Flutes are small but complicated instruments; their keys
have to be adjusted to work together and the pads have to seal the tone
holes completely, preferably with the lightest touch of the flutist.
The most common flute problems we see in the Amro repair shop are:
- Notes (usually low notes) are difficult to play or won't play at all
- Keys don't move freely or don't work together
- Body is bent or dented
The first problem, notes that are difficult to play, is caused by air
leaks. The white or cream-colored pads under the keys are supposed to seal the
air from escaping at the tone holes. If the pads don't seal well, the flutist has to
mash the keys or blow harder to get the note. If the leak is big
enough, the note won't play at all.
Leaks are sometimes due to keys being bent out of position; the
technician can often make some quick adjustments to the keys and fix this problem.
More often though, leaks are due to pads deteriorating. Pads are
small pieces of felt covered with a thin skin; the felt makes the pad
soft to conform to the tone hole and the skin seals the air. As pads
age the thin skin gets brittle and cracks or tears, allowing air to seep
through. Sometimes you can see tears in the skin and fibers of felt
sticking through. The only solution for this problem is replacing the
leaking pad, carefully seating it to the tone hole for a good seal. Unfortunately when one pad has deteriorated the others usually have
also, in which case replacing just the torn pad wouldn't fix the problem
for long. Replacing all the pads isn't a welcome expense but the
flutist is often surprised by how much better the flute plays afterward and with
good care the new pads will last many years.
Keys that don't move freely occasionally have pivot screws or
rods that have rusted or frozen, but usually the keys have simply been bent. The technician
realigns them for free movement. In most cases he'll also need to
replace a few pads whose seats no longer match their tone holes.
A dented or bent body is a scary sight but with a little time a good
technician can remedy the problem. First he restores the shape of the
body using a special flute mandrel and tools. Then he realigns the keys
to operate smoothly. Finally he replaces pads that no longer seat
A good flute that is repaired properly should play as well as it did
when it was new. And a good flute that is maintained correctly can last
Why Have Amro Repair Your Flute?
The Amro repair shop fixes thousands of flutes a year for students, hobbyists, and professional flutists. They'll be happy to play-test your flute, show you what it needs, and quote you a price to bring it back to good playing condition. In most cases they can complete your repairs in just a few days.
- 18 professional instrument technicians on staff
- Over 200 years of total repair experience
- Specialists for all instruments
- Technicians are on-site: you can meet them, describe the problem, and sometimes they can fix it while you wait.
- Most technicians are former band directors and professional musicians
- Every repair is play-tested & quality-checked by two technicians
- Fast and free estimates
- Many repairs completed the same day
- Free instrument pick-up at most area schools
Even if you just want to know whether your instrument is playing as well as it could, bring it by; we'll check it for you. Ask about Amro's Maintenance & Replacement Plan.
Do you have questions for our repair shop experts? Give them a call at (901) 323-8888 or send them a message here.
# of flutes Amro repairs in an average week: 26
# of flutes Amro repaired last year: 1,331
# of instruments Amro repaired last year: 14,242