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I've pretty much used only Music Medic Precision pads for all my work, which amounts to a couple of clarinets and several saxophones. One thing i'm noticing is that Precisions are far firmer than most every pad they're replacing.

I know that some consider firm pads best practice, but I'm wondering if there can't be some compromise on this for purposes of quietness and ease of floating and leakproofing.

The snap ins that seem to have been OEM from Buescher during the 60s seem to work well and aren't overy firm. are these considered poor quality?

what pads does everyone else use that works for them?

Thanks.
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2016
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OK, just for kicks, I'll start the replies...

Musicmedic is funny, actually...because they offer the beginners kits and then supply 'em with the precision pads...which are, IMHO, arguably the least forgiving for a novice or layman to install. Once I switched off of them, after a few attempted repaddings and much frustration, and at the suggestion of my techs...things became far easier and then and only then did I begin to develop at it.

The opposite spectrum are the cheap chinese pillowy pads, which are very forgiving (seemingly) to install but too mushy and of not sufficient longevity.

Next to those come the Hermes/Prestini variety. Better than the chinese stuff, significantly IMHO...but still too pillowy for most pro techs to consider. But again, for someone in the learning or intermediate stage of pad replacement, or for those sorta shops that do M*A*S*H* unit sorta repairs (fantastic moniker I first heard from Bill Bua).... I think they aren't a bad choice...and they do feel more responsive under the fingers than the chinese ones.

Then Ferree's or Allied pads. Now you are beginning to get into a firmer sorta product which feels nice & snappy under the fingers, yet still allow for and hold a decent seat. I find the latter two to be very good quality and quite workable.....at this stage, for me.

If precisions are what you are really used to, try the Ferrees (because I think you have to be a pro, or at least show them a business license to that effect, to order from Allied ~ I have one of my techs do it for me).

I think if you try those on your next horn....it'll be like a whole different world to you...
 

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The opposite spectrum are the cheap chinese pillowy pads, which are very forgiving (seemingly) to install but too mushy and of not sufficient longevity.
Some cheap Chinese pads are very soft/pillowy. Some cheap Chinese pads are just terrible, regardless of their firmness. Some of the firmest pads I've seen, firmer than Precision or roo pads, were Chinese. Not all Chinese pads are soft. I've seen Chinese pads that varied from terrible to very decent.

Next to those come the Hermes/Prestini variety. Better than the chinese stuff, significantly IMHO...but still too pillowy for most pro techs to consider.
Prestini makes several different pads in different firmness. Some of their models are advertised as soft to accomedate non-level tone holes. But I've tried some Prestini pads that I wouldn't call soft at all.

Then Ferree's or Allied pads. Now you are beginning to get into a firmer sorta product which feels nice & snappy under the fingers, yet still allow for and hold a decent seat.
AFAIK at least Allied offer different pads in at least two different firmness options.

I think you have to be a pro, or at least show them a business license to that effect, to order from Allied
I've heard that before but they never asked me anything when I ordered normally first time.

I guess my main point is that you need to know the exact model to say a certain pad is soft or hard, or how soft or hard it is in comparison with other pads. Country and/or supplier doesn't always mean much. For example most (or even all) sax pads from Allied and Ferree's are made by Music Center in Italy, from which I have pads in three different types of firmness and specs.
 

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Bering chinese is irrelevant these days as far as pads are concerned, such a stereo type statement these days...The concern is what they are made from, Ive purchased from china / italy / france / america /shanghai /taiwan / europe / australia etc. Seen excellent and poor examples of each, nothing I dislike more than the synthetic leather that seems to be prevalent, horriible stretchy disgusting stuff.

Soft pads on clarinets muffle the sound hard pads make them more responsive, compromise, music medic pads are fine and reliable for the DIY'er, also you can buy in quantity's to suit you, my sax pad supplier wont deal with me unless I have an order of 2000 pads to start with
 

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A really stiff pad requires a high level of accuracy when it comes to the tone hole and pad cup being level (which is the ideal) as well as a tight action. Other factors come into play too - such as the flexibility of the action and the width of the tone hole rim...and the ratio of pad cup size to tone hole size.

I tend to favour a medium firm pad (Premium Deluxe), which copes with most situations - but experience sometimes cuts in and determines that a particular instrument will fare better with a softer or harder pad.

'Best practice' is about choosing the right type of pad for the given situation rather than forcing the issue.

Regards,
 

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Bering chinese is irrelevant these days as far as pads are concerned, such a stereo type statement these days...
I've not found that to be the case and I've ordered pads from every Chinese pad maker I can find. I've also ordered pads from factories that make woodwinds who also make pads.

If you found a person that makes quality pads in China, could you please send me their contact info?

With other products I agree with you completely; just not pads.
 

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In my experience tonehole and key preparation are key to deciding which pad to use in any given situation. In that vein the Precision pads may not be the best choice for the do-it-yourself amateur who just rips the old pad out and glues the new one in.

My rule of thumb is:

Quality work = Quality pads
Mediocre work = Mediocre pads
Crappy work = Crappy pads
 

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Curt Ive found a manufacturer that makes them the way I want them made, but as I mentioned above I have to order in large quantities, my last order was for 10,000 sax pads from them, so its worth there while. They also come with our logo on the back of the pad. Out of interest, I onsell some of my sax pads to repairers that I know personally here in australia, I dont onsell pads direct to customers even though I have a store front. The other repairers seem to be happy with them as well.

Precision pads are fine, I personally like the flute and clarinet pads, not too soft not too hard, ideal for rental fleets, easy to install, easy to set, easy to get back out the door
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2014
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I use the steel pad tools, and I have no problem getting precision pads to go it properly. Now the black saxgourmet pads are a different story. Those things are hard and require significantly more finessing for a good seal. With precision pads, if I use pad tools, 70-80% of the time they align correctly on the first go.
 

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Prestini makes several different pads in different firmness. Some of their models are advertised as soft to accomedate non-level tone holes. But I've tried some Prestini pads that I wouldn't call soft at all.


AFAIK at least Allied offer different pads in at least two different firmness options.

I guess my main point is that you need to know the exact model to say a certain pad is soft or hard, or how soft or hard it is in comparison with other pads. Country and/or supplier doesn't always mean much.
I don't disagree with any of that, and appreciate the clarification; I was just speaking relative comparison between one and the other. Which is to say, regardless of which of the two Prestini style pads I have chosen, Ferrees pads were stiffer and less pillowy than the Prestinis, etc....Most Prestinis I have used were the Hermes style, but I have used one other as well, and cannot recall them differing as much from a Hermes as does a Ferrees (regardless of the Ferrees style chosen). Same with the Allied choices....they are closer to Ferrees than to the two Prestini series I have used.....

Nitai...do you know the name of the Prestinis which you consider "not soft" ? I would be interested in trying.....

(And if anyone would like to point me to a chinese-made pad of the quality of a Ferrees, which everyday blokes can order and get....please do so.....)

I gleaned from the initial Q that the OP wanted some options as to other pads than the Precision ones.....which, as noted by others and myself...require a high degree of precision to properly install, and therefore may not be the ticket for someone trying to find the happy medium between 'user friendly installation' and a good quality pad which feels/performs well w/ some longevity.

I don't mind saying that once I switched off of the Precisions, things became significantly less stressful for me regarding padding.
Almost 100 horns later, I can now begin to deal with them again in a much more successful way, but I still don't consider them to be anything approaching an easy install.....
 

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I don't disagree with any of that, and appreciate the clarification; I was just... regardless of which of the two Prestini style pads I have chosen, Ferrees pads were stiffer and less pillowy than the Prestinis, etc....Most Prestinis I have used were the Hermes style, but I have used one other as well, and cannot recall them differing as much from a Hermes as does a Ferrees (regardless of the Ferrees style chosen). Same with the Allied choices....they are closer to Ferrees than to the two Prestini series I have used.....

Nitai...do you know the name of the Prestinis which you consider "not soft" ? I would be interested in trying.....
I haven't tried Ferree's pads much, at least not enough to remember anything. I have tried several models of pads from the company which makes most (if not all) the pads for Ferree's, Music Center. Some Presitini pads I've tried were softer than all of them, even Music Center's softest model. Significantly softer. The firmer Presitini pads I've tried had Presitini Premium written on the back. It was approx the same firmness as Precision pads, maybe just a bit less.
 
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