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The Only Book of Its Kind!


A Guide to Flute Making and Playing


How to Make and Play Simple Homemade Musical Instruments from Bamboo, Wood, Clay, Metal, PVC Plastic, or Anything Else

Book cover

By Mark Shepard

Simple flutes of bamboo, wood, metal, plastic, or clay can be a joy to play and make. This book gives you the basics of simple flute playing, then offers guidelines for making flutes of your own from a variety of materials. It even includes a handy chart for “where to put the holes.” Simple Flutes is a must for simple flute players and makers!

Mark Shepard is the author of How to Love Your Flute, hailed by Paul Horn as “a model for our times,” as well as the craft guide Simple Flutes. For many years, he was a professional artisan, making and selling flutes of bamboo or plastic. His earlier book, Flutecraft, was the first book ever published on craft flutemaking.

Simple Productions

Paperback ~ 2002

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Reviews and Comments

“Contains the essence of a tremendous amount of experience.”—Sam Hinton, Sing Out

“An excellent overview for those interested in learning more about simple side‑blown flutes.”—Monty Levenson, Tai Hei Shakuhachi

“A slim, elegantly presented, and highly practical guide to crafting simple flutes and making music with them. Flutes of bamboo, wood, clay, metal, and plastic are authoritatively discussed. Simple line drawings and easy-to-understand instructions enhance and round out this first‑rate, ‘user friendly’ guide for anyone with a fondness toward simplicity in their own personal music.”—Midwest Book Review’s The Bookwatch and Internet Bookwatch, Aug. 2002

“This thin volume contains a wealth of information.”—Linda Dailey Paulson, Dirty Linen, Oct.–Nov. 2002



The Sound

The Hands

The Notes

Second Octave

Sharps and Flats

Breath and Tonguing

Making Music

Flute Care


Flute Qualities

The Flute Tube

The Mouthhole

The Fingerholes











Sample Text

Here are the two most important rules for tuning:

  • A hole will give a higher note if it is placed closer to the mouthhole. It will give a lower note if placed farther away.

  • A hole will give a higher note if made larger. It will give a lower note if smaller.

These rules mean you can “raise” a note by enlarging the hole or by placing the hole closer to the mouthhole. You can “lower” the note by using a smaller hole or by placing the hole farther from the mouthhole.

It also means you can change the hole size and its placement without changing the note. A larger hole could be placed farther from the mouthhole, or a smaller hole placed closer to the mouthhole.

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