Welcome to Experience CANEX Flute & Piccolo

Flutes & Piccolos We Make

Maintenance and Cleaning Flute

The flute is an instrument with a wonderful sound. However, if it is not properly cleaned, it won't sound that way for long! Always clean your flute properly, so that the sound and shine will last.

1. Make sure that the mating surfaces are free of debris and grit.
Line up the joints so that they are straight and gently push them together with a twisting motion. Never force.
If you start having trouble lining them up, gently take off the end that has the problem and use lip gloss, for example Lip Smacker, rub some onto the area then put that back onto the flute and rotate it. You'll see a big improvement. However don't put too much on unless you want to see that part fly off when you're playing, yes it sounds cool but you'll probably have to take it into the shop then.

2. Don't line up the body joint's end rod with the footjoints rod. This makes it harder to play.
If you will march with this flute, make sure that the joints are snug enough to prevent parts from flying off when the instrument is snapped up or down, and definitely think twice about joint lubrication. Marching is hard on instruments, so it makes sense to march with a spare instrument if you have one, especially if there is any chance of rain.
Generally, the embouchure hole (the hole in the mouthpiece) should be aligned so that it is centered on the top row of keys. Remember that rolling the flute or the head joint in raises the pitch, or makes it go sharp, and that rolling the flute or head joint out lowers the pitch, or makes it go flat.
Turn the foot joint so that rod aligns with the edge of the top keys on the body, or slightly behind them. Remember that key under the pinky of the right hand is depressed for most notes. Be sure it is properly aligned.
The flute may be tuned to its tuning pitch, an A. A skilled musician will be able to tell if your flute is sharp (too high) or flat (too low) by listening to an A on a flute, but in general use an electric tuner. Pulling the head joint out lowers the pitch; pushing in raises it. A good player will also adjust the pitch of individual notes while playing with a combination of rolling, fingering, embouchure (the shape of the mouth and lips), and breath control.

3. Warm up the flute by playing or blowing warm air through it before tuning. The pitch will change somewhat with the temperature. If the flute cools off between playing passages, you can warm it up by closing the keys and softly blowing warm air straight into, not across, the hole. Feel free to play scales or some music to make it interesting.
4. After each and every playing session, take your flute apart, so that the three pieces are separated.
5. Thread a soft cloth through the needle-like slot in the end of your tuning rod and flip the cloth over the cleaning rod, then wrap it around the rod so that there is none of the rod showing at the top, otherwise, you will scratch the inside of your precious flute. Remove the moisture by gently sliding the cleaning rod through each of the sections in the same direction "without" using a twisting motion. By twisting the rod and cloth, and if pushing/pulling it back and forth inside your flute, the cloth and rod run the risk of snagging a pad or even getting stuck inside!
6. Return the rod and cloth to the flute case, and remove a soft chamois cloth. Carefully polish the flute with the cloth until it's free of fingerprints and other possible gunk. Then lightly wipe off the keys so that you're going in the direction of the keys. Make sure to always handle the flute by the barrel when cleaning, as to not bend the keys and/or rods.
7. Rub the mouthpiece gently with the cloth, to remove the gunk and spit.
8. Store and carry your flute in its case, avoiding moisture and temperature extremes. The case is the safest place, but if you play frequently enough and have a safe corner, you might also consider getting a stand.

edit TipsIf you buy one of those pad savers that look like giant, fluffy pipe cleaners to clean the flute,never leave them inside your flute after cleaning. The moisture will cause your pads to rot. If you choose to leave the pad savers in they must dry before you put it back inside your flute! It is still better to not leave the pad savers in the flute, even if dried out. Dust can collect. Not good!

Serious flute players should own multiple cleaning cloths. Clean men's handkerchiefs work well.
Tie a cleaning cloth to the handle of your case, if there is no room inside.
If your pads get sticky, so they make a little noise when they lift up, try cleaning them. Slide pad paper or a piece of clean cigarette paper under a key, then close the key. Do not pull the paper out while the key is pressed down, as this will create friction in the pad and bladder of the key. Instead, open the key and then slide the paper out. It will be just as effective and pulling the paper from under the keys, but not nearly as harmful to the pads. The stickiness is due to moisture, so make an effort to keep the flute dry. Use this technique gently and sparingly, since it could damage the thin membrane that makes the seal when you close a key.
Have your flute serviced periodically by somebody who specializes in flutes, or woodwinds, at the least. Misaligned keys or deteriorating pads, especially, can mean leaks, which can affect your tone.
Avoid storing a soggy cleaning cloth inside the case with the flute. Store it in the outer case, or if that's not possible, tie it to the handle or spread it to dry before putting it away.
Avoid setting the flute on its keys, or any place it might get dropped or stepped on. If you would prefer to leave it out, get a stand.
Don't use silver polish on the head joint! If a polishing cloth doesn't do the job, try a bit of rubbing alcohol, applied to a soft cloth. Again, don't get it on the pads. If this doesn't work, then leave the polishing to your repairman when you take it in!
Avoid squeezing the keys when you play. It will wear the pads faster and slow your playing. If you find that squeezing the keys improves the tone, get the flute serviced. You probably have a leak.
If you have a wooden flute or piccolo, consult an experienced player or repair person for additional advice regarding appropriate wood care and cork grease.
There are two sorts of adjustments you can reasonably attempt yourself. If you're not sure, take the flute to a shop.
If a key fails to lift when released, look to see if a spring (one of the tiny wires along the rod) has popped out of place. You may be able to push it back into place with the eraser end of a pencil or some similar, soft instrument.
If your flute is consistently out of tune, check the cork at the top of the head joint. Take the head joint off of the flute, insert your cleaning rod upside down into it. The rod should have a line towards the bottom of it, you need to try to get the line into the middle of the embouchure hole. If the line is not in the center of the embouchere hole, then it could mean your cork is shrinking, and will need to stop in for a quick replacement. Corks that are out of position will cause your flute to not properly play in tune. DO NOT attempt to solve this yourself by pushing in or pulling out on the cork, as you could cause damage.
IN ADDITION: Never squeeze too hard on the keys. A lot of mistakes that flute players, beginner and even highschool players mistake is to hold the flute by the keys. If you are to adjust the headjoint, for example, do not grab/hold your flute by the Ab key or in that area. This can cause the flute's keys to break and bend, in which it can cost a lot to get fixed. Instead, hold the flute where the 'logo' is. There are no moving parts here, so you won't break anything by adjusting the headjoint. This is the same when assembling - remember to not take the flute apart by holding the keys. Always hold where the barrel is. This helps keep the keys safe, your pocket full and your flute in nice condition. The flute is a strong instrument, but can be damaged easily. If you take good care of it, the flute will take good care of you. Or your playing, playing test or 'chair' in band. A non-working, keys bent flute means that your playing won't be the best, thus meaning you could easily come last chair, all because of some dumb mistakes. Have fun fluting!

Edit warnings When taking apart your flute do not grab a part and twist it off forcefully. You could bend keys. Also while playing a flute, do not roll it in your lap- leave it resting with all keys face up. Also consider getting a flute stand.
See the green spot on the pad? You don't want your flute to look like that!A flute that is not cleaned will very quickly look like this the one in the picture and its not a very pretty sight.
Be careful when you are cleaning your flute. Repair can be very expensive. Do not try to bend or press anything that doesn't seem to be moving easily, because, chances are, it is either bent, or it isn't supposed to move at all.
Flutes are very expensive. Make sure you are committed to playing and caring for the instrument before your purchase one.
Woodwind instruments can't get wet! If you let your flute get wet, the pads will swell up, and the flute won't play.
Be careful not to bend any keys when you are dismantling the flute. Be especially careful when removing the foot joint, because it has a very complicated and delicate key connection that is easy to bend and is expensive to replace.
You should never grease your flute at the joints, as it just makes it harder to take apart and put together. It is better to wipe the joints with a polishing cloth.
Never use a dollar bill to clean pads. They have oils on them and that will ruin the pads, and then you have to get it repaired.
Never clean the body of a flute with any product that contains bleach. You will destroy the finish on the flute. The entire finish will lose its luster and shine.

Edit Things You'll Need Cleaning rod (usually comes with the flute. if not, one is easily purchased.)
Silk or cotton cloth to clean inside of flute with
Soft, cotton polishing cloth