Friday, August 16, 2013

A Case of the Gurgles

The 2013 NFA Convention has come and gone, so we thought it would be great to check in with Powell Repair Technician, Rachel Baker, and see what types of questions she answered at the conference.  However, she told us that there really were not many people with repair issues -- except one person.  Rachel shared that one customer came to the booth with an interesting issue.  The customer was having trouble getting low notes out, and there was a strange yet very noticeable "gurgling" noise when she played.  So, what could it be?  A pad leaking?  A loose part of the mechanism?

Well, it was actually very simple to diagnose the problem.  Rachel knew exactly where to look when the customer mentioned the "gurgling."  Rachel took a peek inside the embouchure hole of the headjoint, and there was a buildup of some material on the undercutting of the headjoint.  How did this happen?  Well, we all know that as air travels through the flute, it contains microscopic particles -- no matter how many times we brush our teeth and try to keep everything clean.  Particles had accumulated on the undercutting over time, and it is likely that this buildup was not removed in the swabbing process.  Rachel told us that sometimes, a thinner silk swab might not get everything, and that could be the case in this situation.

So, how did she solve problem?  Well, it was easy.  She took a dry Q-tip and wiped it around the undercutting to remove the buildup.  It was that simple!  She handed the flute back to the customer, and the gurgling noise disappeared.  The customer also had no trouble getting out the low notes.  As we can see, a seemingly large issue can be traced to something that is quick and easy to remedy.  Make sure that you check periodically for buildup, and take a dry Q-tip to clean the undercutting, just as Rachel did.  One small swipe can make a world of difference in a case like this!

Arrow points to buildup on undercutting.
Cleaning the undercutting with a dry Q-tip.
Gunk came off on the Q-tip.
Undercutting is clean!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.