Sticky Flute Pad
Sticky flute pads are one the most common problems with flutes. Above all else it can be very off putting when playing because of the ‘sticking sound’ it produces. Luckily, there is an easy fix outlined below. Also, some other pointers on what never to do!
Flute Pad Construction
Firstly, a quick outline of how a flute pad is constructed.
- 1. A card washer at the bottom, this helps give the pad some stiffness.
- 2. Felt Washer – This is normally 2mm thick but can be both thinner and thicker. It helps seat the flute pad on the tone hole for an air tight seal.
- 3. Skin – Two layers are stretched over the felt washer and then glued to the underside of the card washer. This ensures that a complete air tight seal is possible.
What makes the flute pad sticky?
Dirt on the surface of the skin; this can simply be from dirt in the air over time or dirt from the case. What will really make a pad sticky is anything eaten before playing, especially sugar items. This can quickly cause the familiar ‘sticky’ sound.
How do I clean my flute pad?
Years of experience have led us to the method below which will work. We have also outlined some other methods we really do not suggest.
Tools for the job;
- 1. Lighter fluid (definitely fluid and not gas)
- 2. Cigarette Rolling Paper (Red Rizla work well as they are thicker)
- 3. One person over 18 years old to supervise if necessary.
- 1. Cut off the gummed part of the cigarette paper, you really don’t want to make things worse!
- 2. Put one or two drops of lighter fluid on paper
- 3. Trap the paper between the pad and the tone hole and hold for a few seconds
- 4. Repeat but move the paper slightly
- 5. Using a clean cigarette paper to remove any excess fluid
This should solve your sticky key!
Methods to avoid;
- 1. Placing a cigarette paper between the pad and tone hole and pulling the paper out. This will only wear down the paper skin or even tear it there and then.
- 2. Using paper and talc powder. This will sort temporarily, but the talc will have stuck to the dirty bits and won’t help with the air tight seal. Plus, at some point it will have to be cleaned off too.
- 3. Using soft graphite from a pencil in the same way as talc.