511, 451, 311, 211, 714, 614 - popular models
There’s so much information about Yamaha instruments on the net, no need to repeat it here, so we’ll try to inform you of some lesser know inside information, and some (confusing!! model number history)
A university student in Fukuoka did a flute experiment as part of her course in 2018. Yamaha supplied models with silver plated, silver lip, silver headjoint, or solid silver, for people to compare.
Several local players tried all the flutes, but without knowing which flute they were playing. They then commented on the performance. The clear result was that the most important part of the flute to be solid silver was the lip and riser.
The difference in performance between a silver plated head, and a silver plated head with a solid lip and riser was the greatest differentiator in performance.
Of course the solid silver head, or solid silver body also made improvements, but the lip and riser are most essential.
The student actually went on to do work experience at Yamaha, impressed them with her repair and maintenance knowledge of flutes, and is now on the design team.
Yamaha repair staff
NOTE FROM PREMIER FLUTES:
A few years back, Yamaha changed their flute numbering system, and it can make life confusing.
The current and recent 5 series (YFL 514 / YFL 517 etc.) were previously the 451. All silver head, plated bodies.
The current 6 series (YFL 614/ YFL 617/ YFL 677 etc.) were previously the YFL 511, solid silver flutes.
The difference between the YFL 511 and YFL 611 is that the YFL 511 has a plated nickel mechanism, the 611 is sterling silver.