David Chu is one of the world's leading makers of wooden and bamboo flute headjoints. Each headjoint has a specific and unique colour, character and personality. Chu has wide experience in the fields of flute- and headjoint- making, and also in flute restoration. His headjoints are played by a number of well-known performers including Keith Underwood, Gary Schocker, Andy Findon, Alan Weiss and Bart Feller.
David Chu primarily uses grenadilla (or African blackwood) and boxwood - one heavy and one light. He also likes cocuswood, but it is almost impossible to obtain nowadays. There are many other kinds of wood that David uses for their beauty and unique properties, such as mopane and pink ivory from Africa, and cocobolo, Brazilian rosewood and kingwood from South America. He has occasionally used snakewood, bocote and osage orange. His newest discovery is a wood from Australia called Western Myall. It is as heavy as grenadilla and very easy to work with. The sound is very deep but with brilliance when required. The wooden headjoint is definitely darker in comparison to modern silver headjoints. Nowadays, most metal headjoints are very bright and even thin in the high register. Chu's wooden headjoints have a rounder sound and blend very well with the other woodwinds and strings. The tone is focused without being harsh. The sound is complex and allows for many colour changes by the player. At the same time, the volume and dynamics are large enough for modern use. A wooden headjoint on a metal flute is a fascinating combination and a real compliment to much of the flute's repertoire.
"When I make a headjoint, I have the finished dimensions in mind for the embouchure hole. It is the balance of these dimensions that determines the characteristics of the sound and response of a headjoint. When I get close to these measurements, I start testing the headjoint as I continue to make small cuts, until I am satisfied with every acoustic aspect of the headjoint. I cannot tell you the definitive science but through experience I know what works and what does not." - David Chu