How to evaluate the quality of a Dizi or Chinese flute

Updated: 2012-03-23
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Read more on: Chinese flutes   Dizi   Chinese musical instrument  
Fortunately, for Chinese flutes, speaking about which ones are better, they are nearly all, in general, good.
There are a couple of things to remember:

On the flutes, the ends (the head and tail of the dizi) effect how long the flute might last, and also the tonal quality. There are three basic types:
- Capped ends
Capped ends produce a brigher, lounder sound. Capped ended flutes can last longer than flutes without caps. Without caps, the bamboo becomes susceptible to wear - cracking and molding. These "caps" are normally made of cow bone, cow horn, or plastic.
- Ringed ends
Several flutes have a brass ring around the end of the flute, which protects the bamboo from cracking, and can stop a crack from continuing, but it is still susceptible to molding.
- Painted or no ends at all
Then, there are some flutes without any rings or caps at all, so that the bamboo could easily crack or mold. Painted ends are also common, which protect the bamboo from molding, but not really from cracking.
Please note, while the cow bone and cow horn type caps can make the dizi sound brighter and louder, they are also very easy to break. So don't drop your dizi!
Finger hole placement:
Some flutes are just not made perfectly, and are a little out-of-tune. Normally you can learn how to accommodate for this by blowing at slightly different angles for the out-of-tune notes.

Also, because some people have small or large hands, one key of flute may be easier than another, because different keys of dizi have different distances between the holes.
Thread bindings:
Most dizi have several thread bindings placed between the holes. Thread bindings can help the bamboo last longer. Its a fact of nature that bamboo flutes will sooner or later develop a crack. Cracks out first may be microscopic, and you cannot see them. If you have a thread binding holding the bamboo tight, then its much harder for these tiny cracks to develop into a large crack and destroy your flute. 
Dizi key:
In general, the key of dizi doesn't effect its quality. The popularity of the F and G keys may be because the finger holes are not too far apart, which makes it possible for children to play them. G, being the highest key of dizi, has the closest finger holes.
But, the higher the key the dizi, the harder you have to blow to hit the high notes. Something like a Key of E dizi may be the easiest to play for several people, because the finger holes are not too spread apart, and the high notes are also not too hard to hit. 
Construction material: 
A dizi can be made out of nearly any material, but that doesn't mean it will sound good. The best materials are probably bamboo and wood.

The chinese flute is a remarkable instrument. Not only because of its ancient origins, not only because of its unique membrane hole and sound, but also because of its sheer simplicity. For over 1000 years its design has remained nearly unchanged. Because its easy to make, they are hard to mess up. 
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