Friday, July 12, 2013

Buying Flutes at the Show

Instruments on display can be purchased. 
When we exhibit at shows like the NFA Convention, there are many people who choose to buy flutes and piccolos that are being exhibited at the booth.  That seems logical -- they try flutes, find one particular flute that is "the one," and then they buy it.  So, now it is time to leave the booth with that new flute and take it home -- right?  Well, unfortunately, that last part about leaving with the flute is not possible with Powell.  We know -- it seems kind of disheartening, but there is a very good reason for this...

Flutes that are purchased at the show must be sent back to the shop in Massachusetts and head straight to Rachel Baker, the repair technician.  She says, "my job is to make sure it's perfect" before it is sent to the customer for keeps.  Why wouldn't it be perfect?  Well, the flute had been on display at the booth, so it was being play tested by people throughout the show.  It gets picked up, played, and put back down on the stand again and again.  This means many hands have been on it, which in turn means many fingerprints.  Although the flutes are cleaned throughout the show, it really needs to go back to the shop for polishing before it is sent to the customer.  Rachel tells us that polishing is "the big thing" because the flute has been picked up so much.  She polishes the body on the buffer and polishes the keys by hand (with a small buffing wheel).  She also makes any adjustments to the flute that may be needed.  If a customer has requests for small additions/changes to the flute, those can be done as well.  These minor changes include adding a D# roller, G disc, or having some engraving done.  Finally, she puts the flute in a new case, and then it is sent to its new owner.
Sold!  Going back to MA for cleaning/adjustment.

So, although it may seem disappointing to not be able to leave the booth with your new flute, keep in mind that your newly-purchased flute will be even better than it was when you tried it at the show.  It will be polished and adjusted at the Powell shop before it becomes yours -- going through the same polishing and adjustments of flutes that are sent directly from the shop to a customer!

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