The following testimonials, reviews and kind comments are from people who play Martin Doyle's flutes.
Testimonials to Martin Doyle's wooden headjoints for concert flutes can be viewed here »
The unlined timber head-joint (of Martin Doyle's flutes) with no metal tuning slide gives the flute a dynamic range which I have only ever experienced on all-timber Rudall & Rose flutes. I find that this flute allows huge possibilities for expression when playing both rhythmic dance music and slow airs. I hope many more people around the world will end up playing Martin's flutes. He is my personal favourite contemporary flute maker and general guru. I changed from a top of the range 150-year-old Besson flute to one of Martin's Celtic style flutes, which I much prefer. I only ever use the old one when I need to use keys, which is very rarely!
From Ronan Browne's Instruments page:
My favourite flute is my Martin Doyle "Celtic" with no keys or tuning slide. I have never enjoyed playing a flute as much as this musical wonder. Months can often go by without a note being played and I am amazed that the Doyle flute will perform perfectly on stage under demanding circumstances, played by an out-of-practice player! Compare that to blowing in and warming up one of my old flutes only to find that a note disappears at an inopportune moment!
I have been playing my Martin Doyle flute for some years now and have to say that it resonates with a warmth akin to the glowing embers of a luxuriant turf fire. All his instruments are very responsive and I am constantly amazed at their unerring consistency. In addition Martin is always ready to offer advice on all matters relating to getting the best out of his instruments. He is a genuine and knowledgeable person with a burning passion for his craft.
Martin's work has set the standard for all flute making in this part of the world. He is a musician with an intuitive understanding of the mechanics of the flute. As a regular visitor to his workshop in Bray, I can honestly say that I am constantly amazed at Martin's level of craftsmanship, his knowledge of the instrument and of the multiple skills he has acquired in flute making. The absolute attention to detail he brings to each and every instrument is amazing. As an experienced player I have collected many flutes over the years but I now only play flutes in Cocus and Blackwood from Martin. I recommend Martin's flutes to all my students at all levels, as the tone, the tuning and ease of note production enables, especially complete beginners, to advance quickly. I believe Martin's flutes can bring a lot of pleasure to the world.
I bought my Martin Doyle flute about a year ago and I absolutely love it. The sound is so rich and warm and instantly responsive. I bought it from All Flutes Plus in London and I wasn't even planning on buying a new flute as I was more than happy with my other one. But when I tried it, I had to have it! It has such a big beefy tone which I love. I have the traditional style flute, keyless and without a tuning slide, and I would heartily recommend it to everyone including beginners as it is such a responsive flute and also at a really great price.
My friend, flute maker and flute player extraordinaire Martin Doyle made my B-flat and C flutes, both of which are a complete joy to play! On a recent visit he also gave my aging Rudall and Rose a much-needed and thorough overhaul. Its cork had been there 150 years!!! A heartfelt thank you Martin, for your craftsmanship as well as your kindness.
I would heartily recommend Martin Doyle as a flute maker. It's as simple as that!
Martin is an affable craftsman in whose workshop time means nothing. He will generously spend hours discussing his craft. Despite his laid-back manner, he will not leave you waiting years for your new instrument. I have been recommending Martin Doyle flutes to my students for many years due to their tonality, volume and after-sales service. Last year, I finally took the plunge myself and put aside my beloved flute of twenty years for a new custom-made Doyle model and I have never looked back.
(Posted July 2012)
Martin Doyle's flutes are the absolute best value you are going to get. I have many students playing his flutes and were it not for the reasonable price many of these students would not have the chance to own their own flutes. The only complaint I have with the flute is that everywhere I go to play other flute players are taking it off me and are reluctant to give it back. No one can believe how little I paid for the flute. The tone and volume are amazing. I was lazy to learn the flute after twenty years of whistle playing I'd tried several times and gave up ('too hard, not enough time' I thought). When I got a Martin Doyle flute it was much easier to play so I finally stuck with it. These days I encourage my flute students to get Doyle flutes. Martin is the man!
I have been playing a Martin Doyle traditional style flute made from African blackwood since 2001. As a touring musician I am delighted with its reliability and consistensy of tone, no matter where I am in the world. The flute is perfectly in tune which is very important when playing in a band context. I also love the fact that it can produce a variety of sounds from a powerful bark to a sweeter, clearer tone, making it a very expressive instrument and suitable for all kinds of music from wild Kerry Polkas to more subtle slow airs. I always recommend Martin's flutes to my flute students.
Martin is a great friend of mine. He's not only an excellent flute maker but also (believe it or not) a master of the Japanese martial art of Aikido !! He regularly visits Japan for intensive Aikido training. I started working on a recording project called 'The Complete Works of Turlough O'Carolan' in 2007 – seven CDs in all and have already finished recording three of them so far. I've decided to use Martin's D and C flutes for the recording as his instruments always give me loads of inspiration and freedom. With his lovely flutes, I can explore a whole new world of Carolan music. Thanks Martin !! (CD review)
(June 2015 – after receiving a D–flat flute from Martin):
Hi Martin !!
Thanks so much for sending such a great instrument !!! To be quite honest, I really think your weapons (meaning your lovely flutes) have been improving all the time. As you know, many of my friends and students ordered your flutes and I'm always moved with the incredible standard of your recent flutes !! (I even sometimes envied their flutes and wanted to have them !!)
I played whistle mostly for many years but since purchasing a Martin Doyle keyless D flute in African blackwood, I have gained a new found respect for the flute as an instrument. Martin's flutes are so responsive, easy to fill and have that great bark on the low D that I like on a flute. Other flute players in sessions that have played my Martin Doyle flute are always very reluctant to give it back! Martin himself is a gentleman to deal with and his waiting list is so much shorter than other makers. Well done Martin and may you have continued success long into the future.
I have thought a lot about writing to you since I got my keyed flute from you. I wanted to really feel my way into it and explore what it has to offer. I am astounded by the range of colour available, just waiting for me to exploit it. The tones available far exceed what I could get on the flute I got off you 10 years ago. I wanted the keys because I have a particular interest in the music of east Galway, Paddy Kelly and Paddy Fahey in particular, and you can't really manage that without the F natural. Obviously since I have a keyed flute I notice other flutes much more, and I am continuously impressed by your standard of craftsmanship, and I understand how difficult it is to maintain such a high standard. Well done!! I don't know what motivates you as an instrument maker, but I enjoy being able to create something that is unique with its own voice, that will hopefully live long after me and in some small way contribute to making the world a better place. I think you have already achieved this. Thank you.
Just want to say that I love the flute you have made for me. I've been playing it a lot and the desire to play now is infinitely greater. I don't think I have ever been attached to an instrument so much.
Thank you very much,
(Posted Mar 13, 2018)
Martin Doyle's flutes have a wonderful sound: clear and reedy at the same time. The finish of the flute is perfect, both inside and out. Few makers spend as much time on the finish of the bore as Martin does. His flutes are like glass inside. This means that beads of condensate tend to roll out instead of staying in the bore. The outside is clean and polished and is a joy to hold as well as to play. The flutes have good volume, are in excellent tune with themselves, and project beautifully in the loudest session. Most other flute-makers copy a nineteenth century flute. Martin's flute design is his own and is unlike any other. They are in a category of their own and are appreciated by the most discriminating players, beginner or expert.
Thank you so much for the time you spent with me and my family when we called to your house & workshop. I really enjoyed playing the flute with you.
While competing at the Ulster Fleadh, the adjudicator continuously emphasised the importance of having a flute with good tone whilst suiting your musical needs. When he announced the winner he commented on the excellent tone of my flute and then said that my flute had the best tone of the competition. I was awarded First Place in the U12 flute and U12 flute slow air competitions . The thing he looked for most was good tone and confident playing. I get my confidence and good tone from Martin Doyle flutes!!!!!!!
(Posted May 2012)
Hello, Mr Doyle!
I finally got the flute and it is incredibly beautiful! You are an expert in beauty and the sound is perfect! I have never seen and never played a flute easier than this one. This is a work of art for me!
Lately I've been studying a lot about the relationship between geometry and the sound of flutes. But the strong D of this flute – a mystery to me. I do not know how you manage to do this. This flute permits me to do the impossible! Unfortunately, I don't quite know very well English, to tell you my impressions! But, believe me, it's endless! I have very long dreamed of a flute like this and now the dream has come true!
(Posted April 2013)
The flute [a Celtic style flute made from boxwood] arrived today and I am in love! It is simply stunning and is far and away the finest flute that I have played and owned. I am amazed at the expressive range that I can achieve even on the first day of playing it. This flute will inspire me to play and practice more – I am very happy indeed. Thank you!
(Posted January 2013)
When Martin first came to Hungary, I had the opportunity to try one of his flutes and it was flute-love at first sight. They are so beautiful, with such wonderful tone! I think that when Martin makes these flutes, he gives not just his knowledge and know-how, but his spirit too! That is what I feel every time I have my flute in my hands.
As a complete beginner in playing the flute I was a little afraid to begin with and prepared to face an 'beginners struggle period' during my first attempts. Instead, your flute is providing me 'daily harmony moments' that I've been seeking for so long. It is so much easier to forget respiration problems if even the first tentative sounds compensate for them! I just love my flute and am very thankful to you.
I have a little story for you... I recently visited Ireland and stayed a couple of nights in Doolin. While there, I visited Skip at the Doolin Music Shop and tried a couple of your flutes, a rosewood and a blackwood. Well, I liked them a lot, but Skip couldn't do credit cards beccause his shop was being renovated. Anyway, when I got back to the States, I started looking around and was able to buy one of your flutes from Doc Jones of the Irish Flute Store. It's a Celtic model in blackwood with three silver rings. Basically, I just wanted to tell you that this is the best-playing flute I've ever owned! I wish I could have met you and visited your workshop when I was over there, since I was only a few miles from you, but I may be back next spring or summer. Again, I love this flute!
Having played other flutes (mainly African blackwood with headliner) and been dissatisfied with their somewhat capricious nature, I started searching for an instrument which did not have these flaws. After scratching around the country on and off for months and visiting several well respected flute makers, I failed to find what I was looking for. Maybe it was me and not the flutes but I found them very unacceptably fickle. Eventually in the autumn of 2005 I found myself in a snug workshop in Bray talking with a very relaxed and affable flute maker who invited me to sit into the corner and try any flute I could find. There were several on a rack on the table next to me so I started with the one closest to me and worked my way along about 7 or 8 of them. Being of a methodical nature, I played the same tune (a slip jig called A Fig For A Kiss) on each of them to better judge their performance. All were sweet toned, balanced and uncapricious.
Then my eye lit on it! A nice looking cocus wood, unkeyed, unlined flute at the end of the rack. The feeling I got on playing those first few notes I can still recall. Absolutely gorgeous tone, weight and balance, not a hint of fickleness and with that lovely soft, mellow reverberation which comes with good tone. Low D? No problem. Another fifteen minutes playing passed interspersed with question and answers with Martin. The decision to buy this particular flute was not made by me nor by Martin but by the flute. This thing of beauty is of the rare sort and gives massive enjoyment. Thanks are not enough Martin Doyle!
I have been playing music for most of life and have been fortunate to come across Martin Doyle's flutes.
When playing my flute I can feel the devotion and love that has been poured into the fine craftsmanship of the instrument. I am honored to have a flute by Martin who produces such fine quality and touch.
I have been playing Martin Doyle's flutes since 2001 and currently have two; a three keyed D-flat in African blackwood and a keyless D flute in boxwood. Both are traditional style flutes and without tuning slides. While there is quite a difference in the tonality and personality of these flutes, their similarities are clarity of tone, great tuning and amazing responsiveness – and they are also beautifully crafted and finished. Whether I am playing music in gentle or dynamic modes, these flutes offer everything I need and much more. I am always finding new and interesting expression and possibilities and they are helping to make me a better musician. Indeed, Martin Doyle's motto, 'ease of playing and quality of tone', is no empty brag but a solid reality! Thank you Martin – the world of music, Irish traditional or otherwise, is the richer for your efforts.
I recently acquired a lovely used keyless flute made of maple wood (nice, as I'm Canadian!) It turned out to be a Martin Doyle flute and within an hour I was able to get a couple of simple tunes out of it. The flute practically played itself! This fantastic ease of playing is a credit to the makers skill and talent. I have since played a number of Martin's flutes and found them all easy to play and they look as beautiful as they sound. The world of flute music is indeed fortunate to have a craftsman of Martin's standard whose love of the old ways and willingness to experiment are bound to keep the Irish flute alive and prospering for a long time to come.
j'ai depuis un petit moment une flute martin doyle, c'est ma 7eme flute ! et j'en ai eu de tres reputées, mais je dois avouer que je suis sous le charme de cette flute... c'est vraiment une flute qui derriere une apparente simplicité cache une reelle puissance et aussi beaucoup de subtilité...
se sentir bien avec une flute n'est pas evident, mais là, je suis comblé à tous les niveaux : confort de jeu, timbre, puissance, justesse, finitions... un facteur de flûtes qui merite d'etre plus connu en france, c'est sur !
maintenant, si on me demande, je conseillerai une martin doyle, c'est sur ! je connais pas mal de bonnes flutes, mais à mon sens, celle là est à part !
Enjoying playing one of your traditional flutes that I picked up here in the States – great craftsmanship! In the attached file is one of my original pieces played on your great flute.
I had a couple of hours playing on the new flute you sent me. Great!
My wife says I am to throw away my concert flute!
I just want to thank you for your beautiful flute which we got from you a year and a half ago. Just to let you know my daughter Eve, who was 11 last month, won the under 12s flute reel and jig, the under 12s slow air on the flute, and the same two competitions on her whistle. Also her group cheoil won, so a cup and 5 gold medals her first time in the Waterford fleadh was a great result. Also she won a scholarship yesterday in her Comhaltas branch for flute and whistle. TG4 were there to capture the moment.
What a proud mother I am!
(Posted Jun 09, 2018)
The flute arrived today. It looks beautiful, is comfortable to hold and play, and the sound is great. I also find the size and shape of the embouchure hole perfect.
Thank you for making such amazing flutes.
(Posted Nov 30, 2016)
I'm delighted with my new flute, it's both beautiful and sounds great.
Thank you for making such a lovely instrument for me.
(Posted Oct 30, 2016)
I received my flute this evening and I am so delighted I can't stop smiling! The balance of the instrument is perfect compared with my hire flute, the craftsmanship is superb, and the tone is gorgeous. The notes pop out so much more easily, particularly the low D and the higher octave. I can't describe how happy I am – I really can't.
Thank you so much Martin – and thank you Eimear [classical and Irish flute player Eimear McGeown] for the advice to go with Martin.
(Posted Oct 27, 2015)
The flute came today. I'm almost at a loss for words (or too many words). It will be a pleasure in getting to know it, and having it teach me. Superb intonation, warm open reediness, jewel tones, smooth top to bottom. I'm also very impressed with the structure and colour of the tone wood, and the tone colour it produces. I couldn't be happier with this flute. Suzuki's 'Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind' has been my guide for many years and like zen practice, the flute demands that I have a 'beginner's mind'.
One of the first tunes I played was Joe's 'Flute makers Jig' (I'm still working it out) which I love for being somewhat child like… more like a medieval feral child… on a good day!
(Posted May 8, 2015)
Your flute arrived just an hour ago. I tried it just a few minutes, to play it in gently, and I have to say it is an awesome flute. I really love it!
I have been playing the Irish flute for just nine months now. First I had a pretty cheap instrument made from carbon fibre which was relatively easy to play, but the sound was not so good and some notes were out of tune. Then I got a wooden flute of a renowned flute maker. The sound was really good but, for me, it was difficult to play and needed a lot of air.
Now, after trying your flute, I'm pretty speechless – it's a whole new experience of playing. I did read the testimonials on your website before ordering. Everybody was talking about the 'ease of playing' your flutes and I couldn't really believe that the experience with a Martin Doyle flute would be so much of a difference compared to other flutes. But now I totally understand what they meant. I can not believe that playing the Irish flute could be that easy. All notes are perfect in tune, there's really no effort to produce a great sound, even with very little air.
So THANK YOU SO MUCH for making such great instruments.
(Posted March 20, 2015)
I love the flute, Martin. Maybe I should say what it is I like about it. Well, first of all it vibrates very freely without much effort of blowing. It is finely in tune with itself and the tone is rich and smooth. The keyed notes have a clarity and strength that I have not encountered before, and I think that ending the flute at the low D makes all the difference to that note. Another good point that I have noticed is that it is very easy to do breath vibrato on it. So all in all a job very well done. Congratulations. I can perhaps, appreciate more than most the work that went into making such a superior instrument, because I do a bit of woodturning myself.
(Posted February 2015)
Dear Mr Doyle,
We met when I was living in Ireland in 2009. I came to visit your workshop and I was lucky enough to get not only your time but also one of you amazing flute. I am still practicing and to be honest I will never be matching the beauty of your instrument, but I am still so happy when I think the day I met you and got it. The tone of your flute is the true soul of the instrument, never possessed something so beautiful and so full of character. I really wanted to thank you for the great passion you put in your art and the time you spent telling me about you work and passion. Will never forget that afternoon in your workshop.
(Posted August 2013)
I just wanted to thank you for making such a sweet and singing piece of Blackwood! I bought a keyless (no tuning slide) traditional style blackwood flute at All Flutes Plus just three days ago and I cannot believe that I can finally play the Irish flute... (well starting to anyway). I have been playing the Uilleann Pipes and whistle and a wooden Boehm-system flute for years, but everytime I would try the 'Irish flute' I would hide it back in the sock drawer after half an hour and there it would stay for another three or four months. Evertime I tried it I would end up exhausted and irritated beyond words... Why could I not sound like everyone else I heard playing this '*&^%$^' thing. Now I pick up your flute and everyday it is playing easier, sweeter, stronger! Amazing! There are so many choices out there but believe me, I made the right choice when I bought a Martin Doyle flute.
Got the keyless D flute last week... and WOW... as I am only learning this instrument a couple of months I have tried a couple of quality flutes but I have found that your flutes are so effortless to play. The notes are so easy to play I just can't put the thing down. I would recommend anyone who is thinking about taking up this instrument to try one of Martins – I really can't say enough about it.
Thanks a lot Martin... Fitzy.
I would like to thank you for a great Celtic style flute made from African blackwood. I am really enjoying getting used to it. I took it with me to my last lesson and my teacher was very jealous of it's great tone! [...] I would just like to tell you how much I am enjoying your flute. It really is rewarding as my technique gets better, my tone has really improved.
I have owned many flutes over the years, but my beautiful blackwood Doyle flute is truely one of my favorites. It is lovely to look at, with gorgeous embossed silver rings, a wood-clad tuning slide, and a mirror finish inside and out. The tone holes fall perfectly under my fingers, and the unlined head keeps the flute light and well balanced in the hand, as well as lending that special 'woody' tone that I love. The tuning is among the best of all my flutes. Raucous, driving reels, sweet gentle aires, or spirited jigs all sound wonderful on this flute.
Cheers to Martin Doyle, his flutes are amazing!
Thank you very much for the fantastic flute. (traditional style keyless flute in cocus wood) I have never enjoyed playing as much as I do now. The tone is lovely, rich and strong. I have also found it very easy to play compared to my old flute. It's a truly beautiful instrument. Thanks also for being so very helpful and great to deal with.
I just wanted to tell you that the rosewood flute I purchased from you in October  is so lovely. I found it very easy to play and the tone is so mellow and nice. My husband and I really liked coming to your home and seeing your workshop and picking up the flute. It was such a genuinely good experience meeting you and seeing how the instruments come together.
I am very pleased with the two flutes Martin! I played the D flute for the set dancing with my friends last Saturday evening. I was pleasantly surprised at the excellent responses and the great capacity of the tone colours. For me, these flutes are 'saikou' – the best!
The Celtic style flute without tuning slide is the most satisfying flute I've ever played. It has a crisp and full low register – the low D really honks! I love the simplicity of this flutes appearance, yet the tone I can get out of it is truly awe inspiring and it's always in tune. This is 'flute minimalism' at it's finest!
My Martin Doyle flute is BEAUTIFUL!! It looks great, sounds amazing and I love it. (Celtic style flute made from New Zealand pohutukawa wood). As a concert flute player I was a bit sceptical as to if I could play it and what to play on it but I am doing well. The tone is so different from a conventional metal flute and it is lovely to play for a change – Irish music sounds so much better on a wooden flute. My students are fascinated by it!! Thanks for all your help in getting the right instrument for me. And it is great to own such a fine instrument made of New Zealand native timber!!
The sound is wonderful, enchanting and the instrument is marvellous! I'm really happy to play one of your flutes and to have met you.
I have received the flute (Celtic style flute in New Zealand Pohutukawa wood) last week but I had too many work to try it successfully and in a sufficient domestical comfort. First of all, the wood is wonderfull and very delicate. It sounds really good and equal deepness and also simplicity. I am here now with my very first impressions and I will tell you more with my better and progressive 'maestria' of the instrument.
My wife loves the flute. (Celtic style flute in New Zealand Pohutukawa wood). She has a lot of experience with reed instruments and listening to her progress with the flute has been fun. The dog only howled at her for the first day or two. She is getting much better at it and plays as an unwinding at the end of a long day.
Everyone loves the sound of this (Celtic style flute in New Zealand Kowhai wood) flute. It's an attention getter for sure and everyone who hears it wants to try it out. And it looks fantastic. Thanks for your help and for making this happen.
I would like to say how much I enjoy my Martin Doyle flute! The tone is just beautiful and certainly brings joy, not just to me when I play, but also to those that are listening. Great for using with meditation.
Martin's flutes are great! I have a cocus wood flute and the sound is rich and deep; it is beautiful as well. I love it! He was so helpful throughout the buying process! Thanks so much Martin!
I received the flute early last week. It sounds rich and beautiful and it is very beautiful and of excellent craftsmanship! I am extremely pleased with your work and I think you are the world's best Irish flute craftsman! I have not played or seen in person any other instrument that matches the sound, beauty and quality put into this flute!
Here the flute is in my hands since Wednesday. It is a lovely object. It's already making me very happy: feels quite different to the other timber flutes I tried (4-piece flutes) and I find it more lively and easier to play with my limited skills! My flute teacher was impressed by the bright tone and the perfect tuning. Very happy with my purchase. Thank you and talk again about the leather case sometime.
You may remember that I travelled from Mayo just as the virus and lockdown were happening, and bought one of your two-piece flutes. Meant to contact earlier and say thanks. It's a delightful instrument – so much easier to play on than the other instrument I had.