This post https://windimprov.com/feed/lefreque-results-of-testing-4-lefreque-on-3-levels-of-flute/ imported from the Dr. Flute website.
The Flute Center of New York sent me 4 different versions of the LefreQue Sound Bridge to test. I had a lot of fun testing them out on my professional flute as well as my daughters’ intermediate and beginner flutes. In this blog I will give you the results of my various trials and tests, and links to additional information and resources.
As you may already know, in July of 2018, I conducted my very first test of the LefreQue by playing my professional Haynes with a Rose Gold LefreQue and then a Silver LefreQue. The resulting blog and video of this test included a blind test and became one of my most viewed videos. Additionally, this test spurred a lot of questions and comments about the LefreQue from the simplest of questions desiring to know the correct pronunciation of this musical accessory, to the most cynical charge that it is nothing more than the proverbial snake oil.
At the end of that test, I was not certain that the LefreQue improved my tone and increased the ease of performance in the way that the inventor suggested. But I knew it did do something positive for me.
So, this time around, I wanted to dive a little deeper by demonstrating how the LefreQue Sound Bridge can actually change the sound (and feel) of 3 levels of flute; to answer some of the most commonly asked questions that I have gotten about the LefreQue; and to include some details about an independent test conducted by a peer-reviewed scientific journal.
Will this finally put to rest the question of whether or not YOU should get a LefreQue because it is THE solution that you have been searching for to improve your tone? Of course not! But what I can say with certainty is that if you get the correct LefreQue for your instrument, and attach it correctly, that it will in fact do for you – at least some of – what the inventor claims it will do. That is, in many ways it will improve your sound, and make it easier for you to play, especially the high notes and low notes.
The real question, that only you can answer is whether you like what it does for your sound. And whether the cost is worth it for you. It all comes down to preference. Do you prefer your sound with a LefreQue or without a LefreQue? I do hope that you will test them out and let me know your results.
In my opinion, if you have outgrown the flute you own, and cannot afford to upgrade your flute or headjoint, then a LefreQue is a much more economical option to extend the life of your instrument by helping you to produce a better tone and to have more enjoyment from performing. That is, the intermediate player stuck on a beginner flute, or the music school candidate looking for an edge with their intermediate flute would do well to look at the LefreQue.
The LefreQue is composed of two small pieces of metal that are bent in such a way to produce a small hump that “bridges” the lip between the segments of the flute: flute body and headjoint, body and foot, headjoint and crown. The LefreQue is designed to overcome the acoustical impact of these segments by allowing the tone to move with less resistance through the flute.
LefreQue promises you will achieve the following:
• Purer overtones
• Accurate tuning
• Clear response
• Smooth intervals
• Surround projection
• Extended dynamics
On June 12, 2021, an independent article was published in “Acoustics” which is a peer-reviewed journal of acoustics science and engineering. This article is helpful in that it validates that the LefreQue Sound Bridge actually has an acoustical impact on the sound produced. It also describes the claims made by performers and conductors. Further, it provides an excellent definition of how the thing works.
Here is their definition, followed by a heavily edited quote about their results, and a link to the article for those who wish the read the somewhat technical jargon. As of the publication of this blog post, that article has had over 1,700 views.
“It is shown that a gold-plated device mounted… can change two characteristics of the radiated sound… thus, being beneficial for live performances in small halls with minimal acoustic optimization. The data further indicate that the occasionally hearable “rumble” [from playing out of tune with each other] of a wind instrument orchestra… might be reduced (or avoided).”
“The general concept of the sound bridge is to facilitate the transfer of vibrational energy from one part of the instrument to the next connected part. It is assumed that, at the first loose connection between the mouthpiece and the body of the wind, a loss in the transfer of vibrational energy occurs, which can be reduced through the use of a metal bridge, which is designed to transfer vibrational energy.”
The Magnitude of the Frequency Jitter of Acoustic Waves Generated by Wind Instruments Is of Relevance for the Live Performance of Music
By Alexander M. Rehm
Commonly Asked Questions:
How do you pronounce LefreQue?
The correct pronunciation is “le freak” as in “the frequency.” Although the inventor is not offended if you pronounce it like the ogre named Shrek as in “le freck” as long as you buy one, you can call it whatever you want.
Where do you place the LefreQue on your flute?
You can place the LefreQue on any or all the 3 places on your flute where metal pieces connect:
1. Crown to Headjoint
2. Headjoint to body
3. Body to footjoint
It is most commonly placed between the headjoint and body. In this position, you can use either the 76mm LefreQue which will bridge both ridges at the top of the body, or the 41mm LefreQue which will only bride the topmost ridge.
Regardless of which position you choose, the LefreQue should be attached to the bottom of your flute where there are no keys above or below it. In addition to the acoustical benefits of this placement, it also gives your audience a perfect view of the LefreQue when you are in playing position.
What does the LefreQue cost?
That depends on which LefreQue you buy. They run from the very economical under $100 USD (Brass) to the very expensive $10,000 USD (24K Solid Gold), depending on their metal composition.
The inventor says that you need to select a metal that is above the quality of the metal of your instrument. So, you would not use an inexpensive LefreQue on a professional model flute because it probably would not give you the desired results.
The 4 LefreQue that I tested:
76mm Fine Silver Gold-Plated – $675
41mm Red Brass Rose Gold-Plated – $300
41mm Red Brass Silver-Plated – $110
41mm Red Brass – $65
The prices listed were at the time of this publication and are subject to change with the whims of the spot prices of precious metals.
Will the LefreQue scratch your flute?
The simple answer is that the LefreQue could scratch your flute. Therefore, you are prohibited from attaching a LefreQue to a flute that is on loan to you for a trial.
You want to be very careful when you attach it to your flute. You are more likely to scratch your flute if you move the LefreQue after you have already attached it to your flute. If you forgot to place it where there are no keys, then the trick to moving it without scratching is to hold your flute firmly by the handle, then with your thumb and index finger pull the LefreQue away from your flute – stretching the band slightly – then reposition the LefreQue and gently release the tension in the band. By doing it this way, you will not slide metal on metal. This is what causes the scratches.
So, just be careful and you will not scratch your flute.
Do flutist perform with the LefreQue on their flute?
Yes, definitely! Because if it does what you want it to do – enhances your tone, makes it easier to hit some notes, better tuning, etc. – then of course you would want to perform with it on your flute.
Does the LefreQue weigh your instrument down?
The LefreQue does add weight to your flute, especially if you use 2 or 3 at the same time. But the real questions are whether the added weight is enough to give you hand problems, and does it throw off the perfect balance of the flute.
So, if you already have hand problems, then any additional weight added to your instrument may exasperate those problems. Otherwise, I did not find that the added weight of even the 76mm LefreQue to add too much weight that I thought it might cause me any problems. Additionally, it did not seem to throw off the balance in the slightest way.
How do you attach a LefreQue?
It is actually quite simple to attach them, once you get the hang of it. I have written out the process and published a blog with photos and made 2 videos demonstrating how to attach them properly. I hope you find these helpful. Have no fear. You will figure it out!
Here are the combination of flutes and LefreQue that I used in my trials, and my opinions about what I heard and felt when I played.
Professional Haynes with 76mm Fine Silver Gold-Plated LefreQue
I could definitely hear a difference! I feel like it took the edge off, the diffused edge of my tone, and gave me only the center. So, I do think that it gave me a better tone, a more focused sound. I also think that it gives me a little bit bigger sound. And I think that while you could say it made my tone smaller, I think what I heard is that this has given me just the pure tone, which then projects a whole lot better.
You do in fact feel a difference in the resonance. The flute feels different. The LefreQue takes some of the vibrations that go through the flute and dampens them a little bit. So, the flute feels different in your hands because of that dampening.
I did not find the weight of this to be overwhelming. It does not really feel like it throws the balance off. Which I was probably a little bit concerned about.
When I was playing with the high register and really doing some high B’s and high C’s, I do think it responded a lot easier. With my flute, I feel like I do have to work kind of hard in the third octave to really make it respond and sound good. This LefreQue made those notes come out easier for me.
Professional Haynes with 41mm Red Brass Silver-Plated LefreQue
So, I thought this was a nice improvement. I like what it did for my tone. It did not make it feel smaller at all. It definitely felt a little bit more refined. I thought it gave a warmer quality to my tone and I could definitely hear the focus it gave to my tone.
I am not sure that it gave my high register any real boost as far as tonguing or response goes. It might be better intonation.
Professional Haynes with 41mm Red Brass Rose Gold-Plated LefreQue
Again, I could hear a difference. I am not sure it was the most beneficial for my tone. I actually felt like my tone was cracking a little bit more than usual. But I do feel like it opened my lower register, and it gave me a little bit bigger sound.
It is an in interesting sound that is definitely different. But is it better? I’m not sure.
Haynes Amadeus Intermediate with 41mm Red Brass Silver-Plated LefreQue
I think it really did add something to this instrument. It gave me a little bit more projection. I really did hear that. I felt like the sound really projected differently on this instrument. It also felt different in my hands – just like it did with the professional model flute.
I am not sure that it did anything in particular for the low register, other than generally overall I thought the tone changed.
Haynes Amadeus Intermediate with 41mm Red Brass Rose Gold-Plated LefreQue
I thought that this one really does something completely different with my tone. I felt like it warmed the tone up. But also, I felt like the response time is a little bit quicker in the low register and the high register.
So, to me there is a big difference in how this LefreQue sounds on this intermediate flute.
Trevor James Beginner with Red Brass LefreQue
I did hear a difference. I think that even this red brass takes off some of the edges that are a little bit more diffused and gives a more solid sound in the middle. So, I think that this is an improvement. And if you have a beginner flute and you don’t have the funds to upgrade right now, a less than $100 fix can give you a nice change that I think you would really appreciate.
Trevor James Beginner with Red Brass Silver-Plated LefreQue
I definitely heard a bigger sound. I think that this flute is projecting more too. It not only took off the edges like the red brass did, but it gave me a little bit more sound.
This could be a good solution for an intermediate player, playing a beginner flute. An economical solution that can extend the life of your beginner flute.
Trevor James Beginner with Red Brass Rose Gold-Plated LefreQue
This one gave me a totally different tone color! The Rose Gold seemed to sweeten up my tone. It still improved the projection. But it also gave me a little sweeter sound.
I really felt like the gold made a difference. And going from the brass to the silver plated to the gold plated, really three different sounds, three different price points – all economical choices to help you get the tone you’re looking for.
But for me, playing on this beginner flute, if I were to choose, I would go with the gold.
Now you might take the LefreQue off your flute and decide that you like your tone better without the LefreQue. That is perfectly fine and acceptable.
While my test showed me that the LefreQue does actually make a difference in my tone, I still think that the bottom line is preference.
Do you like your sound better with the LefreQue or without the LefreQue?
Do you find it easier to play your high and low registers with the LefreQue or without the LefreQue?
Do you like the way your flute looks and feels with the LefreQue or without the LefreQue?
If you can answer these questions, they will help you decide whether to buy them. In my opinion, they present an economical choice to improve your sound.
Let me know what you decide!
Watch my video demonstrating all these different LefreQue and let me know what you hear. Do you hear differences? If so, are they positive, negative, or neither?
LefreQue for Flute Testing 4 LefreQue on 3 Flute Levels – FCNY Sponsored
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To LefreQue or Not to LefreQue That is the Question Can You Hear the Difference
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Here’s a list of the gear tested in this video:
William S. Haynes Handmade Custom Flute – Solid silver, hand-cut headjoint with 14K gold riser, silver body and mechanism, .016” standard wall tubing, inline G, B footjoint.
Amadeus by William S. Haynes Model 580 – Haynes Amadeus silver-plated headjoint with sterling silver (.925) lip plate and riser, silver-plated body and mechanism, drawn tone holes, French (open hole) model, pointed key arms, (.016″) tubing, offset G, B footjoint.
Trevor James Model 10X – silver-plated straight headjoint, body and mechanism, closed holes, C footjoint, offset G key, Pisoni Lucien Deluxe pads.
76mm Yellow Gold-Plated Solid Silver Lefreque Sound Bridge
41mm Rose Gold-Plated Red Brass Lefreque Sound Bridge
41mm Silver-Plated Red Brass Lefreque Sound Bridge
41mm Red Brass Lefreque Sound Bridge
If you follow these links to The Flute Center of NY, tell them I sent you by putting my code: “DrFlute” in the box labeled “Influencer Code.”
Thank you, Flute Center of New York, for sponsoring this video.
Dr. Angela Kinney McBrearty was appointed assistant professor of flute at Houghton College in 2008 where she also teaches classes in Instrumental Methods and Secondary Methods.
As a performer, Dr. McBrearty plays in the AMA Flute Trio and the innovative Roan Trio which performs using multimedia and dance as part of the program.
Check out her site HERE.