
 c#   X       X              

It seems fair to rate it as "full venting minus 2", compared to the 8-key flute's rating of "full venting minus 4" and Boehm's "full venting less 0.5".

Third octave Venting

This chart shows us which holes are open and which are closed for all of the notes of the third octave, based on the fingering chart published in Clinton's Code of Instructions.  In the first two octaves we are normally just concerned with determining the length of tube to be used for the note required.  In the third octave, we are also concerned with finding useful vent holes which will prevent the first and second octave notes from forming, leaving the required third octave note unaffected in pitch or responsiveness, thus making it the most viable remaining note. 

Hole: c# c   B  Bb A G# G F# F E D# D C#
Finger L1 Lth L2 Lth L3 L4 R1 R2 R3 R3 R4 R4 R4
D'''   X X X X X              
Eb''' X X X X X   X X X X      
E''' X X X X   X X X X        
F''' X X X   X X X X          
F#''' X X   X X X X X X X X    
G''' X X   X X X              
G#'''   X   X X                
A'''   X X X   X X X          
Bb''' X X X     X X X   X X    
B''' X X X   X X   X X X     X
c'''' X X   X X     X X   X    

We expect to see the vent holes moving up the tube a semitone at a time, making clear, clean diagonal lines on the chart above.  It's never quite that simple, for numerous reasons, including the cumulative effect of less-than-total venting, the fact that the tube tapers at one end or the other, and limitations imposed by the mechanism in opening just one or other key in an interlocked set.

While it is ideal that a single small vent hole be opened to annihilate harmonics you don't want, sometimes a perfectly-placed hole just isn't available.  Under these circumstances, opening two adjacent holes amounts to opening a larger hole between them.

The c and F# keys seem to be suspiciously under-utilised in this arrangement, probably because of limitations in accessing them.  Whether this actually translates to loss of performance needs to be determined by playing.  If it does prove a limitation, we might expect to see it addressed in later, more complex models.

Playing qualities

Pitch (graph)

Tuning (graph)

Fingering (chart)

Links (similar and different flutes)



Thanks to Dan Dixon and Craig Herrity for their invaluable support in bringing the details of this early Equisonant to our appreciation.

A sad postscript

It was with considerable sadness we heard of Craig Herrity's unexpected death on 9 August 2007.  I first met Craig at the Bedford Bash, a meeting of flute players put on to coincide with my "2002 Self-Indulgent Flute-Maker's Tour".  We jousted good-naturedly on many flute issues in the years that followed.  Kevin Naughton, who also met Craig at Bedford but had more opportunities to play with him since, remembers Craig:

"He had great hospitality, knowledge and opinions. A wicked sense of humour. He worked as a self employed landscape gardener and tree surgeon. He had a special love of nature and of Donegal."

Craig left behind his fiancee Anne Gallagher, and a daughter he was fated not to meet, Charlotte Olivia Imogen Herrity, born 31st October 2007.

RIP Craig.  Best wishes to Anne and Charlotte.


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