Info & FAQ's

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How to Begin to Play

 Align the Fetish:
​Each time you pick up your flute to play, the first thing you should do is align the fetish, or "bird," to the proper playing position. If it is not in alignment, the flute will not play properly. The sound will be garbled, or jump an octave, or break, or otherwise sound poor, and you will become frustrated and not enjoy playing.

On top of your flute is a fetish. It is called the "bird," regardless of the image portrayed by this little statue. It is not just decoration, but it is important to the flute making a pleasing sound. As the air from your mouth enters the first chamber, it is forced through a square hole atop the flute, beneath the base of the bird. The "bird" channels the air and greatly increases its speed across the top of the second square sound hole (the one you can see in front of the bird). If the bird is not properly positioned, the air will not be directed properly to be split, the action needed to make the flute sound. First, the "bird" must be securely tied in place. The leather strapping should hold the "bird" tightly in place so it does not move easily. If it is loose, you should untie it and re-tie it more tightly. See the picture below for proper placement. The front of the "bird" should align just even with, or just slightly behind, the square sounding hole, and centered atop the flat portion of the flute: 

Care of Your Flute

 The finish on your flute is a Tung Oil blend. This means that it requires very little care.

If you display your flute, just dust it regularly with a soft cloth or duster. 

​Should you wish or need to restore the shine, you can rub the wood with vegetable oil, available from the grocery store, if you do not already have it available in your kitchen.

​If you want to wax your flute, you can use Minwax Paste Finishing Wax, or if you want something used by woodworkers for food products, use Beeswax/Carnauba/Mineral oil finish.  Clarks's or Clapham's are two good ones, available from Amazon, or other woodworking sites.

Display

 Your flute is obviously a wood product. The two things that are enemies of finished wood are light and dryness. 

Light will fade the wood over time, especially direct sunlight. AVOID DISPLAYING YOUR FLUTE IN A WINDOW WHERE IT WILL BE EXPOSED TO DIRECT SUNLIGHT.  The UV light, plus the heat from the sunlight, will fade and dry the wood, and greatly harm your flute.  If you wish to display your flute, be sure it is in an interior room away from direct sunlight.

Direct light from an incandescent bulb can also do damage to the finish. Do not expose your flute to the heat and drying effect of a direct incandescent spot light or bulb.  

The safest way to keep the wood of your flute moist and away from damaging UV light is to keep it in a flute bag, or other protective covering. If you live in a dry area, wooden instruments, such as violins, are kept moist through use of a Dampit Violin Moistener, available from Amazon. This is a wick that you soak in water, then insert into the inside of the wooden instrument and leave there when you put it away.  It helps keep the wood from drying out.

"Buzzing" or Muted Sound

 Even if you are careful to play with a "dry mouth," you will occasionally get moisture buildup under the fetish.  This is because as you blow into your flute, the air from your breath moves under the fetish and through a small slot beneath the fetish, then out the front of the base of the bird and across the sounding hole.  This air contains moisture from your breath and can collect beneath the fetish.  If too much moisture is left there, it can cause swelling and splitting of the wood over time.  Occasionally you will need to remove the fetish and be sure this wood on the top of the flute is dry and smooth.

Simply untie the knot in the leather strapping holding the fetish in place and unwrap it, being careful to hold the wooden fetish as you unwrap the leather so the fetish does not fall onto the floor or table and break.

Lift the fetish off, making a mental note how it was placed so you can re-wrap the leather to locate the fetish in the proper location.  You can refer to the photograph below for the proper placement of the fetish:

"What If"...Solutions

 Cannot get any sound:
a) Make sure the fetish is in the proper position and tied down tightly. See the photo on the "How to Play" page for proper fetish placement.
b) Be sure that the fetish is straight on the "nest" so that the air flow can pass along the air passage.


The sound is weak or buzzy:
a) Be sure the fetish is in the proper alignment.
b) Moisture buildup can cause this problem, so you might need to remove the fetish and check for moisture and dry the air passage before continuing.


The low or high notes break to a high note or is squeaky:
a) Be sure you are covering all the finger holes completely.
b) Do not blow as hard.


The flute sounds off-key:
a) Make sure all of the fingering holes are completely closed.
Play flat-fingered using more of the fleshy part of your fingers.
b) If the note sounds flat, increase the air pressure when blowing. If it sounds sharp, decrease the air pressure.