Thursday, March 16, 2006

Native American Flute Part 9: Keith Stanford

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Last June I gave my first Native American flute class here in southern California. People came from all over the area but one person drove all the way from Tucson, Keith Stanford. At the time I thought this was a long way to come for a flute class but I'm glad he did. Why? Well, after the class ended and I was packing up I heard my friend, Barry, playing a flute behind me. I really thought the sound was unique. It was warm and mellow, yet strong and focused. As I turned around to check out the flute, Barry pointed to Keith who was standing next to him, and announced "Keith made this flute!". I knew immediately I wanted one of his flutes.

Like many good flute makers Keith Stanford does not make flutes full time, it is his hobby, so it took a couple months to get a flute from him. But he didn't just send me one flute, he sent me three and told me to pick the one I liked the best. They were all in F and all of them had that same sound I had heard back in June. One was made of Rosewood, one of Purpleheart, and one of African Padduk. After going back and forth over which one like liked the best, I finally made my pick, the Rosewood.

The flute
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This flute is 23 1/2" long with a 1" bore. The body is made of Rosewood. Rosewood is a general term and refers to many richly colored woods, mostly brown. All rosewoods are strong, being a hard wood. The most widely know is Brazilian, or Rio rosewood, that was once highly sought after for acoustic guitar construction and fret boards.

The name rosewood comes from its strong, sweet, lingering scent. Because of this in the 1920's it became one of the ingredients for Channel No. 5. The use of Rosewood in fragrances, soaps, and guitars lead to overexploitation and the wood became endangered. It is now protected by CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) and is very carefully controlled and hard to obtain.

Other rosewoods used for musical instruments are Cocobolo, for Native American flutes, we've looked at one made by Yazzie flutes, and Honduras rosewood for Marimbas and xylophones.

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The block is in the form of an abstract Javelina and is made of two woods, Walnut on top and Hickory on the bottom.

This flute has that wonderful sound that I first heard back at my flute class.
Listen to a sample of this flute.

EARTH & SKY

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The tone of this flute is so nice I've started playing it during concerts for the song Earth & Sky, from my second CD Sacred Dreams. That version was recorded using a Woodsongs flute. In November of last year I gave a concert in Tucson, AZ and just for fun I decided to play flutes made only by Arizona makers: J.P. Gomez, Mike Gulino, Pat Haran, Richard Maynard, Keith Stanford, Ed Pendrys and others. I performed Earth & Sky on Keith's flute and the recording made of that performance came out well enough that I've posted it in both audio and video formats on cedarmesa.com. It's available to everyone on my E-mailing list. Joining the list is free and you can do it Here.

Keith's Native American flute making Manual
Although Keith doesn't make a lot of flutes as it's his hobby, he has written a book for those that do: the "Ki-e-ta Native American Style Flute Manual". This manual is very popular with beginning and more advanced flute makers. Keith is an engineer by profession and brings that detailed analyzes to his work. I have met people that use his manual who are very pleased with the results and speak very highly of it. I have also played some flutes made using the Ki-e-ta manual as a guide, and they all sounded very pleasing.


Keith says that "No prior Woodworking experience necessary and you don't need to have a lot of tools". He has also included over 40 pictures to make each step clear.

Keith lives in Tucson, and is a member of the Tucson flute circle.

To find out more information about Keith Stanford and other flute makers check out the Flute Makers page on my web site.

If you want to read more posts about other Native American flute makers visit my Blog index.

More information
For a more detail look at the construction of the Native American flute read the History and Construction article on www.cedarmesa.com.

Comments
Let me know if you enjoyed this post. Leave a comment below.

Do you have a flute by any of the Makers we have looked at so far? If so let me know what you think of it.
Scott August


8 comments:

  1. Mr. Scott August.
    First let me say your music is beautiful I could listen to it all day, In fact I am going to order one one of your albums this week.
    As for Keith Stanford well what can I say? First of all what a great guy. I have never met Keith in person, But I fell like I have known him for all my life thats just the way Keith makes you fell. My name is Bob Runningbear Egner and I am a NAF maker, Or at least I am now.
    I started making flutes about one year ago after coming up with a lot of fire wood I found Keith's manual on the net and thought I would give it a try. That was the best move I ever made. The one thing thats sets it apart from others I have seen, Is when you get the manual you get Keith right along with it. He will go out of his way to help you in any way he can. I now am making great flutes that sound and look good. I can't thank Keith enough for the book and the help he has give me. Most of all I thank him for being a good friend
    Bob Runningbear Egner

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  2. Anonymous4:54 PM

    Hi Scott,
    What a great piece on Keith Stanford and his outstanding skills as a Native American Style Flute creator. The audio sampling of your music produced with the rosewood instrument is wonderful and sweet to the ear!

    It is uncanny and amazing how the quality and soul of an individual is ingested into one's work in life. What you have discovered in this flute is just that.. the quality and soul of its maker.

    Thanks for sharing the story and also the information about Keith and his gifts given to him by our creator. Play on!

    D. Cantrell

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  3. GLWOLFSTAR@AOL.COM7:44 AM

    SCOTT,

    I TOTALLY AGREE KEITH, OR WYATT AS WE CALL HIM, IS A GREAT GUY AND THERE IS MUCH MORE TO KEITH THAN MOST PEOPLE KNOW. HE IS A DOER AND NOT JUST A TALKER AND ONCE HE DECIDES ON SOMETHING, IT GETS DONE. HE HAS MENTIONED YOU TO ME SEVERAL TIMES, AND IS ENAMORED WITH YOU AS A PERSON AND ESPECIALLY YOUR MUSIC. I HAVE TO AGREE, IT IS WONDERFUL. I PLAYED AND MADE FLUTES FOR ABOUT SEVEN YEARS AND JUST STARTED TO GET THE FEEL OF IT WHEN A THROAT CANCER OPERATION TOOK THAT AWAY FROM ME. MY WIFE HOWEVER, STILL PLAYS AND NOW HAS 15 FLUTES. WE WERE PRIVILEDGED TO BE ABLE TO GET ONE OF KEITHS.

    KEITH AND I ARE MUTUAL LANDOWNERS, ALONG WITH OTHERS, OF PARCELS ON A 6000 ACRE ESTATE RANCH BETWEEN TOMBSTONE AND A LITTLE FARM COMMUNITY CALLED ELFRIDA DOWN IN THE SULPHUR SPRINGS VALLEY. OUR PROPERTY SITS HIGH ON TOP OF A 5000 FT. MOUNTAIN AND IS ACROSS FROM A GHOST TOWN CALLED GLEESON. WHILE KEITH LIVES IN TUCSON RIGHT NOW, HE PLANS TO BUILD HERE AND WE WILL SEE MORE OF HIM. HE BUILT FOR MOONSTAR, MY WIFE, A BEAUTIFUL F# FLUTE MADE FROM MESQUITE THAT HE FOUND RIGHT HERE AT THE RANCH. MESQUITE IS VERY HARD AS YOU KNOW AND IS VERY DIFFICULT TO WORK WITH. I DOUBT THAT HE WILL EVER ATTEMPT IT AGAIN AND SHE FEELS VERY FORTUNATE TO HAVE IT. IT IS AN EXAMPLE OF KEITHS UNIQUE TALENT AND IT IS A BEAUTIFUL AND EXCELLENT SOUNDING INSTRUMENT. THE WOOD IS DARK AND POLISHED LIKE GLASS. THE SOUND AND QUALITY IS EVERYTHING YOU WOULD EVER EXPECT OUT OF A FINE PIECE OF WORK LIKE THIS. I WOULD ENCOURAGE ANYONE THAT WANTS AN INSTRUMENT THAT WILL TALK TO THE ANCESTORS AND GET AN ANSWER BACK, TO SEEK HIM OUT AND GET ONE OF HIS MASTERPEICES. AHO WYATT!

    GREYWOLF HOLT

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  4. Bill Lauer7:37 PM

    Hi Scott: I just read the article on Keith Stanford and think you did a great job on the article and great justice to Keith. He's a super guy. I play with Keith at the Tucson flute circle meetings once a month and let me tell you, he is great for our group. Keep up the good work. Bill Lauer

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  5. Hi Scott,

    Just reading some of your blogs. I have given one of your CD's to a foster home that has medically fragile children and one to Loma Linda Children's hospital. The music is so soothing for the kids and staff also.

    Thank you for everything you do.

    Chuck

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  6. Scott,
    I've just ordered Keith's manual and he told me about your site. After listening to your music and the part you played on Keith's flute. I can't wait for the manual and to get one of your CD's. I am just a begginer on any insturment and have just begun to try to play my flute that I got from Richard Maynard of Laughing Crow Flute's. Which is great by the way. It's people like yourself ,Keith and ofcourse Richard that are my insperation to keep trying untill I can play the Native American Flute like it's supposed to be played. Thank you for your music and insperation. Keep it comming!
    Mike Mosby,Texas.

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  7. Scott,
    I've just ordered Keith's manual and he told me about your site. After hearing you play and the part on Keith's flute. I can't wait to get one of your CD's and his manual. I am just a begginer on any insturment. I do have a flute made by Richard Maynard of Laughing Crow Flute's. Which is great by the way. It's people like yourself, Keith and ofcourse Richard that are my insperation to keep on trying untill I can play the Native American Flute like it's supposed to be played. Your music is fantastic and keep it comming.
    Mike Mosby, Texas

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  8. Igor, Temirtau-city10:43 AM

    My name Igor.
    Good day, Mr. Scott August!
    I am very glad that have found in an immense network the Internet a corner of such fine music! It is very glad to possibility to tell to you it! You perfectly play, very purely and loftily!! I very much liked your records, I am going to buy your disks a bit later! Composition "House of the Sun" very beautifully and unusually sounds! What for a flute sounds in it?
    I will join the aforesaid about Mr. Keith Stanford is very unusual and interesting person, I have seen as him people respect, and Šµspecially those who knows personally. I am very glad to that has got acquainted with him!
    Mr. Keith says "Hello!" to you, Mr. Scott!

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