How to tune a flute

Table of contents:

How to tune a flute
How to tune a flute

No musical instrument sounds good if it's out of tune. You may not know it, but flutes can go out of tune just like most other instruments. Also, you may not know how to tune your flute when your music instructor or band teacher tells you that it is out of tune. A crucial part of learning to play the instrument is making sure it is in tune. Learn to recognize when your flute is out of tune and correct the problem by playing it.


Part 1 of 3: Knowing the Tuning of a Flute

Tune a Flute Step 1
Tune a Flute Step 1

Step 1. Learn the terms

A flute that is not in tune can be high or low. Recognizing this will determine how you will re-tune the instrument.

  • "Low" refers to a pitch that is slightly lower than it should be. While a note can be played in flat (B vs. B flat), in this case it's a much smaller difference - just a slight drop in pitch.
  • "High" means that the pitch is slightly higher than it is supposed to be. While a note may be sharp (if vs. B flat), in this case it's a much smaller difference: just a slight increase in pitch.
Tune a Flute Step 2
Tune a Flute Step 2

Step 2. Determine how the size of your flute affects the melody

When it comes to flutes, the length of the instrument's body is a key factor in determining whether it reproduces a particular tone in the melody.

The longer the flute, the lower its pitch trend. As you adjust the length of the flute through changes in the head fit, you will alter its overall tone

Tune a Flute Step 3
Tune a Flute Step 3

Step 3. Understand the two ways to change the tuning of a flute

This is a complex instrument and its tuning differs significantly from the process required for others. Generally, the only modification a musician must make is with the position of the head itself. If the scale is not in tune on its own throughout the instrument, it may be necessary to replace it or change the head plug. If possible, do not do it yourself (as described in step 3) and have it repaired by a professional.

  • The flute crown is the cap located at the end closest to the lip plate and the hole in the mouthpiece. The crown is similar to a small metal cap, but is actually attached to a plug that is inside the socket of the head. Once you adjust it, leave it in place. Do not tighten or loosen it again.
  • The head socket is the first of the three joints that hold the body of the flute together. Includes lip plate.

    Tune a Flute Step 4
    Tune a Flute Step 4
  • Generally, the bands will present at 4 = 440; most flutes are designed to play at these (and a small range of other) pitch levels.
  • After tuning in A using a chromatic tuner, play a midrange note (like G) without looking at the tuner. Once you've set the note, check it with the tuner to make sure you're not playing at high or low levels. If you play that way, the head plug might require replacement or adjustment.

Part 2 of 3: Fitting the Head Plug Assembly on Your Flute

Tune a Flute Step 5
Tune a Flute Step 5

Step 1. Measure where the plug is right now

The plug attached to the crown is intended to be placed in a particular place that varies depending on the manufacturer and the tone of the flute. If not in place, the flute will compensate and detune itself throughout its range. The flute cleaning rod has a handy measuring line to show you that the plug is in place.

Insert the marked side of the cleaning rod into the end of the flute opposite the crown and push it all the way through the flute until it gently touches the plug at the other end. You should see a mark on the cleaning rod through the hole in the mouthpiece

Tune a Flute Step 6
Tune a Flute Step 6

Step 2. Understand what measurement means

The location of the check mark on the cleaning rod when inserted into the flute tells you if the position of the plug is responsible for your flute's scale being inconsistent and out of tune.

  • If the mark on the cleaning rod is in the exact center of the hole in the mouthpiece, then the location of the plug is not the issue and you don't need to adjust the crown. Go to the next step below titled "Tuning a Flute: Adjusting the Head Fit".
  • If the check mark is too far to the left (ie in the direction of the crown), the tube is too long. If it is too far to the right, it means that the cap is screwed down too far, causing the tube to be too short.
Tune a Flute Step 7
Tune a Flute Step 7

Step 3. Adjust a plug that is not centered

If the plug is not centered, it is necessary to tune the flute by adjusting the plug in the correct position. Be aware that this is a delicate and difficult procedure, and if not done correctly, you can damage the flute. Ask your music teacher or instrument repair shop to adjust it for you if you are not absolutely sure you can do it correctly.

  • Always measure the location of the plug before making the adjustment to make sure if the flute tube needs to be lengthened or shortened.
  • To shorten a flute tube and fix a low-pitched one, turn the crown slightly counterclockwise. Very gently push the crown into the tube to move the plug away from the crown and shorten the tube of the flute. Just push in until the crown is against the head socket, and do not push further if there is resistance.
  • To lengthen the tube of a flute and fix a high-pitched one, turn the crown slightly clockwise. Turning the crown that way will cause the cap to move, so don't pull on it. Check the position with the cleaning stick to make sure it is now in the correct place.
Tune a Flute Step 8
Tune a Flute Step 8

Step 4. Leave the cap in place

Once you have made the necessary adjustments to the cap, do not move it. It should remain in place until it is repaired by a specialized person.

  • The cap will always be in the correct position when you buy a new instrument, so there is no need to modify it.
  • Twisting the crown tightens and loosen the plug unnecessarily, and it can damage your flute, not to mention altering its pitch. The socket of the flute head is not cylindrical, it is a parabolic cone, if you pull it in the wrong direction you can irreparably damage the shape of the hole.

Part 3 of 3: Tuning a Flute: Adjusting the Headstock Fit

Tune a Flute Step 9
Tune a Flute Step 9

Step 1. Adjust the head socket every time you play

The head needs to be adjusted every time you play.

The length of the flute head socket can be varied from 3 to 15mm for optimal tone. It will vary each time you play depending on factors such as the temperature in the room and the pitch of other instruments you may be playing with. To check the pitch, first play a with your tuner

Tune a Flute Step 10
Tune a Flute Step 10

Step 2. Increase the tone

If you play in a low key, you should raise it by pushing the head socket and lowering the flute tube.

  • Holding the body of the flute firmly with one hand on the keys, push gently but firmly on the head as much as necessary. Use a slight twisting motion to do this. Start by pushing it a bit and then check the la again before increasing the intensity.
  • Use your chromatic tuner to make sure you play in the correct key. If it's still low, push it a little more.

Step 3. Lower the tone

If you play a high pitch, you should lower it by removing the head socket and lengthening the flute tube.

  • Holding the body of the flute firmly in one hand, gently and gently pull out the headstock.
  • Do not pull the flute head socket by the lip plate. This is a moving part, and doing so can damage the instrument by breaking the solder. You may have to twist slightly to pull it, but don't push it too hard. Start by simply pulling out a few millimeters and then verify the note a before pulling it further.
  • Use your chromatic tuner to make sure you play in the correct key. If it's still high, pull it a little more.


  • Never push the flute head into the center section of the instrument or pull it all the way. Generally, a good natural tuning is played when the headstock is 1.3 cm (1/2 inch) away from the center section of the flute.
  • Unless you clean the instrument, leave the head and plug in place.
  • Some inexpensive cleaning rods may have the check mark to measure the location of the plug in the wrong place. If you suspect that the plug is responsible for the flute sounding out of tune, but the cleaning rod measures it as being in place, ask your music instructor if you can borrow their cleaning rod and see if it measures it differently..
  • Flutes should be checked annually, which includes adjusting the head fit and plug if necessary. In addition to the annual service, you may need to take the flute to a repair shop in the event that it does not function properly.
  • Although the crown and headstock will stay in place unless you move them; Over time, the plug may begin to break down or move due to moisture (both from the atmosphere and from saliva). If this happens, have it repaired.
  • Keep the flute at room temperature to keep the pads looking good and new.
  • If the note is slightly uneven, but not long enough to be another note (if to B flat), you can unfold it to slightly increase the pitch and shorten it to decrease it slightly. This is required when flute players play high notes (even when in tune), as they become slightly sharp and vice versa with low notes.

Popular by topic