FIRST AID, Heeeeelp


It happens. My traverso today is not playing like yesterday!!!! What could it be?? Is it the cork, a leak, a crack, I always oil..........


Here is a list of primary reasons that could cause this. Of course you all know them actually but refusing flutes sometimes give a mental block.
Of course, alas there could be something more complicated but looking at those might help. If not : email.


-tenons, no wobble no force?
This is the rule for tenons, if they leak your flute will not play(!!), if you have to use force you my get cracks or compressed tenons changing playing and intonation. It really is worth while paying much attention to this!

-key often simply the cause, low d strong, low e good, low f good?

If your key does not close perfectly your flute will not play. It is not only the closed key notes but during playing the whole behaviour of the flute is influenced. If the key does not close while it did close before the most likely thing is the wood that has swollen a bit making friction in the key slot.
First thing to do is simply open and close the key thirty times quickly. If this does not solve it, second. Take the key out. There is a pull button on the key pin. If it is difficult, use a plastic ruler behind the pull pin and have somebody hold the foot. Just pull it out a small part, then push it in again. Do this a few times, only then pull it out completely. Push the key pin in and out of the key outside the foot a number of times. If the key is reasonably easy on the pin, it should not be loose, remount. If it stays difficult get a 1.5 mm or 1 mm. (depending on your pin) drill and by hand push it in and out of the hole. Do no do it with an electric drill. Never use oil!!!! If the pin is easy in the hole with just a bit of friction remount the key. If it is still sluggish take a very fine small file and softly clean the inside of the key slot. Never ever take any wood of. Remount, if it is still sluggish demount again and take a little bit of metal of the sides of the key stem with the fine file equal both sides. This should always solve it.
The keypad may be oily and therefore sticking. Regularly players think that there is something more mechanical happening if this is the case so make sure this is not it.
If you have a white keypad just put some paper in between the pad and the key and push on top of the flap. This often will make the paper take the oil and solves the problem. If you have a leather keypad go to keypads. If you need new white stuff write me an email.

A small but unpleasant problem is a slow key, so a key that does not quickly close. It almost always is sufficient to take the key of and push the key pin a few times in and out of the key itself. That cleans the key pin. It is the small leather block inside the hinge that causes the problem. But please leave it there because it prevents your key from closing with a vibration.

-cork position,
d2-d3 octave without much compensating? If this is not the case your cork may have moved. If you have a cork stick from me use it to set the cork again. The line on the stick is not meant for the mouth hole middle but for the bottom of the head! If this position does not give a good d2-d3 octave the bore has probably changed and you may need reboring. You might contact me. This is rarely the case with blackwood but may be the case with boxwood.

-finger holes and mouth hole clean??
If necessary carefully clean with cotton wool stick with lots of almond oil. very careful with the mouth hole of course, take your time for this because the almond oil has to loosen the dirt!


Sometimes either the key seat pad or the pad under the finger sticks. There exists something called powder paper. It can be obtained in most music shops. If you use that under the pad it will normally solve the problem.
For the finger pad some alcohol might do th etrick or a 400 sandpaper not with the sanding side to the wood(!) might do the trick.




Simon Polak: Early Flutes

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