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Piccolo rod movement

Taking care of your instrument

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Joined: Fri Feb 03, 2017 7:06 pm

Piccolo rod movement

Postby JennT » Fri Feb 03, 2017 7:19 pm

I have a wood piccolo that I've had for almost 20 years...it's a little overdue for a COA, but not terrible. Maybe a year and last COA revealed that the previous tech had bent down all of the keys. Everything was repaired then and all was well. A couple of weeks ago, my bf discovered that the bottom screw holding the trill rod mechanism was backing out. I'd mentioned that something was off about the picc, but hadn't had a chance to inspect it, so he did. I've been keeping an eye on it since and I just noticed it backing out AGAIN. Upon further inspection, I can see that the rod is moving near the post whenever I press either trill keys. It's just a slight movement, but that's what's causing the screw to back out. I do plan to get it to my technician ASAP, but I have a concert in a couple of weeks and my tech is over an hour away, one way. My question is, how bad is this? I'm guessing the entire rod is shot because it still moves even when the screw has been tightened. Is that a fair assumption? I've never had any major problems with any of my instruments, so this is causing a good deal of distress...

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Re: Piccolo rod movement

Postby pied_piper » Sun Feb 12, 2017 8:45 pm

It's probably nothing terribly serious, but it's impossible to diagnose without seeing the instrument. Here's a few likely causes:
Needs cleaning/oiling
Rusty screw
Bent hinge on the trill keys
Loose or turned post causing the hinge rod to slightly bind on the pivot screw
The list goes on. In the meanwhile, put a small dab of clear fingernail polish on the edge of screw head where it joins the post. That will help keep it from turning and backing out until your tech can inspect it. The fingernail polish won't hurt anything (just keep it away from the wood - the emphasis is use a very small dab) and the tech can pop it off.
"Never give a flute player a screwdriver."

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Joined: Fri Feb 03, 2017 7:06 pm

Re: Piccolo rod movement

Postby JennT » Sun Feb 19, 2017 10:57 am

Gah, I had a nice reply typed up but got logged out and lossst it!

Thank you SO much for replying!! I've mulled over what you said for a week now and the possibilities you've listed. I backed the screw out a bit and checked the condition of it. It's a black screw...coated to prevent rustiness? At any rate, it looks good, so probably not that.
How would I diagnose a bent hinge if that's the culprit?
I'm not sure about a loose or turned post. To my untrained eye, they look ok, and my picc has never had a traumatic even that I could pin a turned post on...HOWEVER, I did once send it out to a repair company to get oiled. I'll leave them unnamed; suffice it to say, it's a well known company that all of the schools in my area use. They bent all the keys on it putting it back together. RAGE AND FURY. I bring it elsewhere now and the new technician is amazing! He repaired the damage caused by the company. He hasn't mentioned any other damage caused by that company, so I think I can push this possibility down toward the bottom of the list.
I'm hoping it's just that it needs a COA. I noticed the number 1 trill key is a little sluggish, but I don't know if that's caused by that screw being a little too tight or a dirty rod. I adjusted it slightly and it's in a position that allows the notes to ring out clearly without the rod flexing. When that screw backs out, the sound gets terribly muffled (from the number 1 trill key leaking, I presume?) and the rod flexes. I don't need that number 1 trill key for the concert, so I didn't play with the positioning to try to determine if a sweet spot exists where the tone isn't muffled and the trill key moves quickly. I'm no technician, nor do I have any delusions of being one, lol. I don't want to cause more damage, so I didn't meddle too much. Will I be able to tell if that screw is, in fact, too tight and will I cause damage playing if it is?

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