My Flute Won’t Play – Popped Springs

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My Flute Won't Play Popped Springs

I have an awesome video demonstration of this article in Module 4:

Oh No!

I immediately say, “check for popped springs.”


When a student tells me that “my flute won’t play”, I immediately say “check for popped springs”.

They always say, “Springs?”

Your flute has some thin, tiny little metal sticks that we call springs.

Most of the keys on your flute are open all of the time unless pushed down by one of your fingers.  Occasionally (sometimes never) one of these little springs will pop out from under its spring cradle and create the problem of its connected key to be laying down when it is not supposed to be.

When a spring is popped, your flute will sound terrible.  Most of the notes will give the same airy tone no matter how many keys you have pressed.  It also causes panic.  Don’t worry.  The video on your flute in Module 4 gives a quick demonstration on how to fix this problem.  It’s easy and painless.

You’ll just have to get your eagle eyes on and search your flute for a spring that is out of place.  Then, using an eyeglass-type of mini screwdriver (or a long fingernail) hook it back in its cradle.

You’ll be good as new within moments.

There.  All better.


 If your still having problems leave a comment below and I will help you figure it out.

Have any questions? Comment below and I will help you out.

Rebecca FullerRebecca Fuller
Get Flutie with us! Learn and enjoy every musical minute.

63 thoughts on “My Flute Won’t Play – Popped Springs”

  1. So a couple days ago my flute wouldn’t play D, Eflat, F, and kind of G. I looked around for popped springs and I fixed one but ended up making it worse and then 3 of my keys were lying down. I checked again and there are currently no popped springs (that I can see but I checked EVERYWHERE) what should I do?

    1. Hi Rachel,
      I’m sorry your flute is having difficulties right now, that is so frustrating. It sounds like the “fix” you did with one spring was not a fix. I would suggest changing it back so the 3 keys are not lying down anymore. If you are still having issues, I would suggest taking your flute to a flute technician because the issue may be beyond a popped spring. Best of luck with your flute. -Rebecca

  2. Hi! I recently got my flute repadded and cleaned by my tutor and I suddenly could not play any note lower than G (and G is also a hit or miss). I have been playing on and off for only a few years but have never encountered a problem like this until now, although my tutor himself could play my flute fairly well. Do you have any idea about what could be the problem?

    1. Hi Aleia, Oh, I’m so sorry you’re having troubles with your flute. I’m wondering if your G#/Ab key is bent a little bit and keeping the keys surrounding it from closing all the way. Check that first, and then definitely call your flute technician to see if they will take it back and work on it asap. Also, be sure that you’re using a true qualified technician – there’s a big difference between people who say they can work on a flute and someone who is highly trained and certified. *it sounds like you have a weak spot on the key(s) just lower from the G key. Good luck I hope you get it taken care of really soon. Thanks for the question here. -Rebecca

  3. Hi, my flute has not been working recently. I checked for popped springs, but there seemed not to be any. When I play the B-flat Chromatic Scale, my D, E-flat, and F notes don’t work, but all of the other notes do. The three notes that don’t work sound the same and have an airy tone. Please help, as I need to submit an assignment for school.

    1. Hi Kevin,
      I’m so sorry your flute is having troubles. If you have checked for popped springs and are not able to find any, I would suggest taking your flute to a technician. It may be that one of your flute pads is damaged or something is wrong with the inside mechanism. I hope your teacher will be understanding for your assignment. Best of luck! -Rebecca

  4. Hi! I have two flutes and i was trying to play a d and i checked the springs, all of them are ok and ive pressed down hard a few times and it still wont work.

    1. Hi Aimi, I’m glad you are aware of the problem. If you are trying to play the second octave D, this note naturally needs more air than the other notes. Try blowing more air into your flute while playing that note and you will find it is less airy sounding. If this doesn’t work, I would suggest taking your flute to a flute technician to get it checked out professionally. Good luck! -Rebecca

  5. hi, i just received a flute from my aunt who hasn’t played it in 30 years or so. i have been playing for over 5 years, and wanted to try it to check the condition. many of the notes, including g, e, f, and more sound “airy” or just come out as a different note. i’ve experienced this before on my previous flute, and it was a popped spring, so my first instinct was to check the springs. i didn’t find any popped springs, so i was just wondering if it was a problem that should be taken to a musical professional or not.

    1. Hi Klara, how wonderful that you were gifted a flute! I would definitely recommend taking your flute to a technician as this flute hasn’t been played for 30 years. Many times the flute pads are simply too old and need to be replaced in order for them to seal properly when you are playing. Be sure you take your flute to a real professional who knows about flutes and their mechanisms. Good luck! -Rebecca

  6. I was in band class a couple days ago and I was swinging it around and I dropped it on a metal drum and when I tried to play it, the d, e, f, and g notes wouldn’t play. I took my flute to my band teacher and he fixed it for me, but today I wanted to show my parents my new song and when I tried to, my d, e, f, and slightly g wouldn’t play.

    1. Hi Giavanna,
      Popped springs can happen very easily. I would first check for a popped spring that you can easily put back in place on your own. If you don’t see any springs out of place, I would suggest taking your flute to visit a flute technician. That way you can be sure your flute is better after it’s tumble on the drum. Good luck! -Rebecca

  7. My F, G, and E have no or a slightly airy sound on my flute. I have been playing for 2 years. I played these notes just fine 2 minutes before when I was playing my warm-up. I looked and see no popped strings, what do I do?

    1. Hi Mia, it sounds like either a weak spring or perhaps you’ve sprung a leak. Try pressing the keys hard 3 or 4 times and then see if they sound better after that. If not, it’s possible you need to take your flute to a technician. They can get you fixed up, I’m sure. Good luck! Rebecca

  8. Hi,

    I’ve been playing for many years and I have a relatively new flute but but suddenly it won’t play any note below low A. It’s not a problem with me knowing how to play it because the lower notes are fine on my second flute. Any ideas on what might be the cause and if it’s an easy fix before I look into a technician to repair? Thanks!

    1. Hi Elizabeth, it’s possible you have a leak on your G key – this would be the reasoning for things not sounding right below the A. This is just one possibility – do you have a flute technician you can take your flute to? It just needs a quick check-up and you’ll be back in business. 🙂 Rebecca

  9. Hi. I have been having a problem with my flute recently. My d flat is not playing right. It comes out like a weak c and most of the time it doesn’t seem to matter if I am holding down my right pinky on any of my foot joint keys. I don’t know what the problem is. Any help would be appreciated.

    1. Hi Jalen, it sounds like your first key(s) are sagging? This could be why it kind of sounds like a C instead of a C# fully. Check to see if the keys of your left hand (and the ones above them that you don’t press on) are working properly. When you press the C key, what happens? What happens when you let go of the C key? Check these things and schedule time with a flute technician in your area. Great question! Rebecca

  10. HI – I wonder if you can help me with this? So 2 days ago I had a flute class with my teacher. My flute was working fine that day – but on the next day, when I was warming up for practice, the pitch of note D came out like a D sharp. I play fairly well and have good technique – so this wasn’t due to my playing. Is my flute broken, did a spring pop as you said? How would I fix this – I don’t have the confidence to fix it myself and don’t have the materials to do so.

    1. Hi Tess, it sounds like perhaps your Right Hand pinky key could be leaking. This will sharpen your D quite a bit. It could be something else, but this is a good guess for the moment. I wouldn’t suggest trying to fix it yourself, but you can get really close up and see if anything seems to be sticking out strangely (like a screw) – don’t mess with the screws but you can see if something seems obviously poking out. I always suggest having a flute technician look at your instrument to be sure it’s all in order (you can save a lot of time and heartache by allowing a flute tech to take care of the problem). Good luck! I hope you get it fixed quickly. Rebecca

  11. Hi Rebecca🙂
    So, my G and Ab’s sometimes don’t work. Its kind of weird too, because if I play my scale it will sound normal but whenever I jump from a higher note to one of them I am not able to play the note and it becomes airy. I also cannot find where the problem is.
    Any thoughts on what might be wrong?😕

    1. Hi Tessa, hmmmm… I’m not sure, but it could be an issue inside the mechanism. If you have some time to have a technician take a look, it would be a great idea. If your flute is older it’s especially time. It’s so much fun to play on a flute that is in good repair, for sure. 🙂 Rebecca

  12. Hi, my F will not work, I do not have long nails, and I don’t have the right screwdriver. I also do not have money to get one. What do I do Rebecca?

    1. Hi Sierra, try using something small and thin like a pen or a toothpick. It’s simple once you get the hang of finding and pressing in that little rod. Good luck! – Rebecca

  13. Hi so today in band my flute sounded fine until we were practicing a part and then I couldn’t play an Eb, so I told my teacher and he said to play the whole Bb scale and I did. No note would come out at the right pitch except for C (not really but close). It would mean so much if you helped me because I have a concert in 2 weeks.

    1. Yes, Patricia- it sounds like you popped a spring. It’s a very simple fix you can do yourself. Did you watch the video #1 in module 4 of the Silver level? It shows you exactly how to fix it. You’ll be working fine within just seconds. 🙂 ~Rebecca

      1. Hi, My e flat key is not popping up. I tried connecting it back the spring but it still will not work. is something wrong with the spring not popping the buttons back up ?

        1. Oh, I’m sorry to hear that you are having troubles with that E flat key, but you came to the right place! There are probably two springs popped- or it’s possible that something is broken inside the rod and it might need to see a technician. I wish you the very best luck in getting your flute back into tiptop shape, I can’t wait for you to start playing again! Thanks for the comment, Rebecca

          1. The spring seems to be bent. even after I connect it back, it will go back off again
            what should I do ?

          2. Oh I’m sorry that your spring is bend too much to stay connected. You’ll need to take it to a flute technician and have it fixed. They can put a new one on there so it doesn’t happen again. Good luck! Rebecca

          3. I got a new flute sometime in August. Recently my flute has stopped playing F and I checked the springs but there doesn’t seem to be anything wrong with them. I am able to play other notes but F never seems to come out. What should I do?

          4. Hi! When you’re brand new the B and the A seem to be the easiest notes.. then as you walk down to the G and the F you come to a new positioning on the flute. No worries, you can do it. You may be overflowing or have your head joint tipped in towards your face. Roll out and blow a bit softer with warm air. Did it work? Be sure to join us as a Level Member here at Learn Flute Online so I can help you super effectively and quickly. Lots of lessons waiting here for you. Just click the “Get Started Now” button on this page or the main page of this website. Can’t wait to help you more. See you soon! Rebecca

  14. Hi. My flute keys F and G are not sounding right like they sound lower than usual. My band teacher tightened a screw on my flute and that fixed the problem with the F key but now the G key is not working. I don’t see any loose screws.. Please help!

    1. Hi Mariah, so sorry! Yes, your band teacher tightened the screw too much. It’s a tricky trick to get the screws just right – usually when you adjust one it messes up the other ones. The only way to fix it is to get it to a flute technician who knows what they are doing. It’s probably an easy fix though. Hope you get it fixed soon! ~Rebecca

  15. Hi, I can’t play my Db lower octave. One of the springs popped out. Can it be fixed? Which is the last spring on the right of the flute.

    1. Yes, Qistina- you can put that popped spring right back under its cradle. All should be well after you fix it. 🙂 ~Rebecca

  16. Hi!
    I have been playing Piccolo for 4 years and I have been unable to play an F#. The only problem I can detect is the key won’t come down. There is no popped springs and the pad is in tact. How do I fix this?

    1. Hi Jamie, thanks for the question. Perhaps your piccolo is older and has gummed up stuff inside the rods (?) That would be my best guess if the springs all seem okay. Have a technician look at it. Good luck! Hope you get it fixed soon. 🙂 ~Rebecca

  17. I bought a used flute excited to teach my kids multiple instruments only to come home and find each note involving my eight first finger will not play. I’ve checked for springs and leaks. Hopefulbi can fix this myself. Although I know it needs to be replaced.

    1. Oh man. This is a definite bummer, Heather. I’m so sorry. I hope you can find a good technician quick so you and your kids can get on the ‘band wagon’ again. Let us know how it goes! ~Rebecca

    1. Hmmmm. Uh Oh. Are you positive you have your fingers on the right keys? If so, then you definitely have a popped spring. I hope you watched this video and have now fixed it. 🙂 ~Rebecca

  18. Hi-
    My daughter can’t play an F on her flute but can play it fine on her mother’s flute. However, her mother can play it fine on both flutes. Maybe the pads are worn and her mother presses harder?

    1. Hi Joe, this is a really great question. It’s true that a more experienced player can make ‘less than perfect’ flutes still sing. I’d definitely have the flute checked. But, if your daughter is brand new to playing then you can just help her practice and experiment with small details (as given in my lessons here), and I think she’ll be fine. 🙂 ~Rebecca

      1. I’m sorry. I wasn’t clear. My daughter has been playing about six months, so she’s a beginner but not brand new, and she could play an F on her flute until about a week ago. I also should have said that “her” flute is a hand me down from her mother that is about ten years old, though lightly used. It’s a Jupiter I bought her as a Christmas gift to replace her student flute from high school that was falling apart.
        Anyway, my daughter took it in to her band teacher. She says he “made a few adjustments” and now it works fine. Just last night she was playing Fs with ease. Not sure what he did, though. Thanks so much!

        1. Hey Joe, I’m glad you got the flute working again. Whew. I wonder if there was a loose screw or something.. Tell your daughter I’m really glad she’s playing the flute. So fun. 🙂 ~Rebecca

  19. Hello, so I can play my a,b,c,g perfectly fine but the other notes sound airy and bad but if I press the keys hard it sound kinda okay. If it’s something you can do at home please let me know because to get it repaired by a professional is in the city next to me. Thanks in advance.

    1. Hi Mariah, if the notes improve when you press harder, it’s because your pads are poofed or cracked etc. You’re probably due for a re-pad (not cheap). Weigh the options, if your flute is really old and of low quality to start with, you may enjoy a new one. 🙂 Get it checked by a professional and see what they say. Good luck! ~Rebecca

  20. Hi, Ive had my flute for a year now. Ive been playing for 5 years. My F, G ,and A keys are not working at all. I do the B (scale). C. D. E but when it hits F… It sounds to loud. I checled all springs and screws and tuned it/ cleaned it. Still nothing.. There is NO flute technician around me whatsoever and I have a homecoming parade in 3 days ? i miss my flute sound so much! HELP ME!!!!

    1. Hi Felicia, I’m so sorry about your flute problems today. Check these two things: *popped spring… look really closely. You may have missed one when you were looking. They’re really hard to see. Also, it’s possible your Ab key (the pinky one that pokes out on left hand) is bent and causing the key that it closes to not actually be ‘closed’. If this is true and it’s just a teeny bit bent, you can bend it back yourself. But be careful! Show it to your band teacher and see what he/she sees. Good luck!! ~Rebecca

  21. Kristin Paxinos

    I had a Student come in tonight and f#, f, e, eb, and d wont play on her flute in both the middle and low octave. Every other note plays fine. All the springs look good, there are no screws that seem loose, and the keys look to be sealing just fine. Any thoughts?

    1. Have you checked the ‘other keys/pads’? Meaning, the ones that are supposed to lay flat when you actually press a different key.. finger the notes in question and watch for a similar key – there’s probably one leaking – get a friend to press on each key as you finger the F (also try the thumb keys) – you may find the culprit. My guess is that the G#/Ab key is bent which is causing the key to be slightly open instead of closed on those notes. (this one opens when you press the Left Hand pinky lever). Check it. Good luck!! 🙂 ~Rebecca

    1. Hi Joline, I’m so sorry your flute is leaking. 🙁 I suggest you take your flute to a technician who will help you get it fixed up quickly. It’s difficult to give instructions for this fix online because it depends on where exactly the issue is coming from.. Good luck!! ~Rebecca

    1. Sounds like your flute is kind of having a hard week, eh ? If your springs just keep popping by themselves, you’ll need to take it to a flute technician who will fix it up for you in a jiffy. No worries – this is something a good tech knows how to do. 🙂 Rebecca

  22. Danica Lorraine Tumanda

    Hi Rebecca
    Thanks for this one it helped me last summer. 🙂 But I have another problem I want to ask your opinion with.
    I’m a flute player on our school band for almost 3 years now and I have problems with the flutes our school have. Some of the flutes doesn’t play the right tone/pitch, like F and F#. We’ve sent it to a specialist already, twice, and the same problem still occurs even after the repair. and i have know idea at all what really is the problem. It would be great if you could help me with this. thanks Rebecca

    1. Hi Danica, I’d love to help you. Some thoughts on the school flutes; I think I’d only have to hear or see one of these flutes for about 2 seconds to diagnose the issue. Perhaps they’re sending them to a trumpet specialist instead of a flute technician? -or- are your sure you are using the correct fingerings? -or- do you perhaps have popped springs? Feel free to play for me at this link:

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