JS Engineering
4480 North Academy Avenue
Sanger, CA 93657
Phone/Fax: 559 875 0659
Email: jim@jsengineering.net

Flutes with Linear Fingering System


The logic behind my fingering system is straightforward. One note follows the next chromatic note by closing down the next key with the next finger of your hand, and so on down the line, one after the other in linear sequence.

This new fingering system is easy to memorize and enables the player to perform even difficult passages with comfort and ease. Chromatic scales sound wonderfully smooth. All scales are easy to play, regardless of how many sharps or flats are involved. The Boehm method is built around the C major scale with the sharps and flats of other scales inserted where they can fit. Because of this, scales with more sharps and flats become difficult to play. The new flute design overcomes this problem because it is based on the chromatic scale - the only scale to include all twelve notes of the octave.

The Schmidt chromatic fingering makes perfect sense and is a pleasure to use. Since the tone holes are generally located directly underneath the fingers being applied, the players understand that they are making the flute tube longer and lowering the pitch by applying more fingers, making it shorter and raising the pitch by lifting fingers, or venting it for high notes by lifting some fingers and closing others. This direct link of fingers over tone holes enables players to visualize what they are doing to the flute tube. It encourages them to use more creativity and intelligence in their playing. For example: it is easy to transpose down a third by simply counting down 4 more fingers on their keys.

This flute has been designed with ergonomics and finger comfort foremost in mind. All of the touchpieces have been ideally located. The angle and finger positions of both hands have been laid out to allow for relaxed playing. The player's hands are also located closer to the face and so strain on the arms is reduced. These improvements are not subtle - they are dramatic. It's a healthy design and it feels friendly in your hands.

The limitations of the Boehm system have made it necessary to invent the Bb lever, split E 3rd octave, E facilitator (restrictor), duplicate G#, C# trill key, 3rd octave F# button, low B gizmo and the Bb thumb key. All of these extra keys just make the Boehm system more awkward to play. The new system sweeps away all of this extra keywork and starts with a clean slate. With the new system, scales and tones are cleaner and quicker due to the fact that all the main line notes are independent and is not loaded down by interlinkage mechanisms as are, for instance, Bb and F# in the Boehm method. Tones are exeptionally clear because you have the choice of closing only those holes which produce the best sound.

Trills are a breeze to play as they simply involve the same decisive finger to be moved up and down as would normally be used to play the next note. A chromatic or other scale of successive trilled notes sounds very uniform, each note having the same volume and available speed. More tremolos are available and easier to play than with the Boehm system.

IWith the new system its possible to quickly move either or both hands down one space/touchpiece/tonehole (1/2 step) - similar to moving the hand one 1/2 step down in pitch on a guitar fretboard. The procedure is outlined below.

You can shift down the entire hand one space to hold down both the B and Bb touchpieces with one finger. Now BOTH the ring and little fingers are available to operate the touchpieces of the G# & low C through B cluster. All the low note tremolos and intervals are available including trills between low C#/B and C/B which are pathetic with the Boehm system.

Shifting down the hand as described above gives you trills and tremolos for all the notes between and Eb to C including the Eb/C# thrill which is impossibile on the Boehm setup.

The image above right shows a right hand crutch that is used to free the right thumb. It provides extra stability, comfort and makes it possible to hold the flute with all the fingers lifted from the touchpieces.


Gold pads project more tone than convertional pads. They last much longer and require fewer adjustments. Skin deterioration, moisture warpage and all those other headaches are no longer a problem.


A sculptured lip plate is designed to comfortably fit the player. Elimination of the bulky tone deadening head cork is replaced by a trim, leak proof plug. Sleek, low profile keys are precision formed from solid stainless steel or Silver. The keys are designed to be much stronger to resist bending which would upset the precise seal of the trouble free synthetic pads. Conventional keys and pads are thick and bulky. These new lower profile keys offer more control, a better feel, and the lightest, fastest action you've ever experienced. This flute does not have a traditional look because it places performance above all else in order to improve the tone and playability beyond the Boehm method.

Posts and tone deadening ribs have been replaced by one piece bridges. The integrity of the main body has been improved by eliminating the solder joint at the head joint tenon. The duplicate G# is not necessary on this flute - thus dispensing with one deadening pad and tonehole. This efficient design effectively reduces unwanted weight and solder joints. This enables the flute to project with greater clarity, tone color, and volume. There are no pins, body joints or collars. It is much closer to the ideal of an adjustable length of resonant tubing attached to a head joint.

Spring pressures are even throughout the key work due to the elimination of interlinkage mechanisms (such as Bb and F# on Boehm flutes).


There are no flattened or shaded notes (which occurs with interlinkages). This allows a more even graduation of tone hole size and location. The elimination of interlinkages allows the player to choose the ideal fingerings for the upper register. These improved fingerings provide clarity of tone and precise intonation unmatched by any Boehm system flute.

The independently operated keys make it possible to choose many more combinations of closed or open tone holes. This feature opens up more potential for multiphonics, special effects and tone production.

Young musicians are naturally attracted to this new design. The chromatic layout makes it easy for a beginner to find correct notes just as a child counts on his fingers.

Advanced players find tremendous potential at their fingertips. Tone quality is improved for classical playing, accelerated passages are available for the jazz artist, and a whole new horizon opens up for extended techniques.