The Wessel Flute

By combining the best of contemporary materials and innovative detail with traditional practice I am producing first-rate instruments well known for their musical qualities. These include:

  • high responsiveness
  • evenness of sound throughout the compass
  • plenty of tonal colour
  • abundant carrying power or projection
  • outstanding intonation

They have been compared favourably with the flutes of Louis Lot, much loved by London players.

Each flute is made individually and entirely by hand at my workshop in Somerset, UK. It is important to emphasise this point as most flutes are now made in factories; even so-called “handmade” flutes are usually constructed by several different people. By contrast, I make the whole thing, including the case, so have control over every aspect. Special care is devoted to the finishing of the instruments to enable them to show their full expressive power from the outset. The consistency between my flutes together with their unrivalled long-term reliability has won acclaim from players around the world. The business was established in 1983 and originally known as "Webb & Wessel".

Tubes are made from silver with silver soldered tone holes and mouldings (rings). This results in a stress-free, homogenous construction with no lead solder anywhere in the instrument.

Keywork is in stainless steel, with an optional black acrylic inlay on all keys. As steel is much stronger, stiffer and lighter than the materials normally used for keys, there can be less of it; this reduction in weight has a hugely beneficial effect on the sound and responsiveness, while the reduced mechanical inertia provides a valuable aid to rapid playing. This keywork is unique to my instruments and instantly recognisable. Please go to the Questions page to learn much more about these very special flutes.

Wessel flutes are available in a comprehensive range of options but are supplied without headjoints. Experience suggests that customers appreciate the freedom to make their own choice of matching head from the very wide variety available.

The flutes are supplied in a wooden case of either English or American walnut with leather carrying bag. The cases are made by me, lined out with best cotton velvet and fitted with hidden catches. The leather case covers  are now being made by my wife Jinny Wessel. They are of a soft, smooth matt leather with carrying handles and adjustable shoulder strap. She is happy to make bespoke bags for other makes of flutes and piccolos. Please ask for a quotation.

 

 

Photo of B Foot 1 of a Stephen Wessel Flute

The flute responds with great ease, projects extremely well, has a wide dynamic range and a fantastic scale. Michelle Caimotto