Jim Gilliland, a Native American artist and flute maker for the last 29
years, from North Alabama. He retired from the Space Program as a Senior Design Engineer after 40 years, in 1999. He uses his engineering skills and Native American heart, to create a River Cane/Bamboo flute that sings. These flutes are made using the traditional methods and new technology.
He is also making wood flutes, from all types of wood. These flutes are bored out and shaped on a gun drilling lathe, so there are no glue joints to fail. The solid bore also improves the sound quality. The sound mechanism is milled in with a milling machine and the playing holes are burned in with burning tools. All his flutes are precision tuned on a Peterson Strobe scope.
One of his river cane flutes that was played on the International Space Station in 2002, this flute is now at the Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian in Washington, DC.
He was also commissioned in 2004 to make the River Cane Flutes for the movie, The New World that will open in November of 2005.
He was also honored in 2005 year as the First Place winner in the Musical Echoes, Flute Makers competition in Ft. Walton Beach Florida. He took first place with a river cane flute in the key of E that had a roost and sound mechanism of inlayed ebony.
His flutes have been sold around the world through The Oregon Flute Store since 1998.
He is a registered Native American of Cherokee/Creek/Scots Irish heritage.
Jim's other interest are primitive technology, carving, wood & metal working, gold prospecting, knife making, blacksmithing, lapidary and flint knapping.
The Native American flute is easy to play and can be improved upon your whole life. Each flute has a different sound depending on the wood it is made from. Each flute is made to a specific key and different flutes from different materials will still play the same key.
Each flute has its own sound that a player delights in finding as they play it. Almost like a personality. The is the joy of playing a flute made by a master craftsman. You get to discover what its personality is when you play it.
I find inspiration all around me. I try to make my flutes representative of myself and my generation. I love the people that learn to play the Native flute and find the joy in sharing it with others.
We love hearing from other flute players. Let us know what you need and we will do our best to meet your request.