Sax on the Web Forum banner

1 - 20 of 25 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
26 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I apologize if this information is already threaded somewhere.. I have read 25 or so threads without a concise answer so I thought I would ask my question directly..

I have a couple of Tenors (1942 Martin, and a new (to me) 1965 Buescher) both of which have original pads in them - dried out and have lost any pliability, and a handful or so look to have been chewed on by something - and while measuring the cups to reorder new pads I have discovered that the original pads (all of them) are significantly thicker than anyone sells.. Even MusicMedic ‘thick’ pads are greatly thinner than these original pads. I can of course order a couple shellac sticks with the pads and put a deep bed in the cups, or stack and press a thick layer on the back of the pad, but in either method we are talking about a 1/16th of an inch or more if MusicMedic sends me a bunch of pads in the 0.177” range.. None of the original pads were installed like that, heck both horns have a razor thin layer of shellac, no more than necessary to level the wrinkles of the leather, basically the pads are sitting on the cup directly. Plus I don’t want soft feel pads, which are the variety MM sells for their thick pads..

So where oh where does one go to get med <-> firm pads in the 0.21” range?? (0.20”-0.22”)
I don’t want to try and use thinner pads with globs of shellac in them, don’t want 1/16th inch shims, and do not want to try and put an “S” bend in a thick 3/4” long key arm..

Secondly, how accurate are most supply companies pad measurements? When I measure the cups I of course get measurements all over the place and almost none in .5 increments.. So do I round 28.8mm down to 28.5mm or up to 29mm so I don’t have shellac trying to ooze out around the edges of the pads, heh… I’m thinking about ordering two sets wherever someone suggest, and rounding one set up and the other down and use what fits best and then sending the remaining pads back.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,831 Posts
Most old pads that I've removed seem really swelled up with really deep cut seats. It's kind of misleading.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
26 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Aye, I have seen that many times as well... however I have taken a dozen or so pads apart (the eaten ones) and there does not appear to be any compression allowable in the backing, and the felts have little to no compression.. and most of the pads have only slight impressions, likely due to the kinda firm felt, even on the closed keys.
Plus the pads swelling would not bend the key arms, of which all of them level out roughly a 1/16" above the tone holes.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Technician, Forum Contributor 2
Joined
·
1,760 Posts
Hmm. Martins were design for thinner pads. MusicMedic's thin pads at 0.165" have always worked for me and other folks as well if you read through threads. It is possible that someone "adjusted" the keys to get thick pads to work in which case you could try to adjust them back to the original design or use thick pads.

Try this Google search and you'll see that people generally use thin pads: "martin thin pads site forums.saxontheweb.net"

Thoughts: Shoot MusicMedic an email and see what they suggest. They have plenty of experience with Martins and what works best. Also, you could order a few pads up and down the horn (High F, A, F#, low Eb) and fit them then make a decision if you want to go with their thick pads.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,004 Posts
The most common pad thicknesses are .160/.165 and .185. Ferree's Tools sells pads in both thicknesses. Just because the factory skimped on the amount of shellac used doesn't mean you have to do the same. A method that works for me is to "dry fit" the pad in a clean key cup and then note the amount of clearance at the back of the pad to estimate the thickness of the bed of shellac to apply. Like Jorns Bergenson all of my pad work is done with .160/.165 thick pads---typically Music Medic Tan, white or chocolate roos, or Pisoni Pro, all of which are what I would call a medium firm pad. On rare occasions on specific keys I have to glue a full cardboard "shim" to the back of the .160" pad.

When measuring key cups to order pads, it helps to measure E to W and N to S and then average the two distances. If the measurement is slightly larger than the closest half mm size I would go with the smaller one. A pad that is not very snug in the key cup is easier to install than one that is too large and bulges when it is stuffed in the cup. To be safe you could order both sizes when there is a question. Techs with a pad stock have an advantage in being able to choose the correct size by how it feels going into the cup. Even then when ordering a different brand of pads you may get a few that are off using this method.
 

·
Distinguished Technician & SOTW Columnist. RIP, Yo
Joined
·
17,204 Posts
- In 50 years I have very rarely needed 0.185" pads (which Ferrees used to call "standard"!). They sit here getting old. So I find it really odd that you think you need even thicker pads.
- Because modern pads tend to be less squishy, perhaps you should be measuring thickness to the bottom of the current sealing groove (i.e. impression).
- It is easy to accommodate pads that are on the thin side. It is unrealistic to accommodate pads that are too thick, so be very careful about ordering over-thick pads.
- If the situation is as extreme as you say, then you could use card shims. (Never have myself. I hate them!)
- It is possible that some technician in the past, for reasons unknown, has altered the alignment of key cups so as to accommodate ultra thick pads. You could alter that alignment back again.
- Music Center - world's largest pad maker - is not limited to the range on their web site. They will make any pads to order. (I have just bought unlisted-thickness flute pads.)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
26 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
I apologize in advance for my straight forward approach to the pads and keys in wanting pads that just fit the horn.. As an engineer (mechanical, retired) I prefer to work with things as their physical state dictates their limitations as opposed to manipulating things to work. If something doesn't fit, it wasn't designed or crafted correctly - its just the way I think.

I have read of the Martin use of thin pads as well.. which is why I originally ordered thin pads from MM... however as I started dry fitting the pads to check level and planning for amount of shellac I noticed that all of them were toeing noticeably.. Checked another, same thing, etc.. However a new set of 'thick' pads from MusicMedic got the Martin set up.. but I would still rather have firmer pads than MM's thick-soft set.

I included the Martin in my post because of it being thicker than anticipated and thicker pads would have relieved the need to adjust the keys at all.
My real issue is with the Buescher. It is a Selmer Bundy as it was made in 1965, but measuring the actual tone holes and key cups, it is a Buescher - at least its body. The keys on the Bundy/Buescher have no visible striations, cracks, or waves on the nickel plating, so it was not 'adjusted' to use pads that thick, unless done prior to plating, which is not the process - it just uses thick pads.

So while the Martin will pass with the MM thick pads, I would rather have firm pads in the 0.18" range for it to provide the same benefit thin pads provide - flat, firm, light pressure sealing. If both pads have the same thickness and firmness of felt then there is no difference between them other than the thickness of the non-pliable backing.
I would rather have pads with a thicker backing and same felt than thin pads with extra shellac or bending up the keys. Not to mention, there is no way to manipulate the key arms for what would be needed as they are too thick and too short - unless I unsolder the cups and bend the arms - and no one did that to get them where they are now.. Which brings me back to that they just use thick pads that I cannot seem to find but certain someone makes.. heh

(Of course I am referring to quality pads, made in the US... not putting anything chinasia on my instruments, I don't care how great whatever it is..)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
26 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
I have just now noticed that MusicMedic offers 'custom' pads..
Anyone have any experience with ordering custom pads from MusicMedic?? I would think they could make me a set of pads with normal felt thickness and firmness but thicker backing so I can fit each key, I would be good with that. They won't be open till Monday though, my brain is whirling...
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2014
Joined
·
2,600 Posts
I have a Martin Handcraft and a Martin Centennial tenor. Both somewhere in 1940-43 (don't remember exactly). Both padded with Saxgourmet Black pads from Music Medic. Thin and firm. No issues. Shellac on the Centennial and hot glue on the Handcraft. No issues with tons of goop to make the pads thick.

I would guess that your "original" pads might not be original. Old, yes. But the weird thing is that if they are not original and were replaced with thicker pads, that means that somebody probably "adjusted" (i.e., bent) the key arms to accommodate thicker pads. I don't see that as likely on the Martin. "German silver" keywork would be a pain to adjust every cup. Something doesn't add up.

Mark
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
26 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Thank you Mark for your reply.

Yes it does question what is going on, or more specifically what happen, but I do not see any signs of major key adjustment on the Bundy/Buescher keywork. It would have been significant given how far away from the tone holes the cups level out at.
The Bundy/Buescher looks to have been played a little bit, and then sat in someone's attic or garage until the house got whisked away in a storm. It has 98% of its well patina'd lacquer, kinda pretty all bronze'ish and such being 50+ years old, and Selmer branded pads.. Perhaps it is a leftover Buescher body with Bundy keywork or something.. Maybe that would explain its Frankenkeywork - but it is using thicker than readily available pads..

The Martin was well played, and taken care of, it is likely it had been repadded before, but yes a while back based on the pads. However as mentioned that horn is not my immediate concern, just listed due to pads being thicker than reported and wanting firmer 'thick' pads..
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
26 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
On a side note - as it is my thread lol - I replaced the Martin with its original small rivet pads... Does anyone have any preference/opinion to resonators versus no resonators, domes, flat, rivets, whathaveya on a 40s Martin Tenor...? Specifically this horn, not starting a never ending discussion of ' to resonate or not' :)
It sounds pretty rich and growly as it is with these riveted pads.. just wondering as if I find these elusive thicker firm pads I will likely replace these..
 

·
Distinguished Technician & SOTW Columnist. RIP, Yo
Joined
·
17,204 Posts
I apologize in advance for my straight forward approach to the pads and keys in wanting pads that just fit the horn.. As an engineer (mechanical, retired) I prefer to work with things as their physical state dictates their limitations as opposed to manipulating things to work. If something doesn't fit, it wasn't designed or crafted correctly - its just the way I think....
Goodness gracious!
We have a couple of standard thickness pads. Yet when I adjust pads over tone holes I am removing slivers of light leaking past that are only about 0.02mm thick.
"Manipulation" is absolutely required to achieve that - either manipulation of the glue "bed" or manipulation of the key cup alignment over the tone hole.
I usually prefer, like the manufacturers apparently, the latter.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
26 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
lol
I didn't say I was beginning a quest for a set of pads that fit without any key adjustment or adhesive bedding.. Heck I have even crafted tools of my own design to adjust keys.. I just prefer to do as little key adjustment as possible, only when it is beyond what can reasonably/aesthetically be done with the pad, and not at all even better.
The process I have done up to now is to simply get a set of pads approximate to the old ones if they were even close to sealing, shellac the back of the pad (roughly the contour of the cup), warm the cup, make sure the pad surface itself is flat, put the key on the horn, some more warming if needed, and with light pressure (less than playing pressure) let the pad level itself against the tone hole. On occasion a little spatula assistance, then cool the cup down with a cold sponge. Have not had a complaint in a couple of dozen pad jobs so I think that process is working out. I also have not had to build up a deep bed of shellac, use shims, or mangle any keys yet so 'my experience' is that you shouldn't have to? Or be thankful I have been lucky?? :)

The issue with this Bundy/Buescher is that the keys reach parallel with the tone holes ~.08" above the tone hole (edge of the cup from the edge of the tone hole).. thats what, 2mm+?.. and 'thin' pads sit flush in the cups with normal shellacing.. So when the difference between 'thin' and 'thick' pads is 0.3mm (.015") that is a heap of thickness to make up for.. I could almost stack two 'thin' pads on each other.

I have used the MusicMedic thick pads before, and for me (my personal horn) they are a little too squishy. So the search is simply for some pads north of 0.18" but still normal firm felt - which no one appears to sell, or at least do not readily advertise.
Which is why I came here.. So that hopefully after reading through replies suggesting what is wrong with my horn, debating methods of installation, methods of correcting manufacturing anomalies, history of craftsmanship, etc, etc, I could end up with some suggestions on where I could just get some thicker non-squishy pads. No one has made any suggestions yet, nor commented on any merchant experiences, so I guess we haven't gotten to those yet.
I received a reply from MusicMedic this morning asking for the specifications of what I needed in a custom pad set, so maybe in the end it will be the other way around and I can let anyone here looking for special/vintage pads know where to go.:)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,831 Posts
It would seem that your keys have all been bent by a previous someone to accommodate unusually thick pads. If it was me, I would probably attempt to return the keys closer to the original geometry through careful bending. I would probably go with the thicker of the two common pad types available and bend the keys to close parallel with a reasonable (not to thick) bed of shellac.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
26 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
Well thats not terrible.. MusicMedic says $25 in addition to the set of pads chosen..
Jeff at MM says up to ~5mm without having to use any special materials.. So an extra thick set, normal firm felt like in their standard Tan pads, and metal domed resonators on their way.

Will give some feedback on how they look/feel/function/etc..

Thanks everyone.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,004 Posts
I remember my mentor with whom I apprenticed making the observation that Selmer models in made in the U.S. used the thicker .185" pads which is why his shop stocked both thicknesses of pads. Just to put this all in perspective, the difference between the .185" and the .165" pads is .020"---twenty thousandths of an inch which is equal to 5 post-it-notes stacked together. It is not unreasonable use a thinner pad and add .020" of shellac IMO.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
26 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
I agree it is not an unreasonable amount, if that was the amount of thickness to be made up.. and has been discussed in great detail so far..
However the difference to be made up is +/- 0.08" and that is measured with normal thin pads installed.. It is likely readily available 0.185" pads would be sufficient but having used MusicMedic's thick pads before I know they are too spongy.
Which was the reason I started this thread.. not to debate whether I should make the adjustments necessary, but where to get thicker firm pads and did anyone have any experience using them.

As mentioned, I did find where, discussed the situation with them, and is why they offer them as an option. So all is good atm..
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,831 Posts
Let us know how it turns out. What I'm curious about is whether a horn with that much pad underneath the cups makes the horn feel a little bulky under the fingers after key heights are set for proper venting.
 

·
Distinguished Technician & SOTW Columnist. RIP, Yo
Joined
·
17,204 Posts
... Which is why I came here.. So that hopefully after reading through replies suggesting what is wrong with my horn, debating methods of installation, methods of correcting manufacturing anomalies, history of craftsmanship, etc, etc, I could end up with some suggestions on where I could just get some thicker non-squishy pads. No one has made any suggestions yet,...
NOt true.
I wrote "Music Center - world's largest pad maker - is not limited to the range on their web site. They will make any pads to order. (I have just bought unlisted-thickness flute pads.)"
But Musicmedic seems OK too.
 

·
Distinguished Technician & SOTW Columnist. RIP, Yo
Joined
·
17,204 Posts
It would seem that your keys have all been bent by a previous someone to accommodate unusually thick pads. If it was me, I would probably attempt to return the keys closer to the original geometry through careful bending. I would probably go with the thicker of the two common pad types available and bend the keys to close parallel with a reasonable (not to thick) bed of shellac.
I totally agree. It is also doing a favour to the next guy who has to replace pads.

Also, be very careful ordering extra thick pads. If they are slightly too thick then you have even bigger problems.
 
1 - 20 of 25 Posts
Top