New guy around

For Anything and Everything to do with Flute Playing and Music

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Benjahmin
Posts: 29
Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2010 12:33 pm
Location: Ethiopia
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New guy around

Post by Benjahmin »

Hello Together !

I'm a new guy in this forum and I'd like to introduce myself: My Name is C.Benjahmin Piep and I ' ve found this forum rather by coincidence while googling around on the topic "FLUTE". So zapping through the topics and the vibes, I promptly found the one or other useful piece of advice and decided, to join up here.

My personal musical history is a simple, but nice one: As a young man I decided to pick up the flute and was about to buy one, when a small change in plans made all the difference. I fell in love with a girl an invited her to the cinema. In the film there was a man playing a saxophone and this girl just started to marvel about how much she liked saxophones....
So is there any more to be said ? Of course I went to buy a sax instead of a flute ;-)
In fact, that wasn t the worst of all decisions, for I never got to date that girl again BUT I became a very good Sax-player, even a maker and repairsman for woodwinds , specialized on Saxophones. In fact, by now all of my instruments are hand - and homemade and bear uncountable extras and novelties, no industrially-made horn could offer.

Beeing quite busy with the sax in both aspects, as a musician AND as a technician, I forgot about my initial plan.....to play the flute. Anyhow.... as a repairsman for woodwind instruments in general, one runs across flutes just the same concerning the technical aspects of tightening and adjusting keymechanisms, padding, undenting, tuning and so on. So apart of beeing a specialist for Saxes, I became quite a good technician for the very demanding and sensitive flute. Of course, one has to be able to play an instrument at least along its basics, in order to really fix and tune it, but apart of that, I never really got any further into actually PLAYING the flute.

THAT changed about one and a half years ago: After more than twenty years of "Saxing around", I gave up all my bands, my repair-workshop and my dear musical friends in Hamburg - Germany in order to move to Ethiopia and start an alternative textile production, together with my wife.
Of course I took all my Saxophones along, especially since the Sax is a very popular Instrument in Ethiopia, played often even in traditional local music and since , of course I was not wanting to miss out on THAT, no matter Where I go.
For some reason though, the sax sort of ""faded away"" .... it lost taste and fun, became somewhat unsatisfying, no matter how well I would perform on it.....and at the same time..... VERY VERY sneakily and softly....this little thing crept back into my mind...this very special, unique sound....

So long talk but simple matter : I just got hold of a simple but sturdy flute ( won' t tell you the Brand yet ).....fixed it up real nice with some little extras to make it sound and last.... and started practicing.
No....actually I started PLAYING, because the flute simply "jumped" at me, came by itself, as soon as I had mastered the fingering, mainly the third octave, of course, since ther lower ones are closely related to the Fingering of a Saxophone or even a clarinet.

Well, I should have done that 20 years ago !!
I will never complain for having picked up the sax.....but I DO admit my stupidity of having missed out on the flute so long. I get along perfectly and have little difficulties with anything...except for the stability of my very high notes ( Bb, B, and C ). They like to whoosh away still quite often, while everything else goes amazingly well.

Anyhow.... no matter, how well and far Talent may carry.....experience is a mighty factor on the other side, and so I hope to find the one or other Tip here, coming from longterm-experience....in order to add to my autodidactic progress.

I myself won t be able to post too much here, since it is not easy to be online by notebook from the midst of Ethiopia, where I presently live, but in return, I may be able to give some Flute - anekdotes and technical advice from the view of a technician once in a while. ;-)

A young Lady once entered the workshop, carrying a flute, which looked as if she had jut saved it out of the wreck of the Titanic. That instrument was simply a more or less solid piece of corroded metal.
Asked, how she had managed to put the instrument into this truly wrecked condition, she replied, that her teacher had told her to put oil into all the screws and hinges.
Since she had no idea, WHERE exactly that may be, she had simply dropped the complete instrument into a gallon of vegetable oil, left it over night, then wiped of the exess oil and left it to rest.
I need not to mention, that edible oil often contains acids and can have a hazardous effect on silver, or silverplated surfaces ....especially in connection with run dry Metal- screws and achsles..... but as a repairsman, I was often confronted with ""accidents"" like this one and also with their repair and resetting.
So maybe I can contribute here by giving the one or other advice concerning repair and maintenance.



Fly on the high notes !!

Benjahmin

fluteguy18
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Joined: Sun Jul 16, 2006 3:11 pm

Post by fluteguy18 »

... soaked it in vegetable oil overnight?....

:shock:
:lol:


Now THAT is a story I haven't heard before. I've heard many stories of tightening all the screws, sitting on it, giving it a bath in the tub, throwing the flute on the ground, slinging the headjoint across a parking lot, running it over with a car....

But soaking it in vegetable oil? That takes the cake. :lol: Welcome to the board!

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Bo
Posts: 389
Joined: Mon Sep 15, 2008 5:40 pm
Location: Down Under

Post by Bo »

Heat dilates metal, so maybe I can try cooking the flute. I have tried with stubborn jars and it worked...
Or I could put it in the microwave oven... That's even better....
:lol: :lol:
Seriously, I had never heard such a story before.... A marinated flute!
Welcome to the board!

lula
Posts: 153
Joined: Sun Nov 29, 2009 7:58 pm

Post by lula »

:cry: The poor flute!!!! Maybe he should have actually told her how to oil the flute or done it for her.

Best story I've heard in awhile and by the way, welcome. :P

-Lula
...MUSIC HAS REPLACED HER HEARTBEAT...

Benjahmin
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Post by Benjahmin »

Yes Lula,

That would have been the actual idea...telling her WHERE to lubricate the thing.

As a repairsman, one does not stand at that end of the line though, so in fact the teacher would be to blame.

Today, not doing the job any longer, I can laugh about these stories in a way, but having to fix up the mess was truly not allways fun :?

Thanks for the welcome @at all !

Benjahmin

BartmanndeJong
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Joined: Wed Jun 23, 2010 2:45 pm

Post by BartmanndeJong »

What a wonderful story about your desire to play the flute. I had a similar experience.

I started on the clarinet and got pretty good. But life got in the way, especially work and I had to reduce my practice time from every day for several hours to the weekends alone. At one point I hadn't touched my clarinet for 9 months. Considering I had played almost every day for over 15 years, this was a truly long time to not play. So when I picked up clarinet again I was very rusty and thought that it was time to reassess my enjoyment of the instrument. I decided to try the flute because that was the other instrument I wanted to play when I was first thinking about instruments.

So I've been playing flute several years and I fully love it. I like that it is a hassle free instrument, certainly compared to the clarinet and reeds (I'm sure this is similar to the sax). I like that I can put it together in 30 seconds flat, and I don't suffer embouchure decay, (I can play for hours). But what I especially love about it is that the tone is so easy to alter and is therefore very expressive. I love playing vibrato and altering the depth and speed of the vibrato. With the clarinet once one has their mouthpiece, ligature, and reed setup, their tone is essentially fixed, there is not too much the player can do to alter it. But with the flute there is so much tonal variability that is achievable through the lips alone. I love this large palette of tonal colors.

I'm so glad I took the plunge many years ago to forsake an instrument that I had played rather well to begin the the flute.


Sei gut du Hamburger,
Bartmann

Benjahmin
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Post by Benjahmin »

Bartmanndejong,

You Seem to know exactly , what I'm talking about !! :lol:

No more reeds, no more Mouthpiece-Corking....and the flute simply DOES it !!

Thanks for that feedback !

Beet'n Nederlansk ?

Benjahmin

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flutepower
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Post by flutepower »

Hey Benjahmin,

Wow - I once was stupid enough to
tighten every screw on my flute when I
started playing a few months ago, but dropping
it in a gal. of vegetable oil!!! That is new to me -
Welcome to the board!!!!
~Melissa :P :P

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cflutist
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Joined: Sun Oct 08, 2006 12:44 pm

Post by cflutist »

Welcome Benjahmin

I just had to shim my Low C# key (with a small cutout from a Post-It-Note) to fix a tiny leak in my footjoint. Works great now.

Benjahmin
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Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2010 12:33 pm
Location: Ethiopia
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Post by Benjahmin »

@ cflutist

Well that s definitely a better form of maintenance than edible oil!
:D :D

It's a next thing I like about the flute, beeing able to repair it without sealing wax to float in pads and a flame to keep heating the stuff, it s a clean and dry job which needs a lot of patience and in the best case some shims of paper along with a screwdriver.

Nice job, if it works again !

Benjahmin

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pied_piper
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Post by pied_piper »

I think cflutist was probably referring to shimming the adjustment between the low C & C# keys rather than shimming under the pad. When the low C key is closed, it's also supposed to close the C# key. If the C# key was not closing completely, adding additional shim between them would correct that.
"Never give a flute player a screwdriver."
--anonymous--

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cflutist
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Post by cflutist »

pied_piper wrote:I think cflutist was probably referring to shimming the adjustment between the low C & C# keys rather than shimming under the pad. When the low C key is closed, it's also supposed to close the C# key. If the C# key was not closing completely, adding additional shim between them would correct that.
Yes, that is what I fixed with a Post-It-Note. The C# key wasn't closing all the way. When finer adjustments are necessary, I use the gummed part of a cigarette paper.

I've always been mechanical for a girl, used to take my flute apart in 8th grade and put it all back together again. My father gave me one of those tools that push or pull needle springs, plus I have a whole set of tiny screwdrivers and tweezers. Don't do that anymore because now I realize why I pay for Carolyn Nussbaum to do my yearly COAs.

But when an emergency repair is needed, I might try to fix it myself.

Benjahmin
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Post by Benjahmin »

C-Flutist

OK...I see what You mean !
In german we call this part "Take-along" ...or "Alongtaker" , meaning any Jointpart of keys pulling or pushing a next one down or up...."taking it along the way".
Sorry for misunderstanding ! ;-) ;-)

Anyhow, if that paper does the job, it is at least a help, but- in that area, not really a longterm solution.

I know the problem well, that Key-connections of woodwind-instruments in general like to get out of adjustment, especially when buffered with felt, like most flutes are. After a while, or through moisture it can start shrinking, get compressed and cause problems.
A piece of paper....or in hard cases a slab of thin cork can do the job quite well. Make sure it s glued securely and doesn't slip out during Your Solo on stage !!

I myself avoid this problem by using extremly compressed felts from the beginning ( which rather tend to "regrow" and expand, than shrink -and can be put back "to fit" by a mere "press" of the key instead of having to be added up by paper.( or cork)

Apart of that I have soldered another Jointpart ..or "Takealong" to the connection between C and C# right onto the bridge of the C and C# -achsle so that I have a double reliance without strainig the little finger or the mechanisms.
it is just a tiny piece of silver and a piece of felt in fact, but does the job perfectly !


If You are into maintaining Your Flute Yourself, You can try and compress new feltbuffers by clamps and shortly dip them into boiling water, let them dry and THEN cut them to size and fit. Then they will rather tend to expand than shrink, which gives them a long-life reliability.

Many flutes do not leave enough space - especially on the C - C# - Connection to even apply a felt or cork, and rather rely on paper, cardboard or even plastic right away, to be the minimum of buffing. But to my taste, the metallic rattling and clicking which this still allows, is annoying.
So a good and tight buffer is essential in my eyes ( and ears) and can be fitted in by eventually filing away a bit of Key-material to create the neccessary space.

Don't try that on Your own, if You do not really know, what you re up to, but ask a good craftsman to help out ! > Then it's a problem easiliy solved !.....and "once and for all" as well ;-)

But I like your approach to solving the problem yourself in that way. I allways feel that dealing with an instrument in its technical aspects, helps to play it better just the same.


The problem may result in tightening all the screws.... as was said before....if one does not know better, but to the core of it all..... I would have tightened all the screws and glued tons of paper into my instrument just the same .....before knowing better.
So taking the risk can give experience, I like that ! but it can be costly too...and NObody wants THAT !!

Glue and screw away....but take care ! :-) :-)

Benjahmin

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