Rich Halliburton's Querencia Flutes

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Location: Hermosa Beach, California, United States

After building flutes for a number of years now, I sneeze sawdust, and it scares my cat. That being said, it is however an absolute drop dead, no joke passion for me. When I'm not eating sawdust, I'm searching the entire planet for the most beautiful, exotic/bizarre woods, and gemstones I can find. I plow every dime back into purchasing these items, in addition to a few margarita supplies....... I don't follow, or pretend to understand a lot of the cardinal rules of flutemaking, and the end product seems to indicate I'm better off for it. PLUS, I continue to make great friends on a daily basis, most of whom possess humbling talent. ...Ya won't find that working at a carwash, even if it does pay better.

Saturday, September 03, 2022

Happy Birthday Leonard

During my 20 years in the flute trade, I’ve met many great performers and makers. Three stand out as being most influential in this journey, One continues in that capacity, one hasn’t spoken to me in about 9 years, and the third is dead. That third, was an inspirational breath of fresh air by the name of Leonard Lone Crow McGann. He passed away at 61. back in 2013. We first met at the Oklahoma Flute Festival in 2007, where I humbly won first place in the flutemakers competition. I purchased one of his instruments at that event.

Thereafter, my first effort to contact him was by phone. His wife Ms.Kitty, answered the phone, and after introducing myself, stated “He’s down the road cuttin’ firewood for the stove”. After hearing that, I asked myself “Where the Hell does this guy live?”……His address, in the hills of Virginia, was on Difficult Creek Road, outside Bedford. That began 6 years of late night phone calls talking about anything, and everything. During one such call, I did a Google Earth search during our conversation, and found his property, predictably, in the middle of nowhere. I saw a circular dirt driveway, passing a barn, the main house, some sheds, and a small vegetable garden. There were 3-4 trees in the center of this drive, and an odd blue dot, among the trees. Since the photo was taken from space, the blue dot looked completely out of place. I asked, “Leonard, do you have a Jacuzzi out there in the middle of your property?” He thought a moment, and said “Aw, no. It’s a poly tarp tied to the trees so my dogs can get out of the rain.”….That was Leonard. His birthday is this month, and he would have been 70 years of age. I just finished a flute in time for his birthday.

This flute has a different tuning. Specifically it’s tuned to modes 2 and 5. Pioneered by Leonard, this tuning has the player hold down the 4th or 5th hole from the mouthpiece, as opposed to the 3rd or 4th, providing celtic and other major chromatic options. Leonard typically built these from cedar, with a ¾” bore diameter, and are very manageable. Mine on the other hand, not so much. Mine is cut from Indonesian paldao, with a 1” bore diameter and is almost two feet long. The hole closest to the foot, is 20” from the mouthpiece, so a long reach is necessary as well as greater lung capacity. The term “Go big or go home” has some practical limitations. Having said that, I wanted to create an homage to Lone Crow for his birthday month. Happy Birthday Leonard. Ingredients of this instrument include African ebony, alowood, amboyna burl, hematite, Ukrainian pyrite, almandine garnet, abalone, and powdered  Arizona turquoise, chrysocolla, and New Mexico pipestone.

Thursday, August 25, 2022

A little entertainment.....


Im working on a new flute with a mode 2/5 tuning, and exploring it’s possibilities with a Celtic flavor….I should add, I don’t play it very well……. In the meantime, in an effort to make my website a little more entertaining, I’ve incorporated an audio file into the “Learn More” page. Specifically, it’s a song entitled ‘Querencia’, written and played by recording artist Bill Leyden. Among other instruments, he plays one of my flutes as well. Hope you enjoy.

Monday, August 01, 2022

Experiments done.....


So this cedar F#m was the second of three planned experiments, in an effort to create a predictable process of generating a hardwood voice, from a soft wood. Last month’s flute and this instrument exceeded my expectations such that a third is not needed. The fetish in this case is supposed to be a swan, but it can be anything you want it to be.

I got a little carried away with stone work, and threw about 15 items into this project. They include Ethiopian fire opal, larimar, orange pearl, turquoise, spiny oyster, almandine garnet, moonstone, and two faceted African cognac diamonds about the size of flea eggs. Currently, these flutes are flying out of my shop at the blistering rate of about one a month. Covid Cooties are still with us, my brother in law just got it. Stay cautious.

Saturday, July 09, 2022

A few Experiments...

 This would be an Oklahoma red cedar Gm. It has a  7/8 inch bore, and an overall length of 20-1/2 inches. Outwardly, not particularly unusual or creative, but the first of three experiments wherein I’m attempting to achieve a hardwood clear voice from a soft wood, without the tonal artifacts cedar is known for. If you enjoy the typical cedar sound, this will not be your instrument. I tuned it up a half step from F#m so it has a clear happy dance kind of voice, by creating a serpent tuning hole at the foot of the instrument. Additional materials include dyed box elder burl, abalone, turquoise, Mexican jelly opal, spiny oyster and a little hand colorizing.  I would include an MP3 file here if I knew how, so I’ll have to wait until it’s posted to my website. Enjoy your Summer, and try not to set anything on fire.

Saturday, June 18, 2022

A Simple Recipe....

…Pretty simple recipe. Oklahoma red cedar, box elder and amboyna burls, domestic turquoise, and a couple of cabs of labradorite. F#m. The problem is, the demand for turquoise on the international market, has dramatically outpaced supply. China has placed a moratorium on their mining, and domestic mines are just running out of material. Specimen stones are now sold by carat weight and have seen up to a 1000% increase in price over the last 15 years. Fortunately, I’ve been squirreling away turquoise for 20+years, and I’m not sure why,…so I have a decent amount, and don’t need to shop at today’s outrageous prices. These instruments like turquoise, and I like sharing them rather than taking them to my grave. Stay healthy and play nice.

Saturday, June 11, 2022

Questions constantly never asked...

….So one of the questions folks are day in and day out, constantly never asking, is “This is your profession,…why do you insist on building one instrument at a time, from start to finish?” Another is “Do you lease or own the rolling stock, like forklifts, semi-trucks and trailers, and company cars?”. The answer to that would be neither. I have one hand truck with a flat tire. These two photos should explain all the instrumentation that comes into play while building one fetish block. In this case, a Zuni representation of the macaw, or their symbol for summer, soon to be added to my next instrument, hopefully in time for the beginning of summer. Photo was taken on the main floor of the Native American style flute production facility, here at Querencia Woodwinds.#Nativeamericanstyleflute #querenciawoodwinds #Zuni

Friday, June 03, 2022

Like putting lipstick on a pig

So,....the number of flutes I'm able to post this month, is... None. My home, and more importantly the driveway in front of the Corporate HQ of Querencia Woodwinds, is ever so slowly, sliding down the hill toward the ocean. Ms. Denise and I have spent most of the time filling in cracks and fractures in the asphalt in preparation for sealcoating. Sort of like putting lipstick on a pig. Not wanting to mess up the prep work with sawdust prior to the coating, I revisited one of my steel guitars, much to the disappointment of neighbors within earshot.