Pinless: Should We Care?
If Powell and other flute makers are using pinless designs there must be a good reason. There are, but first let’s review what’s good about the traditional pinned mechanism.
· It’s easier to make the flute with pins, so the cost to buy the flute is lower.
· Repairs of pinned flutes are generally easier. This is especially true if the repair person is not well versed in pinless mechanical designs.
· Pinned flutes are lighter than pinless flutes.
The pinless mechanism is more complex to build and repair, but it produces a smoother, more reliable mechanism. Here’s why:
· A pin is a very small piece of metal, like a short, skinny sewing needle. As a result the pin can torque or twist when the keys are pressed down or rotated. The torquing motion can cause keys to bind or go out of adjustment. The bridge used in pinless mechanisms is heavier and stronger than pins.
· The more rigid bridged construction associated with a pinless mechanism tends to produce a very smooth, clean action.
Excellent flutes are made with both pinned and pinless mechanisms.