We have to maintain everything in our lives to keep them in working order and instruments are no exception. A common misconception is “Well, I take it to be serviced once a year isn’t that enough?” or “We keep it clean at home” The answer is no.
Instrument maintenance is just as important as your normal car maintenance. You wouldn’t change the oil in your car only once a year; it would eventually just stop working, right?
Flutes are probably one of the easiest instruments to maintain. Not as many keys as a saxophone or clarinet, no strings to be replaced, or wood to worry about warping.
As a flute player, you should be cleaning your instrument after every time you play. This means swabbing the inside of the flute’s body with a cloth, swabbing the inside of the head joint, disinfecting your mouthpiece, and maintaining the pads.
When you rent or buy a new flute, you should ALWAYS buy a new set of cleaning supplies to go with it. Music & Arts offers a Care Kit add-on with every instrument sale or rental to help new and old players keep their instruments in tip-top shape for performance. Our Flute specific Care Kit includes: a polishing cloth, hanky swab, pad paper book, double end swab, flute thumb positioner, and care instruction.
How long do flute pads last?
- The pads on a flute should typically be replaced every five years. This is dependent on how often the instrument is played and how well maintained it is, so this time frame is variable. You can bring your instrument to any Music & Arts location to have your instrument sent out for a free estimate.
Keep the pads in good condition by cleaning the inside of the instrument regularly and using pad paper to wick the moisture out of the pads. Avoid storing the instrument in direct sunlight or near a heat source.
What do I use to clean the outside of my flute?
- A treated polish cloth can be used on the outside of the flute to wipe away any oils or sweat from your hands and keep the materials looking new.
How often should I send my instrument out to be serviced?
- All instruments should be sent out to a certified repair technician at least once per year. The technician will adjust and regulate any bent keys or rods. This is normal wear and tear. Sending out the instrument will keep in the best condition possible and help uphold its value. Keep in mind, even though you sent your instrument out to be serviced does not mean you shouldn’t be cleaning it after every use. Standards are to replace your cleaning supplies ever 4-6 months.
*Any instrument sold by Music & Arts qualifies for an Instrument Maintenance Agreement (band & orchestra) or SoundCare (electronics & combo instruments.)
How much does it cost to repad my flute?
- Here at Music & Arts a repad for a flute is $200-$280 depending on whether the flute is open or closed hole. Along with the repad, the technician will chem clean the instrument, buff out minor dents, and corks will be replaced. With normal maintenance, you should be able to avoid needing to repad the entire instrument at once.
If you have any more questions regarding your instrument call us at (860) 276-5861.