Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The "Play-In"

Preparing shims before the play-in
The assumption that musical instruments are play-tested before they leave the shop is accurate, but at Powell Flutes, the process is a bit different.  We recently caught up with flute finisher Karl Kornfeld, who was getting an Aurumite Conservatory ready for its "play-in."  According to Karl, the "play-in" is actually part of the finishing process and not a "play test."  It is, however, the first time that the instrument is played.  So, what exactly does all this mean?  Let's take a look...

Karl had just finished the flute from a mechanical perspective.  He had all the mechanism work completed, finished padding, and was now going through to make small adjustments for the "play in."  Theoretically, once all the "parts" are built onto the flute, and if all the steps are followed properly, it should work perfectly, right?  Well, in theory, that is correct, but there may be some slight adjustments necessary for it to be comfortable and ready for the "play-in."  So, before it goes over to a professional for the initial play-in, Karl checks the flute.  He makes sure the mechanisms are all the correct "weight," tests spring tension, checks for leaks, and makes any additional adjustments.  Now the flute is ready for the "play-in."  The finisher knows that this is an important part of the process, because after the initial playing, the flute will "settle."

Fine-tuning another shim
We asked our testing manager what steps she takes to "play-in" the flute.  She prefers to perform music that will cover the full range of the flute, such as French pieces or modern repertoire.  After she plays the flute, it begins to settle from the action of being played, and it is then closer to being ready for the customer.  Of course, after she plays the flute, she must evaluate it to see if (in its more "settled" state) it needs any additional "tweaks."  Karl knows that there will undoubtedly be additional adjustments after the play-in.  Then, once those are completed, it is ready for a final play test.  When it passes another evaluation from the play-test, it is ready for the customer.

Checking spring tension and mechanism "weight"
Checking for leaks

1 comment:

  1. Interesting information I haven’t been through such information in a long time.
    test builder


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