flute problems??

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sonicapogee
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Joined: Fri Jun 03, 2011 6:17 am
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flute problems??

Post by sonicapogee »

Hello

I would really appreciate it if you could help me on how to inspect my just received 2nd hand Trevor James Tj10x flute.
Being as sensible as I supposedly I should be ,I thought ,why don't I ask an expert advice.
So,this morning ,I took the flute to a technician specialized on the woodwind instruments.

After he told me the flute is old ,[no doubt,it is],he told me that the flute pads should be all replaced and ,some adjustments should be done on the flute,for a cost of about 180euros [that would be 256 us $].After I listened to his explanations ,I told him I would consider this and talk to him.

A few minutes later ,I had left the shop , & while I was thinking about the situation alone,I realised that an obvious lie had been told to me .
To be more precise,he showed me the 2 buttons on the 3rd part of the flute [the short one with the keys], he pressed a key and told me "look you see, this key doesn't closes completely as it should.Oh need to tell you ,he NEVER tried to play some notes.he told me "this flute can't play a single note"...how does he knows without even get the flute assembled on his hand....

BUT ,AND THATS WHY I am no longer trust this "expert opinion" ,playing a bit with the combinations on those keys,I realized that Both keys ,are able to close firmly and completely sit on the hole properly.And ANY combination of those keys looks possible without issues .[I mean both open ,both close,and one close and other open] .Excuse my poor description ,but I am a Greek so my english might not be perfect plus I am ,after all,a flute
newcomer :lol:

In short ,I am really not sure if this flute really needs changing all its pads.
I' m not sure if photos are allowed here ,but if they are ,it would be my pleasure to show you.

Kind Regards,
George
"Going on,means going far.Going far ,means returning" Tao Te Ching
My personal web site:
http://twinauras.webs.com/

Mindermast
Posts: 14
Joined: Fri Apr 01, 2011 11:41 am

Re: flute problems??

Post by Mindermast »

It is quite amazing what flute makers can see on a flute without playing a single note. Keep in mind, that flute makers look at many flutes every day and gather much more experience than you ever can.

Why don't you get a second opinion from another flute maker? This would be the easiest. 180 Euro isn't outrageously expensive, although it sounds like a lot of money at first. Pianists have to pay a similar amount per year, at least, just for keeping their practise pianos roughly in tune, and that doesn't include any maintenance.

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pied_piper
Posts: 1925
Joined: Sat Mar 31, 2007 1:31 pm
Location: Virginia

Re: flute problems??

Post by pied_piper »

It is indeed possible for a good flute technician to determine that a flute needs to be repadded and never attempt to play a note. A visual inspection can reveal worn/torn pads and for example, if one or both of the trill key pads are torn it will make the flute impossible to play. The phrase that he used "this flute can't play a single note" is likely a figure of speech. If a trill pad need to be replaced, you can get a sound from the flute, but it won't be pretty and I'd hesitate to call it a "note". You also need to realize that most of the cost in a complete repad is the labor. The pads will typically be around 10-20% of the cost of a repad. While it might be possible to get the flute playing with less than a full repad, it may not make sense economically. To replace one or more pads in the main stack of left or right-hand keys, the flute must be completely disassembled. Once disassembled, it doesn't take much more time to replace all the pads rather than just a few. If the tech only replaced a few pads on a very old flute, the others would likely need to be replaced after a short while, and you'd end up paying a big labor cost again just to replace a few more pads. Under those circumstances, a full repad makes more sense economically for you.

You wrote
"playing a bit with the combinations on those keys,I realized that Both keys ,are able to close firmly and completely sit on the hole properly.And ANY combination of those keys looks possible without issues .[I mean both open ,both close,and one close and other open]
Since you are new to the flute, a casual look at the keys opening and closing may look OK, but you what you do not realize is that for a flute to play properly, EVERY pad must be able to seal it's corresponding tone hole. That requires adjustments to every pad and those adjustments are less than .001 inch. Flute technicians are trained to be able to make those types of adjustments which are not easily seen with the normal eye. For a pad to seat properly, the tech will use a very thin feeler to test all the way around each pad. By pulling the feeler, he can tell by touch whether the pad is properly seating around all 360 degrees of the pad.

Most repair shops get $50 or more per hour for labor. It generally takes about 4-5 hours to do a complete repad, adjust and regulate the mechanism, and test the flute. So $250 is not an unreasonable amount for a complete repad. If you do a google search for flute repad, you'll find that $250 is about average for repadding a student flute.
"Never give a flute player a screwdriver."
--anonymous--

Shelby
Posts: 12
Joined: Wed Jun 22, 2011 6:23 pm
Location: NH, USA

Re: flute problems??

Post by Shelby »

sonicapogee wrote:I mean both open, both close, and one close and other open.
In short ,I am really not sure if this flute really needs changing all its pads.
I' m not sure if photos are allowed here ,but if they are ,it would be my pleasure to show you.
Firstly, I want to mention that on a flute, some keys are responsible for closing other keys, so it's not always a good thing that two keys can work independently.

Secondly, if it is old, then the pads may have cracked or torn or something, or are not sealing the holes completely when they close, or they are not seated properly. This will effect the quality of tone and playability.

Lastly, I agree with the suggestion of others here to get a second opinion.

PS: I do believe that photos are allowed. In any case, would love to see your new flute!

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