The J. Novo Advantage

The J. Novo ultra-thin wooden headjoint was first introduced to the U.S. public at the National Flute Association’s NFA Flute Convention held in Chicago in 1984. Interestingly enough, Mr. Novo was the only headjoint maker at this NFA convention (and a few other subsequent NFA conventions) who had thinned wooden headjoints for metal flutes on display. In fact, Mr. Novo was the only one making ultra-thin wooden headjoints in the U.S. at the time.

However, once the J. Novo headjoint became popular all over the world due to leading artists performing and recording with them (which in turn attracted other performers to the big, rich, and beautiful sound produced by wood), other makers – including major manufacturers – began making wooden headjoints for metal flutes. The J. Novo revolution didn’t end there.
Manufacturers eventually also began producing entire flutes made from Grenadilla wood, something that had not been done in the U.S. for decades. The reason for this is that some performers fell in love with the increasingly popular sound of wood but not with the “look” of a wooden headjoint on their metal flute. It sounds silly, yes, but it’s true. In time, these individuals began to urge major manufacturers through persuasive means to build them entire flutes made from Grenadilla wood. This is neither necessary nor practical for several reasons (see “The Benefit of Wood”, “Theobald Boehm”).
“I remember well-known classical flutists coming to my booth at the NFA conventions to look at the new ultra-thin wooden headjoints I had made that everyone was talking about because I was the only one making them at the time,” Mr. Novo said. “Some of them were completely and pleasantly surprised after they tried them out. They ‘couldn’t believe their ears’, to use their own words. But others were confused, bewildered, and even hesitant to try them because they were so different from the rest. Interestingly enough, some people did not want to purchase one if no one else was playing them (they didn’t want to be the only one), while others did not want to purchase one if a lot of people were already playing them (they didn’t want to be like the rest). Finally, there were those who wanted to purchase a headjoint if no one else was playing them (they wanted to be the only one), while others said they would certainly buy one if many others were already playing them (they wanted to be like the rest). People are sure funny.”
“Every once in a while,” Mr. Novo continued, “someone would come up and ask me, ‘Now why would I want to put a piece of wood on my beautiful solid silver (or gold) flute?’, as if looks was the most important thing to consider in flute playing! And I would say ‘Are you more interested in the way it looks, or in the way it sounds? Here! Try this wooden headjoint!’ Although this did not go over too well with some of these folks, it certainly made them all think.”
Today, twenty-eight years later, the J. Novo wooden headjoint is played throughout the world by Classical, Pop, and Jazz players alike.

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