Fula flutes are fragile instruments, and are susceptible both to impact (dropping, being sat on etc) as well as to changes in temperature and humidity. In particular, cold weather can cause troubles with your Fula flute.
While wooden flutes are more fragile than the rigid “pipe” flutes that we make here at the Kassa Flute Co, the embouchure (mouthpiece or headpiece) of any Fula flute is made out of beeswax and can become brittle in cold weather. This can cause it to become loose. In extreme hot weather, the beeswax can melt and cause it to become mishapen.
In either one of these cases, the problem is not severe, and can be fixed relatively easy. In this short article, we’ll show you how to fix a headpiece that has become loose.
Slowly heat up the beeswax around the edge until it become soft, using a lighter, candle, or match. Don’t make it so hot that it starts to drip though! You just want to soften it at the edges so that you can shape it with your fingers. Go all around the headpiece, being sure NOT to soften the area around the tonehole.
Once the beeswax around the edges is soft enough to be shaped easily with your fingers, hold the headpiece and firmly press around the edges, adhering it back to the flute. Do this until the headpiece feels secure again, and is not loose or “wobbling”.
Play your flute! That really all there is needed to do. Just make sure that the headpiece feels secure again, and repeat the above steps if needed.
To protect your flute, make sure that it is always put away properly and safely when not in use. Most importantly, be sure to keep it away from extreme temperatures — for example, never leave the flute in a cold car (in the winter) or in a hot car (in the summer)! Keep it away from heat sources such as a heater or fireplace etc.
Following these steps should ensure that you enjoy your flute for a lifetime! And if ever a small repair needs to be done, don’t be afraid to follow the steps above to reshape and form the embouchure.
Good luck, and have fun playing!