“You have to have crazy ideas to invent something sensible. The next reliable way of predicting the future is to invent it.”
The Guo Musical Instruments Company had its humble beginnings in 1988. Although their initial handcrafted flutes offered only minor alterations to the original Boehm system, in 2003 the company introduced the Cermet Flute, thereby marking the beginning of what has become a devoted journey into the innovation of flute manufacture and design. This initial step, which remains a hallmark of all GMIC flutes to this day, was characterized by the exclusive use of computerized engineering for all aspects of an instruments construction and design, allowing for a level of consistency and reliability that had simply never been available by any other previous method.
In 2004 from the suggestion and inspiration of Mark Dannenbring, flute professor of the prestigious Donghai University in Taiwan, the company’s founder, Geoffrey Guo, began experimenting with new ways of designing flutes with the intention of recapturing the unparalleled air response of conical one-keyed Baroque flutes in a modern form that is equally suited to the performance of contemporary music as to early music, or to anything in between or beyond. Their early explorations led to the creation of the Executor headjoint. With a versatile tone that is the product of a composite man-made material named ‘Grenaditte’, due to the remarkable similarities it shares in density, acoustics, and color with the Grenadilla wood, the Executor’s great success encouraged GMIC to eventually compose an entire flute from this unique material.
The Grenaditte flute was an extension of Geoffrey’s and Mark’s research into the response of the air in the flute tube. This grenaditte material, slightly altered, allowed Geoffrey to create a design that could both capture the response of the air in a conical tube without losing the range of a modern instrument. The flute has many advantages over both silver and wood as the concave crown, various densities of material throughout the flute and bell at the foot allow for an unusually broad, colorful tone with exceptional intonation and nuanced, ultra-responsive dynamics. The material makes the flute impervious to changes in weather conditions, surprisingly light weight, and ideally suited for production methods based upon the minute and detailed accuracy of computer graphics. While the Grenaditte Flute’s response is indeed far closer to that of an early conical flute, it has achieved what had previously been the long elusive capability to accurately capture and express music from all periods. This grand potential has finally been achieved by the Guo Musical Instruments Company by combining remarkably consistent equal tempered intonation in all registers with the tone and feel of a conical flute: a flutist’s dream, which has only been made possible through this revolutionary approach to creating a truly modern flute that still remains fully grounded in its traditional pre-19th century roots.
In 2009, the Guo Musical Instruments Company began the production of the New Voice Flute, yet a further development in this most original direction in the evolution of flute making. The New Voice Flute’s tube is composed entirely of engineered high polymer plastics resulting in yet an even lighter weight instrument than the Grenaditte Flute. It is much closer in character to the response of Boehm system flutes than the Grenaditte Flute. Both students and professionals have found this flute surprisingly easy to produce a full, robust sound on, which is ideal for flutists who desire more possibilities and greater freedom than the original Boehm system allows for, yet do not wish to depart too radically from the response of its cylindrical design. While the Greneditte Flute is only available in its original dark color, which resembles the deep beauty of blackwood, the New Voice Flute is available in a variety of colors due to the flexibility of the ultra-modern material it is composed of.
Guo Musical Instruments Company, always striving to expand its own horizons as well as to push the limits of flute making’s past, has in 2010 begun venturing into the world of flute manufacture beyond the world of the traditional ‘C’ flute. This single year has already seen the production of piccolos, constructed with similar material as either the Grenaditta and New Voice flutes, and the bass flute. Both were very well received at the NFA Convention in Anaheim. GMIC has also ‘filled in a 200 year old gap’ in flute making with the creation of the G soprano flute, also available in either Grenditta or New Voice styles, which offers the best of both worlds between the bright high register of the piccolo and the subtle color and beauty of the ‘C’ flute. Plans are also in the works for the creation of GMIC alto and damoure flutes in the near future, so ‘stay tuned’ for the many creative future developments at GMIC as the company’s line of innovative instruments captures the attention and imagination of flutists around the world.