Storing Your Instrument
When not using your instrument, keep it closed in its case to help protect the finish from unnecessary exposure to impurities in the air, especially in geographic areas affected by salt or sulfur content. Also, keeping the instrument in its case helps prevent the possibility of damage by dropping it accidentally. Do not store the instrument in areas of extreme temperature changes. Keep the instrument away from radiators or from windows where direct sunlight can cause extreme heat.
Putting Your Flute Together
Before assembling the instrument, wipe the tenons (ends) clean. Remember that even under normal circumstances, slight scratches on the tenons will appear after time since metal is rubbing against metal. Never use grease, oil or silver polish on tenons. When assembling the instrument, avoid grabbing the key mechanism. Carefully, but firmly, hold the main body and insert the tenons in the receivers with a twisting motion. Align the embouchure hole on the head joint (the section without keys) in direct line with the first (closest) key on the front of the main body (longest section). Align the rod on the foot joint (shortest joint with keys) exactly in the center of the last key on the main body. If you have any questions, your teacher will be glad to be of assistance.
Putting Your Flute Away
After you have played your instrument, clean it before putting it away. Moisture left inside the flute can cause faster pad deterioration. Cleaning the inside can be done by threading a pre-washed flannel cloth through the slot on the cleaning rod (wrap the cloth around the rod) and running the rod through the inside of the flute. The outside of the flute may be wiped with a plain damp cloth to remove finger marks.
Tarnish Prevention Tips
If you wish to preserve the finish of your instrument, we suggest using the Gemeinhardt Flute Care Kit, available through your authorized Gemeinhardt dealer. You will find this kit desirable since tarnishing is a characteristic of silver (which requires constant care).
The polishing mitt in the kit will remove tarnish and help retain the original beauty of your instrument. A word about body acids: Perspiration or body acids can cause more severe tarnishing. More frequent use of the polishing mitt in the Gemeinhardt Flute Care Kit will keep the finish looking better. We do not recommend the use of silver polish. Silver is a soft metal and prolonged usage of an abrasive polish will cause signs of wear on the finish. Under no circumstances should you use any commercial silver polish on the instrument.
Oil the key mechanism occasionally and sparingly. Once every month should be sufficient and oil should be applied with a special key oiler to prevent excessive application. Wipe off any excessive oil carefully. A special key oiler is available from your authorized Gemeinhardt dealer as a part of the Gemeinhardt Flute Care Kit. Also included in this kit are swabs, a polishing mitt and a brush that may be used to wipe the dust and dirt away from the key area.
Pads will get dirty and sticky even when you do your best to keep them clean. Pads may be cleaned using a small amount of alcohol on a cloth. Do not use water since it will cause pads to swell and ruin proper pad seating.
A Note About Wood Piccolos
A new wood piccolo needs the bore oiled at least once a month for the first six months. Simply apply bore oil to a cloth swab and draw through the bore, making sure the oil does not get on the pads. After six months, once every two to three months is sufficient. Too much oil can cause minor deterioration. To help avoid cracking, keep your wood piccolo away from extreme temperatures and, when not playing, store the instrument in its case.
Repair and Maintenance
Worn felts, worn corks, loose pads, bent springs or keys can result after a period of continuous use (usually six months or more). Periodic checkups by a competent repair person are important and will help avoid costly repairs later on. This constant attention will keep the instrument in top playing condition.