Thursday, August 1, 2013

Surprise "Under the Crown"

Let's face it, we all have a bit of curiosity about ways to enhance our sound.  Some of you may have experimented with your flutes -- tweaking things just a little to see if a difference could be made...  Our Customer Service Manager admits that even she had experimented in the past.  This week, she was working on a headjoint that came in, and when she took the crown off, she was really surprised...  Boom!  A bunch of lentils came out, spilling all over the floor of her office.  But, not all the lentils came out -- some were stuck on the cork assembly.  The lentils had absorbed moisture, so they softened, expanded, and really made it difficult to remove the cork.

So, you may be wondering why someone would try this experiment.  Well, our Customer Service Manager is understanding.  She knows that people may experiment with different objects under the crown for various reasons.  They may be looking to enhance their sound by adding weight or objects that they feel will increase vibration.  Whatever the case, we know it is a temptation to try a homemade "enhancement."  In this case, the objects in the headjoint between the cork and crown were organic material that naturally expands with moisture.  Headjoint corks wear out and need to be replaced from time to time, so at some point, moisture can accumulate from air getting into the area between the cork assembly and crown.  With something like lentils, if they were put in the headjoint to increase vibration, they certainly didn't move much when they started to absorb moisture -- and they surely did not make the cork replacement procedure very easy!

So, if curiosity gets the best of you, and you are inclined to try some "enhancement," you have to be very careful.  Before you try anything, think about what you are considering.  Ask yourself how the material will react if it gets wet.  You do not want to harm your flute -- and you certainly do not want to turn your headjoint into a cooking appliance!

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