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PostPosted: Mon Sep 07, 2020 3:05 pm 
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At a loss as to what to do next?!?
I recently had my Sam Murray blackwood 3-keyed flute repadded by someone I trusted. And they seem to have done a fine job BUT, now the lower end is all but gone. Literally.

My lower three tones D, E and F# in the lower register all but disappear when I'm playing. It seems the upper register plays fine (high D, E and F#) but the low end notes...
I tried setting the cork after finding it was very close in towards the Embouchure Hole. I also have a keyless Sam Murray and measured the (its) distance. So, since the flutes are very close to the same sizes I move the cork to a similar distance. Same results still remain- no or very lacking notes.

As an experiment, I played G and it sounded very good, strong, loud. And as I played it I then slower added the F# and all the mentioned characteristic went away. As I played the E and D it only got worse.
It's as if I have to 'find' my embouchure all over again. I don't know what to make of it?!?!
My 3 keys (from memory) are Fnat, Cnat, and G#.

Any help appreciated


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 07, 2020 3:33 pm 
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Probably a leak at the joint between the upper and lower sections. I'd suggest a "suck test" on both upper and lower sections and then on the two joined together. It could also be a leak in the pad over the G# key or F-nat key. Good luck!

Pat

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 07, 2020 4:47 pm 
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After reading I just knew you were correct especially since I hadn't thought of that,.. but that wasn't it. All sections seem to pass the test ok which surprised me somewhat tho, I do recall the repair being done to include closing off the foot/lower body seal. I was surprised about this remark from the tech who repaired as I never separate those two pieces.
All sections seem to be airtight to include all pads.

Tho, in re-reading your post I noticed you said a 'suck' test and I did a blow. Will that make any difference?




I'm open to other suggestions, ideas please.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 07, 2020 5:09 pm 
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A suck test is better. A leak is likely below the G, possibly between the top hand joint & the bottom. The 2 lowest joints may be fine in themselves. The only other thing I can thing of for weak notes like that is something obstructing the bore in the lower sections.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 07, 2020 5:18 pm 
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Suck test the head too. If the stopper leaks, that'll lose the bottom end.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 07, 2020 10:41 pm 
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I'd use both a suck and a blow test on each part, and then on pairs of parts in case there is a leak in a tenon or crack in a socket. The suck test is sensitive, but can fool you if the problem is that a spring is almost fully closing a pad but not quite. Sucking pulls the pad onto the hole, disguising the problem. Under those conditions, the blow test will blow the poorly sprung key off the hole, exposing its treachery.

Other tricks you can try...

Are the parts on the two flutes interchangeable? Try swapping parts and see where the problems end up.

Can you get someone else to press the pads closed one by one while you play a low note? Observing social distancing, of course....

Or pull the keys off and convert the keyed flute to keyless using blobs of blutack to cover the key holes. Does the flute work OK as a keyless?


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 08, 2020 9:28 am 
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First off, thank you each for your input as it's very helpful. I did manage a pic of what I think *might* be the issue and since I can't post here I'll include a link.

I started to test for a suck/blow on the upper/lower sections first after marking (tape) my keyless since I was planning on doing some part exchanges in order to limit some possibilities. Blow seemed ok tho not fully as I did think there might be some loss. On the suck test I felt a 'definite' leak albeit extremely subtle-but there nonetheless.

I then played it again and really concentrated on the Fnat key area- G played very well, strong and powerful if I put some into it. It changed slightly adding the F# tho not as much as I would have thought. Given how drastic a change is made adding the E it nearly doubled the loss compared to the Fnat. Then when I added the D, it was all but gone, a ghost of a note.

That is what made me concentrate on the (new) pad on my Fnat so I removed the key. I then inspected/cleaned the hole (it was fine) and concentrated on the pad. It appears that there are some creases on the pad, an arrowhead-type crease as well as as few more scattered about the pad. After seeing this I decided to test this theory by adding a band-aid, literally a rubber band to add pressure to the key attempting to help seal it. My thought was if there was improvement in tone than that must be the culprit. There was a significant difference to pursue this path.

Disappointing since this is a new replacement. I had emailed the tech sometime ago after this issue started to show up just a few days after I received the flute back- he's ignored my emails.

I had used this tech due to our past- all very good and knowledgeable.

My plan now is to go across town to a local music shop and see if they can replace the pad. Any words of caution before I do that? I will wait on your advice before pursuing but I'm confident this *should* be the issue. In fact, I will go test again to be sure.

Again, I can't thank you enough for the words since it was very helpful in my progress. The link is from my G-drive https://drive.google.com/file/d/1TDhk1H ... sp=sharing


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 08, 2020 9:44 am 
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The pad appears to have a much weaker rim indentation on the side opposite the V mark - I'd suspect that rather than the mark, but both could be involved. I suggest first putting a moist cloth between pad and seat and letting the key rest on it for a few minutes. Then refloat the pad (a cigarette lighter or gas "zapper" flame will serve, or an electrical soldering iron pressed against the cup) and, when the pad bubbles up a little on the melted adhesive behind it, let the key close gently and wait until it cools. Then recheck everything. This can be repeated as much as necessary, with care not to scorch the pad. You can also use a piece of old cassette tape as feeler guage to see where around the pad/hole the contact is good or poor.

It is, however, possible that the key will need adjusting to align and be level with the seat better.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 08, 2020 10:31 am 
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Oh. Wow.
Good advice. I had no idea.
Off to try now,..

Thank you


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 08, 2020 12:58 pm 
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Just to follow up and finalize this thread,.
I did as you so well instructed _jemtheflute_ on moistening the pad and then heating with a soldering iron. Moved the pad just a scoch counter clockwise to have the position change ever so slightly, maybe 1-2mm.
After letting it settle I tried it out and everything seems GREAT. I'm back to playing the 3-keyed without a trip to the shop. And now I also have some fix-it under my belt. So should something go wrong I at least have an approach to a cure.


Thank you all so much for the help and suggestions as it all helped me immensely.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 08, 2020 1:00 pm 
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Glad it worked! :) :thumbsup:

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 08, 2020 9:05 pm 
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Indeed, well done!

And a lesson for all - just how little a gap will totally destroy a flute's performance. Imagine how little a gap will not detroy it, but just take the edge off it, enough that you can still play it, but have to work that bit harder.

So, when one day you feel your flute is not playing quite as well as you seem to remember, go over it with a fine-toothed comb, seeking out and hopefully eradicating every tiny leakage. Having a perfectly airtight flute is the only acceptable starting point.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 09, 2020 2:01 am 
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Top Notch bit of online support - I hope jag feels he got his money's worth? If he _had_ had to pay for advice then my experience of bought support outside the flute world is that it would have been much poorer. :)

Kudos to Terry and Jem and the community spirit in this forum.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 09, 2020 3:05 am 
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ChrisCracknell wrote:
Kudos to Terry and Jem and the community spirit in this forum.


Thanks Chris.

I think you are right, the community spirit is strong here. Many of us will remember back to our early days, trying to find out about "Irish flute" in isolated pockets of the world, long before the Internet brought us together. I had to go halfway round the world, from Canberra to London, and then on to Dublin. What a difference 46 years has made!


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