Last Updated on May 30, 2023 by Shanta Roy
It’s rather a general topic on fixing flute keys. You could have various problems with your flute keys. To make it easier to understand, you don’t repair or replace keys. You fix different parts of the keys.
We will state the possible issues. Also, we will give details about handling the problems with the flute fix.
If it comes to a situation where it will look like you need to change the keys of your flute, you choose to buy a new flute.
Before we start the main discussion, you should know that fixing the key is challenging.
You have done little fixing before you could do it by being extra careful. We will provide information as detailed as possible so you can do it properly.
But people who have never taken care of small issues- you better take it to an adept flute mechanic.
And, if you are feeling confident to do it anyway, go slow, and be cautious.
Keys contain complex construction. Before starting the fixing portion, we will talk about different parts of flute keys as well.
Different Parts Of Flute Keys
- The rods holding the keys
- Hinges holding the rods
- Pins under the key sets
- Flat washer
- Pad holder
- Paper shims
Issue 1: Sticky Flute Keys
It’s a cleaning issue, and it’s a common one! If you clean the moisture from the flute and under the pads, you will not face this problem. Considering that, make sure you are cleaning the flute pads after practice sessions.
To clean the flute pads, you need to collect some supplies. Such as pad juice: a disinfectant, a cleaning stripe: to wipe the moisture, and a drying stripe: to make the pads entirely moisture-free.
Cleaning process: You should clean one key at a time. You can start from any of the sides of your flute and start with the first key.
First, take a cleaning strip and add a little pad juice. Place the strip under a key, and move it over the pads to clean it. After that, take out the cleaning stripe. And wipe out the rest of the moisture from the pad with a drying stripe.
Issue 2: Flute Pad Replacement
Frankly, this is a complicated task. Flute pads can get damaged for a couple of reasons. One of the reasons is, while cleaning the flute, the pad comes in touch with rubbing alcohol. In that case, you need to change the pads.
The pads can get cracked as well after long-term use. And, the solution to that is to replace the pads. One of the signs of damaged flute pads is, the flute won’t sound the same as before.
If you are guessing the flute pads need to be changed, look at the details below.
Supplies You Need To Change The Flute Key-Pads
- Number-4 blade screwdriver
- Smooth jaws
- Paper shims
- Pad holder
- Flat washer
- Pad leveling tool
- Pad hook
- Yellow Treated Pads
- 5 pads for trill keys and C key
- 5, 18, and 18.5 for body-joint keys
- 19 or 19.5 for foot-joint
You have to detach the keys from the body of the flute. To do that, use a number-4 blade screwdriver, and unscrew the hinges one by one from the key mechanism. You can take out the hinges with pliers.
Note: The keys are installed in a different set. And, you will see most of the sets layer on top of one another. When you are taking out the hinges, try to find out the top set. Then, take out the sets carefully.
Once you are done taking off the keys, you need to take out the old pads. Also, in this stage, you can check if the problem is really with pads.
Next, you take out the pad with the help pad hook. If the pads don’t come out, you can use the torch to loosen them from the keys.
Note: The keys are set with many things, which depends on what type of key. For instance, some keys have grommets so that they stay put with the keys, and some have a flat washer or pad holder. You need to pay attention to those and use them accordingly.
Now, you can start measuring the pads for the keys and cut them to match with the room keys contain.
To install new keys, first, you need to check the correct height of the keys. We have provided you with rough measurements. All of you need to do it to make the adjustments. For the right height, you can use paper sims.
Then, iron them with water and a pad leveler. After that, wipe out the water from the moisture from the keys.
Finally, when the keys are installed, you need to put the keys back together. Assembling should be much more confusing, as you have already dissembled the keys once.
Issue 3: Dropping Keys
This happens when the tightness in the hinges is not right. You can use a Number-1 blade screwdriver to tighten the screws. Screw to ensure the right height of the keys from the key holes.
Issue 4: Wrong Adjustment Of The Keys
We have mentioned earlier that keys are installed in sets. Hence, when you press one key from a group, it will cause other keys to close the tone hole.
If you have noticed any problem with the keys closing the tone hole, you can perform the steps we have below.
Tools: Filler gauge and flute screwdriver.
Check the set by pressing one key and see if the keys are dropping at the same time. If not, you need to make the keys loose or maybe tighten them.
Note: When you tighten the screw, it lifts the keys. And, when you make them loose gradually, they drop.
All the keys have screws holding them onto the rods. Find out the screws, and check the height of the key by pressing them.
If the timing doesn’t match, or any of the keys are not closing the tone hole properly, you need to loosen the screw.
You can check if the keys are closing the hole with a filler gauge. You can carry on tightening and loosening until you find the right adjustment.
Note: This is a common issue. That’s why you will see many mouthpieces to come with the screwdrivers.
You have seen that the keys themselves don’t develop any condition. Generally, parts of the keys need to be fixed. If you find any issues with the keys, you need to make sure what the problem is.
Once you pin down the problem and it matches with any of the issues we have discussed, you can take help from the details.