Sax on the Web Forum banner

1 - 10 of 10 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
57 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,
One of my horns is a Martin stencil called a "Premier American" from the early 30's, that I purchased to refurbish and learn how to do basic repairs on. This horn doesn't directly match mainline Martin horns from that time, as it has the split bell keys that Martin phased out around 1933, but it has the fork-Eb mech on the front of the body, like the Handcraft Imperials have (Eb pad under right pinky). It's definitely a 'tweener of the Handcraft and HC Imperial. It's a matte silver finish, with a goldwash bell.

I bought this a couple years ago, and completely disassembled, cleaned, straightened, polished, lubed, and measured all pad sizes (and surveyed the state of them) before reassembling. The lower bow and bell pads, Eb-Bb, were in the worst shape, and I replaced all those to learn the basics of pad replacement. Once that was done, the horn became mostly playable.

I had to put it on hold, but I'd like to finish the rest of it.

In another thread it was mentioned that Martin horns, like Committees, need thin, firm pads; one person mentioned 0.165" thickness IIRC. Is that also true for the older horns, circa 1930?

Looking back at my pad order, I used MusicMedic's "soft feel thick" with the plastic resonators. On the bow and bell pads they worked fine and fitment/sealing wasn't an issue, but I want to ensure the other keys get the optimal thickness. Looking at the horn now, the other key pads protrude from the keycups the same amount as the pads I replaced, so maybe these will be fine.

If anybody has recommendations, I'd like to hear it.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member/Technician
Joined
·
21,119 Posts
Yes thin is a must! I use flat metal reso pads from MusicMedic. Best to measure the INSIDE of the pad cup with a caliper to get a good size fit.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
57 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Thank you! I think I'll follow your lead on the resos, as I was trying to decide.

I'll kick off the order after new year's and get this project finished. I like what I hear so far, just need to finish it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,016 Posts
I agree with MM soft feel and used them on several vintage horns I have including a couple of Martins. For my 22xxx tenor, I did opt for a plain rivet as I was looking for a more period effect. But I would also measure the thickness of the pads you are removing if you think the keywork may have been altered to accept thicker pads than were originally fitted. So, dry fitting new pads may be a necessary step.

Fortunately, MM is great about working with you to get the right pads in your sax. They are very liberal with their replacement policy.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2016
Joined
·
18,380 Posts
How soft is "soft feel"? I assume that's descriptive of what the action feels like using them?
They are NOT soft at all, actually.

I mean, by the yardstick of something like..oh, Prestini 'Hermes' pads being soft (those of course being the ubiquitous choice of techs for a good 30+ years on student/school horns, so most everyone knows what these feel like to some degree) or old pads you might find equipped on your old horn, MM SoftFeel are straight up medium pads, I would argue leaning a tad towards firm.

The scale MM seems to employ puts Roo pads at 'Firm'. Their standard Tan pads at 'medium', and the Softfeels at 'soft-medium'.

I put their standard Tans at 'firm', and the Roos at 'concrete-firm'.

By my scale, Prestini Hermes are Soft, something like IC New pads are straight-up medium, the MM Softs at medium-firm, etc.

So it isn't an apropos moniker they have chosen for their SoftFeels, really.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
1,853 Posts
Good to know, thanks.

"Soft Feel" makes me think "Mush Pad" and who wants that?

They are NOT soft at all, actually.

I mean, by the yardstick of something like..oh, Prestini 'Hermes' pads being soft (those of course being the ubiquitous choice of techs for a good 30+ years on student/school horns, so most everyone knows what these feel like to some degree) or old pads you might find equipped on your old horn, MM SoftFeel are straight up medium pads, I would argue leaning a tad towards firm.

The scale MM seems to employ puts Roo pads at 'Firm'. Their standard Tan pads at 'medium', and the Softfeels at 'soft-medium'.

I put their standard Tans at 'firm', and the Roos at 'concrete-firm'.

By my scale, Prestini Hermes are Soft, something like IC New pads are straight-up medium, the MM Softs at medium-firm, etc.

So it isn't an apropos moniker they have chosen for their SoftFeels, really.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
57 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
I agree with MM soft feel and used them on several vintage horns I have including a couple of Martins. For my 22xxx tenor, I did opt for a plain rivet as I was looking for a more period effect. But I would also measure the thickness of the pads you are removing if you think the keywork may have been altered to accept thicker pads than were originally fitted. So, dry fitting new pads may be a necessary step.
The 5 pads I removed were between 5.0mm and 5.2mm thick, which is about 0.5mm thicker than MM's "softfeel thick" pads (at ~4.7mm). The new pads were easy to fit, but the difference in thickness is why I asked.

But you're right, I should dry fit a variety of thin and thick pads, and see which fit better.

This horn doesn't have evidence of ever being played much. Zero dents, tight keywork, and all silver plating is intact (like palm D). All the pads matched, with a single stitch in the center with no resonator.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,259 Posts
The common pad thicknesses are .165" and .180" which convert to approximately 4.2mm and 4.6mm respectively. I have repadded a few "The Martin" tenors using the .165" pads and they worked quite well with a thin layer of shellac. In my experience it is better and easier to "build up" pads that are a bit too thin than to bend key cups to accommodate pads that are too thick and touch in the back first with no adhesive.

The "feel" of pads is both relative and subjective. I am certain the Music Medic's "soft feel" pads "feel softer" than their tan and roo pads which are firm---hence the name. Curt uses the term "firm woven felt" to describe both the tan and white and chocolate roo pads, and "medium soft woven felt" to describe the "soft feel" and "soft feel thick" pads. "Firm" pads are not very forgiving when the key work is not tight and the toneholes are not flat. Pads with softer felt can accommodate these "imperfections" and be made to work relatively well in spite of them, albeit with a different feel to the player.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,016 Posts
Sounds like your horn has the original pads. I think we may find that Martin used thin pads in later models. As I recall, I used Ferrees .180 thickness on my 22k tenor but it didn't have what appeared to be original pads.


The 5 pads I removed were between 5.0mm and 5.2mm thick, which is about 0.5mm thicker than MM's "softfeel thick" pads (at ~4.7mm). The new pads were easy to fit, but the difference in thickness is why I asked.

But you're right, I should dry fit a variety of thin and thick pads, and see which fit better.

This horn doesn't have evidence of ever being played much. Zero dents, tight keywork, and all silver plating is intact (like palm D). All the pads matched, with a single stitch in the center with no resonator.
 
1 - 10 of 10 Posts
Top