Open Hole Flutes Vs. Closed Hole Flute: Which Is Better and Why?

Flutes come in two main types: open hole and closed hole. As the name suggests, open hole flutes have small holes along the length of the instrument, while closed hole flutes have these holes covered with plugs.

Both types of flute have their own advantages and disadvantages; let's delve into them!

Open Hole Flutes Vs. Closed Hole Flute: Which Is Better and Why?

Open Hole Flutes Vs. Closed Hole Flutes: Pros & Cons

Open Hole Flute Pros

Open Hole Flute Pros

Open hole flutes have a number of advantages over closed hole flutes. First, they tend to be easier to play, since the air can flow more freely through the instrument. This also makes them less likely to crack or become damaged.

In addition, open hole flutes produce a richer, more vibrant sound than closed hole flutes. This is due to the fact that all of the air passing through the instrument is able to vibrate the full length of the flute.

As a result, open hole flutes are often considered to be superior in terms of sound quality.

Finally, open hole flutes are less likely to produce unwanted squeaks and squawks than closed hole flutes.

This is because the air can escape more easily through the open holes, preventing it from becoming trapped and causing the flute to make an undesirable noise. 

Open Hole Flute Cons

Open Hole Flute Cons

While open hole flutes have many advantages, there are also some potential disadvantages to consider. One of the biggest potential drawbacks is that open hole flutes can be more difficult to tune than closed hole flutes.

This is because there are more areas that can potentially be out of tune, and it can be harder to isolate the specific area that needs to be adjusted. As a result, open hole flutes may require more time and effort to keep in tune.

In addition, open hole flutes may not produce as clear of a tone as closed hole flutes. This is because the holes can affect the airflow and disrupt the smooth vibrato that is essential for producing a clear tone.

However, many experienced flute players believe that the benefits of open hole flutes outweigh the potential drawbacks.

Closed Hole Flute Pros

closed hole flute pros

If you're looking for a flute that will withstand the rigors of regular practice and perform well in both solo and ensemble settings, a closed hole flute is a good option.

These instruments are known for their durability, as there are fewer openings that can become damaged.

In addition, closed hole flutes produce a cleaner sound, making them ideal for classical music

Closed Hole Flute Cons

closed hole flute cons

The semitone holes on a closed hole flute are covered, which means that air can only escape through the small tone holes. This can make it difficult to produce the correct pitch, however, with practice, most flute players are able to overcome this obstacle.

Another potential disadvantage of closed hole flutes is that they can be more difficult to clean than open hole flutes.

This is because the plugs can make it challenging to reach the inside of the instrument, and you may need to remove them completely in order to give the flute a thorough cleaning.

Which Flute Is Better For Beginners? Open Or Closed Hole?

As any musician knows, the type of flute you use can make a big difference in your sound. For beginners, the choice between an open-hole flute and a closed-hole flute can be a tricky one.

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If you decide to go with an open-hole student flute, you would be best-suited with either of these two:

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Conversely, if you are going with the closed-hole student flute, you cannot go wrong with the following:

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Here are some things to consider when making your decision:


Beginner flutes tend to have a brighter, more mellow sound. Open-hole flutes usually have a warmer, richer tone.

Ease of playing:

Closed-hole flutes are generally easier to play, especially for beginners. This is because they require less air pressure to produce a sound. Open-hole flutes can be more difficult to play, as the holes need to be covered precisely in order to produce a clear tone.


Student flutes are typically less expensive than intermediate or professional level flutes. If you are just starting out, it may be a good idea to buy a student flute until you have decided if this is something you want to stick with.

Ultimately, the best flute for a beginner is the one that feels comfortable for you to play and sounds good to your ear. Try out different types of flutes and see which one works best for you.

Open Hole Vs Closed Hole Flute: Which Sounds Better?

This is mostly a matter of personal preference. Some people feel that open hole flutes have a richer, more resonant sound, while others prefer the tighter, brighter sound of closed hole flutes. 

There are also some differences in how the two types of flutes respond to dynamics and articulation. 

This means that open hole flutes may be better suited for certain types of music, such as classical or jazz, while closed hole flutes may be a better choice for pop or rock.