Hess 10-key Flute

Instrument: 10-key flute in C, cocus wood with Silver rings and keys, original (recovered) case

Maker: Hess, Wilhelm, München

Pitch: A=448

Sounding Length:

Total Length:

Embouchure size

Restorer: as received

Notes: This is a very rare and interesting flute. Flutes by Wilhelm Hess are quite rare. There are 4 in the München Stadtsmuseum. What is especially interesting about this flute is the fact that it looks exactly like a Boehm and Greve flute of the 1829 Boehm model. Boehm and Greve were also in Munich and it has been speculated that Hess could have been one of the makers Boehm worked with before he got his own license in 1829. This particular flute is very similar to DCM 0240 by Boehm & Greve. I have included a photo of that flute as the last photo on this page. I think it is clear that either Hess and Boehm & Greve worked in cooperation or Boehm had some relationship with Hess.

This flute has a few important details that are different from the DCM flute. In addition to the regular 8 keys, my flute has a RH Bb which is something Boehm was known for including on his flutes as well as those he made together with Gerock & Wolf in England. My flute also has a RH G# which is quite unusual. It is also position in line, but before the C key. This means that in order to play the C key, the flutist has to pass over the G# to get there. A interesting choice. Another difference is the foot joint, which on this flute is more in the style of Boehm’s 1832 flute. I was surprised to find that the C# key is *above* the C rather than below, as we are more used to seeing. So to play low C# one has to play just the upper key without hitting the lower one.

Flutes in this Boehm & Greve style were made by other makers as well. Mollenhauer comes to mind. However, I think if this flute was not stamped Hess, it would surely be thought to have been made by Boehm & Greve, while other flutes have more differences.

This flute has not yet been restored although it is in quite decent playing condition. It has one repaired crack at the head socket, and a small crack at the upper edge of the embouchure. Neither has any effect on playing for the moment. The flute has a typical, fairly round embouchure, unlike the rather square ones Boehm as experimenting with. We can see both types on the flutes of Boehm & Greve. The flute plays with a good response throughout the entire range. Perhaps favoring the upper range over the bottom. This will probably be improved with restoration.

I purchase this flute from a person in Canada who had gotten it from an antiques store. It hasn’t had any work done to it since its time in the store. It must have had some restoration at some point.

Demonstration recordings:

Hess 13
Hess 14
Hess 15
Hess 1
Hess 2
Hess 3
Hess 4
Hess 5
Hess 6
Hess 7
Hess 8
Hess 9
Hess 10
Hess 11
Hess 12
Hess 15
Hess 16


DCM 0240 Boehm & Greve 1829

DCM 0240

© Michael Lynn, 2014 - 2023 - some of these flutes are available for purchase - please contact me for further information