Routine flute maintenance

Taking care of your instrument

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isoc
Posts: 16
Joined: Wed Feb 21, 2018 1:31 pm

Routine flute maintenance

Post by isoc » Wed Mar 21, 2018 12:11 pm

I just purchased a new Yamaha. Part of the sale was an offer for me to pre-purchase an adjustment/oil/clean annual service for about $340, about a 10% discount.

My daughter's Gemeinhardt step-up flute, which I bought for her in the 1990's, has never had or apparently needed such a service.

My Emerson, purchased at the same time, does need an adjustment, or possibly a pad for one key. That's it, after over 30 years. However, I hardly played it at all the past 20 years, so it has not been in continuous use. My daughter's flute has been used on average several times a month, but not daily.

Rather than pre-purchase a maintenance service, I think I'll just apply that money to a future service for my Emerson - as soon as I have finished paying for the Yamaha (a year or so). The Emerson is on stand-by now, and won't likely be used much at all.

I will, on average, play the Yamaha 1-2 hours a day over the next year.

My long-ago teacher never mentioned to either of us that after a year we need to have a routine service. She did a demo for each of us on proper flute care, including telling my daughter that her flute was NEVER to go out on the field with marching band!

How often do y'all send in a flute for service when you are not having any problems?

There is a local place I would use, here in Central Ohio, rather than send a flute away. I'll give that place a chance to fix my Emerson, and see if I'm happy with them. But that will be about a year from now.

Of course, if my wife wins the lottery or Publisher's Clearinghouse prize, I will expedite the service calls. :)

- Ted
Yamaha 677HCT; Emerson sterling silver flute, open hole, B foot, with an "8" on the body.

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pied_piper
Posts: 1801
Joined: Sat Mar 31, 2007 1:31 pm
Location: Virginia

Re: Routine flute maintenance

Post by pied_piper » Sat Mar 24, 2018 2:30 pm

A flute is a mechanical device. Just like a car needs regular, routine maintenance to keep it running smoothly and protect it, a flute also need periodic maintenance. How often depends partly upon how frequently it is played but age is also a factor. Even though 10 year old car tires may have plenty of tread left, they can begin to deteriorate with age. Flute pads also deteriorate with age and the skin covering becomes more brittle. The flute mechanism can also go out of adjustment from normal use. Professionals usually get maintenance like a clean/oil/adjust (COA) to their flute each year. Amateurs can often get by with doing it every 2-3 years, but any longer is not so good for the flute. While your Emerson and Yamaha flutes might continue to play OK for longer than that, they will play even better after a proper COA service. You have an investment in your flutes, keep them in top playing condition.
"Never give a flute player a screwdriver."
--anonymous--

isoc
Posts: 16
Joined: Wed Feb 21, 2018 1:31 pm

Re: Routine flute maintenance

Post by isoc » Sat Mar 24, 2018 8:28 pm

Reading this and other feedback, I'll skip the pre-paid offer. I will schedule a COA locally for my Emerson sometime during the next year.

The new Yamaha can wait 2-3 years, unless something unexpected happens.

That said, I double checked with my daughter and she has never had a reason to have her Gemeinhardt serviced. She does have a service person in mind for her flute, though, just in case.

I'll use a different service (Hammond Flute Repair) though, as I don't know her friends that well.

Thanks, Ted
Yamaha 677HCT; Emerson sterling silver flute, open hole, B foot, with an "8" on the body.

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