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PostPosted: Mon May 28, 2018 10:36 am 
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So I did a search and almost bumped this thread, but decided to start my own since my issue isn’t limited to G.
viewtopic.php?f=2&t=98099&hilit=Flat

I got my Walt Sweet Shannon last Wednesday and every note is flat for me, even with the slide fully in. It’s not the flute, it’s me. I’ve had others play it and it’s a great, in tune player for them. So I know it’s my own embouchure. I found that blowing more across than down helps a little, but even that confuses me because I was told the opposite should happen.
I’ve tried rolling the head in and out. I realize ultimately the best answer to sharpen my embouchure is practice, practice, practice, but are there any other tricks I’ve not tried? It’s very frustrating, as I’ve played other flutes in the past and never had this problem. Is it possible that certain embouchures and embouchure cuts interact this way? The cut IS different from other flutes I’ve played in the past.


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PostPosted: Mon May 28, 2018 11:50 am 
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Suggestions. You've tried this but let me say that rolling the headjoint out and blowing
across it should lift the tone a fair amount. Don't be shy about the extent to which
you roll out. Another is to contact walt--they may be able to modify the flute so
as to give you more room to sharpen the notes. Also you can strengthen your embouchure.
Lots of problems get solved that way. you get the seriously focused stream of air that you can
use to lift pitch--it becomes second nature. One thing I think really helps is playing a high-pitched fife/flute.
These are inexpensive and actually delightful to play, and they are demanding in the right way.
I'm busking sometimes on Billy Miller bamboo flutes, which I like. Hope this helps.


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PostPosted: Mon May 28, 2018 8:18 pm 
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Its not the flute - its you. However, Walt should be able to cut the flute a little shorter at the head joint tenon to bring it up to pitch.

Ian Law played flute for decades and everything played in pitch. Then suddenly everything went flat across the board. We looked at the problem and decided that he had finally achieved a relaxed embouchure. It was an easy matter to adjust his flutes which he had had for years upward.

I also found that I had to adjust Grey Larsen's low flutes to pitch - though I can't remember which way. I think it was also upwards.

I go through episodes myself depending upon how much playing I am doing vs. how hard I am working. Its hard to establish what is exactly the 440 that everyone desires. I usually aim for the sharp side as this allows the flutes to be pulled out to pitch. Also the bore shrinks in use ever so slightly which lowers the pitch down. Sometimes my clients send flutes back to me for adjusting the pitch upward and I know a few other makers who also do this.

Casey

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PostPosted: Mon May 28, 2018 9:32 pm 
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Finally it's been less than a week. Patience.
It can be helpful to think this flute
has something to teach you.


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PostPosted: Mon May 28, 2018 11:31 pm 
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So I feel like an idiot. After rereading some prior threads on Shannons I realize that what I thought were decorative rings carved into the acetyl are actually removable O rings placed on the tuning slide. I removed those and can JUST get it to pitch now with the slide all the way in. So while I do still play flat a bit, most of this was just user error. :tomato:
But all good points above. I definitely have a lot of work to do, and plan to really buckle down and get serious. I’ve semi-practiced off and on for a few years now with flute, but will now be taking things up a few notches.


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PostPosted: Mon May 28, 2018 11:38 pm 
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Oh, you can see the o rings in this photo:
https://folkfriends.com/cosmoshop/defau ... 087186.jpg
Hopefully with photographic context it’s not TOO difficult to imagine how I didn’t notice it wasn’t just some design feature.


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PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2018 4:33 am 
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Since rings are standard on flutes, it doesn’t seem like an obvious thing to me. They normally add additional strength to the wood or bamboo, but aren’t necessary for acetal flutes.

For the record, I have a similar issue with my playing of flutes in general. I play a Trevor James (silver plated Boehm flute) and a Tony Dixon 2-piece acetal flute. On both of them, the head-joint has to be all the way in for me to be in tune. I am hoping to see if a custom mopani flute can give me more wiggle room, but it has met some delays, if you are interested I could give more details or update you on what I learn once I can.

Other than that, I haven’t found a great solution myself and I haven’t exactly identified why it happens. (But I am also in tune, so it has been less imperative that I find an answer.) In my situation, the first 5 years of my flute playing were on bamboo flutes that had no tuning-slide and no special or particularly helpful embrouchure cut (as a friend and I made them). And I could have developed such an embrouchure that did fine without tuning slides.


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PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2018 4:56 am 
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I thought I had been keeping up with this thread.. but then I saw Casey’s post after I posted. Thanks for sharing that information, Casey. :)


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PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2018 9:36 am 
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Yes, the O rings on the Shannon are there for tuning and effectively
flatten the notes--though I guess they are meant to give you room
to sharpen the tone (by taking them out and closing the gap). Probably you can make up
the 'bit' by spending a few days/weeks just playing and exploring the
flute. I do recall when I talked to the Sweets about giving me more
room to tune sharp one of their flutes, they were willing. It's interesting
what a great flute the Shannon is.


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PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2018 10:01 am 
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There are some ways to raise the pitch of the flute overall. Proceed with caution!

The most hazardous is tweaking the embouchure and I highly recommend trying this as you will ruin your flute. However, the maker should be able to adjust it if it is within a certain size range. Making the embouchure hole larger will raise the pitch. On my flutes I aim for a dimension of 11.4mm lengthwise and 10.2mm across the width. My embouchures vary a bunch from this actually. But that seems to be a comfortable size that plays easily without much effort for my flutes.

Avoiding that (don't do that!!!), there are ways to adjust the pitch overall which are less hazardous. The bottom D can be adjusted in 3 different ways. If the bottom has 2 vent holes the one closer to the embouchure can be enlarged. A more effective way is to simply move the footjoint up. This would require a lathe. If the flute doesn't have the extended foot then simply subtracting some material from the bottom will shorten the sounding length and raise the pitch. Finally if one has a tapered reamer of the right size the bore at the end can be reamed out a bit.

Once retuned, the octave Ds are checked and adjusted with the cork position. Pushing the cork in has the effect of raising the 2nd octave more than the first.

Then the notes are raised, starting at the E, first octave. If flat the simple remedy is to make the hole a tiny bit larger using a narrow round file or a bit of 120A sandpaper wrapped around something metal the diameter of a bamboo skewer. One should rely upon one's ear at this point, as well as a tuner (see the paragraph below on tuning with a tuner). Then the F# should be addressed. Good luck on some flutes getting it up higher. You want to avoid making it too large! Sandpaper wrapped around an Xacto Knife handle works well for this note. Then you keep going up the scale.

When you get to C#, be sure to check the highly important c natural fingering too. 0XX 000 in the first octave and 0X0 XXX in both or just the upper are standard though 0XX XX0 works.

Note that when you raise the pitch of a hole, the pitch of the next hole will go up too though to a lesser degree.

Then check the 2nd octave by first blowing each 1st octave note starting with E. If the 2nd octave is flat, the hole needs to be undercut a little bit. This can be done with the sand paper wrapped around the skewer sized rod.

Tuning with the tuner. At least on my Korg Tuners, some notes look sharp when they are in pitch to the ear. A is always about 10 cents sharp, as well as the notesabove it. The 2nd octave is another 15-20 cents sharp. This has more to do with how the tuner hears the flute.

An aside - and a possible explanation for the "Flat Bottom D" that is encountered in antique flutes. The techniques for adjusting the bottom D are little known to the average flute consumer and for most, beyond their capabilities. However, as the pitches went from 435 or less to 440 the need arose to sharpen the flutes to that pitch standard. Thus they went after the embouchure, in some cases destroying the balance. They most certainly (and quite skillfully) adjusted the fingerholes. Its hard or impossible to tell if these are original as cut in the factory. I propose that the bottom D is an indicator that these modifications have been done. They just couldn't adjust the most important note! But this is within the capabilities of most makers and there are a lot of us it seems these days!

Casey

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PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2018 1:39 pm 
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" The most hazardous is tweaking the embouchure and I highly recommend trying this as you will ruin your flute. "
I think that needs amending, doesn't it, especially in light of the further very useful advice ?

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PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2018 2:26 pm 
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Kenny wrote:

Quote:
" The most hazardous is tweaking the embouchure and I highly recommend trying this as you will ruin your flute. "
I think that needs amending, doesn't it, especially in light of the further very useful advice ?


How do you think we keep generating demand for our flutes? When they destroy their flutes, that keep coming back for more (though usually its from sitting on them, dropping them off cliffs and bridges, dogs eating them just after oiling, or overhumidifying them and turning them into a toxic hazard).

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PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2018 4:52 pm 
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I am still waiting to receive my first wooden flute, but I have a sudden desire to leave my flute out of the reach of my dog after I oil it. And to avoid cliffs. And bridges.


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PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2018 8:05 pm 
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My cat chewed up freshly oiled Busman a few years ago. That was not a good day.


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PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2018 8:09 pm 
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There are occasionally cats and dogs who learn to play the
flute. Just saying.


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