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.  Popped spring on flute

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.

Rebecca Fuller Flute TeacherRebecca Fuller



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  • Danica Lorraine Tumanda

    Reply Reply April 11, 2015

    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

    • RebeccaFuller

      Reply Reply April 13, 2015

      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:

  • Irissa Reid

    Reply Reply January 12, 2016

    When I fix the spring it will still pop what is wrong with my flute

    • RebeccaFuller

      Reply Reply January 13, 2016

      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

  • Olivia Lewis

    Reply Reply January 10, 2017

    Hi Rebecca! I can’t get my flute to play an F or F#. I only have a problem in the lowest 2 octaves.

  • Joline

    Reply Reply April 7, 2017

    I can’t play my F because one of the keys is not sealed completely can u teach me how to fix it?

    • RebeccaFuller

      Reply Reply April 11, 2017

      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

  • Kristin Paxinos

    Reply Reply July 22, 2017

    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?

    • RebeccaFuller

      Reply Reply July 24, 2017

      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

  • Felicia

    Reply Reply September 20, 2017

    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!!!!

    • RebeccaFuller

      Reply Reply September 20, 2017

      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

  • Mariah

    Reply Reply November 25, 2017

    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.

    • RebeccaFuller

      Reply Reply November 27, 2017

      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

  • Joe

    Reply Reply March 5, 2018

    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?

    • RebeccaFuller

      Reply Reply March 9, 2018

      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

      • Joe

        Reply Reply March 9, 2018

        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!

        • RebeccaFuller

          Reply Reply March 14, 2018

          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

  • derp

    Reply Reply May 28, 2018

    i can only play b flat and c. when i try to play d or the other notes it dosent make a sound. D:

    • RebeccaFuller

      Reply Reply June 7, 2018

      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

  • Heather

    Reply Reply August 16, 2018

    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.

    • RebeccaFuller

      Reply Reply August 23, 2018

      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

  • Jamie Howard

    Reply Reply August 22, 2018

    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?

    • RebeccaFuller

      Reply Reply August 23, 2018

      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

  • Qistina Izahar

    Reply Reply November 15, 2018

    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.

    • RebeccaFuller

      Reply Reply November 15, 2018

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

  • Mariah

    Reply Reply November 28, 2018

    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!

    • RebeccaFuller

      Reply Reply November 28, 2018

      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

  • Patricia

    Reply Reply December 10, 2018

    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.

    • RebeccaFuller

      Reply Reply December 15, 2018

      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

  • Lola

    Reply Reply January 9, 2019

    Hi,lately my flute has not been playing D. All my other notes work just fine. When i try to play D though, it sounds really “airy”.Any idea on whats wrong?

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