Flute/Piccolo Care and Maintenance
Keep the head joint tenon and bottom tenon clean so that the head and foot joints will fit on the body of the flute easily. Having to force them may result in the bending of keys. Holding the body of the flute near the receiver, insert the head joint into the flute body using a slow back and forth twisting motion. Align the embouchure hole with the top keys on the body. Grip the foot joint firmly in the right hand closing the keys. With the left hand holding the body close to the bottom tenon, twist the foot joint onto the tenon and align the rod of the foot joint with the center of the keys on the bottom of the flute. Note: Never grease flute tenons. Tenons that are hard to insert need cleaning or professional alignment.
The inside of the flute should be cleaned after playing. A small soft rag (about the size of a handkerchief) attached to the end of the tuning rod should be used to clean the inside of the body, foot, and head joints. Additional protection for the pads may be had by the purchase of a pad saver. The pad saver is not a cleaning device, but is placed inside the body of the flute when not in use to absorb moisture and keep it from getting to the pads. Wipe the outside of the instrument with the cloth to remove fingerprints. Note: Chewing gum, soft drinks, and other foods containing sugar are very harmful to flute pads. Avoid these things whenever possible before playing or rinse your mouth thoroughly before playing the instrument.
RECOMMENDED ACCESSORY ITEMS: Cleaning brush, dusting brush, key oil, polishing cloth.
Regular maintenance of the flute will go a long way toward avoiding unnecessary repair bills.
ONCE A MONTH (or as needed): Thoroughly polish the outside of the flute with a treated polishing cloth. Commercial liquid, powder or paste polishes should be avoided, as they can easily get into the mechanisms and pads of the instrument. Wiping the finger prints from the instrument after each playing will help to keep the finish from deteriorating.
EVERY 3 MONTHS: Oil all mechanisms on the flute using key oil and a needle. Before oiling, use the cleaning and dusting brushes to remove as much dust and dirt as possible from under the key mechanisms on the flute. Then put several drops of key oil into the cap of the key oil bottle or other suitable container. Starting at the top of the flute and working down, put one drop of oil into the space at the end of each key rod and between all moveable keys that share the same rod using the needle dipped into the key oil. Key rods are attached to posts, each of which has a ball shaped top. Put the oil into the slit next to each post. Work the keys vigorously to circulate the oil, then wipe off any excess oil from the body and keys of the flute.
* Run water through the flute or submerse it in water.
* Turn the screws found on the top of some of the keys--these are adjustment screws and should not be tightened or loosened by the player.
* Use materials, oils, or other products not specifically designed for use in flute maintenance.