Frequently Asked Questions
These are a few of our frequently asked questions. If you would like to ask something not answered below or need further details, please feel free to fill out our contact form and we will respond to you asap!
Q. What is your return/exchange policy?
A. If within the first 15 days for some reason you are unhappy with your flute or other item bought from our site, rest assured we do accept returns and exchanges minus our shipping costs. It is preferred to exchange a return for a similar item and in no way is our exchange policy to be mistaken for a "try before you buy" since each of these flutes are actually made on demand for the buyer. To be eligible for a return, your item must be unused and in the same condition that you received it. If you special order an item that we deem "un-marketale", it may not be returnable. An example of an unusual though marketable item would be a kangaroo totem. An example of an un-marketable item would be a spaceship totem with the words "congo-robo" burned on the side of it. Amplifiers, microphones, batteries and other electronic devices are also subject to a 10% restocking fee in addition to shipping costs. Once your return is received and inspected, we will send you an email to notify you that we have received your returned item and if a refund is applicable, it will be processed by us within 3 to 5 days and by your payment issuer (i.e. credit card company or PayPal) within their time frames and exchanges are handled as a new order unless communicated otherwise between the buyer and Blue Bear Flutes. To begin the process of a return/exchange, please first send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and send your item to: 2932 Ross Clark Circle PMB250, Dothan, Alabama United States 36301. You will be responsible for paying for your own shipping costs for returning the item. Shipping costs are non-refundable. If you receive a refund, the cost of our shipping will be deducted from your refund. Depending on where you live, the time it may take for your exchanged product to reach you, may vary. If you are shipping an item over $50, you should consider using a trackable shipping service or purchasing shipping insurance otherwise your package cannot be guaranteed that it will be received. Because we offer "free shipping" if you are to exchanging an item, your credit may include the full purchase price of the item where as refunds are minus our shipping costs. CDs, Books, digital and other media are not eligible for refunds. Please keep in mind that a "convenience" fee may be deducted from your refund if for some reason we put your order ahead of other customers (which slows down other customers' orders). Other reasons which you may be charged a "convenience" fee may include but not be limited to: lipstick on the mouthpiece, a strong odor other than the smell of burnt wood emanating from the flute or item, us answering hundreds of your emails to ensure you are informed of what you are receiving (and then returning the flute), us going completely out of our way for you in some way - you will know if we do - and then returning the item. This convenience fee is not the usual and certainly is not meant for the "usual" customers, it is only meant as a way for us to recoup some of the extra time spent in solving major issues.
Q. Do you offer coupons and discounts?
A. Yes we do offer coupons and discounts! As a business, and although our prices are already extremely low, occasionally at our discretion, we lower the prices of some items in order to aid in marketing our products. The discounts found on one sales site may not coincide with our website and vice versa. This does not mean that we do not care about our customers more or less on one sales platform, only that we are in business and marketing appropriately. Having said this, if you find a discount on my site which is more or less than you paid within 24 hours AFTER your purchase, please feel free to contact me with regards to the possibility of a refund of the difference. It will be at the discretion of Blue Bear Flutes as to whether a refund will be given. If you find our prices on a different platform to be more or less, please feel free to place your order as you see fit. We appreciate your business and want to have happy customers receive our flutes, so shop wisely and appropriately with your heart as this is how we aspire to do everything ourselves!
Q. How much is shipping?
A. International Shipping (outside of the USA and its territories) charges are based on your order amount: orders up to $150 costs $15 to ship, orders $150 to $300 costs $10 to ship and orders of $300 and up ship Free!
Domestic Shipping within the USA and its territories is Free!
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Q. What about shipping to and orders from the state of Oregon?
A. First of all, we do ship to Oregon all the time. It is with a heavy heart that we have had to put restrictions on orders placed on the good state of Oregon or its residence, however a trend has arisen and until it diminishes or proves otherwise, our wonderful customers in Oregon will simply have to contact us with regards to their orders and instructions will be sent on how to proceed at that time. These stipulations are due to questionable activities which we have had to deal with in recent times and it is our expressed hope that business will be back to usual with no extra steps in the process soon. If you wish to place an order and reside in the state of Oregon, please know that we appreciate your business and will happily process your order, simply contact us first. All new customers are welcomed without any question and previous customers are also appreciated. Thank you all in advance for your patience in the matter.
Q. What are your shipping times?
A. Orders usually ship within 7 to 14 days for most while some take a little longer such as 3 to 4 weeks and some are shipped out even sooner like 3 to 5 days. If you are concerned about your flute's shipping time or need it for a gift, please message us and we will be glad to help! International customers may expect a slightly longer wait depending on customs. US orders are shipped via UPS and USPS dependent on the best service for the cost at the time. Tracking is usually emailed around the time your flute(s) are shipped. If you have any questions before or after purchase please contact us. :)
Q. Can my separate orders be shipped together?
A. Yes. Most of the time, if you place multiple orders within a close time frame to one another, and they are to go to the same address, we will simply add the items to one package. If you prefer your shipment sent a certain way (i.e. not in the same package), please contact us about options or possibilities in that case.
Q. Is rush shipping available?
A. Yes. We are sometimes able to ship quicker when necessary. There may be additional fees for alternate shipping services, however we try to cater to those in a hurry (especially around birthdays!).
Q. Which payment types do you accept?
A. Payments are processed via PayPal (PayPal and credit cards) and through Stripe (credit card payments).
Q. My flute was damaged during shipping, what can be done about it?
A. On the rare occasion that an item is damaged during shipping, the most important thing is to contact us immediately. Retain the package and item and take a quick picture of each. After we respond to your contact, we will ask for pictures of both. From this point, although each situation is different, usually we send out a replacement item immediately and the rest is as they say "history".
Q. What is the best flute for a beginner?
A. Personally, I recommend our 5 hole western cedar traditionally tuned flute or key of A flute. These are the best for beginners primarily due to both price, ease of maintenance and ease of playing. If you are a beginner and are interested in something a little lower in tone, a G or F# would be great for you as well! In addition, if there is a different flute that you are mainly interested in, it will be great for you as well because as I always say "it's best to choose what inspires you"!
Q. Can I choose the grain or wood pattern, shade or texture of my flute?
A. While you can choose the wood type in some cases, picking out the grain, pattern, shade or texture of the wood which your flute is made of is entirely up to mother nature. We sometimes try to choose a "marbeling" with some woods that is more beautiful rather than than one which doesn't reflect what a Native American Flute should look like, however it is impossible to be entirely picky with anything that is natural and grows how it wants to.
Q. Why are most of your flutes 5 hole flutes? Do you make 6 hole flutes?
A. Great questions! The early Native Americans made many different types of flutes including 4 hole, 5 hole and 6 hole types all of which were discovered across the Americas. After great historical research, it appears that no particular tribes had the patent on any specific types of flutes. There were tribes which seem to have held on to certain flute types for longer than others, however that did not stop them from creating any of the other types!
I do make traditional 6 hole Native American Flutes, and due to my experience and research they are a little different than those made by other flute makers. (it's a good idea to watch my videos on that on the 6 hole flutes page!) It is very easy to play 5 hole flutes when you are accustomed to playing the "modern" 6 hole version. We have videos explaining much of this to help out and offer more info. The 5 hole flutes we make (as well as all of the flutes we make) can be played in the traditional 5-note manner that other flute makers create their "modern 6 hole flutes". Our flutes can also be played chromatically and can play the 3rd fingering note on modern 6 hole flutes also! (we have a video on this, too!) If you have further questions on any of this let us know and we'll be glad to offer more into! :)
Q. Why are your mouthpieces rounded rather than pointy as some other flute maker's are?
A. Great Question! There are a number of reasons that a flute maker makes a specific type of mouthpiece. For example our "open" type mouthpieces are designed that way based on the original river cane flute's design. Also, as it is with our rounded type mouthpieces, the designs we use at Blue Bear Flutes are partly responsible for delaying the "wetting-out" process which most woodwinds go through. Additionally, there were so many different designs of Native American Flutes which historically look one way or the other, this is simply a design which has been historically tried and true!
Q. Is the Cherokee Little People Flute made for children?
A. Our Cherokee Little People Flutes is designed to look, sound and resemble instruments played by the "Little People" which were another race of people who used to live with the Cherokee. We have lots of little people stories and were great friends with them throughout history, so these flutes are to honor them! The flutes sound beautiful and are very wonderful instruments for children and adults!
Q. Do you make all of the flutes on your site yourself?
A. Absolutely! I realize that there are flute makers out there who's prices may make you wonder if they are importing the flutes they have for sale, however we do make all of our flutes ourselves! If our flutes are not made by me, Charlie Mato-Toyela, then they are made by my wife Jessie and sometimes one of our kids may have been a little help in the process. All of our flutes are checked and/or tuned by me before shipping of course!
Q. Why are your flutes less expensive than other flute makers?
A. The simple answer is Experience! The truth is because we want to make flutes affordable to everyone, not just those who can afford them!
Q. Do you make custom flutes?
A. On occasion, and when time permits. Please ask via email for more info if we cover your needs!
Q. Do you do flute repairs?
A. Yes. Please tell me your specific flute issue and regardless of who made it, I can usually fix it for a small fee.
Q. What about customs fees?
A. You are responsible for any customs charges due in the country where items are shipped to. These fees are a "tax" created by the country/province in which items are shipped to and are not part of postage. Many countries do not charge customs fees. It is recommended to research your country's customs fees before buying. A simple internet search usually turns up an official government page which can answer your questions.
Q. I am a loyal customer and do not want my "thank you for making my beautiful flute" message to be posted on your site. How can I remove it?
A. If your comment or question was posted and you want it removed, simply email me. We very much appreciate you!
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