Flute Repair FAQ's
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1. How long should pads last?
There are many pads of different quality. Much of the pad's longevity depends on its quality. When you purchase a new flute, you don't know what kind of pad is used by the manufacturer. We do. We can tell you how long those pads will last and with how much maintenance. In general, pads should last between three to six years. If you do yearly maintenance and cleaning, longevity will be more towards the six year mark. If you don't do yearly maintenance, it is will be three years.
2. What can I do to make my pads last longer?
3. How can I tell if my pads leak?All kinds of things are affected by leaks: intonation, tonal clarity, quickness in response especially in tonguing, ease of low notes, lack of fluidity or connection between notes - especially going at notes from a leap. If the leak is really bad, it is hard just to get the note out. Here is a good test:
4. I have a curved headjoint flute. The headjoint is too loose and moves when I try to play it. How can I cure this?
For a permanent fix, the curved part of the headjoint will need to be refit by a good repairperson. But as a quick fix, take one of your hairs (yes, this works and it is safe for the flute!) and lay it across the tenon of the crook and gently slide the crook into the body. The hair won't scratch the tenon and you always have some with you!
5. My foot falls off! What do I do?
Much of the reason
for joints loosening (either headjoint or foot) is from hurried assembly
or disassembly of the flute. Rocking the joint onto the tenon is another
cause. Carefully line the two parts and twist them together as they meet.
This will keep even the most delicate gold tenons fitting well. A good
repairperson can refit the rounded tenon, but if it gets worn from not
lining the parts up before assembly, the foot will always wobble.
6. Even after my foot is tightened, it gets loose again.
This is from not assembling
the flute correctly (see Question #4).
7. When I swab my flute, my headjoint cork moves.
The cork is leaking! It needs to be replaced. The headjoint cork is a cylindrical cork fit to the diameter of your headjoint and placed in a specific position between your headjoint crown and embouchure hole (the hole you blow across). The fit of the cork, or how tight the cork grabs the tube has a lot to do with how well your headjoint plays. We'll have to write an article about this! But for a good example, think of how your flute plays if someone has their hand around the tube of your headjoint while you're playing. It sounds muffled, lacks response, and is stuffy. A well fit headjoint cork should seal but not be tight. Because of this, a well fit cork doesn't last very long - a year or so. A leaky cork has strange effects on the playability of your flute. Intonation is wild and unpredictable through the scale, tonguing is sluggish, and the ability to blow through a phrase (fluidity) is gone. We fit student headjoint corks just like we do on a Pro flute. We also coat the cork in paraffin to resist moisture.
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