The first usage of your traverso.

The first week do not play more than twice per day a quarter of an hour. Then per week, increase each playing period with five minutes. Six weeks suffice to play as one wishes.

Maintenance of the traverso.

Suppose for instance five hours or more playing is intended. Then it is a good idea to stop after two hours. Dry the flute and before starting again follow the oiling advice below.

The topic of oiling should be discussed before anything else. If oiling is done well the flute will stay as new. To prevent misunderstanding, here I only talk about oiling the inside! For my flutes I advise almond oil.
First of all one really only needs to oil the three top parts, the foot does not need to be oiled.
Suppose the flute was oiled before playing. After playing you dry the flute and at the same time remove most of the oil with the drying cloth.
You could have two glass jars or if you are traveling two plastic bags for the following. Use two sticks with cloth, one dry to be used after playing one oily moist to be used every time before playing. However, use only a just moist cloth.

The inside of the flute should always be just slightly oily to the touch of the finger!

Never leave the instrument assembled lying about after playing. Never leave the instrument in the sun or on the heating or at any other hot place. The instrument does not like pouring rain either.
In principle there are two types of oil that can be used for the traverso, almond oil or linseed oil. I advise almond oil as mentioned above. Linseed oil, if used at all should be used sparingly. If used too much it will form a crust. Excess should always be wiped out after a few hours. So it is a bit dangerous.
Oil creeps. Therefore there may be oil on the keypad eventhough you do not oil the foot. The least leakage of air will make for instance d1 useless. A sticky key is often repaired by simply putting a piece of normal paper under the key seat and pressing the key seat on it by putting the finger on top of it. Maybe it needs to be done a few times.
My flutes are impregnated with linseed oil before I deliver them. As mentioned I advise to use almond oil afterwards.

The thread on the tenons should be such that the fitting is snug. No force should be necessary when assembling the flute. However as soon as the joints have movement it decreases the playing quality of the instrument. The slogan with respect to tenons is: NO WOBBLE NO FORCE. The thread on the tenons of my flutes are wound in beeswax mixed with vaseline. The end of the thread can be found by scratching with a finger nail, such that some thread can be removed easily if necessary. One really has to exercise adding and removing thread if one plays longer periods. The beeswax may give some friction, so on top of the wax a good cork grease should always be used. If there is to much thread on the tenon the wood will be pushed in. This is the case on practically all old instruments. It has a negative effect on the tuning!! If the fitting is too loose the instrument does not play well, if it is too tight the instrument will be damaged. It is best to have it just snug and use cork grease liberally to completely seal the joint.
For keeping the tenon without wobble thread can be added. However, it ususally creates a force on the tenon wood nevertheless . It therefore often is better to unwind some thread and wind it back on with some cork grease. This also does the trick!

Never, never oil the pin or hinge of the key with any oil !!!! It will cause swelling of the wood of the key seat and the small leather block in the hinge in particular. This may cause the key to become dysfunctional.

The position of the cork is of crucial importance. In a separate cork page you will find some reasoning but the cork should be such that d2-d3 is an exact octave on my flutes.
Removing the cork should be done via the top of the head, not via the bottom.
When the cork has been removed it has to be repositioned rather accurately. A 1 mm. shift does make a notable difference both on tone quality and on tuning. The flutes are delivered with a cork gauge. However the line on that gauge has a certain width. It is therefore advisable to use the gauge as first guide to positioning the cork. Then the d2-d3 should be accurately brought in tune. Everything else should be optimal with this position for my flutes. Note that d1 on baroque flutes often has to be compensated up a bit such that d1-d2 is not a good guide.

I wrote a guide to replacing key leather. You can find it here.


Simon Polak: Early Flutes

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