G. Rudolf Uebel
116-69-1481 (Model 116, made in 1969,
im Vogtland; aluminum body w/ silver plated German silver
sl 597mm; 532g
The Uebel family's history of woodwind
making dates back to the 1870's in the Sachsen region
of east Germany near the Czech border, an area long renown for
instrument craftsmanship. Gerhard Rudolf
Uebel (1915-1991) took over flute production when his uncle F.
Uebel passed away in 1963. Not to be tied
to simply reproducing traditional
flutes, Uebel made a number of innovative instruments, beginning
1930's, using materials from grenadilla to aluminum.
Thick aluminum stock is used in the footless
unibody construction, tapering at both ends (remember the Artley
ads from the 1960's?). As on wood instruments, tone holes
into the body. Mechanism is strapless, with posts set
Note the very modern yet completely ergonomic
styling to the trill keys, foot cluster, back connector, pad cups,
Whenever a circular arc would not suffice, an angle would replace
flutemaker's complex curve.
A decidedly different approach to "pinless"
-- tiny set screws replace pins in joining keys to steels, and are
employed to prevent slippage of adjustment screws!
The nearly crownless,
uncommonly long, almost ugly
headjoint seems to be the weakest design element of the flute,
uncomfortably bottom heavy and clumsy to balance. I had an
adapter made to use
headjoints with this instrument, giving it a new lease on life.
Since the Uebel headjoint is absurdly long, any decent
instrument repairman should be able to make an adapter so you can
use your favorite headjoint on the Uebel. I explained what I had
in mind to my repairman and left him the flute and the headjoint I
wanted to use. He fitted a 17.2 cm section of tubing to match the
flute body opening then, using his dark arts, he expanded the
other half to accommodate my chosen headjoint. ( I believe he may have
crafted the adapter from a section of a junk headjoint -- claims
it only took him a few minutes.)
is sure and clean, and the aluminum body darkens the sound
summation, the more time spent with this flute, the greater one's
for the innovation and design (and the less apt one is to consider
mad flutemaker's experiment gone horribly wrong).
An East German flutist touring western
decided not to return with his orchestra to the DDR, parting
with this instrument to raise money to stay in the west (but
"real" flute so he could earn a living). Must have used
to pick the beast up.
Thanks again to Jim Gleason
World Music for his assistance in getting this instrument back
form and fabricating the headjoint adaptor; to Peter Spohr for
date of manufacture; to Luc
Verhoeven for filling in some family
relationship gaps; and to Andrea Bruderlin of Music
Treasures for scaring up this beast for me in the first
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