a) Joints have become tight
Usually due to insufficient cleaning; most student Flutes are constructed of Nickel-Silver as a base metal-this can be seen on the tenons and inside the sockets (as no plating is applied).Like all alloys of Brass, oxidization occurs, usually seen as a black residue on Foot-joint and a marbling on the larger Head-joint tenon. Left unchecked, the joints become tighter, and in severe cases attract dust and grit causing scratches. Tip* By applying a light smear of white candle to the tenons and then refitting the joints much of this damaging material can be removed by using a gauze cloth. Allow a few minutes after the paraffin to evaporate. Please note that all traces of wax need to be removed, to prevent dust building up. This is why the use of grease on joints must be avoided. Badly scratched joints require specialist treatment.
b) Joints have become loose.
Due to the durability of Nickel-silver, this is less common, however other brands using the softer yellow brass tubes can often become loose especially on the Foot-joint due to lack of correct alignment durind assembling. A specialized set of fitting tools are required to rectify. Correct alignment when assembling will prevent this happening.
c) Footjoint keys are out of adjustment.
Although this can be caused by compression of the cork under the C-- key over time- it is common for the problem to stem from continually pressing on the C-- touch-piece with the thumb during assembly. Eventually the key will bend and cause the C-- key to remain open slightly when the low C roller is depressed. To re-adjust these keys a thicker piece of cork needs to be applied, or the touch-piece straightened. Either way this needs to be done by a qualified repairman.
d) Flute fails to play notes below G
Usually, this is due to incorrect adjustment of the two G keys located midway down the main Flute body. The popularity of the E-mechanism and its design of separate G keys makes it vulnerable to clutch damage when the main body is lifted out of its case by the lower of these two keys. Re-adjust using the screw between the two until they close simultaneously again. Alternatively, oil may have seeped into the small leather patch under the screw and dislodged it. Again, adjust, until a new leather can be fitted. Technical Workshop Notes
e) All notes are suddenly unplayable.
One of the springs holding the trill keys have become dislodged from its catch, this can happen when cleaning cloths snag the ends of springs. Replace the spring and test action.
f) All notes below A are dramatically weaker in sound.
The G-- touchpiece, operated by the left hand little finger has been bent up or down causing a major leak in the G-- pad. Bending this arm down to facilitate smaller hands is not recommended. The arm being bent upwards can have the added complication of over-venting the key causing the note to play out of tune and the key cup to strike the trill rod. Again, the key needs to be straightened and pad re-seated. There is very little room for the operation of the G-- arm between the two G keys, more serious difficulties can arise from the arm fouling the edges of the key cups. Gently easing the arm back usually solves the problem.
g) Problems with individual notes.
This is usually down to padding and regulation (The name given to adjustments between keys closing simultaneously). The ability to check correct pad seating and make correct adjustments is one better left to those who are well practiced. Often, the cause of problems lies in lifting the Flute out of the case by the keys, or by curious students turning adjusting screws. If you can see where the problem is and can make the adjustment, fine-otherwise refer to a qualified repairer.
h) Dents and Scratches
During a Flutes busy school career, it is highly likely that these will occur. Usually dents appear on body tubes when inadvertently struck against music-stands etc. Most are only aesthetic and will cause minimal problems with sound. It is a rarity to service Flutes without small dents in them! Removel can be done successfully by repairers. Scatches can be a little more serious. A cut on human skin can lead to a serious infection-deep scratches through plating on Flutes or lacquer on Saxophones and Brass, can allow air to oxidize the base metal causing plating to develop tiny blisters which rapidly spread. It is possible for most scratches to be reduced somewhat, but please be aware of this potential hazard.