wooden flute tuning

wooden flute tuning

hi, i’ve recently come to own a wooden flute, it has a gorgeous tone, but the top 3 notes are slightly out of tune with the bottome three. the main problem is the B, and it is far more noticeable when i play something high, then go to the B. does any one know what the problem is?? how i could go about repairing it? or if it will need to go to a flute specialist for repair???? thanks x

Re: wooden flute tuning

Sorry, but it’s not clear if you are new to flute playing. If you are then get a good player to try it before you attempt any remedial action. The cork position should be checked as it’s crucial to correct tuning.

Jim

Re: wooden flute tuning

i have played the flute for a few years, wouldnt say i was matt molloy, but im handy enough i think

Re: wooden flute tuning

actually, when the flute is played higher, it is slightly sharper then when played low. so when playing a d scale, up until the B is played, its perfect, then it sounds alot sharper. never had that problem with other flutes.

Re: wooden flute tuning

gabriel

Need more info

is the said flute in 1 piece, or more, and is there any tuning slide?

D

Re: wooden flute tuning

Also - give us a clue where in the world you are. If you live near someone who can help, they can offer to do so.

Re: wooden flute tuning

its a 5 peice, i’ve played around with every joint, just to see, also played around with the cork, i dunno whats wrong atall. im in london. so if any one in london might know whats wrong?? cheers for replying

Re: wooden flute tuning

actually i’ve barely moved the cork. dont really want to move it much

Re: wooden flute tuning

Probably just needs blowing into tune (I had the same problem) a lot of flutes are slightly out.
You have to compensate by directing your air stream slightly further down into the flute for the sharp notes, sounds a pain but you soon get used to it.
Playing long tones against a drone note helps you get it the note in tune and is good embouchure exercise. Lots more advice on this topic on
http://forums.chiffandfipple.com/viewforum.php?f=2

I’m in South london

Re: wooden flute tuning

Sorry Gabriel - geography’s against us.

Lets pretend for a moment:

Imagine a whistle, with a one piece body and a mouthpiece

- now slide the mouthpiece down towards the holes a bit

- the change in distance between the mouthpiece and the top holes is a much higher percentage of the original distance than the change in distance between the mouthpiece and the bottom holes - so the whistle is now sharper on all holes, but it may be imperceptible at the lower end while being a whole semitone at the top end.

- still with me?

- so possibly your flute assembles with the blowy end too close to the fingery end by a few millimetres, rendering the upper end noticeably sharp while not affecting the lower end enough to notice

Can anyone in London help this player? Danny are you out there?

Re: wooden flute tuning

cheers. i’ve moved my mouth peice about. not much help. and gromit??? how would i go about blowing slightly further down?? a harder, sharper breath?? and where abouts in south london are you?? i live in north london, but spend alot of time in south london,. thankyou

Re: wooden flute tuning

I do love a happy ending.

Re: wooden flute tuning

If you slowly roll the flute slightly towards you as you are playing a note it will go flat - you get a similiar result by altering the the direction of your air stream by blowing (more) down into the hole rather than across it.

I’m in Wimbledon

Re: wooden flute tuning

o right. well, are you ever in the kilkenny??? i occasionally have gone down there for the session. wouldnt mind going down if again if you’d be willing to show me a decent technique of how to blow differently to keep the flute in tune

Re: wooden flute tuning

Assuming no other manufacturing problem with that particular flute, and that it’s intended tuning is roughly A=440, I would first get your correct cork position, than see if you have any remaining issues which might require changes in technique.

Notes from my email archive:

Headjoint cork should be at approx. 19mm.

A good starting point for the tuning cork is one head tube diameter back from the center of the embouchure. This will be around 19mm or just under 3/4 inch for most flutes. It is worth buying a 5/8 inch diameter dowel from the hardware store and making marks from 15 to 25 mm from one end (or 5/8 to 1 inch depending on your preferred units). You can use the dowel to move the cork and measure its position. The final adjustments should be made by playing and checking the tuning between the first and second octaves (assuming you will not be playing much in the third octave). If the upper octave is flat relative to the lower, then move the cork towards the embouchure a mm or so and try again. If the upper octave is sharp, move the cork away from the embouchure.

The cork only makes minor difference to the low octaves, so use the slide to get best general low octave tuning with the cork at the nominal (19mm) position. Check the relationship of the three D’s and make adjustments to cork position to optimise that. Readjust slide if necessary afterwards to correct any changes in the low octave (unlikely). Now check the tuning over the range of interest (the first two octaves or more if you use more). You may need to readjust the cork position if it has created any problems there. You might also need to readjust it if overall response is weakened.

Kevin Krell

Re: wooden flute tuning

I don’t go to the Kilkenny every week and it’s not the ideal place as it’s dark and noisy but I can show you what I mentioned above. You could try one of the good sessions nearer home in N. London/Camden and ask a good flute player to have a look at your flute. But first do a search on the chiff and fipple forum looking for topics about embouchure and exercises to improve tone and playing in tune.

Re: wooden flute tuning

wow, thanks everyone for the feedback. its all been really helpful. im gonna mess around with the cork tomorrow and see what happens, hopefully its nothing major, and is only the flute. cheers for the recomendations for sites about tone and tuning too. thanks everyone

Re: wooden flute tuning

I found a similar problem myself when i went from boehm to keyless wooden, but have since discovered that it is normal to find the low D and f # to be flat, and the B and the C nat using 0XX 000 to be sharp in the 1st octave. The 1st octave is the most flexible though , so it should be possible to correct the intonation through turning the flute towards or away from you.

Re: wooden flute tuning

You haven’t told us what kind of flute that you’ve recently acquired.

Needless to say, there are lots of instruments that are not in tune with themselves - a characteristic of some beautiful old instruments, and a frustrating quirk that, in many cases, is not worth fixing.

If you’re totally in love with this instrument you may consider what many do: live with it. A certain amount of constant fussing with the body and your embouchure (lipping) may get your tuning close enough for you (and the accordion player) to be satisfied. Of course, constant practice with a tuner nearby is always a positive track to take.

All of the comments above are of great help, assuming that the flute "can" play in tune. If it can’t, play it until you can no longer stand it and get another instrument. Flute players, like whistle players, often have a treasure chest of instruments.

Re: wooden flute tuning

i havnt got a clue who made the flute. its a lovely old flute, hopefully i can get it to play in tune, im going to move the cork this afternoon. then see if its in tune. hopefully it will be. thankyou everyone