How To Treat Your Back-Up Flute

Flutes like to be loved! A flute sitting in a closet for a long time not being played will deteriorate. If you are thinking that you will keep your old flute as a backup for when your good flute isn’t playing then you should pull it out once a week, or at least once a month, and play it for 10 minutes or so. This will make your flute happy. Most notably if a flute isn’t played the headjoint cork will dry out and shrink and leak. Also this will allow you to monitor your backup to see if it needs to be taken into FluteWorks Seattle. Imagine if something was wrong with your main flute so you decide to go get your back up. When you pull it out of the closet it isn’t playing either!

Time waits for no flute! Oil evaporates from the keys over 2-3 years. Once the oil is gone it leaves behind a sludge of particles of steel and silver (or nickel silver). These particles can act like sand in the mechanism, grinding it up and making it wear quickly as you play it. Once the oil has evaporated the steels are left vulnerable to moisture and they can begin to rust. Even your backup flute should get a COA at least once every 3 years.

Over time, even if the instrument isn’t being played at all, things age. The pad skins become brittle and will tear easily. The glues holding the felts and corks on begins to age and will let go. Even if a flute were kept in a pristine, climate controlled vault it will still need an overhaul every 10 years or so if you plan on playing it.

~ Erik Nugent

Please reach out to FluteWorks Seattle if you have any questions!

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