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.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

“The flute is a friend of silence-------play in deep valleys, mountains --silent night--and see the difference-----it’s heaven.” Supiyra Mehra

The website has a brand new look………..well, not exactly. It was new when I started this post….about a year ago.

I replaced a couple pictures of flutes that were built in 2006, and added a nifty video, created and updated by my friend and videographer, David Rivaldo. The site used to include a detailed section about how I build flutes, and that was…….well, partly dis-information. It was a little something for the sixty plus other builders out there, some of whom began building these instruments ten minutes ago. Despite the changes, it’s not really ramped up for sophisticated marketing, but then, neither am I ….. So it all works out. I utilized a brilliant website guy who assured me that Roadrunner cartoons were not a necessary component to marketing flutes on my website. We’ll see.

Weather, ………….and building stuff.

The Querencia Woodwinds Headquarters has three sides, not four. Plus, it has no heater. My work in the winter is done wearing an outfit that looks like I’m homeless, which is generally swim trunks, boots, a parka, and a multicolored ski beanie with a fluff ball thing on top. Flutes are best tuned @ an ambient temp. of 72 degrees F. However, during the winter, I can’t manufacture 72 degrees unless I set the place on fire. And then, it would be 72 degrees for about 15 seconds, en route to 1200…..so I have to wait until 72 degrees shows up, which can take months. First picture.

In the meantime, …….I’ve started building three-string guitars out of cigar boxes. Well, actually, I’ve been building one for over 2 months now, from a broken violin. I’ve built maybe ten so far, as gifts for Austin Hanks , Wyatt Earp, and Ray Wylie Hubbard, and an MD who’s keeping me alive in spite of my lifestyle. Building these instruments is way less fun than building flutes, because the learning curve includes a lot more math, and making a cigar box beautiful is like putting lipstick on a pig…It’s a cigar box……..but they don’t care about the ambient temperatures. A lady on Ebay was selling what she thought was an old cigar box. …...for 28 bucks…..free shipping. I built a 3-string Delta blues bottleneck slider out of it for my bride. It’s a 110-year-old Victorian jewelry box. Third picture.

One of the major guitar problems here at Querencia International is my shop is only 3.5 ft. by 7 ft. Perfect for building a flute, not so good for a guitar. I keep little flute tools over my head on magnetic strips, …so they’re handy. They include stainless steel dental picks. I knock them off moving the guitar around. Then they fall and stick in my head and shoulders. Sticking a dental pick in your head is not something you want to add to your bucket list. What I need is an airplane hangar, but I know me. I would just set up my shop in the hangar’s restroom so I didn’t have to walk so far to get to my dental picks.

From the “Livin’ the dream” department here at QW, I allowed doctors to go on an Easter egg hunt in my body, because I was feeling “off”. They told me it was a tumor in my bladder …..19mm. I told them it’s not a tumor, ..it’s a penny. They told me it was not a penny….and got rid of it. …by means I will never discuss, or forget. …Ever. ……I still think it was a penny. Now I’m back to “Livin the Dream” sort of.

From the “Side Job” department, here at QW….my town is the smallest town in the State of California…..1.6 sq. miles. ….my street is two blocks long. Some drunk kid climbed up on our street sign, and broke it off. …………..four months ago. The city won’t replace it until a bunch of street signs get broken by lightning or drunk kids. Not a problem if you live on this street. A huge problem if you want a pizza or a cab. Querencia Woodwinds is now doing street signs. I didn’t want this job. Second picture.

A couple words yet again about flute “wet-out”…..

During play, at some point, you may notice the voicing of your NAF becomes fuzzy, which is due for the most part from pushing moisture from the compression chamber, up on to the flue, under the block. The air has to find its way around the moisture. This is not to say folks are slobbering into their instruments. In fact, I found out something pretty interesting the other day. When you play one of these wooden flutes, outside, and it’s say….FORTY DEGREES out there, your breath leaves your lungs at 98.6 degrees, assuming you’re not dead,…..no matter what the outside temp. I didn’t know this. So 98.6 degree air is slamming into a wooden chamber that is now around 40 degrees, and was originally around 72 degrees F. when the flute was initially tuned. This will turn the compression chamber into a rainforest. What I haven’t thought through is if it’s therefore better to play the flute at 72 degrees, or 98.6. I’m voting 72 degrees if for no other reason than to maintain proper tuning.

Lastly, a few years back, I posted where my daughter and her boyfriend (now her husband) bought a bus, and I was going to get my own room, with Spongebob Squarepants wallpaper. It just rolled out of the shop last week after 3 years, and no longer looks like a bus, but despite raising the roof 16” and a 15 ft. slide-out living room, it looks a little like a prison transport. Once it gets all the shiny stuff shined up, and exterior graphics, it will look great, but they’re starting to waffle on the Spongebob bedroom. Fourth and fifth pictures.

Ok then…. I’ve been remiss in building/posting flutes but I will remedy that this week by posting seven new instruments. Play Nice.