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Flute/Piccolo
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admin
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Posted: February.19.05 at 3:15pm | IP Logged Quote admin

What do you do differently on hand-made flutes from mass produced flutes beyond:

Being more precise with padding, key fitting, and tenon fitting
Lack of adjustment screws
Head cork set more precisely and looser fit
Tone hole soldering

I've started getting this type of work in and so far it's not the big deal I thought it would be....unless I'm missing something. I love the precision aspect that they require and they make it much easier to be precise than the typical student flute.

I'd appreciate any pointers you seasoned high end flute repairers can give.

Thanks,
Michelle
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BertGrossi
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Posted: March.13.05 at 4:02pm | IP Logged Quote BertGrossi

Hi there,

Some brands do not have all the differences that you mentioned. The Japanese flutes are in the past years adding adjustment screws in their professional flutes (but with a finer pitch 1.7x 0.25 in the Muramatsus) and they have hand made flutes with drawn tone-holes (see Muramatsu, Miyazawa, Prima Sankyo, etc.).
They have a greater precision also in the tone-hole making and finishing, and in the materials that the flute are made.
They also use different materials for the bumpers that make less noise (Muramatsu a rabbit felt with a pre-glued backing, much quieter than cork; artificial felt in Brannen, Emmanuel, etc) and special hand made pads (Japanese) or Straubinger pads.



And there are always the clients that sometimes tend to be obsessive :-)
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admin
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Posted: March.14.05 at 8:13am | IP Logged Quote admin

Hi there Bert!

What are some of the things you do differently on hand-made flutes as opposed to mass produced flutes?

Thanks,
Michelle
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GordonPalmer
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Posted: March.15.05 at 2:06am | IP Logged Quote GordonPalmer

I treat them very much the same, but do curse at the engineering idiocy (in my book) when they do not have adjusting screws.

If they do have adjusting screws I find them often easier to work on than student flutes, because they do not have the same extent of manufacturing defects such as non-level tone holes.

For pro flutes I typically use harder pads, because the precision in the mechanism can easily cope with reduced resilience in the pads.
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BertGrossi
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Posted: March.16.05 at 4:37pm | IP Logged Quote BertGrossi

I agree, with Gordon. I like the adjusting screws. But, because of "tradition" and the association of adjusting screws and student flutes, many makers will not use them in professional flutes. The screws of some student brands that do not "hold" in place make many makers and players think that adjusting screws are bad.
But returning to the main topic. I use harder pads too and also thinner because in general the professional flutes do have a smaller protusion of the pad over the rim of the cup. I use the thin Lucien pads. I do not clamp and do try not to iron it to take the wrinkles off. I take the wrinkles off with a wet cloth and "releasing" the skin of the pad of the gromet or washer, more difficult to explain in words than do do or show. If you have wrinkles clock wise, for example, I touch the pad close to the washer counter clock wise and release the tension that is making the wrinkles. I think that the less you iron the skin the better it will seal, and the more compliant it will be.
The padding this way takes more time but in the long run I have less problems.
I pad and adjust in the first day, and revised every day after. In general in the third day it is stable and the revision is minor. But, if I use felt pads in a professional flute,
it stays with me for about a week after padding. The clients are a lot more picky, I test with the lightest of the touches so when they play they do not feel that they need to press.
The professional flutes instead of more difficult, if they were well cared for, in general are easier to work with than the student flutes.

The other difference is that I do not use cork in any place other than the head joint, in this way you have a silent movement mechanism. I substitute all the corks of student flute when the client complains of "clankiness" with good results.

Sorry for my spelling and grammar mistakes,

Bert
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JeffPeterson
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Posted: March.27.05 at 10:03pm | IP Logged Quote JeffPeterson

The basic principles in repadding a production flute vs. a handmade are the same. A better instrument does lend itself to making precision work easier to perform and more effective. The main issue is time. It's hard to find clients that want to put a $1000 overhaul into their Bundy flute so the tech has to find a reasonable compromise.
On professional caliber flutes I spend much more time on key fitting, tone hole preparation,making the cups level over the toneholes with uniform pad protrusion, spud height,and shimming.On production flutes I generally use cork on the key feet as it sands easily. On pro flutes I use scott felt and other materials that are a bit more time-consuming.
Straubinger pads have spoiled me for good.
The precision that can be achieved with these pads is amazing. Conventional pads seem so crude and cumbersome after working with Straubingers.
On sterling flutes, tenon fitting is done by burnishing rather than expanders. Once again, time is the big difference.-Jeff
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JButky
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Posted: March.31.05 at 5:47pm | IP Logged Quote JButky

You're not "missing" anything. But you will find as time goes on, that you will be asked to do more things and will become more of a psychiatrist than you might expect.

Eventually, people ask you for all sorts of services. Can you rescale my flute? Why does this problem keep reocurring on my flute (that I don't want to spend the money to fix properly?) Can you make this or that for me? You start to learn of all the gadgets that are out there for flutes.

Some of the higher end services include bad pin replacements, headjoint recutting or modifications, wood flutes, historical restorations and becoming adept at installing the myriad of pad choices out there, (Straubs, JS Gold or silver, felt, silicone, etc.) It doesn't seem to end.

Some of the more eclectic services I 've had to perform include are remounting keycups to y arms, fabricating disintegrating keycup chimneys, and custom pad making, fabricating piccolo spring cradles, or an entire low C# key (for which I charged $900). Just when you think you've heard or seen it all, something new pops up.

Be prepared!

Joe B
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