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Fluttery Flutes: a Flute Tech Talk

Parts of the Flute: Head, Body, & Foot

The Head is the section you play on.

The body is the section you hold in the middle.

The foot is the end piece with the pinky keys attached.

Daily Flute Care

As much as possible, it is important to do a few things for your daily maintenance.

  1. Prepping to play - wash your hands, rinse your mouth out, or even brush your teeth.

  2. Assembly - assemble the flute while not grabbing excessively onto the key mechanisms. This prevents a lot of keys from getting bent and needing repair. (Live demo in the shop or at events, for now...)

  3. Swabbing out the flute - After any rehearsal it is a good habit to swab out your flute no matter how long you played. The condensation in your saliva consists of many things including calcium. This calcium can build up on the pads and inside the bore of the instrument creating a breeding ground for bacteria and mold. It is also the biggest factor in sticky pads... but not the only one.

  4. Wiping down your instrument on the outside. - There is a technique to removing those pesky fingerprints. Take a microfiber cloth or a similar clean non-scratching cloth and wrap it around your finger. Now as you wipe away those finger prints, pay attention to where the cloth is going. Be sure it does not touch the pads or springs. Pads are easily torn and springs are easily displaced. Springs however are easier to fix if they haven't broken off. Just bring it by the shop :)

  5. Work on your posture and technique. - As you progress and desire to play higher level flutes, technique and posture will become key. Not only to your sound, but to your maintenance needs. A player that has great technique often needs less extensive repairs than a player who has a very compressive technique. Players even at the lower levels who have bad hand positioning can cause leaks to the extent I know how they play just by looking at their pads.

  6. Know what environment your flute can handle, and have a backup for the environments you can't control. The marching field is not a place to take your $4K+ flute out to. Rain and humidity can be a uncontrollable factor in the outdoors and real havoc on your expensive flutes. Instead keep your first flute around that you learned on just for these occasions.

  7. Yearly maintenance or more is highly suggested. if you are playing more than 2 hours a day religiously, I'd recommend at least every 8 months coming y the shop. Less than that, once a year works well, unless there's an emergency.

  8. Preventing emergencies is key for players doing a lot of auditions or concerts. The best prevention is planned neglect. Now that does not mean neglecting your studies or anything else. It means planning when you can be without your instrument. If you know you have something important coming up, call the shop 20-30 days in advance. Some shops will need more if you plan to send it off.

Step ups & Terms.

Below you will find some photos of flutes to compare. Here's what to look for.

In-line/ Offset

C foot / B foot

Split E/ Standard G keys

C# Trill/ None

D roller/ None

Not Pictured here but still can come across:

Soldered tone holes/ drawn tone holes

C foot / B foot

D roller/ None

high E facilitator/ None

"XX" Metal Riser

Heavy wall/ Thin wall

gold springs

Silver plated/ solid silver/metal alloys Custom


  1. Posture

  2. Bo Pep

  3. Thumb Port

  4. Flute Gels

  5. Silicone bumpers

  6. Hand Positioners

  7. Lip plate positioners

  8. Cleaning

  9. Microfiber swabs

  10. Cotton Swabs

  11. Bamboo/charcoal swabs

  12. Swabs

  13. Cleaning Rods

  14. Cleaning Wands & Flags

  15. PadSavers

  16. Sound Production

  17. Headcork replacements

  18. LeFreque

  19. Teaching Aids

  20. Pneumo Pro

  21. Stamps

Come by the store or a booth at one of the events we attend and ask us anything!

We offer Repairs, Instrument Trials, and more.

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