Thumbport and Fingerport
Being made from a round tube, the flute tends to roll while being played, and has inherent balance issues. The Thumbport counters the rolling, and helps establish a stable three-point balance support system freeing the musician from the effort of trying to physically control the instrument. The stability gained when using a Thumbport will help the musician produce a better and more consistent sound, and will aid in improved facility while reducing stress on fingers, hands and arms.
Installing the Thumbport
Before installing the Thumbport for the first time, wipe off the area with rubbing alcohol. This will reduce the likelihood of the Thumbport moving when in use. Because the contact surface is made of a soft plastic, it does not slide easily once in place on a clean surface. Snap the Thumbport onto the flute at around the F key where you would normally rest your thumb.
Holding the Flute:
The right thumb should push against the flute at A as in fig. 1 (at an angle of 30° to 45°). The arm of the Thumbport should rest naturally on the side of the thumb at B. You can move the Thumbport toward or away from the keys depending upon individual requirements.
The Three-Point Balance Support System:
If you learn the three-point balance support system, it will produce a steadier flute and more consistent sound. It’s simple: try to balance the flute with only the chin, the first knuckle of the left index finger, and the right thumb (without the Thumbport initially). It may take a while to find the best spot for the right thumb, but be persistent. The thumb will eventually be supporting the flute from the back with an approximate 30° to 45° angle. Some people refer this as “supporting the flute diagonally.”
Thumbports are available in a variety of colors. Click to view other thumbports available for purchase.
The Fingerport serves several purposes. It provides a flat, non-slip area upon which the left index finger can rest. This prevents rolling. It also moves the index finger out from the flute for a more ergonomic hand position. These features aid in the stability of the instrument.
The Fingerport is installed on most flutes as shown in photo 3, For flutes with a C# trill key, it needs to be flipped over and installed as shown in photo 4.