Assembling Your Flute
Make sure your flute is clean and ready to put together so that it will play nicely. Take the head joint and the main body joint and slowly twist them together, being careful not to put any pressure on the keys. Next, add the foot joint in a similar motion, lining the keys up carefully. Your flute is now assembled and ready to play. If any of the body parts feel resistant to being put together then get a clean cloth and give the tenon and socket a quick wipe clean. The parts are constructed to fit perfectly and even the finest dirt can make this feel much tougher than is necessary.
The Inside of your Flute
To begin with, it is important to keep the inside of your flute free of moisture. This means that after every time it has been played it is a good idea to clean it out. A good way to do this is using a flute cleaning rod with a special internal gauze cloth attached to the end. Alternatively, BG offer a flute pull through swab for the bottom and middle joint of the flute which is made of microfibre and a microfibre head joint swab adapted to use with a flute rod. Doing this will keep the pads in good condition as well as prevent harmful bacteria from forming in the flute and causing it to smell bad too! It is important to mention that if you are too rigorous with even the best quality cleaning cloths and pull throughs that you can catch them on the tone holes if you are not careful and potentially cause some damage. Insert and remove your swab or rod in a single and smooth movement. Your flute is an expensive and fragile instrument, treat it as one!
Caring for the pads will prevent them getting sticky, which can affect the playability of the notes. There are pad savers which look a bit like mops that you push down the inside of each joint and leave for a good twenty minutes, which will help absorb all the moisture. Pad dryers can also be used to prevent them getting sticky. Place the pad dryer under the pad and make sure not to pull it out when it is closed, just hold it down for a while until it has absorbed the pads moisture.
Caring for your Flute Whilst Playing
There are many dangers whilst playing the flute in practice and performances. Firstly avoid placing your flute down on a table or desk as it could easily get knocked or even sat on! A flute stand is a very good idea, and some flute stands are designed to be put away so that they are compact and don't take up too much room to carry as an extra. Secondly you can protect the flute from changes of temperature by using an instrument cosy or warmer. These are very useful items, particularly if you are playing outdoors or in a more extreme climate. A flute won't play very well and get out of tune if it gets too cold, so keeping it at a more stable temperature will prevent any difficulties. These are also useful from protecting the flute from its environment when you aren't playing it, if you are playing somewhere particularly dusty or wet then the cover will just help prevent the flute from picking up any unwanted mess that could find its way into the keywork.
The Outside of your Flute
The majority of the flutes we sell are either silver plated or solid silver. When in contact with the air or oils from your fingers Silver will react and start to tarnish. To help prevent this wiping down the instrument with a microfibre cloth immediately after playing is a good idea. Just gently wipe it over the body and the keys and place the flute carefully back in its case. This will help get rid of any finger prints and other marks that could eventually turn into something worse. Sometimes it is good to use a special silver polish cloth for instruments which have some marks that are more stubborn and hard to get rid of. These cloths are impregnated with a light silver polish and can get clean the flute to a much higher shine. However, Silver Polish is an abrasive substance and works by taking a very fine layer off the top of the instrument. Over do this and you will wear away that beautiful silver plating!
Putting your Flute Away
It is important to put your flute away properly in its case. Sometimes it takes a little while to work out where each part goes and which way round it fits, but flute cases are moulded well to prevent any pressure on the keys, as they can get easily bent. Try not to keep any cloths with moisture on in the same compartment of the case, as this can encourage tarnishing and damage the pads. Once the flute is safely packed away in its case, don’t store the case in a really cold or really hot room – try and keep it a stable temperature, which will protect the whole of the instrument.
Servicing Your Flute
The keywork on your flute is a complicated and fragile mechanism. It is always important that you handle the flute in such a way that you don't place put too much pressure on the mechanism. This is why you must take care when assembling the flute and make sure the pieces fit together properly so you don't have to try and force it. It is also important to note that even the smallest knocks can put the keys and springs out of alignment and if you do have any trouble playing your flute after an incident bring it in to our technicians to have it properly checked over. We highly recommend that if any maintenance is required that you try to avoid doing the work yourself. Whilst repair kits and key oil are widely available they are often unnecessary and it is best to have the instrument looked at by a trained professional due to their complex and fragile nature.
It is important to keep your flute well maintained, and we would recommend at least once a year to take it to be serviced. Even if you don't have any noticeable problems this will ensure the instrument's playability and condition is at its best. We have a repair and servicing department at our store in London.
You can find our full range of care products by clicking on this link here.