Saturday, February 28, 2015

Pencil grips as anti-skid flute wideners

Pencil Grips


Hi Jen,
I have been experimenting with accessories for my flute because of recent hand issues and I came across your article about making your own key extensions.

In the pictures, there is a cushion-like material in the side area where the middle of the left index finger rests. I'm wondering what material you use for that and if you glue it on with the same glue for the cork parts. Thanks for your help! A.

Hi there A, thanks for the question. I've long been meaning to update the information on using pencil grips to widen and stabilize the flute (see update below re: Flute Gels too). They are pictured above in their penciled state. (in previous videos I used white adhesive sponge made to cushion shoes see NOTE below).

 The pencil grips allow the flutist to widen the flute's diameter, and provides a non-skid traction pad for the left hand. Very relaxing for the player to be able to have the flute stay put and not slide around. I actually use two flattened pencil grips, stacked (with double sided scotch tape between and under them). Here are photos of stacked pencil grips on my own flute. Yes, I'm using up the ugly coloured ones first, ha ha. You can see my wooden extensions, that have stayed on now for over ten years.

Jen's flute with wood extensions and pencil grips.

Earlier, in the videos I made of "teacher's tools" (video embedded below) I show the package of pencil grips and how they are sliced open to be applied to the left hand area of the flute.
You buy a pack of pencil grips at an office supply store, and slit each cylinder open with scissors to make a rectangle. You stick them on with two sided scotch tape.

Here's the tape I use at left. I actually purchased it to mount photographs. So it's acid-free, or so they tell me.

I used to use Blue-tack but it is messy stuff, oops a doodle. Big mistake. Eek. Don't use.

To wit: Here's an older teaching video of mine,
minute 3:25 shows the pencil grips.

Again, please do use the double-sided scotch tape now, not the dreaded blue-tack as I was such a fool to use, ha ha.

Hope this helps.

Update: New to me: Flute Gels instead of pencil grips at Fluteworld ($14 for two.)

Note: In the How to make your own wood and cork extensions pdf I was, at that time using "Dr. Scholl's" foot cushion squares. It is sold as a rectangular two pack of white sponge for foot protection at the drug store. You cut it to LH index-cushioned size with scissors and peel off the backing. But I found it disintegrated too quickly; bits of sponge were threatening to litter my flute case, (repair tech. did not like the look of this at all, as it would next show up inside the mechanism! eek.)  and it's no longer a product anyone can find online. Another "good riddance" wrong product...but at the time it was useful. Moleskin is too slippery.

The pencil grips are much better. Hope they're not too hard to locate. They too seem to be disappearing. Found the picture at Amazon under pencil grips.
A writes:
Thank you so much for your quick reply! I enjoy your website and all of your resources.
Jen writes:
Good question! I had long wanted to let folks know what products work well.

Comments (4)
Blogger gpb0216 said...

Hi Ms. Cluff - First off, I'm a flute beginner at 62 and am really enjoying your blog. It's consistently encouraging and helpful! My question: To what extent, if any, does the "foreign material" you've attached to your flutes affect key response and instrument weight? Thanks again for an excellent blog!
Patrick Bryant

Sunday, March 01, 2015 6:01:00 AM

Blogger jen said...

Dear Patrick, So glad you like the blog! Thanks. The extensions are lightweight wood/cork, so they do not adversely affect the weight at all. (Keys behave no differently than without...did not have to adjust spring tension or anything like that.) The foam sponge of the pencil grips is virtually weightless also. Best, Jen

Sunday, March 01, 2015 8:06:00 AM

Blogger said...

Hi, Jen: I'm so thrilled with an item I just found that I thought I had to tell you. For some reason, nothing I've tried has worked well for my left index finger. The Finger Port put my hand too far from the flute. The BEP Finger Saddle seemed OK but was still to slippery for me. I tried the BG Finger Positioner and the Runyon pads but my left hand still slipped. Your pencil grips seemed promising but the 2-sided tape would not hold securely.

I just discovered FluteGels, which are contoured, squishy and very, very grippy. Since I had such a hard time solving my problem, I'm letting you know about these in case someobdy else can benefit. They have a website, and they also can be had at a slight discount from Flute World. You might want to check them out.

Their url is:

Thursday, April 16, 2015 1:11:00 PM

Blogger jen said...

Thanks so much Walter. Will totally check them out. Excellent news! Jen :>D

Thursday, April 16, 2015 3:28:00 PM


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