Friday, June 26, 2015

A Sticky Situation...

Good intentions can still lead to pad replacement...

This week, we visited our repair technician, Rachel Baker, just after she finished replacing six pads on a rather healthy flute that has been in the shop regularly for maintenance.  So, it seemed a bit odd to us...  Six pads all at once?  What happened?

Last week, we shared a post about how you can rip pads by polishing your flute if you use too much cloth and let it swipe the pads.  Oddly enough, this week's pad situation came from the customer cleaning his pads.  He had used a solution of some sort that is supposed to clean the pads, but, unfortunately, the pads were destroyed.  We weren't sure what exactly happened -- but neither was Rachel.  She reminded us that pads can be damaged not only by putting something (like this solution) on them, but also in the technique used to clean them.  For instance, many of us had been taught over the years to close the key on something like a dollar bill and pull it through to swipe the pad.  Unfortunately, in that case, there are two things to avoid: pulling something through the closed key cup and using a dollar bill.  If you pull something through the closed cup, the friction against the delicate pad skin can cause it to rip.  Also, dollar bills are not exactly the cleanest materials...  Using ungummed cigarette paper is best, and you definitely want to press -- not pull!  To review the proper technique, click here to read our previous post titled, "Sticky Pad Remedy."

Although cleaning your pads at home may seem like an interesting task, it really is best to leave the cleaning to the professionals.  Rachel also reminded us that, "if your pad is sticking, there's a reason for it," and the remedy lies in the hands of your repair technician.  However, you can at least try to alleviate the problem while you wait for your repair appointment by carefully and properly using cigarette paper.  Of course, if your pads are not sticking, and cleaning them sounds like something that wouldn't hurt, well, again -- resist the temptation and call your repair technician for his/her opinion.  Your flute will thank you for making that call!

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