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So, often I take on some mildly complicated mechanical / woodworking / masonry / electrical project with which to educate and entertain myself. This summer: Repad a TT alto with snap-in pads without using shellac!!

I've got a pristine 250xxx TT that had one owner & never had any work done to it. Pristine but for the pads, which are cracked, dried out, etc.

So, I figure that since it's never had any work done to it, hardly got played, and was never abused, the key cups should be as close to factory spec as you can expect. So, I'm going to try to re-pad the beastie taking Buescher's claims about snap on pads at face value & see if I can get the thing to work as advertised.

I've completely disassembled (and successfully reassembled!!) a bunch of saxes at one time or another, so I'm comfortable with that aspect; and I've got a bit of experience making minor adjustments and repairs to corks, springs etc. But I've never done anything major; I save that stuff for my tech.

In other words, I'll be fumbling around a lot. :mrgreen:

First step, of course: get snap on style pads. Second step: ???????.

So: I seek advice and guidance. Anybody out there who doesn't already know exactly what they're doing ever attempted this? If so, please don't be afraid to offer hints!!
 

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Good luck with that Hornlip, your a better Man than me for trying to do a repad. first thing i would do is get a hold of Curt Altarac at Music Medic for advice on the job
with Bueschers and to order the pads size correctly the first time with him. it can't hurt and you may get some badly needed tips gratis.
 

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I've never repad snapins, but if you are going for original intention with no adhesive then it should be pretty easy to replace them. Music medic might already sell the pads with metal backing. Regulation and working out the leaks and timing are the most time consuming. You'll need cork, leak light, rubber cement, sandpaper and alot of patience. Maybe someone with experience fixing leaks on no-glue snapins can better answer.
 

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get pipe cleaners and clean all hinge tubing. Check for surface rust on hinge rod screws, clean them with a fine scotch brite pad and a drop or 2 of oil. I'd recommend getting "regular" pads from a reputable vendor (music medic, kraus, etc) AND shims (cardboard shims, you'll need them) and have them punched to Buescher snap corresponding thru hole. I know Curt and Rich at musicmedic will be of help there. Get the precision pads and precision pad shims (at least one additional shim for every pad, and maybe a couple of extra shims for the larger pads just in case) Install without shellac, check with a leak light, enjoy your build!
 

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What he said! Be patient and do it one step at a time. I like to do the RH stack first, LH stack, octave keys and then the easy ones, Low C/Eb, Bell keys, side and palm keys. Take a block of wood and drill a bunch of holes in a line, label each hole and put the shafts and rods in the holes so you know exactly which key they are for. Also order the MM set of assorted sheet cork and pick up a tube of contact cement (not as messy as the bottle).
 

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Please dispel the notion that all it takes is to put the new pads in the key cups, snap in the resonator, and all pads seal and regulate themselves. It is far more complicated than that.

I purchased a TT alto in good condition from a SOTW member a while back who did a beautiful job cleaning and polishing the sax and had installed the Buescher style pads himself. He got frustrated because he had spent all that time and money and the sax didn't even play when he was finished. When I got it and put my leak light inside, every brand new pad leaked. The stack keys all hit in the back first because the Buescher style pads were too thick for the keycups. In addition all the toneholes needed leveling. Without the use of shellac to help accommodate the imperfect toneholes, and the tools and skills to bend keys there was no way that saxophone could have been successfully repadded using those pads.

I second the suggestion to get the .160 - .165" Precision or white roo pads. Tandy makes a good set of hole punches that come in two separate packages to widen the holes in the pads to accommodate the snap in resos. Read and study everything on Curt Alterac's site about seating pads. Either buy and learn to use the diamond tone hole files to level the tone holes, or have that done by a professional after the sax has been disassembled. You will be glad you did. Please reconsider using a bit of shellac as Curt describes to help seat the pads. It is much easier than trying to use full or partial shims IMO. Start with the independent keys first to get the feel of seating pads before tackling the upper and lower stacks. The best advice I can give is to find a skilled tech who would be willing to give you some hands on expert back up help when (not if) you get into a jam. Good luck with your project.
 

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So, I'm going to try to re-pad the beastie taking Buescher's claims about snap on pads at face value & see if I can get the thing to work as advertised.
Just wondering, but is this what inspired you:

 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks, folks -- that's some great info to get started with!! Keep it coming!!

Please dispel the notion that all it takes is to put the new pads in the key cups, snap in the resonator, and all pads seal and regulate themselves. It is far more complicated than that.
Ah c'mon, I can dream a little, can't I? :(

Anyway, part of the purpose of these projects I take on is to screw up and thereby learn, so I'm pretty much resigned to being stymied along the way.

I chose this horn to do it on because it's in such good physical shape -- so hopefully there won't be much at issue in the way of deformed tone holes, need to bend keys, etc.

Saintsday, it was that literature and similar I've seen, and postings here that inspired me. And happening to have a spare TT alto in pristine condition. I've got another closet queen TT, but it plays!
 

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Originally Posted by jbtsax
Please dispel the notion that all it takes is to put the new pads in the key cups, snap in the resonator, and all pads seal and regulate themselves. It is far more complicated than that.
Ah c'mon, I can dream a little, can't I? :(
You might have been able to do it years ago, when Buescher still made the pads and they were the right thickness for the cups.

Whoever makes them today must just add metal backing plates to standard thickness felt discs, because they probably don't sell enough of them to special order a thinner felt.
 

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...hopefully there won't be much at issue in the way of deformed tone holes...
Hopefully, and there's certainly no need to grind down tone holes as a matter of course that don't need leveling.
 

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Hornlip.
First thing to remember is that it is not difficult....it is all pretty obvious.
The very first job that I carried out on any saxophone was to re-pad a Buescher C tenor with snap-ins. This was long before I even knew of SOTW & all the help available here.
It is simply a matter of taking your time & logic.....cutting out shim sectors from thin card & placing them under the pads where a leak is noticed....the card sector being the appropriate angular displacement.
The result was perfect, I still own & play that horn & the pads have never been touched since the re-pad....there has been no need.
There was no-one around to tell me that the job was difficult, and, as a result, it was not.
 

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I will be joining you with my own version of the same project. My alto is a Selmer stencil of the TT, so it does not have snap in pads. I have found the people at Music Medic to be amazingly cooperative people who are very free with excellent advice. They do stock Roo pads that they make specifically for the snap in TT. Might be worth checking with them on that. I use hot glue rather than shellac (just a personal preference), but have the advantage of having overhauled clarinets for years. Leak lights are difficult to use with skin pads, so I am accustomed to using a cellophane "feeler gauge". I expect the leak light will be very convenient on the larger, leather pads. This could be an interesting project since I am also in the process of moving. Good luck with your project.
 

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I'll fess up - I too am considering doing a shellac-free repad on a closet-case 1935 Aristocrat I. This alto played amazingly well, on its original snapped-on pads, for seven decades plus, until the tonehole rims started cutting thru and that thinner-than-paper leather began to tear.

I'd be open to using the thinner MusicMedic pads and punching holes, but would be interested to know whether the lack of metal backing plates is a big issue or not.

(I have a mess of Bueschers of '20s-'50s vintage, but I honestly don't know which ones might not have metal-backed pads. Some are missing their snap resos, which makes them likely candidates.)
 

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Here we go again. I've posted this picture before establishing beyond argument that Ferree's replacement pads are NOT thicker than original Buescher pads. The one with the white stitching on the back is the original. and as you can see, it is not thinner than either the Ferree's (on the ends) or another unknown source replacement pad next to it in the middle.


Installing Buescher-style pads (Ferree's and Music Medic's are the same) without shellac assumes a few things. 1. The snaps and spuds are in sound enough condition to hold the pad securely in the key cup. 2. The key cup is clean without a layer of shellac from a previous pad job and has not been bent or distorted. 3. The metal-backed pads are heated in the key cup the same as if there was shellac being used and lightly clamped until they cool. Buescher refers to "heating in" their pads in some of the later literature. Thank goodness I have a tech friend whose first professional saxophone was a Buescher and who has over 30 years full time experience in woodwind repair. He provided the pads in the pictures which were taken in his shop by me.

I've had two professional players who have always played Bueschers tell me that this is the best alto saxophone that they have ever played. It was overhauled with Ferree's Buescher-style pads with not shellac.


Any questions?
 

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Toneholes must be perfectly flat in order to seat pads to the highest level of perfection. Oftentimes the low areas of a tonehole are carefully and painstakingly raised using specialized dent rods and barrels from withing or a dent puller from without. Once they are close to level, then the fine rotary diamond tonehole files are used to take about a thousandths of an inch or less from the surface to finish leveling the toneholes to perfection.

To call this process "grinding" is akin to saying that sharpening your knife using a fine whetstone is like "grinding" away the metal. The description above is the exact same tonehole flattening and leveling process used by Curt Alterac in his state of the art saxophone overhauls. I believe it is safe to assume that Curt Alterac does not harm saxophones in any way when he works on them---including filing tone holes!
 

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Here we go again. I've posted this picture before establishing beyond argument that Ferree's replacement pads are NOT thicker than original Buescher pads.
Your picture establishes that those four pads look similar when viewed from the side. My hands on experience when trying a set of Ferree's Buescher pads was that every pad was so thick that even without shellac in a clean keycup the front of the keys would not close without a tremendous amount of pressure on the key.

As I said in my post above, another True Tone I purchased from a SOTW member with Buescher pads in the keycups was such that no pad closed in the front because the pads were too thick even without shellac. I am not making this up, it is my hands on experience. When I repadded the True Tone using .160" white roos with a light coat of shellac on the back on leveled toneholes, they seated perfectly from front to back with virtually no key bending and very little "floating".

I suppose one could heat the keycups on overly thick pads and clamp them shut to form an excessively deep indentation in the back and a light one in the front. The problem with this technique is that it is only a matter of time until the compressed felt at the back of the pad relaxes and expands causing the pad to hit first in the back, have a "spongy" feel, and leak in the front unless excessive finger pressure were used.
 

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I suppose one could heat the keycups on overly thick pads and clamp them shut to form an excessively deep indentation in the back and a light one in the front. The problem with this technique is that it is only a matter of time until the compressed felt at the back of the pad relaxes and expands causing the pad to hit first in the back, have a "spongy" feel, and leak in the front unless excessive finger pressure were used.
You can see the seat on the pads in the pictures. Would you call that excessively deep?
 

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I've had two professional players who have always played Bueschers tell me that this is the best alto saxophone that they have ever played.
It's got to be one of the best looking.
I thought my 1931 satin gold 6M was a stunning looking horn. But yours makes it look like Za Su Pitts. :)

BTW, what do non-Buescher players think of it?
 

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Thanks Paul. Glad to see that you are active here again.

My tech, his son, and my son (Selmer, Yamaha, Beaugnier) all loved it. Some of the SOTW guys at the symposium weren't as smitten. The only one of the SOTW guys that I've heard on his own alto was Grumps on his True Tone which he prefers. I'm not sure what the others have in altos, but their tenors are a Keilwerth and I think a VI. The Buescher players were Fredonians, one of which is primarily an alto player that has studied with Harry White and Wildy Zumwalt among others.
 
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