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Maintenance & Care

Care & Maintenance of Your Flute

Remove Jewelry:

Jewelry – especially rings – is a common cause of damage to flutes. In some cases the damage may not be able to be repaired, particularly to the surfaces in and around the embouchure hole.  Zippers and buttons may also cause scratches.

Assembling Your Flute:

It is important to assemble and disassemble your flute with care. Do not grasp or hold the flute over the mechanism as this can cause the flute to go out of adjustment and possibly damage the mechanism. To properly assemble your flute:

  1. Grasp the body at the barrel with one hand. With the other hand, grasp the footjoint at the bottom below the keys. Put the two pieces together with a twisting (not rocking) action.
  2. Grasp the headjoint below the lip plate, and once again use a gentle back and forth twisting action to fit the body of the flute to the headjoint. Some technicians recommend turning the headjoint onto the barrel in only one direction.
  3. The Miyazawa flute is designed to be played with the headjoint pulled out approximately 2-7 mm. You may pull it out slightly more to play down to A=440. The amount necessary to pull out should be adjusted to your preference depending on how you direct your airstream, temperature, and other individual factors. The standard pitch for most markets is A=442 with other pitches available.

Swabbing Your Flute:

Your Miyazawa flute comes with a micro-fiber cleaning cloth, cotton swab and wooden cleaning rod. You can extend the life of your pads and reduce instrument maintenance by swabbing out the inside of your flute with a soft, absorbent cotton cloth such as the one provided after each time that you play.

Removing Fingerprints:

Fingerprints and surface oils can be removed by using a micro-fiber cleaning cloth on the outer surfaces of your flute. Do not use cloths that have been infused with a silver cleaning chemical as these powders can work their way into the mechanism of the flute or onto the pad surfaces. While we do not recommend using silver polish, some players wish to. Use silver polish only with extreme care and never use it on or around the mechanism or pads. Your instrument is best stored in its case when you are not using it. Keep your case clean, and do not store accessories inside the case.

Headjoint and Tenon Care:

The headjoint should not be too loose or too tight. Proper fitting can be done with a qualified repair technician. Gently wipe the tenon down after each use with a soft, cotton cloth to keep the area clean. Do not use products such as petroleum jelly, lip balm, or cork grease to lubricate the area as this will cause build up. The only product recommended for use when the tenon is too tight is paraffin wax.

How to Use Paraffin Wax:

Coat the inner tenon by rubbing it with a piece of dry paraffin wax, then assemble. Next, disassemble the two joints and wipe off both inner and outer tenons with a clean cotton cloth. The next time the flute is assembled, the tenons should join together with ease.

Pads and their Care:

Your flute may have been built with Straubinger Pads. You will find that these pads will stay in adjustment much longer than ordinary felt pads.

As you clean your flute, be careful to stay away from the edges of the pads and key cups. The edges of Straubinger Pads are very firm and hard, and thus they are susceptible to wear if the edges are rubbed frequently.

Traditional Felt Pads

Your flute may instead have been built with premium felt pads. These pads are made with high quality pressed felt. You should treat these pads in the same way described above for Straubinger Pads.

Pad “Skin"

Both Straubinger Pads and felt pads have a top double layer called “skin.” Pad skin can become sticky as it interacts with moisture and other particles. Refer to our Educational Articles on how you can clean your pads if they become sticky.

Retaining Rings and Plug Removal

The retaining rings which hold the pads in the keys have a special design that allows for more stability and precision when pads are adjusted. This is a technically superior design; however, if a plug is pushed through the hole during removal, the retaining ring will also be removed. When removing plugs, please poke the plug with a pin and pull it up and out of the key while being careful not to scratch your flute.

Recommendations for Maintenance

Your flute should be cleaned, oiled and adjusted (termed a COA appointment) approximately once each year by a qualified flute repair technician. Regular annual maintenance by a qualified repair technician is essential in the care of your flute. Proper annual care by a professional will keep your instrument in top condition and uphold its value over time. Flutists who play several hours every day or who have a high acid content in their skin may benefit from more frequent service. Further detailed information about annual maintenance can be found in our Educational Articles.

We enjoy hearing from our customers. Please feel free to contact us if we can be of service in any way.

See also Care and Maintenance of your Piccolo.

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