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Desiree
Hi all,

I was recently given a lovely flute in a high key as an early Christmas present (obviously, I couldn't wait until then to actually get and play it wink.gif ) but I'm having a little bit of an issue with it. It wants to squeal and squeak. I don't think "over-blowing" is the correct term in this case because it seems to be occurring more with lesser streams of air than with moderate streams of air. It especially seems to occur with the highest two notes but does happen on the lower notes too. There was a sound sample on the maker's website and it could really sing, and I feel horrible that I cannot make it sing to its full potential.

Initially when I opened the package the bird seemed off-kilter on the nest (it was crooked and almost leaning out of the nest on one side) which I thought was just a result of it being moved slightly during shipping. I straightened it out a little bit and it seemed to be fine. However, playing it in small spurts throughout the day I've been having the squeaky syndrome problem. I've tried re-adjusting the bird again to try to re-locate the sweet spot and every time I think I've found it after one or two tries it will squeal on me again. I'm covering all the finger holes properly so that is not the issue, and I do not see any gaps at the bottom of the bird where it meets the nest.

I'm hoping that it might just have something to do with the flute getting acclimated to its new environment. It came from the West Coast where I'm sure it's much warmer than my chilly Pennsylvania apartment. Do you think that might be the cause of the problem, or is there something else I might be able to do?

Edit 12/09/08: The flutemaker kindly allowed me to exchange the flute for a similar one. I received the new flute today, and so far, so good! It sounds very sweet and clear.
Rick McDaniel
Sometimes, flutes will have a quirk in them, which cannot be explained. One maker I know of, gets such squeaky, squawky quirks in his flutes rather often, and I have no idea why. Other flutes don't have the problem. I suspect there is some issue with the voicing, but exactly what, the makers would have to help with.



Jon Sherman
Hi Desiree,

If the branch flute you're having problems with is one bought from me I'm very willing to help solve any problems you're having. (My mom's from Pennsylvania, I certainly don't want a bad reputation out there!) :-) I can tell you that the high d# elderberry I sent out your way was a sweet sounding, stable flute, based on my 14 years of playing the NAF. It played as stable as the sound sample on the website page. I would not have sent it otherwise. Based on the description of your problem, it may be that you're not blowing hard enough into the flute. I've got pretty good lungs, so I make my flutes to take a good amount of air. I don't know how else to make them other than pleasing to my own ears and playing ability. In any event, if it's a Dryad Flute I'm very sorry your having problems with it. Especially since I visited your website and absolutely LOVE your art work! Please let me help solve any problems or if I can't there is of course a full refund. And I will pay for return postage.

Health and blessings,

Jon
www.dryadflutes.com
Marsha
Howdy Desiree

I have found, that even though I truly believe that I am covering the holes of my flutes quite well, sometimes that just isn't so, and that is the only time that I ever get a squeeky squak from my flutes! tongue.gif I always notice the onset of the squeeks during the chilly to down right cold winter months. I am a totally temperature challenged kind of gal, and even though I keep my house at the recommended 68 degrees to help ward off higher untility bills, my hands are often down right cold! rolleyes.gif So, even though I am bundled up with a couple of layers of clothes, my hands are generally still quite chilly and simply do not cooperate so well with my flutes in vast comparison to the warmer temperatures that I am longing for at this very moment! smile.gif
A friend of mine complains that her fingers shrink so much in the winter, that her fingers literally fall into the holes of her mid D flute! She has super skinny fingers anyway, and I can certainly see that happening! cool.gif

Just for the sake of flute science, try really warming up your hands before you start playing or crank up the heat in your house a little more to see if that helps! biggrin.gif
Desiree
Hi Marsha,

I thought maybe the cold might have something to do with it and my hands and feet get cold very quickly, but I don't think it's my fingers shrinking. I think I may have messed something up when I initially adjusted the bird or else the cold may have caused some sort of air leakage that I cannot locate sad.gif

Unfortunately I cannot adjust the heat in my apartment since there is no thermostat and the heat is provided by the landlord. I live in an old Victorian which was converted into apartments, and the heating is from radiators which don't get very warm even when they're on. The windows are also only a single pane of glass so they don't seem to insulate well. We'll probably have to buy an electric space heater if we want to make it warmer.
pvanheuklom
One other thing to think about with branch flutes is that the holes aren't often on an even plane as they are with other flutes. I have a sycamore branch flute that's easy enough to play, but on one or two holes I have to apply a little extra pressure to make sure they're covered. I can't imagine the block is the issue if you're sometimes getting a good tone.
Kuz
Desiree,
Maybe it's not a very good flute, they happen....
If you have a flute maker in your area or maybe one you're in good with, possibly they could take a look at it and give a recommendation?
Kuz
Kuz
Desiree,
Maybe it's not a very good flute, they happen....
If you have a flute maker in your area or maybe one you're in good with, possibly they could take a look at it and give a recommendation?
Kuz
Desiree
QUOTE(Kuz @ Dec 2 2008, 04:16 PM) *
Desiree,
Maybe it's not a very good flute, they happen....
If you have a flute maker in your area or maybe one you're in good with, possibly they could take a look at it and give a recommendation?
Kuz


I only wish there was a local flute maker in my area. If there was, I would probably be his or her best friend biggrin.gif I would actually love to learn to make flutes myself, but being power-tool-challenged I wouldn't be comfortable doing it on my own without guidance.

The craftsmanship of the flute seems to be quite good in my estimation. It is not sloppy or unrefined in the least, so I honestly don't think my issues are a result of poor workmanship on the flute maker's part. Yet, things do happen, and I know I personally have good and not-so-good days when it comes to my art and craft endeavors. I'm not sure if in this case the flute got knocked around a bit in transit, if I inadvertently did something when I moved the bird, or if the temperature/humidity difference caused an air leakage (it would be very difficult to locate due to the outer finish of the flute), or if it's just a simple matter of the flute not being best suited to the way I like to play. It could potentially be any of those things or a combination of them.

The flute maker is very gracious though and we are going to try an exchange, so hopefully everything will work out. It is a beautiful flute and I hope it finds a great and appreciative home.
freckledsophie
Is the block adjusted properly?

Also, find someone else locally who is a good flute player. Have them try the flute and see what happens. This may tell you whether it's the flute or playing technique.
Desiree
QUOTE(pvanheuklom @ Dec 2 2008, 11:51 AM) *
One other thing to think about with branch flutes is that the holes aren't often on an even plane as they are with other flutes. I have a sycamore branch flute that's easy enough to play, but on one or two holes I have to apply a little extra pressure to make sure they're covered. I can't imagine the block is the issue if you're sometimes getting a good tone.


It's very possible that it might not be the bird, and after making many minor adjustments without a relief I'm inclined to think it's something else or a combination of the bird and some other factors. I wish I had more expertise in the dynamics of flutes so that I could better diagnose the issue. The strength of breath does definitely affect it though.

The finger holes are on a very even plane. The type of branch it was created from is quite straight and regular, only the mouthpiece area (which I think was where the branch connected to a larger branch or was rooted in the ground) has any pronounced curves. The finger holes are also a perfect size and distance apart for my hands. I have one or two flutes where I do have to make some conscious effort to properly close the holes in order to make the best tone, but honestly I don't think that's the issue in this particular case.
Desiree
QUOTE(freckledsophie @ Dec 2 2008, 04:57 PM) *
Is the block adjusted properly?


That was my first thought too smile.gif It is adjusted properly to the best of my ability.

Unfortunately, I do not know of any other flute makers or even players in my area to seek advice from. My boyfriend has also played it and the same issue occurs when he plays as well. I'm sure my playing style likely has some influence on the issue, of course. As I mentioned to Kuz, it could be a simple matter of the flute not being best suited to the way I like to play.
Cool Breeze
QUOTE(Desiree @ Dec 2 2008, 05:20 PM) *
The strength of breath does definitely affect it though.


I have a couple of flutes that if I don't blow hard enough (like Jon mentioned earlier), they will squeak or chirp, especially on the highest notes. While not the most desirable characteristic for me, I know what I need to do for those particular flutes. Other flutes may have their own idiosyncrasies and playing styles needed. If it's not something you can either live with or compensate for, then maybe you can think about contacting the maker for a refund.

Dave

P.S. I just saw above that you are going to exchange it for another flute. I hope it works out! smile.gif
Noisy Bear
Desiree:
I had a high flute Em that had this same problem. I went throught all the steps you have mentioned to no avail. I bet the airstream is not hitting the cutting edge in the sweet spot!? My guess it is a design flaw ina any case. My flute never improved no matter who played it. It was made by a highly regarded maker. I pointed this out to a friend and he wanted the flute and traded me another for it . Blowing harder and covering the holes well seem to me, along with adjusting the block, are about the only things you as a player can do. Believe it or not high keyed flutes are some of the most difficult to get right! Sounds like teh maker will make it right. I also think it might be worse in cold weather but will retain this charateristic unless corrected by the maker. I might be all wet but don't assume it is your fault it may well be the flute itself?? (my guess)
Desiree
QUOTE(Noisy Bear @ Dec 2 2008, 08:55 PM) *
Desiree:
I had a high flute Em that had this same problem. I went throught all the steps you have mentioned to no avail. I bet the airstream is not hitting the cutting edge in the sweet spot!? My guess it is a design flaw ina any case. My flute never improved no matter who played it. It was made by a highly regarded maker. I pointed this out to a friend and he wanted the flute and traded me another for it . Blowing harder and covering the holes well seem to me, along with adjusting the block, are about the only things you as a player can do. Believe it or not high keyed flutes are some of the most difficult to get right! Sounds like teh maker will make it right. I also think it might be worse in cold weather but will retain this charateristic unless corrected by the maker. I might be all wet but don't assume it is your fault it may well be the flute itself?? (my guess)


Although I certainly don't have the most extensive flute collection (yet biggrin.gif), this is the first time I've encountered a persistent issue like this with a flute. It's a shame because it is a lovely flute and I did't have one in that key. Thankfully though the maker is more than eager to make it right and we are going to try an exchange for a similar flute.

Was your friend able to make the high Em work for him? I suppose if you have experience in flutemaking you might be able to correct it.
KokopelliSpirit
I've noticed an interesting leakage issue since it turned cold here. I'm leaking from my lips not making proper contact with the flute. That was causing some weird squeaks.

It sounds like your issue is related to the flute, especially since your boyfriend had the same problem, but I thought I'd mention it just in case. I wonder if something could've happened to the air chamber in shipping. It's great that the maker is working with you. After a problem purchasing on eBay, I'll only buy now from makers who guarantee their flutes.
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