Bb key sealing when closed with F key

Taking care of your instrument

Moderators: Classitar, pied_piper, Phineas

Post Reply
HMannfan
Posts: 72
Joined: Fri Nov 01, 2013 10:55 am

Bb key sealing when closed with F key

Post by HMannfan » Sat Jun 08, 2019 10:03 pm

Regarding flute pad shimming; obtaining a good seal on the F, F#, and Bb keys altogether when pressing just the F key can be problematic. I find on student flutes that often the Bb key winds up with a less than perfect seal to prevent it from keeping the F and F# keys from closing (with light pressure) despite my best efforts. Do you find the same to be true? Any suggestions or comments?

HMannfan
Posts: 72
Joined: Fri Nov 01, 2013 10:55 am

Re: Bb key sealing when closed with F key

Post by HMannfan » Tue Jun 11, 2019 8:12 pm

What? No comments, no suggestions?
I've been working on flutes for about 5 years now, not just students flutes but professional flutes as well, some having Straubinger pads. The better made flutes are the easiest to repair. Student flutes the hardest if you use good quality Lucien deluxe pads. I use the Lucien deluxe pads because they sound better even on student flutes IMHO. It would seem to me the issue I brought up should be familiar to any flute tech. If not, then I must be in the minority. I use both a .001" feeler and a magnahelic gauge when checking for leaks and testing adjustments. I also use my ear to test the quality of sound produced by the flute when played by a local professional. When the instruments tests well and sounds good, I consider my job successful.

User avatar
pied_piper
Posts: 1794
Joined: Sat Mar 31, 2007 1:31 pm
Location: Virginia

Re: Bb key sealing when closed with F key

Post by pied_piper » Tue Jun 11, 2019 8:26 pm

Yes, those adjustments are highly interactive. With student flutes, the right hand keys usually have adjusting screws to regulate the key interactions. Once those are set to operate correctly, the Bb is adjusted with felt or cork on the bridge key and in extreme cases by slightly bending it but only if necessary and again emphasizing SLIGHT.

For more details on these adjustments, I highly recommend the book "Servicing the Flute" from JL Smith.
http://www.jlsmithco.com/books/servicin ... -j-l-smith

For an even more detailed guide to the flute, there is "The complete guide to the flute and piccolo: From acoustics and construction to repair and maintenance" by Jim Phelan.
https://www.amazon.com/complete-guide-f ... 0354562763
"Never give a flute player a screwdriver."
--anonymous--

User avatar
JButky
Posts: 385
Joined: Fri Mar 27, 2009 8:21 pm
Location: Mt. Juliet

Re: Bb key sealing when closed with F key

Post by JButky » Sat Jun 15, 2019 8:17 am

Make sure that the spring tension on the un-fingered keys F# and Bb is less than the main F key. Also check your padding for the F# and Bb by activating them through the F key. Do not depress them directly with your finger when padding final asjustments.

If your spring tension is too high and your are checking those two keys directly with your finger, you are not account for flex caused by torque. Lowering the spring tension on the un-fingered keys reduces the effect. Check your padding through the fingered F key for those other keys to account for the flex from the torque effect. You may discover that direct finger activation and bridged activation yield two different results!

Also don;t over shim little tiny pieces of paper all over. If you've added a partial to account for an anomaly and other things change, stop, go back, tack that out and re assess whether the thickness or length is wrong. More partial shimming means more instability...And that's a nightmare when you have the triple key combinations (F,F#,Bb) or split E (E, F#, lower G) if you don't adhere to those two principles..
Joe B

HMannfan
Posts: 72
Joined: Fri Nov 01, 2013 10:55 am

Re: Bb key sealing when closed with F key

Post by HMannfan » Sat Jun 29, 2019 9:38 pm

Thank you, Joe. THAT's the kind of response I was looking for.

Thank you for the suggestions. I'll try them out.

I try never to use partial shims. If a pad isn't sealing well and just giving me problems, I replace it with another new pad. That often solves the problem.

I always check passive key sealing by activating the key that operates it. Yes, there is often a big difference when closing a passive key by pressing it with your finger. I call keys that are not pressed directly by a finger "passive keys." I don't know what they are referred to as.

Thanks again, Joe!

Post Reply