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Discussion Starter #1
By no means am I technically inept. Currently I am able to make minor adjustment to my horns but I am look for a small project. I play bari and I am really into the fat sound that the older horns make, epically the American ones. I am not able to take on a huge project nor do I have a large budget to do this on.
I was wondering how difficult it is to re-pad a horn for someone that has never done it before. These are a few of the projects horns that I am looking at.
http://cgi.ebay.com/Rare-DOLNET-Par...550?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item5199f195ce
http://cgi.ebay.com/Rene-Lorain-Bar...664?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item4840457f20
http://cgi.ebay.com/King-Baritone-P...287?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item3a67b1a40f
http://cgi.ebay.com/Early-Vintage-B...129?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item2311f58bc1
I really like the silver King and he Buescher.
If you have any comments, anything that would be helpful, it would be greatly appreciated.
 

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Being a novice myself, I've repadded three horns, and they came out alright. The key is patience, take your time.
 

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"It's not hard to do.
It's hard to do a good job."

I totally agree. You just don't know how much you don't know until you have done quite a large number of them.

And to be realistic, when you read in this forum that guys have done it and it turned out alright, then you have no idea what alright means. It could be anything from excellent, to a state where very heavy finger pressure is needed to get the sax to sound, and the expectations of tone and response are minimal.

Most techs regularly see DIY work. I suspect that most discerning techs encounter good workmanship (= good function and reliability) from DIYers very rarely.
And I suspect that many DIYers, even those who claim to have done a good job, would be too embarrassed to show their workmanship to a good tech.

(And to every pattern there is the odd exception.)

PS: I wonder why the forum search provides no results fro DIY ???
 

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I've done a bunch of repads using the info on the internet and mostly tools I already had. In my opinion, it is more difficult to get a good project horn to repad than it is to actually repad a horn. Take for instance the Dolnet baritone you're looking at. Read the text and you'll see that it is missing the neck. You would likely wait several years for a Dolnet baritone neck to show up for sale. If there are people who have a Dolnet baritone with a damaged/missing neck or thinks that a Dolnet neck might fit their horn, you'll be bidding more for the neck than you paid for the horn. Maybe you'd never find a neck. In which case your repad, no matter how technically perfect, would be a total bust. Same problem exists when you buy a horn with a missing key. A dent that doesn't look too bad in the picture can cause misallignment, unlevel tone holes, compromised intonation, etc. Repadding can be a piece of cake compared to fixing other issues, including past "fixes" by somebody who didn't know or care what they were doing.

And don't think that a repad is just putting in new pads. If you put one new pad in the lower stack, it's likely to throw off the regulation of other pads, including the upper stack, requiring new corks, felts, etc. Think of it as a house of cards and you want to replace a card in the middle. Maybe a better example, especially for the newbie, is that it's kind of like a Rubic's Cube. Just when you get something perfect you find out that something else doesn't work right anymore.

My experience has been that putting in new pads is about 1/10th of the project (assuming you have the neck, keys, and a good solid horn that only needs new pads, which is an unlikely Ebay purchase). I don't want to discourage anybody, in fact, I'd encourage you to give it a try. Just beware of the problems and time involved.

Mark
 

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Distinguished SOTW Tech/Forum Contributor 2007
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i have said this before and i will say it again, if you are serious about learning some repair, i would look for a yamaha 23 that plays and need pads, spend some time and make it play well, when you think it is good, find the best player you know and let them play it and listen to their criticism.

the reality is woodwind repair is so much about learned finesse as much as it is about intellectually understanding what you are doing. it takes a long time to learn how to set up a pad well. also good work is all in the prep work and tonehole preparation...

i think the yamaha is a better way to go as it SHOULD have less structural issues to deal with, people like the idea of restoring old horns but they usually have so much wrong with them, there is a lot more to good overhaul than just slapping pads...
 

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Gordon, when I used the word alright, that is for me.These are my own horns and they work just fine.
To each his own-
 

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I might be inclined to agree that although you are a Baritone player, it would be wise to do your first repad on a smaller horn.

You can pick up a project Alto for under $100...something solid enough like an Olds Parisian Ambassador, an old Conn Director 14M or 50M or even cheaper, a 20, 21, or 24 M....or a King Cleve or 613 or Martin Indiana for about the $ame.

If you were strongly inclined to the BigHorns....the Buescher is done. The Dolnet has no neck. The King is probably the best of the batch as far as a horn goes. The Lorraine is a pretty old Italian-made horn, bit of a wild-card although it could be quite nice.

Regarding supplies ~ DON'T use MusicMedic Precision Pads. These are sold with their starter kit and they are just NOT user-friendly-to-install pads. This is not to dis' 'em, but they really aren't appropriate for a novice. Likewise their shellacs...they are too brittle and set too quickly for a novice.

Shopforband.com has Prestini pads, which granted aren't fabulous but they are a notch better than the cheap, fluffy chinese variety and they are very workable for a novice. If you wanted something a bit better, go with Ferree's pads. For shellac, go with Ferree's, too.

I would not be inclined to get their "starter" kit, either. Just buy 3 screwdrivers, a light, a butane torch, a couple of pairs of woodwind pliers, a spring puller, and a pad spatula separately because the quality of the individual items exceeds the quality of the kit items.

Best of luck.

 

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it's definitely doable. it requires detail and patience, so be prepared to buy extra pads/ redo corks. i repadded an old buescher alto last year and still in great playing condition a year later and is my main horn. i used precision pads (i did not know at the time they were novice unfriendly) they're still sealing and holding up well.
 

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the precision pads are excellent, fantastic i would say, but they are firm and require a level pad cup and a level key. generally when people are starting out the tendancy is to avoiding leveling the toneholes and trying to float the pad in such a way to conform to the tonehole. the pad being firm wants to return to flat, and will pull back into the key cup.
 

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JS Crescent, JS NOS, Selmer SBA, Couf Superba I, Conn, Buescher, King
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One general comment: if you have a really good tech, and are accustomed to how that person's work plays and feels, you'll probably be happy with your accomplishment but disappointed with the results if you "repad" yourself. And then, if you want the same results you're used to, the preference of your tech will probably be to do the whole job over again.

If you have a just average tech (or worse), you may be happy on both ends, by contrast.

This probably reads as snobbery, or put forward with an agenda, but it's just the way it is, and maybe a handy shorthand for helping to frame a realistic expectation.
 

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That's what I was trying to say, but you said it mch better.

Expectation is so much to do with what one is used to.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I understand the concerns about using one of the big horns as a first and there is just more to work with, but seeing as I never play alto, and I already have one, it would be stupid to just practice on that. In reference to the horns that I posted as example projects, I agree that the King is the best bet, and that is the one that I was really after.
Seeing as I fully intend to go through with this I was really just looking for opinions on the matter. There are many things that know to look out for when buying a horn, especially off ebay, seeing as I have done it before, just never looking for project horns.
The thing I know leas about on horns is actually the pads. That being said, any info on pad brands and requirements and tools needed would be the biggest help.
Thank you to everyone that has posted something.
 

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I've done a bunch of repads using the info on the internet and mostly tools I already had. In my opinion, it is more difficult to get a good project horn to repad than it is to actually repad a horn.
I respectfully disagree. Project horns are easy to find, unless you want only cream-puff Yamahas with clean keywork. I've found student-line project altos in Pawn shops for as little as $50 [none were Yamahas].

I find repadding difficult still after working on a number of horns. It's not easy to get right unless you are willing to settle for "good enough". Stacks are still tough, and I find myself correcting my errors constantly and going back and finding something I've missed.

A complete soft-part replacement [pads, corks, felts, etc], cleaning, and regulation probably takes me about 40-60 hours of straight work.
 
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