This blog is dedicated to the sublime instruments called nose flutes and which produce the most divine sound ever. We have chosen to discard all the native models from S. Pacific and Asia, for they need fingering to be played. We'll concentrate on "buccal cavity driven" nose flutes : the well patented and trademarked metal or plastic ones, plus, by a condemnable indulgence, some wooden craft or home-made productions.

Apr 25, 2012

Enhance your flute - Part II : The Swan flute

One doesn't need a magnifier to observe how the plastic « Swan logo » flute is badly finished. Edges not leveled, glue traces, bubbles and smears, and worst of the worst, the labium is crappy and uneven, at the point that it is not even parallel to the end of the air duct, it is oblique!

So, I decided to check if this nose flute is improvable.
First, I sanded it all, to erase all the marks and flaws, and totally removed the labium.

And then, I prepared a new labium, cut in a 2mm thick aluminium plate. I filed it rather sharp, and sanded it.

I beveled the labium frame in order to get a larger gluing surface, and used bi-component epoxy to settle my new aluminium blade.

I could have sanded more finely the flute and stop there. But I do not like much the colors provided by the Swan company, and prefered to try to paint it into a kind-of-metallic color.
So, I put some cellotape on the blade to protect it, sanded a bit more evenly the flute, drilled the lace holes and sprayed with paint.

I stupidly chose a silver spray dedicated to paint Christmas accessories...
On one hand, it was very difficult to get a regular layer (either you get an uneven layer if you spray from too far, either you quickly get smears... and the right distance and quantity varies with the level of product still in the bottle...). So I had to re-begin several times (wait for a complete drying, then sand completely the flute, then spray again:).
On the other hand, I discovered afterwards how fragile this "interior" painting was. A very light hit of a nail was able to scratch the very fragile and thin shiny silver coat...

I wish It could have stayed like that...

... but I would have had to never touch it again, even less play it!

So... So, I scraped the mix of painting and cellotape from the labium, and applied lemon oil. I had tried varnish, but it had totally melt the painting, and I had have to redo the whole process again (Sanding, painting:). I don't know why I chose lemon oil, but I have to admit this intuition was... rather inspired:). Lemon oil is generally used to maintain wooden fretboards, so there was no reason to used it there.
The fact is the coat of lemon oil removed the very shiny painting coat, melted just a little bit the painting, just enough to get it even and smooth. Then, put it on the heater, and some 20 minutes later, the shiny came back, hard and dry, and the color had turned to a medium-dark metallized shade. Certainly not looking as silver, but beautiful too!

Well, the result is not « perfect », but quite enjoyable.

And now, let's compare with the original :

On the sound side, there is also a huge improvement. The new sound is more precise, clear and loud.

Here is a sound comparison. The first musical phrase was recorded with an original Swan nose flute, and the second with the enhanced one. I did my best to blow the same way and with the same strength, at the same distance of the recorder, and with the same settings.


On the same topic, please visit :

- Enhance your flute - Part I : The Humanatone
- Enhance your flute - Part III : The Bocarina



  1. Very impressing! And very nice playing!! Well, I wish I had a tenth of your patience for doing things like that!
    The Nosy Diva

  2. Thnak your dear Nosy Diva! Well, patience was necessary for the painting, since I chose the wrong quality first... but regarding the "improvement" itself, it didn't take long...

    Kindest greetings,


  3. Antoine,
    I was just listening to your Nose Flute Playing and the Quality and Difference between the 2 Sound Comparison Versions are AMAZING.

    VERSION #1 sounds like "'O sole mio", the globally known Neapolitan Italian song written in 1898. The VERSION #2 IMPROVENT sounds like "It's Now or Never", the popular song recorded by Elvis Presley in 1960.

    I wonder if it was the PAINT, LEMON OIL or the Frogs Legs you had for lunch????

    All the Best from New York,
    Brian F - brionski

    1. Hahahaha!!! What? you didn´t recognize the Pink Panther theme??? Yes, everyone knows that I have frog legs and snails at each meal, not to eat, just to make a beauty face mask, beccause I worth it!

  4. Fabulous effort and SO worth it!