I have been teaching for more than 22 years (at the time of writing this article), and I have encountered this same problem of a stuck footjoint only twice. And, both times happened within the last 6 months to two of my students. But when a stuck footjoint happens, it’s usually really scary and not much fun.
When the flute is properly put together the joints are to be “twisted” into place. Make sure that you assemble your flute correctly. Not pushed straight on. The ends are actually “tapered” a bit. So, when pushed straight on or pulled straight off, the metal is forced to stretch just a bit. Over time, the joints become loose. (problem)
Here in this article, I’m going to address what happens when the footjoint has the opposite problem. It’s actually frozen on. I mean, completely stuck. A stuck foot joint is usually not movable at all. Sometimes a footjoint can be accidentally “cross-threaded”. I know it doesn’t look like there are threads on there, but there are. Believe me.
Both flutes were ruined because of a stuck footjoint!
BTW, if this hasn’t happened to you. Be glad. Very glad. It takes a good repairman to get it apart without breaking the flute.
I’ve had a couple of sad students who took their flutes to their dads, who then used the pliers (!) out and worked on it themselves. Bad move. Both flutes were ruined. One was a brand spankin’ new $4,000. flute. Yikes!
I believe in both cases above, a small piece of dirt or lint from the flute case was caught between the joints when the students were putting them together. Because the joints are supposed to be completely airtight, it just made it impossible to get off. There are important steps to keeping your flute and tenons spotless. Clean your flutes, friends. A lot.
Please, if this happens to you. Do not take the pliers to your flute.
How to get your footjoint unstuck:
If your footjoint becomes stuck, you will want to explore the following options:
Untwist instead of pulling straight off. If it moves that’s a good sign that you can continue working on it and it’ll work.
Hold the footjoint with your thumb either on the actual pinky key (E-flat key) or on Db key. Then use the palm of your hand and other fingers to aid in the twisting motion. Be careful not to grab and smoosh the mechanism.. This will cause other issues.
If it doesn’t move, you have the option of calling your flute technician to help you. The flute will have to be taken in to be manually fixed (or mailed all in one piece- oh dear) by someone who will not further damage your flute.
How to avoid a stuck footjoint:
Every single time you put your instrument together, take your special flute cloth (microfiber, silk etc) and carefully wipe the tenons. Keeping your flute clean is important since small fibers from your cloths or your case are usually the cause of a stuck footjoint.
When assembling your flute, knowing how to treat your footjoint is a very important step.
Make a habit of always twisting your footjoint on instead of pushing and pulling straight. This will protect the integrity, size, shape, etc. of both the tenon and the receiving box.
You may be wondering if you should use a special product for flute maintenance. The answer is ‘no’. Don’t ever use oil or cork grease on the footjoint tenon especially. Keep it impeccably clean, and that will help to prevent any binding or scratching. Oil or grease is sticky and attracts dirt and lint that will scratch the tenon.
So many things to learn about flute maintenance. It’s actually very easy once you know the basics and have used your flute enough times.
Thanks for learning more about your flute and specifically a stuck footjoint with us today!
40 thoughts on “Stuck Footjoint!”
ahhhhhh how great gotta go get a technician to fix it now. This flutes like rock hard it won’t move a single bit, at least it still works its just am left with a long piece of metal. I have no idea where to put this flute before I fix it. It will still work for lessons right even though the whole well not whole flute is stuck together, but I might have to skip like 2 lessons when I send my flute to get fixed since I have no idea how long it takes to fix this kind of problem
Oh I’m so sorry! Yes, the joints can get stuck. I’m not sure what happened, but I know that if you leave your flute together for multiple days it can literally ‘cement’ itself together because of the moisture that was put into it etc. It can be fixed in no time with a good technician. Take it in to the best technician you can find. Also watch out when twisting your foot joint on – you don’t want to cross thread it. If it seems it’s abnormally hard to twist on, then back it off and start over making sure it’s straight before twisting. Good luck! It’ll be fine after the technician has it. Rebecca
hi, i recently rented a flute from school. recently, i’ve been trying to practice but the headjoint wouldn’t twist on all the way. now, it won’t twist off. is it just that i didn’t clean well enough or is there an issue????
Hi Kaitlyn, the head joint won’t come off? Hmmmm….. it must be really dirty. Students who leave their flute assembled for days in a row will have the head joint cemented on there. You have to twist really hard to get it off. As long as you don’t grab and bend any keys while you do it, you should be okay. Find someone with strong hands to help you. Careful of the keys! Don’t grab them. Good luck!! Let us know how it goes. ~Rebecca
I’m a little better at it now but now we’re learning a song and it has like double notes on one!! How what are they called?
Glad you’re doing well learning, Jamie. Those ‘double notes on one’ are probably eighth notes? They’re fun!
In band class we’re learning “sawmill creek” and I’m having a little trouble do you have any videos on that song
Hi Jamie, Sawmill Creek sounds like a great one! I actually don’t have a video on this one, sorry. I can play it though. Fun Fun 🙂 ~Rebecca
As I was practicing my flute…sadly the foot joint got stuck to the body joint!!!!! My mom and I tried doing anything we could think of after searching it up on the Internet it still wouldn’t budge at all!!! What shouldo I do?!
Oh I’m so sorry, Chloe. It happens if you put it together and slightly ‘cross thread’ the foot joint. If you can’t get it to twist off (and not smash the keys), then you’ll need to take it to a repairman. He/she can do it safely for you. And, for future reference, you’ll want to be sure to keep your tendons (foot joint and body end parts) clean, clean. Also, be really careful to twist your foot joint on (instead of shoving straight on and off). If it doesn’t feel right when you are putting it together, then it’s probably not.. back it off and start again. Good luck!! ~Rebecca
DEAR REBECCA! I can’t play the note F I take lessons and online it doesn’t seem to help I can play Bf C D Ef G A Af but not F!!! What should I do I practice a lot any tips or tricks
Hi Cindy, are you having troubles with the low F? Try blowing softer, warmer air. Also, it’s possible you have a leak in one of your pads – that can prevent certain notes from playing… ~Rebecca
Hello Rebecca. Thank you for all you do. Today my daughter got her relatively new economical Cecileo flute’s foot joint stuck. It was tight from the beginning, but today it was jammed. Didn’t want to force anything, but me being the dad I am, had to try before going to a repair man. Took a wet cotton swab, dabbed a drop of dish washing soap and ‘coated’ the junction hoping the soap would penetrate and release. After few minutes of ‘soak’ tried to untwist – no go. Repeated the process and SUCCESS! I took a fine Scotch-Brite and in wet state lightly sanded the surface so now it goes in snug but not get stuck. Just sharing our experience.
I’m sorry this happened to your daughter’s flute. I’m hoping the flute seems to be working okay going forward. Keeping the foot joint very clean is the #1 way to keep it from getting stuck (aside from twisting it together without cross threading it). Good luck going forward. I’m so happy your daughter is playing flute. It’s the best! 🙂 Rebecca
This happened to my flute. I put it in the refrigerator for 1/2 hour. It wiggled just a bit when I took it out. Little by little I got it off.
Oh wow, Tucker this is an idea – I’m so glad you were able to get it off. I have some really good ways to make sure it never happens again. The first is to be sure to clean your flute well and keep it in its case each day (when you’re not playing). This is #1, but I know sometimes this happens. I’ll show you more inside the member’s area. Have a great week! Rebecca
Is there a free version or any other site or app you recommend? I don’t often like paying for online sites
Hi Rainy, if you’re already on my email list you’ll get free information every week including a link to the free silver level page. I send out lots of info. See you soon! (make sure you’re signed up – use the opt-in box on this page,.. you’ll need to use a “real” email address, and then check it often) ~Rebecca
This has nothing to do with the flute footjoint but I’ve been having a hard time in band playing in behind and only know three notes but they’re already playing songs I would practice but idk the notes
Hi Rainy, I’m glad you’re learning to play the flute. You can catch up really fast with the skills you need by joining the Gold Level membership here at Learn Flute Online. In fact, you’ll get so good you’ll pass everyone and be first chair in no time. Try it! ~Rebecca Here’s the link: https://learnfluteonline.com/gold-lessons/
HELPPPP!!! I can’t take my flute to the techniacian and the foot joint is stuck I twist twist twist and it won’t work and I wiggle and mine is a rented please anything else
Oh dear. I’m so so sorry. If you can’t get it off yourself (safely), then you’ll want to take it back to where you have it rented. They can get it off without damaging it for you, and probably won’t charge you much. It’s better to be safe… good luck!! ~Rebecca
I GOT IT OFF IM SOOOO HAPPY I JUST LEFT IT OVERNIGHT AND THE NEXT DAY IT CAME OFF EASILY! NO LUBRICANTS OR ANYTHING REQUIRED! ( I’m watching your YouTube flute tutorials )
Oh Whew. I’ve been wondering if you fixed it. Good job!
This just happened to me and no matter how hard i pulled pushed twisted or turned it would barley move finally my dad carefully prized apart the foot and the body finally to my relief it came apart but it left tiny scratches on the inside but it’s not ruined. I guess its lucky we didn’t use pliers it’s fine I haven’t played it yet i,am worried it might happen again but will try tomorrow as it’s to late now any way if you have any advice I would appreciate it thanks.x
Hey Storm, yes yes it’s a scary day when your foot joint gets stuck. We need to be so so careful as we twist those parts together. Always, always keep those tendons super clean. That will help so much. And, never force it together – this means it’s getting cross-threaded. Good luck! Glad you solved it yourself. Whew. ~Rebecca
Hey. I had that happen, but after a while of twisting it a little, I eventually got it off! Make sure never to set it on the floor and press down on it to “tighten it”. This could lead to bending.
Hey Marina, you’re right- we should never force the foot joint on … or off. Keep it clean, un-dented, and always always twist carefully. Remember there are ‘tendons’ like on a jar (even if you can’t see them). Cross-threading is a verrrrrry bad thing for us flutists. Great comment! ~Rebecca
Help! I have a student loaned flute that I have been using for 3 months now from switching from an oboe, and I follow all guidelines, procedures, abd clean my flute almost everyday, but my foot joint still gets stuck and is almost impossible to take apart! What shall I do?
Hi Emmalyn, it’s possible that you’re slightly ‘cross threading’ it each time you twist it on? There’s definitely a knack to the correct feeling while you assemble that footjoint. I hope it doesn’t keep happening. If it’s a used flute, it may be dented or stretched funny. Take it to a technician and see what they say. I’m glad you’re concerned. Good luck, continue cleaning it and working towards making it smooth as you twist it on. ~Rebecca
This is my second year playing flute and I’ve cleaned it every day and today my flute foot joint got stuck. Like it won’t com off at all!
Hi Alyssa, I’m so sorry. It is not good at all to get your foot joint stuck. I hope you have a good technician close by to help you with it. The secret is to remember that it’s like a jar with threads/tendons. You have to get it nice and straight before you twist or it just gets cemented on there. Let us know you’re okay and that you got it fixed. ~Rebecca
I’ve been playing the flute for a couple months now and a while back it started getting harder to assemble. Now the foot joint is COMPLETLY stuck… I have been cleaning it regularly and i tried a lot to take it off and i don’t know what to do now. Is there anything else you can do to take it aparat?
Oh dear Oh dear. It’s a super hard fix depending on how ‘stuck’ it is. The number one best solution is to take it to a technician quickly and have him/her fix it. I hope you live near a city where you can have it done properly. This happens rarely, and once you realize and remember that there are ‘threads’ just like on a jam jar you learn how to feel carefully as you twist it together each day. Good luck!! Rebecca
I just bought a student flute yesterday & it’s stuck. I hope you can help!
Uh oh! That foot joint can get ‘cross threaded’ if you don’t put it on just right. Remember to never force it on at all… and you have to twist. Keep it clean clean clean on the foot joint side and also the tendon side of the body. Never twist it on if it’s not perfectly straight first. If I could reach through the computer and get it off for you I totally would. Can you put your thumb on the pinky key and twist it off without smashing the keys? Or, you can just take it right in to a flute technician (to be safe) and have them do it for you. Good luck! Keep me posted for sure. ~Rebecca
I was practicing my flute for school, and the head joint got stuck. It is impossible to get it out!! I have been trying so hard. My band teachers are kind of strict, and one gets annoyed when I ask for flute cream. What do you suggest I do? -Hannah
head joint is stuck? Twist Twist Twist. You’ll need to keep your flute really clean so it won’t ever get stuck like this. I don’t really recommend ‘creams’ usually. I really hope you can get it taken care of. Clean it really good – especially those parts that fit together. Keep us posted. Wishing you luck today. 🙂
i just bought my premier flute yesterday and i v been tryin to practice with my little previous knowledge about flute. i descovered that my lower c note desnt sound at all sometimes sounds blunt when runnng the c majour scale. is it d flute or is it jst me
Hi Oyeniyi, congratulations on your new flute! The first octave C is very difficult for beginners or flutes that aren’t in excellent condition. There are tricks you can do to make them come out. Try this; start on low G and slur your way down G, F, E, D, and then C. Does it pop out? Also, be sure you are using great posture since the lowest notes don’t come out if you are blowing on an angle too much. You need to blow more ‘across’ the flute for them, rather than ‘down’. Hope this helps. See you again soon. ~ Rebecca