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 Post subject: Finger Licken good ?
PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2020 12:12 pm 
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Joined: Sun May 26, 2002 6:00 pm
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Location: Massachusetts USA
I have dry fingers in winter which can make sealing the flute tone holes tricky. I noticed that some Irish players lick the fingers before starting a tune. This is a Seamus Tansey & Jim Murray video where they both lick fingers.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m1m1KMtIjWA
My question is what do other forum members use to solve this problem?


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 Post subject: Re: Finger Licken good ?
PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2020 12:46 pm 
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Joined: Mon Aug 14, 2017 5:47 am
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Location: Surrey/Hants border, England
That seems to be the easiest way - creams & the like may damage your flute.

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Trying to do justice to my various musical instruments.


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 Post subject: Re: Finger Licken good ?
PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2020 12:54 pm 
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Joined: Sat Mar 15, 2003 8:06 pm
Posts: 663
Been there, done that... Mostly in the winter when my hands are dry and the air is dryer.


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 Post subject: Re: Finger Licken good ?
PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2020 3:45 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jun 30, 2001 6:00 pm
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Never tried it but I wonder if almond oil on the finger pads might help.


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 Post subject: Re: Finger Licken good ?
PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2020 4:02 pm 
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Joined: Sat Aug 04, 2012 7:12 pm
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Location: Pacific Northwest USA
I never had dry hands until I got to a certain geezerly age, and now it's very noticeable in Winter. I don't lick my fingers for the flute though, because any moisture around the tone holes feels like it slows me down. I notice it when I temporarily stash the flute in a vertical holder without putting it at an angle, and a tiny bit of condensation leaks out from the holes. Feels sticky, I don't like it.

Instead, what I do is just work some un-scented moisturizer cream into my hands and then dry with a paper towel. I do that a half hour or so before a practice session so it has time to soften the skin a little before playing. I don't think there's anything in common moisturizing creams that would damage a flute, and I keep a thin coating of cork wax on the exterior anyway. Just avoid anything that has alcohol as an ingredient.

Getting old sucks, did I mention that? :)


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 Post subject: Re: Finger Licken good ?
PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2020 4:21 pm 
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Location: Dartmouth, Massachusetts, USA
Conical bore wrote:
Getting old sucks, did I mention that? :)

Off topic but, considering the alternative, it ain't all that bad....

Best wishes.

Steve

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 Post subject: Re: Finger Licken good ?
PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2020 10:57 pm 
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Location: Detroit Metro
I haven't attained geezerly age (physically, anyway), nor am I a flutist, but dry skin has long been an issue for me. With the weather turning foul, I will have to try moistening my fingertips to see if undesired sounds from my whistles are reduced.

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 Post subject: Re: Finger Licken good ?
PostPosted: Wed Nov 04, 2020 4:05 am 
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Joined: Sun Dec 12, 2004 4:12 pm
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Location: Malua Bay, on the NSW Nature Coast
And if any reader happens to think our correspondents above are barking at shadows, let's put some numbers on it. I use a Magnahelic Flute Leakage Meter to confirm I have all the pads well seated and the tenons and stopper airtight. I took the LH and RH sections of my playing flute, plugged the bottom end, attached the top end to the tester, and ran these scenarios:

Holes open - full scale - 8
Fingers covering holes dry, normal pressure - 3
Fingers covering holes dry, squeezing - 2
Fingers covering holes dry, squeezing harder - 1.5
Fingers covering holes wet - 1
All holes plugged with bungs - 0.5
Connecting tubing squashed - 0

Normal advice for the Magnahelic, used in a flute repair situation, is that the full flute should exhibit leakage of 2 or ideally less.

So yes, our fingers leak. I guess I could try sanding my fingerprints off?


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 Post subject: Re: Finger Licken good ?
PostPosted: Wed Nov 04, 2020 10:01 am 
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Location: Pacific Northwest USA
Terry McGee wrote:
So yes, our fingers leak. I guess I could try sanding my fingerprints off?

Hah! Some of us multi-instrument players do that, not filing off fingerprints but trying to maintain a not-too-rough callus on the fretting hand for stringed instruments.

I play mandolin and guitar when I'm not playing flute, and usually have pretty good callus developed on my left hand finger tips. The contact point on the flute tone hole is a little further back on the fingers, but still close enough that I file the calluses if it looks like a hard edge is developing. Maybe it helps.


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 Post subject: Re: Finger Licken good ?
PostPosted: Wed Nov 04, 2020 12:43 pm 
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Location: Mercia
If you ask on a nearby piper's forum someone will tell you about people rubbing finger their tips on the side of the nose to pick up grease for a better seal.

Cork/thread grease?


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 Post subject: Re: Finger Licken good ?
PostPosted: Wed Nov 04, 2020 1:24 pm 
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I wonder if this habit will go the way of the dodo if sessions begin after covid, sort of like the idea of sharing a birthday cake after someone has blown all those candles out, or passing flutes around to neighbors to give them a go.


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 Post subject: Re: Finger Licken good ?
PostPosted: Thu Nov 05, 2020 12:13 am 
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Joined: Sun Dec 12, 2004 4:12 pm
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Location: Malua Bay, on the NSW Nature Coast
OK, here are some more numbers. It occured to me that the size of the hole you are covering may have an influence on the leakage through the whorl-print. Using the RH section only of my playing flute, I got:

Holes open - full scale - 8
Finger covering hole R2, 3 to 2 depending on location*
Finger covering hole R3, 2 to 1 depending on location*
All holes plugged with bungs - 0.4
Connecting tubing squashed - 0

In both cases, I got better sealing for the same pressure if I covered the hole with the soft pad of my finger rather than the more toughened tips. I do a lot of manual work - flutemaking, vege gardening, etc, so my finger tips are roughened and toughened.

I currently have the last vestiges of a healing cut on my forefinger (yes, the Thai Chef's knife is definitely sharp!) and if I use that finger with the roughened skin on the edge of either hole, I add about 1 to the results from above.

I haven't been playing guitar at all lately (six-string high tension steel for finger-picking), so no callouses on the left hand. I'll repeat the test when I have some to boast of.


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