How do you avoid losing your plugs?
Glue them in place?
Pray to flute goddesses?
Or just buy them by the dozen so that there are always plenty at hand to re-plug when needed?
I keep losing my plugs. Or I'd better say that they just disappear. Like swallowed by a tiny local black hole.
True is that these little things are one of the most invisible pieces of matter in this earth, but even so...
When they decide to leave my flute they are gone forever. No farewell, leaving no trace at all, no hint of their final destination.
Except for once, the most strange of all:
The first time I lost one (I thought I had lost it) was the G plug. I did not care much because it is the one I need less. But I was curious about what had happened to him.
Two full years elapsed without any sign of it and one day it reappeared. All the sudden and without warning, my wife found it sitting at a kitchen corner. She did not know what it was, but she has the very healthy habit of assigning any strange object to be my suspected property. She was right that time.
The strange thing is that it was not fount at the most remote and hidden corner, no, it was just besides the fridge. An I can assure that the kitchen is cleaned very regularly and thoroughly.
It is simply impossible that the tiny plug could have survived two years of vacuum cleaning, wet mopping and an obsessively cleaning wife. No way!
But there it was and I recovered my first lost plug (the only one I could recover since then). So what had happened to it?
I mentioned tiny local black holes, did I? May the one that had captured my plug evaporated, as has been propounded by Stephen Hawkins.
I suppose he sure knows what's he's talking about, yes, so I only have to wait long enough for the others to do the same.
Or better, buying a full bag of plugs would be more practical.
i have that, they just pop out and then i find them about 2 weeks later in my case or sandwiched in a book or something, eventually i gave up with them, because after awhile i got sick of them popping out, its weird that it turned up like that hough lol and not in the mop bucket or something. i found one in my clarinet case once aswell so them going missing is nothing new. you could get the ones that have a slightly wider bit that sticks out the hole (like yamaha ones i think they are)
I remember my first flute came with those... clear little plastic plugs for each of the holes. I don't remember losing any, though. When I did take them off I remember carving my girlfriend's name in them one letter each so I could remember in which order they went, even though they were all the same size and it didn't matter. Yes, I'm that anal. The Gemeinhardt plugs fit their flutes well and they never popped out on me. If they fit your flute, try them, see if they last. And hmm, why do you still play with them in? Or do you only leave them in while the flute is in the case? Or am I completely mixing flute plugs up with another accessory?
My plugs never popped out. They always disappear and I'm not joking. But there is a rational reason and it is that in some unknown way, I push them deeper and deeper with the finger tip so eventually they fall off from the open end of the instrument. Into the black holes, maybe.
All the plugs I have installed on the instrument are the originals that came with the Yamaha from factory (or from the dealer, I do not know).
I wish I could play without them, but I cannot. Some holes are manageable but others are impossible (The D hole for example). I bought an open hole flute because I wanted to correct my hands/fingers position by forcing me to close the holes correctly, buy it has been beyond my possibilities so far. So I concentrate on other aspects of my technique that are more urgent and important.
Please note that I do not want to reopen the cyclic debate on the advantages or disadvantages of open holes and the like. Simply put, I cannot play without some plugs and this is more important that the possible advantages of taking them out.
The idea of painting their side with silver marker seems interesting. I may give it a try (after I buy new plugs).
If there could be possible objections to this idea, it would be the right place and time to post them now.
If one absolutely has to plug and they don't have them, it is possible to use vinyl tape....any non-porous tape for that matter can be used. I have found clear vinyl electrical tape locally and so it isn't so objectionable for the lack of color.
Of course, as a flutist/teacher I'd recommend playing fairly slowly a descending/ascending chromatic scale covering the range of the flute as a daily exercise without plugs for finding the holes, for a tone experience, for hand position and for the embouchure.
Here in the US, there is a vortex of some kind that takes socks. It is probably somewhere near the electric clothes-dryers that are so common here. Many times when you put a pair of socks in the wash together, the laundry comes out missing one of the socks. So maybe you need to make sure your flute is not kept anywhere near the laundry room...
Jose-Luis, I think you need a different style plug.
The clear (hard) plastic ones come with open hole flutes in this country. Gemeinhardt plugs do not fit in a Yamaha flute (from experience-they're too big). Given this info, I would expect that Yamaha plugs wouldn't fit a Gemeinhardt-they'd fall out. Anyway, if you're losing the HARD plastic plugs, you aren't likely pushing them through the open hole because they have a lip, so a cross-section looks like a T with two downstrokes:
..l .. l
I had to play with the periods and spacing to get my 'diagram' to come out- I hope it works once it is posted
Cork works very well for some, but generally is custom-fitted by a technician. I am thinking that the process might not be too technically difficult- Micron, do you do this, and can the 'average' handy person do this themselves without messing up adjustment, and with what basic tools??
Cork WILL eventually develop a leak, when it shrinks.
And cork can be pushed through the hole.
I've seen a lot of the clear-silicon SOFT plastic plugs, and I think this must be what you have. They could be pushed through the hole.
You might try some Powell Plug-O's. I have them on my own flute. They are silver-colored metal with a lip that prevents them pushing through the hole, and they have a plastic/rubber seal so they don't leak. They're expensive, but they do NOT come out. Apparently they won't fit some flutes, namely Miyazawas made after 1996, but they fit my Yamaha 881's keys, and the Yamaha 684H (ame model as your flute, Jose Luis) that my friend has, just fine: http://www.allflutesplus.co.uk/shop/product.php?productid=18896
As a side note, when I was given a Gemeinhardt open-hole flute as a graduation present, I had no idea there was such a thing as plugs. The flute had a much more responsive sound than my old Armstrong 104, so I just kept at it until I could play it. I NEVER got to the point where the footjoint notes came out well, though even now I can play reasonably well sans plugs. However, I will hurt my hands that way (even if it's transient discomfort and not a permanent injury). I won't ever have speed in the lowest range(footjoint C# and C, and B should I have a B-foot). So...while I do think you could learn to play moderately well sans plugs, I personally don't think it's worthwhile.
What about wooden plugs? I have seen a few here and there, but have never tried them. Have they not been mentioned on here because they are not a good material for a plug, or are they just rare? ( I am referring to the wooden plugs you can purchase, and they have a lip)
Sorry if my post is hard to understand, my head is a little jumbled after a day of English and math exams.
Not a bad idea. Another 2-3K US$ required, only problem.
The plugs that came with the instrument are silicon type, white-translucent type. They seem to fit well.
My hands are not abnormally oily, IMO, but it is also true I did not wash them prior to plugging.
I believe their is a weird effect (no black holes or wormholes or nothing of the sort this time):
The plug that keeps sliding in until it falls from the open side of the flute is the one I need less (it is the A plug, not the G as wrongly I said before).
It is not a benevolent Nature that protects my imperfect playing technique, but it is probably a pneumatic effect. I mean, my fingertips, though thin, are normally sized so that I cannot push the plug too deep, even if I wanted.
But as this hole is the one I close better with the bare finger (that is why I do not really need the plug there) it could well be that I am pumping air each time I close the key and this is pushing-in the plug, little by little.
I am practising faster than ever these days and also I trill on the A frequently, this could be the reason.
Cork or wood plugs could be a solution but I am not on the mood to start fabricating them and I think I would not like their look.
I could try Kraus, if I do not find oversize plugs locally. Thank you for the reference.
"But it is a USA "disease" that has unfortunately spread to other countries, as often happens. Gotta love those Americans, the good and the bad. :-)"
haha! Nice hip shot Micron.....problem is that open holes in woodwinds goes back to the Bonnevilles, the Riev , the Lots, even some old Bavarian named T. Boehm. If anything, one could blame the performers for their preferences... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nhYRaPNDJSs
.......which may or may not be a result of some diseased american way of thinking.
well, really it was not a bad idea actually. One of the biggest things that I'd have to think that Micron would agree with me on is that so many choices that we make regarding choosing flutes are really "fashion decisions" whether or not we realize it. The industry enjoys it.......all the way to the bank.
So, for me changing something simple like the G# key mechanism involves a bit of relearning. For someone who has what we'd call the "modern system" so imprinted into their brain cells and nervous system after 46 years of practice it would be a reluctant move.
Of course if you are a real purist and you want open holes then go for a Traverso. Their tone is less harsh on the ears than the Boehm's metal ones but their intonation in the hands of an insensitive player makes the listeners reel back in their chairs and cringe in agony.