Based on our years of serving the flute community, the Carolyn Nussbaum Music Company employees have put together the following Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) as an informational aid to our past and future customers. As always, we are available to answer any of your flute related questions. You never know, if it gets asked enough we may add it to the site! Check back often for new content.
A: Our in-house repair staff will be glad to take a look at your instrument and discuss any repairs or maintenance issues that you are having. In most cases simple repairs or adjustments can be diagnosed while you wait and an estimate provided for both the cost and time to perform the work required. Sometimes the repair or adjustment can be made while you wait or even by the end of the same day however this is highly dependent on the amount, and type, of work to be performed along with the pre-existing workload in our shop. Whether you bring your instrument into our store, or if you have shipped us your instrument for assessment/repair, you will always be contacted before any work is performed to obtain authorization. Our goal is to return your instrument to you as soon as possible while executing the exceptional quality of work that has been a hallmark of our company. Also note that beyond repairs, we offer regular or annual maintenance services on an appointment basis that ensures your instrument is returned in the shortest time possible. Call us today to schedule your annual servicing appointment. Always be sure we have current and complete contact information on file so we may effectively communicate with you during the time we are working on your instrument.
A: Your homeowners/renters insurance may or may not cover your instrument, we suggest you contact your insurance agent or company and review your policy carefully. If your current policy doesn’t cover your instrument or doesn’t provide the type of coverage you are looking for, you may want to look into adding a floater or rider to your policy. An insurance rider can often be added to an existing policy to add specific coverage for personal items (i.e. jewelry, heirlooms and instruments). We recommend choosing a policy that covers replacement or repair value. The instrument needs to be insured for instances of abuse, accidental damage, or in the chance that it is lost or stolen. If you prefer not to or can’t modify your existing insurance policy, we would recommend looking into obtaining a policy from an insurance company that specializes in insuring musical instruments. Examples of companies we recommend are Music Agency, Inc. (www.musicagencyinc.com), which insures instruments with a beginner to intermediate monetary value and Clarion (www.clarionins.com) for higher priced flutes.
A: The cost to repair your flute and bring it back to optimum playing condition can only be assessed by our trained in-house repair staff once they are able to physically inspect and play your instrument. It would be irresponsible for us to try and accurately quote repair costs either over the phone or via email without the opportunity for this physical inspection process. That said, given your description of circumstances surrounding the repair and/or symptoms our trained repair staff may be able to establish a minimum starting cost for the repair work.
For regularly scheduled maintenance/service (also known as a “clean-oil-adjust” or “COA”) we can quote minimum starting costs based on the level of instrument, manufacturer and our predefined scope of work. Should our repair specialists discover additional work is required or recommended beyond what is covered by the standard maintenance scope, we will contact you with a cost estimate for approval prior to performing additional work. Always be sure we have current and complete contact information on file so we may effectively communicate with you during the time we are working on your instrument.
A: We recommend getting your flute serviced (also known as a “clean-oil-adjust” or “COA” or annual maintenance) once a year assuming normal use (how much it is played) and care (environment, and if you clean it each time you play it). Getting your flute regularly serviced will make it possible for it to function at its optimal level. Over the course of a typical year, pads will develop leaks and the headjoint cork will wear out. The amount of play will affect the condition of the oil inside the mechanism. Bringing your flute in every year for servicing will ensure that we find anything that is causing you difficulties while playing, and it lessens the chance of major repairs needed on your instrument in the future.
A: For cleaning the inside of your flute, use a highly absorbent cloth designed and sized for this purpose along with an approved cleaning rod or a specialized cleaning tool. Avoid using any kind of cloth or swab that is too bulky since it may result in damage to your pads and never leave any swab or cleaning cloth inside your instrument because it traps the moisture resulting in mold, mildew, and ruined pads. Our personal favorites are the highly absorbent BG France silk products or Flute Flags both of which do an excellent job of removing moisture especially from around the headjoint cork, thereby helping prolong its life. Remember, the goal when cleaning out the inside of your flute or piccolo is simply to remove moisture and the frequency should be no less than each time you play or as often as every 20 minutes of playing whichever is shorter.
When cleaning the outside of your flute the goal is to remove the acids, oils and other substances that come from contact with your hands and lips/chin (e.g. lotions, makeup, perfume, lip balms) before these chemicals can interact with the finish and metals of your instrument. For cleaning the outside of your flute we recommend a durable, soft, lint free and absorbent cloth. Never use any abrasive material, polish (polishes can actually remove the precious metals from your flute), wax or oil on the outside of your instrument. The outside of your instrument should be wiped down after each use. Use firm and controlled pressure to rub off any marks left by contact with your body. Pay special attention to the lip plate, tops of keys and the flute body where you rest your hand or handle the instrument. Be careful not to rub the underside of the keys where you could damage the sensitive pad materials. We highly recommend the use of the Carolyn Nussbaum Music Company Ultra Suede Cleaning Cloth w/Anti-Tarnish treatment. These cloths are specially treated to help inhibit the tarnishing of the silver on your flute and are what we use here in the store to wipe down hundreds of flutes each day. When trying to keep the outside of your flute clean remember that each person’s chemical make up is different. These differences may call for a more rigorous wiping down of the flute in order to remove fingerprints.
A: No, we do not offer loaner flutes while your flute is being repaired or serviced, however we do our absolute best to keep your instrument for the shortest time possible and offer a 1 week turnaround on our annual servicing appointments. We suggest you look to your peers (friends, band mates, others in your teaching studio) and teachers or band directors to see if they have an instrument you might borrow.
A: Sticky flute or piccolo pads are caused by excess moisture on the pad material. Sticky pads often make a sound similar to someone walking through mud or lips smacking when the pads open and close. The goal is to remove the excess moisture without harming the sensitive pad material. To accomplish this several specific highly absorbent, very thin products are available on the market such as Zonda Woodwind Drying Paper and BG France Pad Dryers. To use these products, insert the end of the dryer under the pad and blot (close the pad) gently. Never hold down your key and pull out the dryer because this can ruin the sensitive pad materials. Also, we do not recommend using dollar bills or cigarette rolling paper to clean your pads since the bills are typically very dirty and too thick and the rolling papers have an adhesive. [Note: In the U.S., cigarette papers can be considered contraband in some school systems.]
A: Every time after you play and as needed while playing! It is important to keep your flute/piccolo swabbed out because excess moisture left inside the instrument can affect the condition of the headjoint cork as well as the stability of the pads. Additionally, moisture left inside the instrument can cause the growth of mold and bacteria. Although a majority of flute swabs are designed to be used on each section of the flute (body, foot, head) once disassembled, there are products such as the Flute Flag that allow the flute to be swabbed out while fully assembled. These products make it easy to swab your flute out more frequently while playing, and thus encourage good instrument maintenance.
A: The Carolyn Nussbaum Music Company is an authorized repair center for most brand name, quality instruments and will be glad to work on any flute you own whether purchased from us or not. Limitations may apply if the instrument is being rented or on loan through another company, institution or school. (In these cases you do not own the instrument.) Other limitations may apply when it comes to manufacturer warranty repairs/service on instruments not purchased through Carolyn Nussbaum Music Company. Manufacturer warranty work must be conducted through the company/retailer from which the instrument was purchased. In special circumstances manufacturer warranty repairs/service can be performed as long as Carolyn Nussbaum Music Company can obtain written authorization from the original retailer. Carolyn Nussbaum Music Company must receive guarantee from the original retailer that they will reimburse us for the work performed. This authorization cannot come from the customer. For these reasons, we highly recommend that you purchase your flute from a reputable retailer with the necessary resources (preferably in-house) to address any warranty work or issues you may encounter.
A: Yes, depending on the severity and where the dent is located. Dents around the lip plate, tone holes, and on the keys will most likely not be able to be removed. The materials used in the construction of the flute (i.e. silver vs. nickel-silver alloy) can also influence the degree of the potential dent repair due to the malleability of the metal. Finally, although our professional repair technicians strive to make it appear as though a dent was never there, it is not always possible. Therefore, sometimes dent repair will leave behind a slight appearance variation when compared to the surrounding material.
A: Without professional technician support this is not recommended since the proper level of tightness (torque or set) specified for each screw on each flute make and model can vary. A quick and simple repair for a trained technician can turn into a repair that takes longer, is more difficult, and more costly if you or a non-certified repair technician tries to repair your flute. In lieu of allowing a band director, a friend, or yourself to perform a “simple” repair on your flute our advice is that you first contact your repair technician. At Carolyn Nussbaum Music Company, repair consultations are always free.
A: Yes. To find out what these are contact your professional repair technician.
A: Whether or not an instrument will require work after not being played for a period of time depends on many factors including but not limited to: length of time stored (are we talking 2 months or ten years?), condition/cleanliness at the time it was stored; environmental conditions during the time it was stored (temperature, humidity, local contaminants) and how it was stored (case, cover, etc.). Finally, there are some inherent construction elements that may affect the instrument’s playability after extremely long periods of storage including the spring adjustments and the natural aging of the oils and pad materials. Therefore, if you plan on storing your instrument away for an extended period, consult with an instrument repair specialist to make sure you are doing everything you can to protect it and do not be surprised if it still requires some adjustment and basic cleaning after it has been in the top of your closet for five or ten years.
A: Extreme temperature changes can cause wood piccolos to crack. We encourage all flutists NOT to leave their instruments (especially wood piccolos) in environments where the temperature is significantly hot or cold. Instruments should be kept at room temperature at all times. Should you find that your flute or piccolo was exposed to extremes of temperatures, it is best to bring it back to room temperature slowly and always bring it back to room temperature before playing the instrument. This can be done by sequentially removing any protective/insulation materials (backpacks, bags, case covers, hard cases, etc.) from around the piccolo or flute and letting it sit for several minutes after each layer is removed.
A: No! On metal instruments (flutes or piccolos) grease or oil will only attract dust and dirt that will eventually scratch your tenons (the internal part of the flute joint) thereby creating places for even more dirt to accumulate. Try wiping down the inside and outside of your tenons, using a fair amount of pressure, with your outside cleaning cloth instead. If it appears that you have a dent in your tenon, contact your technician. Always remember that the proper way to assemble your flute is using a single twisting motion, in one direction (choose either clockwise or counter clockwise and stick with it!), while bringing the parts together in a straight on motion with no scooping action. On piccolos with cork tenons, you may use a small amount of quality woodwind cork grease. If your instrument ever requires a large amount of force to put it together... STOP... and contact your repair technician. It is easier to affect a repair without having to figure out how to get the instrument apart first.
A: The standard flute crown should be tight, or tighten under a modest amount of torque, when turned clockwise. If the crown does not tighten or just continues to turn/spin, chances are the headjoint cork is worn out and needs to be replaced. A headjoint cork can become worn due to age, accumulated moisture, and extreme temperature changes. A professional repair technician should change the headjoint cork each year during the course of annual maintenance (also known as a “clean-oil-adjust” or “COA”). Headjoint cork replacement is always included in the price of an annual COA at the Carolyn Nussbaum Music Company.
A: Proper and regular cleaning of your flute requires attention be given to three main areas of the instrument: outside, inside and pads. Each area is exposed to different sources of contaminants and different environmental conditions that necessitate they be cleaned and maintained in different ways with different cleaning supplies. We will be glad to instruct you on the proper cleaning regimen for your specific instrument and type of playing at length. In a more general discussion we can offer the following guidelines regarding the cleaning of your flute.
First, the outside of your instrument (tubing, embouchure, keys) in addition to being exposed to the natural surrounding environment is exposed to the chemicals of your physical person including but not limited to the naturally occurring oils and acids of your hands, lips, face and other chemicals that may come from lotions, cosmetics (including lip balms), and even things you recently ate. It is therefore important to use a cleaning cloth on the outside of your flute capable of removing and absorbing these contaminants while not being abrasive in anyway that can damage the finish of your instrument. Materials such as ultra suede, cheesecloth, fine cottons, and other soft durable fabrics are ideal (light rubbing is often required). Remember...NEVER use any kind of polish on your instrument as these products contain sand based polishing elements that will damage the finish as well as the pads of your flute.
Second, the biggest contaminant for the inside of your instrument (including all body tubing and the headjoint) is the moisture from playing. This moisture must be removed regularly; during and at the end of playing- and some say as often as every 20 minutes when playing. Removal of the moisture requires a gentle but highly absorbent material configured specifically for cleaning your instrument. Cleaning supplies are specifically designed for this pupose to avoid the cleaning tool or cloth from contacting the sensitive pads or doing internal damage. There are many configurations of these internal cleaning cloths mostly made from extremely fine natural silk, ultra suede, cottons and flannels. Remember...NEVER leave any internal cleaning cloth or tool inside your instrument when it is stored as this will trap the moisture in your instrument and can result in mold, mildew, and ruined pads.
Finally the pads, made of very sensitive natural or manmade materials, should never be rubbed by any cleaning cloth or material. Instead, moisture that will build up on the pads must be removed by specific blotting techniques using very thin but highly absorbent materials such as disposable woodwind cleaning papers or reusable cloths specifically designed for flute pads.
A: The Carolyn Nussbaum Music Company is authorized and manufacturer-certified to perform manufacturer warranty work on all instruments that are purchased through us. Manufacturer warranty work must be conducted through the company/retailer from which the instrument was purchased or in special circumstances can be performed by us, as long as we can obtain written authorization and guarantee from the original retailer that they will reimburse us for the work performed. This authorization cannot come from the customer.
A: Never use any kind of polish or abrasive compound on your flute - no matter how gentle the product claims to be. Such products can remove the silver-plating on beginner flutes and will remove the valuable precious metals (silver, gold platinum) from professional instruments. Regular cleaning of the outside of your flute to remove oils, acids, chemicals, and small areas of oxidation can be accomplished with a quality external cleaning cloth which will keep your flute shiny. A flute repair professional can often remove heavier oxidation, tarnishing and minor abrasions or scratches during regular maintenance and servicing. Bear in mind that a mild amount of tarnishing on a precious metal flute in non-critical areas typically has no bearing on the performance of the instrument and can often add a degree of unique beauty as in the case of a fine patina.
A: Possibly. Some homeowners insurance or instrument insurance policies cover your instrument while “in transit” but others may not. It is best to contact your insurance company first to confirm whether or not your instrument is insured while being shipped to our business. Buying insurance through any shipping company is usually expensive and the cost will depend on the value of your instrument(s). If you buy shipping insurance through a carrier, be sure to understand the limits and coverage of the policy being purchased. You want to make sure that the carrier is covering the full value to repair or replace your instrument and that all loss, regardless of cause, will be covered for the entire time it is in the carrier’s possession. Also confirm that your carrier will require a signature to release the shipment to us upon delivery. Most major carriers, by default, require signature on all deliveries made to our business/commercial address, but confirm beforehand to be sure. When we ship your instrument back to you, you pay us for the cost of shipping and we make sure that the instrument is insured during transit. Although we do our best to protect all our shipments, should you ever receive a shipment from us that is damaged (instruments or otherwise), be sure to contact us immediately. Take pictures, if possible before and after opening the shipment) showing the damaged packaging and contents, and always save all packing materials.
A: When packing your instrument for shipping we recommend you select a box big enough to put a minimum of three inches of padding around the exterior of the hard flute case on all sides. You can use any packing material available to you, however packing foam, Styrofoam peanuts and/or bubble wrap work best. It is also a good idea to be sure that your flute fits securely in your hard case. With your instrument properly placed within its case, gently rock the case back and forth and side-to-side, if you hear any movement from the inside of the case, try placing a piece of soft fabric inside the hard case on the sides or the ends of the pieces in the areas where your flute may not fit snugly. Take care not to over-pad thereby putting unnecessary pressure on the keys or mechanism. Inside, near the top of the box, make sure that you include your name, address (shipping and billing if different), email address and phone number(s) where we can most easily reach you, along with any specific instructions or notes you wish. Once your flute is packaged snugly, so nothing shifts around inside the box, tape the box securely along all seams and openings. We recommend the shipping label be affixed securely in either a sealed plastic sleeve or covered in clear packing tape to ensure readability in the event the exterior of the package is exposed to moisture/rain.
A: If you are purchasing insurance through a shipping company, you should declare the full replacement value of the instrument(s). If you do not purchase insurance through the shipping company, declaring your instrument’s value can be done at your discretion. Be aware that simply declaring a value with a shipping provider will not insure your instruments, and that the declaration of a shipment value with the shipping company may cause your shipping cost to be higher.
A: Call us immediately. The quicker you inform us of your mistake the better our chance of fixing it before we process and ship out your products. We can easily change your shipping address so long as we speak with you before we hand off the shipment to the shipping carrier. Changing the shipping address after your order has been sent out, however, is only possible with United Parcel Service (UPS). UPS has ,imitations that will result in changes fees and we will need to pass the change fee, charged to us by UPS, on to you. Orders placed using USPS services are not capable of being stopped in transit and sent to another address. Please be sure to double-check your shipping address for accuracy and completeness before placing orders. Should you have a specific need for a shipment to arrive at a particular address within a specific time window, please contact us, and we can often address such requests with our knowledge of the major carrier shipping systems.
A: When shipping to a university, college, school or business address please include the title of the institution. When ordering through our website, the Company field is provided for this information. In the Address field, please include a physical street address followed by a room, suite, hall, box, floor number, etc. If you do not know a university’s mailing street address, it should be easily accessible on the school website. The more detailed information you can give the better so include specific names for any of the following: Halls, Dorms, Departments, etc. If you are not sure what is important or where to put all the information include it in the Customer Notes section during checkout on our website. Always be sure to check your shipping address for accuracy before submitting your order. Remember, United Parcel Service (UPS) will not deliver to United States Postal Office (PO) Boxes. If your institution has a physical mailing street address but also uses an internal mailbox system (not owned by the USPS) be sure to include both so we can include all the information and ensure that your shipment arrives where intended.
A: When instruments are shipped to a customer for purposes of a trial, the shipment to the customer is insured through our relationship with our shipping carriers at our expense. Once the shipment is signed for at the destination address the customer is wholly responsible for the inventory in their possession. If at the conclusion of a trial if you choose to contract with a shipping carrier for shipping services to return the instrument(s) to us directly, you will be responsible for ensuring that the instrument(s) are fully insured during transit until they are signed for, by us, at our business address. If instead, at conclusion of a trial, a return shipping label is purchased through us (meaning you pay us and we contract with the shipping carrier, on our account, for shipping services), the instruments are then once again insured through us during transit and your responsibility for the inventory would end, with proper packaging and documented evidence of hand-off to the shipping carrier using the label provided by us.
A: There is no theoretical limit to the number of flutes that can be taken on trial. However, the customer is responsible for paying the shipping cost (both ways). Since the cost of shipping is directly proportional to the value of the shipment, the more instruments that are sent to you the higher the shipping cost will be. Also, even with our extensive instrument inventory, there may be limitations on the availability of certain instruments at certain times to be out on trial. We will always do our best to make sure you have the appropriate access to any instrument we sell and you would like to try out.
A: Contrary to the understanding of many beginner flutists, or non-flutists, the crown on a traditional flute is not fastened directly to the tubing of the headjoint or mouthpiece. Rather the crown is threaded onto a rod of specific length the other end of which is embedded within the headjoint cork, also known as the cork assembly. The cork assembly, in-turn, is pressure fit within the headjoint tubing at a precise location. Therefore vibrations imparted to the headjoint tubing are actually transferred to the headjoint cork and then to the crown which sits cantilevered at the end of the aforementioned threaded rod. The vibration of the crown is therefore dependent on the weight and material(s) from which the crown is constructed. So to re-phrase the original question more generally, “Can changing my crown affect the sound of my flute?”, The answer is absolutely. The only arguable component of this answer is whether or not the flutist or audience can discern the difference in sound due to a change in crown material and or weight. Just as sound (molecular vibration) is transferred differently through gold versus silver due to the arrangement of the material’s molecules, the use of more exotic and varied materials (e.g. precious and semi-precious gems and minerals) with greatly different crystalline structures can have a more pronounced and possibly noticeable impact on the sound of your flute. Gemstone crowns sold by Carolyn Nussbaum Music Company are only made with precious, semi-precious gems and minerals specifically chosen for this application after many materials were assessed. These materials are set intimately within 14k gold or Sterling Silver mounts to make the finished crown. Choosing to add a Gemstone crown to your flute can be for many reasons, including its impact on your sound, or just the beauty and uniqueness it adds to your instrument. Gemstone crowns are available for trial through Carolyn Nussbaum Music Company to compare how different designs sound on your flute. Most major flute brands can have the crown easily removed and replaced with only some flutes requiring minor fitting by a professional repair technician (we offer this service for free with any Gemstone crown purchase).
A: A term often used to refer to the instrument a student plays while performing with a marching band or ensemble where the instrument is potentially exposed to non-ideal environmental conditions and/or is played while the musician is highly mobile. This term is used to contrast with a concert or primary instrument that is typically played indoors in a controlled environment. Often the “marching” flute or piccolo is of lesser quality or value than a concert instrument, but this is not necessarily so. A student’s beginner or first instrument is often an excellent candidate to become their “marching” flute or piccolo once they have upgraded to a higher quality, more expensive instrument. Marching piccolos often have metal, plastic or composite bodies as opposed to wood due to the sensitivity of wood piccolos to their environment. As a side note, the need for a “marching” instrument by most high school and college players creates a sustained marketplace for those individuals looking to sell used beginner level flutes and piccolos.
A: There are some basic essentials that every flute player should have to ensure the proper care and maintenance of their instrument. These include a cleaning accessory for the inside of their flute (swab and rod, flute flag, etc.), a cleaning cloth for the outside of their flute and a flute stand. Whether they choose a fixed stand or a compact/portable stand a well built stand will give them a place to set the flute down safely without having to disassemble and place it in the case. Placing a flute on a band chair, bed, couch, or un-cushioned table can invite disastrous repair bills when someone accidently sits on it or, at a minimum, will likely scratch the finish of the flute. Always start with a flute stand design that will be used most often, i.e. do not buy a fancy weighted stand that sits in your flutists bedroom when what they really need is a compact portable stand they can have with them in orchestra or band at school. Beyond these basics, the next most highly recommended accessory is an external soft case cover for the hard case that holds the instrument. Most hard case designs (both the professional or french-style cases and the student cases) have not changed in decades for most manufacturers. They either use relatively small (french-style) and easily accidentally opened latches or latches that are designed to spring open (student cases). With either design a zippered external case cover will make the opening process much more deliberate and thereby minimize the chance of your flute falling out of its hard case. An external case cover can also add insulation from the weather and protect the leather or faux-leather covered wood that many hard cases are made from.
A: The Carolyn Nussbaum Music Company offers direct purchase, trade-ins, and consignment services of previously owned flutes, piccolos and headjoints on a case-by-case basis after physical inspection of the instrument in question. We recommend that if you have a used instrument that would possibly qualify for one of these services, that you bring it in so we can assess its condition and discuss your options. If you cannot personally bring the instrument into our store for evaluation please call and speak with one of our flute specialists before shipping it to us for assessment. In that conversation we can discuss our general interest in providing these services (based on make, model, age, etc.) before you pay to ship it to us. Proof of legal ownership may be required before services can be offered for our protection as well as that of the flute playing community. Our company has an outstanding reputation and network for re-sale of quality used instruments.
A: We are happy to appraise any flute not purchased from us for a nominal fee. The instrument must be presented to us for physical inspection of condition and characteristics before it can be appraised. Should you require an appraisal of an instrument possibly beyond our level of expertise (e.g. one-of-a-kind designs, rare, historic, non-traditional or prototype instruments) please contact us in advance of bringing or shipping us your instrument. Free appraisals are provided to the original purchaser, upon request, for all instruments sold through the Carolyn Nussbaum Music Company (new or used) so long as the original purchaser owns the instrument and the request is within five years of original purchase. Appraisals beyond an initial period of time following the date of purchase may require the instrument be presented for inspection of condition and/or modification. Appraisals are often required for purposes of obtaining accurate insurance coverage in case of loss or theft. Appraised value is not necessarily equal to the amount that was paid to purchase a flute.
A: Purchasing a used instrument should always be done with extreme care and never from anyone other than a reputable and recognized reseller with the skills and knowledge to accurately assess the instrument’s condition. If you are at all unsure of the reseller’s credentials or reputation, always inspect the instrument first hand and ideally have it inspected by a third party specialist before committing to the purchase. The Carolyn Nussbaum Music Company would be glad to provide a free, non-binding, opinion on the condition of any flute you are considering purchasing so long as our repair specialists can assess the instrument in person. Understand it is not uncommon for the cost of necessary instrument repair to exceed the value of the instrument as a result of even minor abuse or moderate lack of maintenance. Armed with an accurate assessment of condition, it IS possible to find some great deals out there on used instruments, just be careful.
A: Appointments for trying flutes in one of our acoustically balanced trial rooms are always suggested but not required. Even though we stock a huge inventory of brand name flutes, piccolos and headjoints (hundreds!), it is possible that the specifically configured instruments you are hoping to try side-by-side might not all be available if you just walk-in. By making an appointment it also ensures that one of our flute experts is available to work with you one-on-one, for as long as it takes, to guide you in finding the best flute for your playing/performance level and your budget. That said, if you are just getting started in your search for the perfect flute and are in the neighborhood just stop in and we will be glad to have you play on some high quality instruments with as much or as little guidance as you would like. Appointments can be made by contacting us through email or by phone. Typically when setting up an appointment there is information that you will be asked to consider and provide such as: 1) Do you have a budget? 2) Are their specific brands/models you are interested in? 3) What is your playing history? (Beginner, professional, private lessons, etc.) 4) What are your performance goals? (Step-up, upgrade, marching band, sound change etc.)
It is important to keep in mind when scheduling your appointment to allow enough time for the process; beginners can take as short as a half hour to select their flute while professionals can spend several hours narrowing down their choices to find the perfect fit between player and instrument.
A: Many companies only sell flutes; some companies sell flutes and out-source any repair work that they need to perform on flutes they sell. The best situation is to purchase a flute from a company that has an in-house, highly trained, repair staff and facility. These companies tend to have a greater depth of knowledge concerning the durability, reliability, mechanisms and construction of the flutes they sell and they will also be able to perform any manufacturer warranty work that may arise within the period following your purchase. Carolyn Nussbaum Music Company not only has an in-house, highly skilled flute repair staff and facility, but all of our repair specialists are flutists themselves. This means our repair staff is not only more capable and more accurate in their assessments of the instruments they work on, but they are also able to perform first hand quality assurance testing on the instruments as they work on them, just as if it were their own instrument.
A: Commonly referred to simply as “silver-plated” in the flute industry, this is a more accurate description of the base material and finish construction of the various metal components of either beginner or entry-level up through intermediate flute models. The base metal of the component is a nickel-silver alloy that is then typically plated with a layer of Sterling silver. The nickel-silver alloys have been found to provide an excellent mix of both strength and sound properties resulting in a durable and beautiful sounding instrument. The silver-plating is beautiful, protects the base metal and is easily maintained through proper cleaning techniques. Reputable flute manufacturers may vary the exact alloy or plating process but can be trusted to deliver a beautiful sounding, durable instrument. Care should be taken when purchasing any instrument so you have a complete understanding of its construction and/or brand reputation.
A: Sterling Silver is actually a defined alloy composition consisting of 92.5% pure Silver (also referred to as 0.925 Silver) along with other metals. Within the flute industry, the term “silver” is often and commonly used to refer to Sterling Silver, but it can also be used when one really means silver-plated or even differing silver alloys. Can someone refer to a silver alloy consisting of 75% pure Silver as “silver”? Sure they can. Within recent years, with advances in metallurgy, some flute manufacturers have even developed alloys that contain higher percentages of pure Silver. These are often given proprietary names to emphasize their difference (and intended upgrade) from Sterling Silver, some examples include Britannia Silver or .958, Altus Silver or .946, .998 Silver, .950 Silver, and Gold-Silver (GS). The key point to understand is that the term “Silver” can be used to describe many different Silver based alloys and finishes and therefore it is recommend that you always clarify exactly what material is being referred to when discussing instrument construction materials.
A: The quality and construction material of the springs used in the mechanism of your flute or piccolo is an important factor in the way in which the keys respond to being pressed and released. This is often referred to as the responsiveness of the mechanism. Since each spring can control different numbers of keys, it is critical that they be precisely and uniquely designed and manufactured. This is said to “balance” the mechanism requiring the appropriate amount of force to move the exact number of keys given the unique anatomy of the fingers used to apply the force. It can be very complicated to get the mechanism perfectly balanced and this balance is unique to each player. Common spring materials used include white gold, stainless steel, and palladium each having its own properties when it comes to bending and inelastic stress limits. When a spring is pushed past its elastic limit it will not be completely returning to its previous shape when the force is removed and conversely a spring that does not enter its elastic range easily will make the mechanism too stiff. There is a great amount of debate regarding the choice of spring material and once you start to consider both the mechanical and aesthetic features we do not believe there is only one “right” answer. That said, many of the highest quality flute manufacturers use white gold springs in their instruments and they perform beautifully for many years. In the end, we believe its best to play the instrument and make your decision based on how the mechanism feels and responds to your playing style, not based on the spring material. A properly designed, quality flute will last many years regardless of the material used for the springs.
A: Due to internationally recognized copyright laws sheet music is non-returnable. These laws were enacted to protect the intellectual property and publishing rights of both the composers and publishing companies and are especially relevant to sheet music given the typical size of the published works and their intended use.
A: The Carolyn Nussbaum Music Company is a huge supporter of both our local flute teachers and, more generally, those who make it their profession to teach music of all forms around the world. As a company, we do not currently offer regular flute lessons. Our staff however, the majority of whom are degreed flutists themselves, have in many cases previously taught flute lessons and some even maintain a current studio of students as a way of continuing their passion for the instrument outside of our shop. In many cases, people have found the process of buying a flute from the Carolyn Nussbaum Music Company a form of “mini-lesson” because our flute experts take every opportunity to share their knowledge of, and experience with, the instrument with our customers. In addition, we often have, and welcome, a student’s lesson teacher to accompany them in our shop and assist throughout the flute selection process since we believe they can provide invaluable input to the process. We always say, “An educated customer is a happy customer”. Should you be in need of a flute lesson teacher, and currently are without one, or with your existing teacher’s permission, we are always happy to help by providing referrals.
A: Yes! A flute can get too cold or hot to be played. When a flute gets too cold and you practice or perform with it, more condensation accumulates in the flute and can settle in the pads. This creates the sticky sound that you might hear when you move your keys. When a flute is left in a place that gets very hot (such as a car) swelling can occur in the pads and corks. Additionally any glue that is used to attach materials to your flute (corks, pads, felts) can lose its hold in the heat thereby allowing these materials to shift out of position. Make sure and keep your flute at room temperature at all times, and if it does get too hot or too cold, try to gradually bring it back to room temperature before playing.
A: Loudness, volume, and projection…all of these can be influenced by the flutist and the instrument they are playing. Ask yourself the question, “Was I once able to play with volume but can no longer?” If the answer is yes, this may simply be a maintenance issue and more specifically an issue with the headjoint cork. Annual flute servicing performed by the Carolyn Nussbaum Music Company always includes replacement of the headjoint cork. So when was the last time your cork was inspected or replaced? Maybe you’ve been playing a lot more, or a lot less, (flute has been in storage) either condition can cause the cork to have to be replaced more frequently. The good news is this is relatively inexpensive and quick for a repair technician to remedy. If you’re looking for increased volume that you’ve never had before, first look at yourself. Have you sought to improve your technique, increase your lung capacity and control your breathing more deliberately? We sell a number of training and strengthening tools that can help you better focus your embouchure and increase your capacity thus preparing yourself to play louder. Next, take a look at your instrument; have you developed your playing beyond the capacity of your instrument to deliver the sound you would like? A contributing factor to the capacity of a flute to be played at higher volume is what is commonly referred to as “resistance”. Most performers find that the resistance of any flute is proportional to the amount, location and density of the materials used in its construction. More specifically, the use of Silver, Gold, Platinum and other dense and resonant metals starting from the critical areas such as the riser, and headjoint and extending to the rest of the instrument body can have a significant impact on the resistance of your flute. In summary, maintain your instrument, prepare yourself, and explore the possibility that you may need to upgrade part or all of your instrument.
A: Yes. Your mouth and hands are coming into contact with the area that your sick friend’s mouth and hands had contacted. That said, a few simple and effective steps can be taken that will allow you to play the instrument while minimizing the possibility of catching a cold from the previous player. First, clean out the inside of the flute just as you would normally. (You may want to wash or not handle this cleaning accessory for several days afterwards.) Second, use an isopropyl alcohol (70% or greater) swab and liberally wipe down the lip plate, headjoint, key tops and other commonly touched areas of the tubing to disinfect them. Be very careful not to get the alcohol on the pads of the flute. Finally, as your mother always said, “Wash your hands after playing.”
A: The teacher-student relationship is a two-way street so be sure before you entertain the idea of changing flute teachers that you have been doing all you can to make the relationship work. Are you committed, listening and focused during your lessons? Are you practicing as instructed? Are you communicating your objectives clearly to your teacher so you are both working together towards the same goal? It is also the student’s responsibility to communicate with the teacher when things aren’t going the way you would like in order to see what might be done from the teacher’s perspective. Assuming you are doing your part and communicating effectively, there are circumstances when it makes sense to part ways with your current teacher and find a new one. If this is the case, the most important thing to do is to be honest and let your teacher know in a respectful way that you plan to move on. Let the teacher know when you plan to end lessons; do not just be a “no-show”. It is not required that you explain your reasoning, but it is courteous, and a good teacher may even help you find what you are looking for through a referral to one of their peers who may be a more suitable match. Similarly a potential new teacher may ask whom you studied with before and why the relationship ended. This is a good thing in that the new teacher wants to make sure they are aware of your intentions and expectations before accepting the job. Whether you are a beginner or professional, communication is the key. Carolyn Nussbaum Music Company does not offer lessons and out of respect advocates never referring a student to a new teacher until they can verify that the previous or existing teacher is aware that the student has decided to take lessons from someone else.
A: Rarely do publishers offer the flute part for sale separately from the piano part when it comes to music composed for flute and piano. Some exceptions are found as collections and even those are few and far between. The concept being promoted is that the piano part allows the flutist to understand the harmonic context of the music even if they plan on learning the piece without accompaniment. Often this question understandably arises from customers who notice that a great deal of flute and piano music is actually bound as two separate physical books by the publisher. This, of course, is an effort by the publisher to more easily accommodate the performance positions of both the flutist and the pianist when playing together.
A: The Carolyn Nussbaum Music Company sells many variations of hard cases for the storage and protection of your instrument in transit. These cases range from plastic to leather covered wood or finely stained exotic woods. All shapes and sizes are available from round to rectangular, traditional for single broken down flutes to multi-instrument cases (piccolo & flute, flute and alto, flute with multiple headjoints) to cases for instruments that are stored and transported in their assembled state. All these cases have the common goal of protecting your instrument and therefore must fit your particular instrument properly, not too loose, not too tight, and should be shaped to your flute’s design. Many case manufacturers offer products sized for the most common instrument brands, models and configurations. Some of these manufacturers require instrument model information and exact measurements be taken of the intended instrument in order to ensure a proper fit upon delivery. These case manufacturers can also build custom cases to fit just about any combination of flutes, piccolos, headjoints and add-ons (extra crowns, footjoints, etc.) that you can dream up. When purchasing a hard case for your instrument from Carolyn Nussbaum Music Company you have the advantage of our massive in-stock flute inventory that will allow us to check the fit of a particular case using a flute similar to yours without having to have your flute in-house for measuring. In addition, our repair staff has more than 15 years experience in fitting hard case interiors (when permitted by the manufacturer to do so) to all brands and models of flute. Let us know what you need and we will do our best to get you a case that works for your flute.
A: If your chin turns black while playing the flute, you are typically experiencing a simple chemical reaction between the chemicals on your skin and the treated cleaning cloth that you are using to clean your flute. To limit the occurrence of a black chin, try using an untreated ultra suede cloth instead of a treated polishing cloth and try wiping your chin area that contacts the flute to remove any perspiration, oils, make-up or perfumes before and frequently during playing. These steps will help minimize the chemical reaction and will significantly decrease the chances of your chin turning black.
A: Adjusting the separation between the headjoint and the body of a flute, known as “pulling out”, is commonly done to adjust the pitch of the instrument and bring it, and the player, into tune. The distance a headjoint should be “pulled out” will depend both on the player and the instrument. Each instrument and each player are unique. The flutist will become familiar with his/her flute and will come to know what is normal for him/her. It is not unusual for a headjoint to need to be “pulled out” by as much as a half inch. Never pull out the headjoint so far as to compromise the integrity of the joint. Should you find it necessary to significantly change the “normal” pull-out for you and your instrument, consider having the instrument evaluated by a professional repair technician to determine if there are other factors causing you to play out of tune.
A: From sheet music to cleaning supplies and all flute accessories in between, the Carolyn Nussbaum Music Company has more than 12,000 products available for sale on our website, www.flute4u.com. Our relationships with accessory, instrument and sheet music vendors over the past 15 years are excellent which means that even if we don’t currently stock or haven’t stocked a particular product we can acquire it on a special order just for you. We are very selective in the products we offer, from instruments to accessories; our customers deserve only the best. In some cases, over the years, we have found that manufacturers or vendors have made changes to their products that, in turn, make them less desirable for us to offer them to our customers. In these circumstances, we may stop stocking a product while we work with the manufacturer closely to remedy any issues that initiated the change. Conversely, we may begin offering a product that previously did not meet our selection criteria. Although we try to stay up to date on everything new and changed in the flute world, sometimes we miss that new hot product or publication, in these cases just contact us and let us know what you need and we will do our best to get it for you. We try our best to be your “One Stop Flute Shop”.
A: Whether you are getting ready for school or lessons, preparing for an audition, event or performance or just simply surprising someone with some great flute stuff for a special occasion (birthday, anniversary, etc.), timing can be critical in the delivery of your order. When ordering via www.flute4u.com we recommend you carefully consider the shipping carriers that we offer, United States Postal Service (USPS) and United Parcel Service (UPS), along with the shipping methods offered by each. This includes the days and times for delivery (for instance UPS does not deliver on the weekends unless you specifically upgrade to Saturday Delivery) and any guarantees for shipping duration between the time we hand it off to the carrier and the time you receive the package. In addition, you must consider the time it may take us to process your order. We try extremely hard to either process your order immediately and fully or notify you of any back ordered items, along with estimated ship dates, within 2 business days of your order being placed via our website. Once you have taken into account potential processing time and shipping time we understand there still may be special circumstances that you are trying to accommodate in regards to the delivery of your order. We welcome you to include customer notes regarding your specific needs during the website checkout process. Upon receipt of your special instructions we will do our best to accommodate you or we will contact you to discuss various options (special shipping, split shipments, substitution options, etc.). You are also, as always, welcome to call us immediately following the placement of your order (or during the next available business hours) to discuss your particular situation and how we can help you get what you need when you need it.
A: Yes, up to the time we hand your order off to one of our shipping carriers we are more than happy to adjust your order (excluding special or custom ordered merchandise). Since we make a great effort to fill every order completely as soon as possible and send it on its way to you, this may not leave much time for you to contact us to make the change, therefore we suggest calling us immediately during our next available business hours or alternatively sending us an email or both. In some special circumstances, shipping related elements (delivery address, options, etc.) can be changed even after your shipment has left our distribution center, however this is highly dependent on the carrier chosen, the length of time it has been in transit, and the type of change which will also likely result in a significant increase in shipping cost to you. We highly discourage this type of order change, but should it be necessary, please call our shipping department immediately to discuss your options.
A: The Carolyn Nussbaum Music Company is located in the state of Texas. The State of Texas requires us to collect sales tax on products and shipping charges (as they apply) when delivery is made within the state of Texas. If your order is being shipped to a location outside the State of Texas you will not be charged sales tax. Any Non-US, foreign taxes or fees applicable to shipments delivered outside the United States will be the responsibility of the recipient and must be paid to the taxing entity.
As a consumer ourselves, this, on the surface, seems unfair to our customers in the great State of Texas. And although we are bound by state law, we would like to point out that a majority of our Texas customers benefit from the fact that shipping by UPS Ground to most locations in the state takes only one day. Maybe that softens the sales tax issue, just a little?
A: Our website calculates sales tax based on the shipping address supplied in the order. Only customers receiving shipments within the State of Texas will be charged sales tax. If you are a tax-exempt purchasing entity, please place your order (including the tax charge) and let us know of your tax-exempt status via a note in the Customer Notes section of the website checkout process. Upon receiving your order, we will attempt to contact you using the provided information to coordinate the receipt of any required tax-status documentation. Following confirmation of your tax-exempt status, we will subtract the sales tax charge from your order and process normally.
A: We do our best to be your “One Stop Flute Shop” but with more than 12,000 flute related products from more than 400 different suppliers, sometimes we just run out of a particular product. There are a lot of different reasons this may happen and we apologize, in advance, if it causes any inconvenience related to your order. If we are out of a particular product it could be because there are delays from the distributor, manufacturer or publisher. There are times we may not anticipate how popular the “Snow globe with the flutes playing ‘Greensleeves’” is going to be and there are times that products are discontinued or permanently taken out of print without notification from our vendor. In this last case, we move quickly to remove the product(s) from our website once it is brought to our attention. In the case that we are temporarily out of stock of an item(s) you ordered via our website, we have a goal to notify you (using the contact information provided with your order) within 2 business days of your order being placed with an estimated ship date for the back ordered products. At that time, we will attempt to discuss your options for multiple or single shipments and your willingness to substitute the back ordered products for items more immediately available. By taking the time to inform our customers of the estimated ship dates of the item(s) that we may not have in stock at the time of their order, using the knowledge of our staff of flutists to recommend equivalent product substitutions and then communicating this information to our customers so they can make informed decisions is just one of the ways we offer superior customer service.
A: We try to keep a representative sample of each instrument model from every one of the manufacturers (more than 30) that we sell, in-stock at all times. That is a lot of flute, piccolos and headjoints! Consider then that a majority of these instrument models are configurable with multiple options (C# Trill, Split E, off-set/in-line, B or C foot, riser, lip plate, headjoint, body and mechanism upgrades, etc.) and it becomes clear why we cannot stock every configuration. Over the past 15 years of selling flutes and piccolos to beginners through professionals we have become very good at knowing what we need on hand to satisfy the majority of our customers. Over the years our relationships with the top flute manufacturers in the world has positioned us to be able to obtain first-run instruments of the highest quality faster than most of our competitors. This means that if you order an instrument from our site and we do not have it in stock we will let you know how soon we can get it allowing you to change or cancel your order without any charge at that time if the delay does not meet your requirements. Alternatively, you may contact us so we can discuss availability and options for your purchase before placing your order. Finally, if you are interested in trying particular instruments at your location via our free trial process or would like to make an appointment to try instruments in our store, please contact us so we can discuss availability of products and have an opportunity to acquire all the instruments for you in advance of your trial or visit.
A: Yes, we would be glad to work with your company or institution's purchasing process. You can always contact us by phone or e-mail to discuss the details of your particular purchasing process (terms, method of payment, open PO, company or institutional credit card, special forms you require, etc.) and place your order at that time, or you may place your order online and select the Offline Payment option during the checkout process (if not making payment by credit card). Include any detailed instructions in the Customer Notes section of the checkout process stating, for example, "please contact me for further instructions" and we will contact you using the contact information provided with the web order.
The Carolyn Nussbaum Music Company has an excellent record of working to supply instruments, supplies or services to the US government, military bands, school districts, and universities and is a participant on many approved vendor lists, buy boards and contracting services. Please contact us if there are steps that we can take in order to become your supplier.