Is the end cap of a flute important? In this article, we will be talking all about what the flute end cap is and why the flute has an end cap.
So let’s get right to the point. The end cap is that little tiny metal circle that’s at the very top of your head joint on your flute and it’s actually quite important. Some people call this little end cap a crown and if you’ve heard this name, you can know that we are talking about the same thing here.
We have to take care of it.
If you only take one thing away from this article, I want you to know this- it is best to not mess with the end cap, ever. Haha what I mean by that is that you shouldn’t be twisting it casually… ever.
I know that sometimes it just gets loose by itself, and I have talked to many students who say that their end cap falls off by itself all the time. Let’s hope that is not really the case because this end cap is connected to the long screw-like rod that is also been attached to the metal plate that is glued to a cork inside the top of your head joint. That cork is responsible for quite a bit of your good or bad tone as well as intonation (flat/sharp).
I say good or bad because it’s true. If your cork is old it will be shrinking. Especially if you live in a drier climate or your flute is just old. What happens when your cork shrinks a little bit is that some air is allowed to escape. It only takes a very very tiny bit of air escape to make a big, huge, giant, difference in your tone.
If you take it off you may lose it!
I’ve seen people take the little end cap all the way off before, and lose it! That causes a really big problem with your cork and how it can get dried out quickly.
Another problem we have with a shrinking cork is that it tends to move a little bit inside of your head joint. Especially if you are swabbing out your head joint to get all the spit out with a cleaning rod. Sometimes we flute-players get in a little bit of a hurry and we might be pushing too hard as we jam that cleaning cloth in there, twist it around, and pull it out again.
We could accidentally move that cork a little more towards the top of our head joint which would cause us to play a little bit more out of tune every single time it happens.
Think about this as your flute’s health.
Think about this as your flute’s health, it’s kind of like this is your flute’s head. We have to take care of it.
Every single time you take your flute out to play you should be giving it a look over. Touch the end cap just to make sure it’s not wiggling, but don’t twist it. If it is wiggling and twisty, then go ahead and just move it until it stops and leave it there. Be extra careful not to crank it down because that could also affect the tuning of the flute.
We could talk lots and lots on this subject, so keep all this info in mind and check on your flute end cap (but don’t twist it) often.