Friday, January 3, 2014

Depending on the Case...

We recently had a flute in the shop with a bent G key -- which, unfortunately, came from poor fitting in the case.  The fit of the flute in the case is critical, because as we have seen, the body and/or mechanism could get damaged.  So, what exactly is normal, and what should you look for?  We took a closer look to find out...

The parts of the flute (body, footjoint, headjoint) should all fit snuggly in the case and not move around.  Between the body of the flute and the headjoint, there is a small block in the case to support the G key.  This block should be secure and create enough space between the G key and headjoint to keep them from touching.  Also, if you see "wear" on the velvet in the case, that is normal.  Over time, this develops as the velvet comes in contact with the parts of the flute.  If the wear on the velvet becomes excessive, you have two options -- repair or replace.  Parts of the case can certainly be repaired (see previous post at  However, depending on the amount of repair and the cost, one might choose simply to purchase a new case (we have flute, piccolo, and headjoint cases available at the VQP Shop).  When you send your flute in for a COA, you might also want to ask your repair technician to check the case fit.  Since the COA is a regular maintenance service for your flute, it's definitely a good time for a case "check-up" as well.

If you have a new case, you may notice that the case seems tight -- and it may even seem difficult to close.  This is also normal, because the case has been designed to hold the flute pieces securely.  Also, the interior of a brand new case has not been in contact with the flute over an extended period of time.  It has not gone through the "life cycles" of being opened and closed, and of having the flute taken out and put back in regularly.  The main thing to remember is that motion inside the case is not a good thing.  So, if you feel or hear parts moving when the case is closed, or if you see that parts have moved after you open the case, make sure to remedy the situation by having your case repaired or replaced as soon as you can!

Block under G key supports it and creates space between it and the headjoint.
Not a good fit here -- G key would hit the headjoint.
Areas of "wear" on velvet are normal.
Another photo of normal wear on case interior.
Brand new case -- no "wear" yet!
Another photo of new case interior.

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