need to fix my flute

Flute History and Instrument Purchase

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dramm
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need to fix my flute

Post by dramm » Tue Mar 28, 2006 9:50 pm

Can anyone tell me of a website that would teach me how to fix my flute? I just took it in for a cleaning and now the pads stick and they never cleaned it. It'l like it was dumped in waqter! I want to learn to fix it myself. Can someone out there recommend a good website to teach me?
Debbie

ick27
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Post by ick27 » Wed Mar 29, 2006 9:54 am

If you are unhappy with the service you got from your repairman, take the flute back and show them!

Unfortunately, flute repair is actually a fairly complex field, and you can't learn it all off a website. Flute repair is usually still taught through apprenticeship, but you can take flute repair classes (such as John Landell's week long summer classes.) A good starting point for you would be to check out Jim Phelan's excellent Complete Guide to the Flute and Piccolo. You might be able to find it at a local library, or you could buy it online from burkart.com (or from fluteworld or wherever.) If you simply need to make minor adjustments, this book may be all you need. This book may also help you be able to diagnose problems with your flute.

maw102190
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Post by maw102190 » Fri Jul 07, 2006 7:00 pm

I had done some googling for the same reason a few months ago. I came across musicmedic.com. They sell kits to help you make flute repairs that contain instructions and supplies. I haven't actually ordered one of their kits, but I bet that they would work if you know a little bit about the construction of your flute and feel comfortable disassembling and reassembling your flute.

-Monica

fluttiegurl
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Post by fluttiegurl » Fri Jul 07, 2006 8:45 pm

I am still very weary about recommending that someone fix their own flute. Even the smallest mistake may be very costly to fix, and not so easy to detect. I have seen this happen several times, and it usually ends in a student having to pay for repairs that could have been avoided or having to buy another flute. Even the process of carefully disassembling a flute can damage it beyond repair. I had one student who decided to disassemble her flute to clean it without my knowledge. After a few times of doing this, she had bent three keys that had to be replaced alltogether, costing her $200, and lost an audition because some of the notes would not speak. A simple cleaning would have been about $30 at the dealer where she purchased the flute.

Some universities have courses on instrument repair. Some technicians are willing to take on apprentices as well. As for buying a kit and following instructions, I do not recommend it at all. It all seems so very simple, but in reality, it is very delicate and precise work.

However, I do teach my students a little about general maintenance as they learn. I also have a student model flute that I have disassembled so that I can show them the construction. They all know how to make minor adjustments and how to detect leaks and other problems. By being well informed, they may never save money by doing it themselves, but they can avoid being ripped off by a music store. If a student expresses an interest in becoming a tech, I help him/her find the appropriate program to train him/her properly.

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flutepicc06
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Post by flutepicc06 » Fri Jul 07, 2006 8:55 pm

I agree completely with what you had to say on the subject. I would never suggest that someone without training attempt repairs on their, or anyone else's flutes. And I think it's admirable that you help those interested in becoming a tech to find training.

fluttiegurl
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Post by fluttiegurl » Sat Jul 08, 2006 10:24 am

I have one student who is currently studying to be a repair tech. Eventually, he wants to make flutes. Quite ambitious :D

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flutepicc06
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Post by flutepicc06 » Sat Jul 08, 2006 12:59 pm

That's awesome! Where is he studying?

fluttiegurl
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Post by fluttiegurl » Sat Jul 08, 2006 3:54 pm

He is currently enrolled at the University of Louisville (he will start this fall) and is apprenticing under a technician in the Louisville area. After talking to a flute maker last fall, he wants to move to the Boston area.

fluttiegurl
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Post by fluttiegurl » Sat Jul 08, 2006 4:03 pm

Oops. I was wrong :oops: He is going to UL, but they do not have a repair tech program. He is studying music and working as an apprentice this fall. Thank you for the correction CM!

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flutepicc06
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Post by flutepicc06 » Sat Jul 08, 2006 5:37 pm

That's great! Give him my best wishes! I'm on a similar path myself.

fluttiegurl
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Post by fluttiegurl » Sat Jul 08, 2006 5:44 pm

Wonderful! I would love to become a tech, but I feel taht I am too old and impatient :lol: Good luck to you as well!

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flutepicc06
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Post by flutepicc06 » Sun Jul 09, 2006 2:15 pm

Thanks!

fluteguy18
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Post by fluteguy18 » Mon Jul 24, 2006 1:02 pm

Well, it looks like there are more techies out here in kentucky than i thought!

I regularly dissassemble my flute to fix it (i havent been trained, but i have watched). Knowing as much as i did, when i went to have my flute fixed, i told them what needed to be done, and they did an amazing amount of work really cheap. they replaced the headjoint cork, realigned the keys, replaced trill corks, and some pad work for less than $25. I guess they charged me less because they didn't have to look for the problems (i just told them). Not only this, but whenever a flute breaks, the band director (he teaches at the middle and high school), would bring it to me to get it fixed.

YAY! Taking a flute apart is fun and easy (if you know what you are doing)!

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flutepicc06
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Post by flutepicc06 » Sat Jul 29, 2006 10:20 pm

fluteguy18 wrote:Well, it looks like there are more techies out here in kentucky than i thought!

I regularly dissassemble my flute to fix it (i havent been trained, but i have watched). Knowing as much as i did, when i went to have my flute fixed, i told them what needed to be done, and they did an amazing amount of work really cheap. they replaced the headjoint cork, realigned the keys, replaced trill corks, and some pad work for less than $25. I guess they charged me less because they didn't have to look for the problems (i just told them). Not only this, but whenever a flute breaks, the band director (he teaches at the middle and high school), would bring it to me to get it fixed.

YAY! Taking a flute apart is fun and easy (if you know what you are doing)!
Personally, I would be wary of the quality of the work provided by a tech that charges less than $25 for all of that. Pad work in itself (done properly, with shims, and not wetting the pads and then baking them to form a seal on the tonehole, as is commonly done by less knowledgable techs) is an extremely precise and time consuming bit of work, and could easily cost you a few hundred dollars, if not far more. I do not suggest anyone without training attempt flute repair, as the number of things you can do improperly which can cause issues is huge. You are much better off taking it to a knowledgable repair tech.

MeLizzard
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Post by MeLizzard » Sun Jul 30, 2006 1:31 pm

This price could be just fine for this amount of work, depending where you live! Looking for the problems is really the cheap part of repair. Cork is cheap, and while proper pad installation is a precise, time-consuming task, replacing or reseating just a couple shouldn't cost much. As my husband says upon receiving an off-kilter, crooked, messy Burger King sandwich, instead of a nice, neat one, "It takes the same amount of time and effort to do it right!". Don't assume the soak-and-bake method is always used--our guy was shocked that anyone would actually do this. Not to say that some don't do it. As for the misaligned keys, they're already off to change the pads, so one would assume (I know, never assume :wink: ) the tech would put them back on straight. I work in a shop with a fine repair tech, and have learned much about instrument repair. He's blown away by the prices of overhauls offered by various hand-made flute and clarinet companies, but our market sure won't bear $800 to $1200 for a repad, nor do I believe it should have to.

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