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Flute – Common Problems. Flutes are one of the most popular instruments for youngsters to begin playing – because of this there will be lots of flute repairs necessary Many flute repairs are actually quite simple to fix and can be learned with just a little practice

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Flute common problems
Flute – Common Problems

  • Flutes are one of the most popular instruments for youngsters to begin playing – because of this there will be lots of flute repairs necessary

  • Many flute repairs are actually quite simple to fix and can be learned with just a little practice

  • The tools needed for many flute repairs are few and quite inexpensive and easy to keep around the band room.


The Flute Gauge is a very useful tool to help solve flute issues.

There are three steps cut at one end, and the other end can be

Inserted under keys to help bend them back to proper alignment.

Foot Joint Keys

This end is useful

for bending keys

to make sure they

close properly.

Main Body

keys

Trill keys and

B key

Flute key height problems are solved by changing the thickness of the key cork

or by bending the foot of the key. Sometimes both things need to be done.





A very common flute problem is caused small step on the flute gauge

by the hinge rod that runs through the C

key and through the 2nd post down, anchoring

the Bb/A key assembly. This hinge rod often

works loose, allowing the Bb/A key assembly

to be pushed out of line by the spring,

causing problems with Bb and often

lower notes as well.

On many student flutes, due to mass

production techniques, often the

hinge rod can look like it is in

properly when in fact it has already

begun to work its way loose, as

this picture shows.


Notice how the key just small step on the flute gauge

below the post in the circle

is slightly to the right of

center compared to the key

above the post.


The key below the post small step on the flute gauge

in the circle, which was

off-center to the right

in the previous slide, is

off-center to the left now

because the hinge rod

that runs through the C

key has worked loose

from the post, even

though that’s not

apparent when looking

at the post where the

hinge rod goes in.


On some student flutes small step on the flute gauge

even when the hinge rod

is in properly, things can

look out of line, so it is

important to check the

keys themselves to be

certain they are closing

properly on the tone holes.

Notice the same circled

post as in the other

pictures. In this picture

things are correct but they

still don’t quite look it.


The hinge rod has worked small step on the flute gauge

its way quite loose, causing

the sort of back and forth play

in the Bb/A key depicted in the

previous slides. This is a picture

of an actual repair which came

into my shop where neither the

student nor the teacher knew

why the Bbs weren’t working

properly and why notes lower

were airy. This should be one

of the first things checked when

a student is having problems with

a flute.


The other area where flutes are commonly having problems is the foot joint.

Because of the mechanics of the key work, the C# key frequently gets bent

such that the pad doesn’t close when it should. Most of the time this isn’t a

concern on student flutes until they become a lot more advanced, since the

low notes aren’t used that often.


To fix the problem with the low C#, place something (I use my thumb)

under the finger tab part of the key to hold it steady.


Press down on the key cup to bend the key slightly so that the

two parts of the key will be in proper adjustment relative to each

other.


Other common issues with flutes which can be fixed fairly easily with

practice involve the adjusting screws. Slight twists either way can make

the necessary adjustments to have all keys opening or closing properly.

It is easy to turn the screws too far, so be sure to practice on school flutes

which aren’t being used.

One common problem with flutes involves the head cork. Sometimes called

the “tuning cork” it is supposed to be fixed in one spot relative to the center

of the embouchure, and is not supposed to be used for everyday tuning of

the flute. If this cork is moved, then the flute will not play in tune with itself.

As the cork dries out with age it becomes loose and can move on its own

and especially as the students play with the head crown. Use the cleaning

rod to check the position. When the end of the rod with the line on it is

placed firmly against the head cork, the line should be exactly in the center

of the embouchure hole.

Other flute problems such as body dents and the way the joints fit together

will need the services of a trained repair technician.


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