Saturday, February 9, 2013

Left Hand Low B

We stopped by the Powell repair shop at the end of this week and were surprised to find a flute with two keys for the left hand pinky.  Of course, one was the G#, but there was another -- a left hand low B!  Multiple keys for the left pinky are no stranger to other woodwinds, but we usually do not see them on a flute.  So, just what is the purpose of this key?  Well, it gives you an optional fingering for low B.  It also could be used in place of a gizmo key.  So, you could use the left hand low B key instead of the gizmo, and it would have the same function.  The left hand low B is built into the low B key mechanism.  The left hand low B key mechanism has additional tubing, posts, and ribs that connect it to the body of the flute. When the key is pressed, a lever section next to the low B mechanism on the footjoint is activated and closes the low B key.

Although there is additional material for the key mechanism, it really does not change the weight of the flute overall.  Our Repair Technician, Rachel, tells us that this left hand low B key is not as common today as it was in earlier decades.  Aside from this key, Rachel mentioned that she has also seen a left hand low C# -- but flutes with these left hand pinky keys are a pretty rare occurrence in her shop today.

Left hand low B is below to the G#.
Left hand low B is built into the low B mechanism.
Close-up on the bridging lever portion of the mechanism.
Front view.
Close-up on left hand low B key.
Additional posts (and ribs) are at the top and bottom of this mechanism. 
Front close-up on the footjoint.

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