It is currently Tue Sep 25, 2018 5:05 am

All times are UTC - 6 hours




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 18 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next
Author Message
 
PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2018 12:01 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sat Jun 18, 2016 6:47 pm
Posts: 14
I've only owned 6 wooden flutes, but with each of these there was/is a marked improvement in ease of playing/responsiveness after oiling. This improvement was temporary and only lasted for the first playing session after the oiling. My practice is to oil the flute with almond oil and let it sit a day before playing it. I sometimes swab the oiled flute out before playing it and sometimes don't. Why should this oiling have the effect that it does? All of these flutes except one had/have a highly polished bore and I wouldn't think the surface would be smoother with a light sheen of oil (with possible imperfections).


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2018 4:29 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Thu Jul 19, 2007 3:02 pm
Posts: 1398
Location: Wheeling, WV
My guess (and it's only a guess) is that the oil briefly seals the "micro leaks" that result from the joints (and maybe the pads if it is a keyed flute). It would be interesting if your "experiment" could be performed on a keyless, one-piece flute. I should mention that I haven't noticed this after I oil my flutes, btw, but I never thought to check.

Pat

_________________
Pat Plunkett, Wheeling, WV


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2018 8:17 pm 
Offline

Joined: Thu Jun 29, 2006 8:37 pm
Posts: 351
Location: U.S.A.
I have had exactly the same experience with both a key less boxwood and a 6 keyed boxwood flute. It happens after every oiling and lasts for about one session. Like Pat, I've assumed that the oiling fills whatever micro cracks or imperfections that might be in the tube. Also oil the tenons and that may make a better seal and account for the difference, don't know. I protect the pads from any oil on the keyed flute, so I'm quite certain it isn't the pads. I've had this experience using different kinds of oils, I now use Bore Doctor Oil. My teacher has told me that she has also had the same experience with her black wood keyed flute; have no idea what kind of oil she uses?? Whatever the reason, it is kind of cool because I almost sound decent for a brief period of time. :D


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2018 1:05 am 
Offline

Joined: Fri Mar 02, 2018 4:44 am
Posts: 135
Location: France
cac wrote:
... All of these flutes except one had/have a highly polished bore and I wouldn't think the surface would be smoother with a light sheen of oil (with possible imperfections).


I think it's about surface smoothness - my recorders sound best when sopping wet.


Last edited by Kade1301 on Wed May 16, 2018 5:36 am, edited 1 time in total.

Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2018 1:25 am 
Offline

Joined: Wed Mar 05, 2014 8:53 am
Posts: 20
Location: Yorkshire
I wonder if there is a touch of psychology here...an expectation of a better sound from a newly oiled flute allied to a sense of virtue at having carried out the task. I say this because of a parallel experience as a player of sackbut (trombone). When it has had one of its twice-yearly polishes, I feel that my sound is smoother and richer for a time. The instrument is shinier and therefore I imagine that my sound is better.. and it can only be my imagination. I experience a similar illusion with a newly-oiled flute or recorder. The acid test would be whether or not an objective listener noticed a similar before-and-after effect.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2018 1:41 am 
Offline

Joined: Tue May 08, 2018 2:49 am
Posts: 7
Location: Wales. UK
It would depend on the woods used for the flute. boxwood has a different tonal and resonant quality to African blackwood, as it wood to ebony, so I'd guess that due to the "soak in point" and micro-fractures in the wood whilst it's being machined, scraped, etc, then sealed, then there'd be a difference in tonal responsiveness. it's like German Plum wood when sealed, it has a real character and presence to it, yet isn't as bright as blackwood, yet the soak in period and character given by oiling is negligible .

I hope it answers your question to a degree.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2018 9:02 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Sat Aug 04, 2012 7:12 pm
Posts: 62
Location: Pacific Northwest USA
It's not something I've noticed, but then I only oil my flute twice a year, and only have the one flute as an example. I do think my flute sounds better after it's been played-in and damp, but it's impossible to tell whether that's the flute sounding better due to a more slick bore, or just the player getting into the groove.

It's difficult to rule out subjective factors like that, when the human aural memory isn't exactly reliable. It's like players of mandolins (my other instrument), who insist that their mandolin sounds better after "breaking in" for a few minutes each practice session. Instrument or player? Impossible to tell, without some objective test, like a before and after recording under controlled conditions.

Maybe a careful recording of a flute before and after oiling would show a brief improvement, but I'm somewhat skeptical until that's demonstrated over a wide enough range of different flutes. If there was an acoustic benefit to a more "sealed" surface, then I think flute players would be using more Delrin, glass, or resin-impregnated wood flutes, and any bare wood bore would be unpopular. That doesn't seem to be the case.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2018 9:07 am 
Offline

Joined: Sat Jun 30, 2001 6:00 pm
Posts: 16629
Possibly a recently oiled flute sheds moisture, which runs off the oily surface,
which improves sound.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2018 2:32 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sat Aug 30, 2003 4:30 pm
Posts: 357
If you oil the outside as well as inside, you get a better seal between fingers and tone-holes which seems to give a stronger tone. But it does not last more that a session or so.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2018 7:35 am 
Offline

Joined: Sat Jun 18, 2016 6:47 pm
Posts: 14
Thank you all for sharing your experiences and ideas. I don't have a boxwood flute, but do have a cocobolo one which is relatively porus compared to blackwood. The others are/were blackwood, bloodwood and cocus (which is the only keyed one). All had the effect, which I was careful not to describe as an improvement in the sound. Rather an improvement in the responsiveness and ease of playing (e.g. crossing the break, playing large leaps, speaking, etc.). There is indeed some improvement in sound, but not a huge amount. I always oil the outside of the flute as well and will be try an experiment of oiling just the outside to see if the improved seal is a factor. I do notice that the moisture seems to sit in little 'balls' on top of the oiled surface rather than running along the bore, so there may be something to Jim's suggestion. I have a delrin flute as well and will try oiling the bore sometime. Thanks again for the replies. Chet

r


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
PostPosted: Sat May 19, 2018 4:47 am 
Offline

Joined: Thu Jan 02, 2003 6:00 pm
Posts: 116
Location: Toronto
I suspect that a freshly oiled flute plays better for the same reason that a newly washed car runs better.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
PostPosted: Sat May 19, 2018 3:18 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Fri Dec 21, 2001 6:00 pm
Posts: 605
Location: Colorado
SteveB wrote:
I suspect that a freshly oiled flute plays better for the same reason that a newly washed car runs better.

Steve - You beat me to it! :)

That said, Desi Seery used to oil his Delrin flutes for the same reason.

_________________
BlayneChastain.com | Online Courses for Irish Flute, Whistle & Bodhrán
IrishFluteStore.com | Your "Mom & Pop" Irish Flute & Whistle Shop :thumbsup:


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
PostPosted: Sun May 20, 2018 7:24 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Thu Dec 18, 2008 4:27 pm
Posts: 274
Location: Fort Collins, CO
I do an oil “bath” and thorough cleaning a couple times a year. But I keep a slightly “oily” cloth in my flute case and occasionally give the flute a quick wipe down, inside and out, for all the same reasons above, before a particularly loud or high energy session when I want to hear myself, be heard and to play efficiently with a little extra flair.

_________________
ancientfifer is the chiffer formerly known as fifenwhistle (Dec. 2008-January 2014)
Avatar Photo: Colonial Williamsburg Fifes and Drums, July 4th Parade 1976, broadcasted live nationally on CBS.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
PostPosted: Sun May 20, 2018 8:50 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Fri May 08, 2009 6:33 am
Posts: 693
Location: Pittsburgh, PA US
I’m siding with Will, Steve, and Blayne on this one. I’ve also noticed that my flute sounds better when I play it while sitting on the loo, but I think that has more to do with acoustics than psychology.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
PostPosted: Sun May 20, 2018 11:19 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Mon Dec 29, 2003 1:21 am
Posts: 1290
Location: Behind the anthracite and shale curtain.
Oiling delrin? What do the almond futures look like?
Also I have a gorgeous bridge fer sale..........

_________________
Information is not knowledge.
Knowledge is not wisdom.
Wisdom is not truth.
Truth is not beauty. Beauty is not love.
Love is not music. Music is the best.
- Frank Zappa


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 18 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next

All times are UTC - 6 hours


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 8 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group
[ Time : 0.088s | 12 Queries | GZIP : On ]
(dh)