What do you tell your students about how to line up the foot joint on the flute body? After all, there isn’t a clutch, as with the clarinet middle joints, linking the two parts together that dictates how to line them up (well there can be a clutch, but it’s a really rare option on handmade flutes, if there’s an extra left hand pinky lever for the foot joint keys). My approach is super simple and seems to me like a common sense approach.

There are two types of flute foot joints that are standard, a C foot (most beginner instruments, as well as common on higher level flutes in Europe and Asia) and a B foot (which is generally preferred for step-up and handmade flutes, at least in North America). The width of the foot joint cluster is wider, front to back, on a B foot than on a C foot, which changes the standard alignment slightly.

This is a C foot joint. Notice how the rod and ball of the foot joint post is aligned with the middle of the D key on the body.
With this B foot joint, line up the rod and ball of the foot joint post with the ring around the open hole of the D key. Notice how much wider the cluster is from front to back because of the extra roller (and yeah, the roller on the Eb key of my Altus is pretty sweet).

Keep in mind that this is a place to start with lining up the foot joint with the body. You also have to consider the size and shape of the player’s hands and fingers. People with long fingers will be fine with this set up. If the student is small or has short fingers, you need to advise them to turn the foot joint back a bit beyond the alignment shown in these photos. What is important is that the right hand is behind the flute, the fingers are gently curved and the pad of the little finger rests squarely in the middle of the Eb key.

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