Flute Questions

Where do I shop for a flute?
You should first consider your price range. Know what you can afford to spend, then use the tips on this website to get the most for your money. You can find good flutes available at most music stores or they will usually order one for you if what you are looking for isn’t in stock.

What is the minimum I should expect to spend on a flute?
You should be able to find a good flute starting at $300. If you pay anything less than that for a new flute, you will probably end up putting more money into it for repairs than what you originally paid for it. Also, most repair professionals will refuse to work on generic brands.

Where can I find a bargain?
Try newspaper classifieds, pawn shops, yard sales, E-bay.com and more, but stick to the brand names that I suggest. If you purchase a used flute, then expect to pay another $50 to $100 for some repairs like pad replacements, key adjustments, cork replacements and some oiling. Don’t expect to find a bargain in the same place you buy your groceries!

Should I buy a separate headjoint?
Headjoints can make a huge difference in how a flute sounds. There are companies out there that specialize in headjoints for high quality instruments. You should only be looking to purchase a quality headjoint if you are already a trained flutist working with an instructor who can advise you on this subject.

What kind of maintenance does a flute require?
Your flute needs to be cleaned after each use. Clean the inside of the flute with a silk or cotton cloth free of chemicals. Attach this cloth to a cleaning rod (make sure rod is either wood or plastic), insert gently and rub the inside up and down a number of times. Polish the outside of your flute with a micro-fiber cloth to remove oils and finger prints. Don’t be talked into buying more than the two cloths. You don’t need to buy oil and cork grease. You only need the cork grease for a piccolo (if you own one) and leave the oiling to the repair professionals. A flute needs to be oiled and checked for any problems once a year by a flute repair professional. Also, remove all jewelry from your hands or fingers while playing or handling your flute as these can leave permanent scratches on the body of your flute. Always keep the flute in its case when not in use! Never chew gum, eat candy or drink a soft drink before playing the flute. The sugars from these foods will destroy the sensitive pads.

How do I clean the pads when they get sticky?
Some music stores sell pad cleaning papers and pad savers, but you can also use cigarette papers or an old dollar bill to clean your pads. You can place a dollar bill under the sticky pad and press down. Do NOT pull the bill out while the pad is pressed down. The dust from the bill should cover the sticky spot. With pad papers or cigarette papers, you moisten a spot on the paper with your mouth, then press the paper under the pad then repeat with a dry section of paper. Make sure you avoid using the glue end of the cigarette paper for this. If this doesn’t help, moisten the paper with rubbing alcohol and repeat the process.