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With due respect to Mr. saxoclese, adding 1.5 mm of shellac to a .160 pad makes it .219.

When I repadded my 105 tenor, I asked all of the techs I knew at the time, measured the thickness of the original pads still on the lower half and went with Ferrees .185s. No key bending required. Simple coat the key cup with shellac and insert the pad by lightly pushing my thumb on the reso. Then I did the same thing a 52 SBA with Prestini .185s and it, too, went back together without additional key "fitting".

I emphatically agree with 1saxman on this and dislike the feel of thin/hard pads. As to the issues that may occur: if the keys were adjusted to accommodate thin pads, which seems likely if they are significantly thinner, then metal, being what it is, is under the obligation to return to its previous position. Some keys may start to leak as a result necessatating return trips to the tech.

So yeah, I'd be making some demands on this tech.
 

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I agree there are many paths up the mountain that all get to the same destination. I think every tech thinks he/she is using the "best method" otherwise they would still be looking for the "best method". To answer the O.P.'s original question I can see three possible issues that pads below the edge of the key cup can represent: 1) The one I previously alluded to that there may be a bare minimum of adhesive on the back of the pad holding it in the key cup. 2) That the installation may have required an unusual amount of bending of key cups, and 3) For better or worse that there is the acoustic effect of greater key height due to the recessed pads even though the keys themselves open the same amount.

In my repair experience: 1) pads with a minimum of adhesive are more likely to fail over time---especially if they become sticky, 2) Bending of keys is best done only when absolutely necessary, not as a matter of course on every key to allow for the wrong thickness of pads, and 3) Key heights are best adjusted by adding or sanding cork on the feet of keys, not by setting pads higher or lower in key cups.
 

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I don't question your observation that the pads failed to seal after some time. Given that you play with a light touch, another possibility is that the pads were compressed to create a seat, and that crease relaxed over time until the pads no longer seated. That would not be due to thin pads, but rather due to the way that the pads were installed and seated. Level tone holes with properly seated pads should be stable with respect to time.
Good point, and I really don't remember now whether the tech (actually a second tech who worked in the same shop) shimmed, re-floated, or replaced the pads. But I do think most were replaced.

In any event, I never bad-mouthed the shop, got angry about it, demanded money back, or anything like that. They made it good for just the price of a couple of service calls. Fair enough to me.

Have to say, $900 for a full re-pad of a pro tenor is quite a bargain these days.
 

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With due respect to Mr. saxoclese, adding 1.5 mm of shellac to a .160 pad makes it .219.

When I repadded my 105 tenor, I asked all of the techs I knew at the time, measured the thickness of the original pads still on the lower half and went with Ferrees .185s. No key bending required. Simple coat the key cup with shellac and insert the pad by lightly pushing my thumb on the reso. Then I did the same thing a 52 SBA with Prestini .185s and it, too, went back together without additional key "fitting".

I emphatically agree with 1saxman on this and dislike the feel of thin/hard pads. As to the issues that may occur: if the keys were adjusted to accommodate thin pads, which seems likely if they are significantly thinner, then metal, being what it is, is under the obligation to return to its previous position. Some keys may start to leak as a result necessatating return trips to the tech.

So yeah, I'd be making some demands on this tech.
Thank you for that observation. There are however a couple of other things to consider:

- Almost all key cups have a concave surface when viewed upside down. When the pad is installed in a heated keycup it is rotated 1/4 turn while pressing down at the edges. This pressure against the outer circumference pushes part of the shellac layer down into the "dome" of the key cup which evens it out a bit, and most importantly gives the back of the pad full contact with all areas of the keycup. Remember I wrote approximately 1.5mm of shellac to begin with as determined by the "gap" at the back of the pad during "dry fitting". Once the adhesive moves and "settles" in the key cup there is typically less than half that thickness remaining around the circumference of the pad that makes contact with the tonehole. To give it a perspective the thickness of two business cards together is .75mm.

- When we say a saxophone takes .160" or .185" pads, that means that thickness plus a layer of glue or shellac.

With the "firm" and "medium hard" pads that I prefer to use I find the .160" pads with an "sufficient layer" of Ferree's shellac to be the best combination that works for me. Because these firmer pads are less "forgiving", it takes a bit of "floating", "leveling" or tweaking to get a perfect seal 360°. Using a thicker pad this firm and just "painting" the inside of the key cup with shellac would not provide me the versatility needed to do the best job I know I can do.

I applaud that you have found a method that works for you just as I have found a method that works for the type of work I do. I see no point in rehashing old arguments about the merits or deficiencies of our different approaches. I will be happy to answer questions or provide additional details when asked, but I choose not to get into a "debate" as we have done in the past. Cheers. :)
 

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I wasn't going to respond further as I we have been through our differences in the past. But since you single me out once again, let me respond.

1. From my experience rebuilding a mahagony on oak sloop, more glue does not make a stronger bond. To suggest pads will fall out without more glue is not substantiated although I will agree that manufacturers and techs may skimp.
2. I just measured 2 business cards and come up with .050
3. " When we say a saxophone takes .160" or .185" pads, that means that thickness plus a layer of glue or shellac"
Sorry no. Sax pads are sold by their thickness. How much glue is not added to the final result and does not turn a thin pad into a thick one. The difference, as you know, is in the felt thickness.
4. If you've ever seen the old Selmer movie, they show the padding room with folks installing pads by using a hammer handle to push down on the center of the reso, as I described. I don't understand why your approach is 'better'.
5. I definitely would not recommend using that thick a layer of shellac if you were working down south. Most players I know put their horns in cars and car trunks. It gets wicked hot in Florida. One might get to a gig with a mess of glue and floating pads.

Now, let's see if you can simply accept the comments without attacking me or my work.
 

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I wasn't going to respond further as I we have been through our differences in the past. But since you single me out once again, let me respond.
With all due respect Mr. StuartSax I was responding to your comment about the overall thickness created by adding 1.5mm of shellac to a .160" pad, not singling you out in any way. Peace. :)
 

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With all due respect Mr. StuartSax I was responding to your comment about the overall thickness created by adding 1.5mm of shellac to a .160" pad, not singling you out in any way. Peace. :)
Typical passive aggressive. The tech who berates others over 1/10,000" in tone hole leveling puts a gooshy layer of glue on the pad so that it levels!

You should read you comments before posting.
 

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Typical passive aggressive. The tech who berates others over 1/10,000" in tone hole leveling puts a gooshy layer of glue on the pad so that it levels!

You should read you comments before posting.
Please stop picking a fight. It has no place on this thread or forum. Thank you.

- Saxaholic
 

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OP is in Miami I assume. Big coastal cities tend to have high tech prices. In SF Bay area or NYC, $900 repad is not all that unusual, for example. I have seen techs in both places charge $1400+ for an overhaul.

I don't question your observation that the pads failed to seal after some time. Given that you play with a light touch, another possibility is that the pads were compressed to create a seat, and that crease relaxed over time until the pads no longer seated. That would not be due to thin pads, but rather due to the way that the pads were installed and seated. Level tone holes with properly seated pads should be stable with respect to time.
Precisely.

This used to be referred to as reasoned thinking.

Or as Mr. Vaccaro, my 7th grade science teacher taught us, if you wanna conclude a certain aspect is causing an effect, you have to nix all other potential aspects ('controlled experiment' methodology).

As the Dr. notes.....in the instance of what someone might consider: "I put in thin pads and the horn eventually leaked ! Therefore, it was the pads !"....there are likely other variables besides simply the thickness of the pads.
Therefore, the pads may or may not have been the issue.

So to claim that the ONE variable must be the issue...is ersatz.

To come upon a thread where a player's horn is playing fine with brand new, thinner-than-before pads, and speculate that the horn is gonna start leaking and one should demand an unusual warranty from the tech (who to this point quite arguably has done nothing other than a good job)....is premature in the least.

I'd be interested in the subsequent discussion OP and tech had upon OP bringing his concern up....
 

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Typical passive aggressive. The tech who berates others over 1/10,000" in tone hole leveling puts a gooshy layer of glue on the pad so that it levels!

You should read you comments before posting.
C'mon Robert. Let's all sing together......Kum-Ba-Yah..... ;-)

Stupidity aside, I think those of us who try to fix these damn instruments are pretty much on the same side. We're always going to go about things differently and I just don't see the need to get into another pissing match.
Jeez, what's wrong with me? Playing Mr. Peacemaker......
 

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Are the key cups the same depth on a Mark VII as they are on a Mark VI? Anyone? Beuller?
 

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A reputable shop will stand behind their work. That's been my experience, even for the bad one I had.

Someone above mentioned playing on a set of replacement roo pads for 14 years without problems. Doesn't seem a warranty against massive failure in the relatively short 2-year time-frame is so outrageous.

The comments by knowledgeable techs regarding pad thicknesses, different methods for pad installation, and also the memory of metal and its tendency to return to its original shape, has been enlightening, at least for me. Thanks for all that.
 

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A reputable shop will stand behind their work. That's been my experience, even for the bad one I had.

Someone above mentioned playing on a set of replacement roo pads for 14 years without problems. Doesn't seem a warranty against massive failure in the relatively short 2-year time-frame is so outrageous.

The comments by knowledgeable techs regarding pad thicknesses, different methods for pad installation, and also the memory of metal and its tendency to return to its original shape, has been enlightening, at least for me. Thanks for all that.
Knowing the quality and consistency of the Music Medic Roo pads after installing them in my own instrument and many customer's instruments, I can say with reasonable certainty that it was the "poor installation" that failed---not the pads themselves.
 

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The "pad looks high" and the "scratch on the inside of my mouthpiece" always reminds me of a story my Dad told me. Somebody looked closely at the windshield of their car and saw that it was pitted. Others looked and found the same "problem." Causal theories ranged from nuclear fallout to aliens beings to kids with BB guns. Turns out that the only problem was looking too closely at your windshield. Same with looking closely at the pad height in a key cup. If they aren't even then it's the tech's fault (assuming you decide that it isn't the fault of alien beings).

As difficult as it is, I look closely for pad leaks, but ignore comparative pad heights in a cup. I haven't been to a tech in years, but if one told me he was going to charge for bending the keys so that every pad sat at the same comparative height in its key cup I 1) wouldn't pay and 2) wouldn't believe him/her. No need for a 2 year guarantee. I wouldn't leave my sax in the first place.

Mark

The Mysterious Seattle Windshield Pitting story.
 

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Looking for the pad sizes in a set of Mark VI alto pads on the Music Center website for a friend, I discovered they provide pads that are a bit thinner for the smaller diameter key cups in their sets. The sizes are in mm. are shown below.
Converting to inches, 4.2mm = .165", 3.8mm = .150", 3.5mm = .138", and 3.0 = .118" I have heard stories about some techs using thicker pads for the lower keys on a Mark VI, but I haven't thought of that in reverse. Hmmm. . .
It does make sense that if smaller diameter key cups have shorter "walls" that slightly thinner pads would look better and be easier to fit. When I get my "project" Mark VI back from John Uttech I'm going to measure the key cups and find out.

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Horns are generally designed with a specific pad thickness in mind. The mechanics found in the movement of the cups relative to the tone holes should allow all three components (cup, pad and tone hole to end up parallel with the the two complementing components without much adjustment after overhaul. Wrong pads too thick or too thin will need extensive bending and adjustment to accomplish this priority. Hitting hard at 6 or 12 is a give away that a problem exists. The real pad requirement after a life of fudgin may be obtained by careful feeler gauge measurement of the space between properly paralleled tone hole and cup relationships set up correctly; natch.
 

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OP is a bit unclear. I assume it concerns the thickness of the pads in the cups, rather than the diameter of hte pads relative to the inside diameter of the cups.

If the previous pads projected more from the key cups that these do, it is possible that they were very squishy, such that the effective thickness was something like that of the firmer replacement pads.

It is also possible that the technician did not have pads of an appropriate thickness for this instrument, so he installed thinner pads and altered the geometry of the key cup arms etc to get them to close flat.

Aesthetics are important to many players, so personally, I install pads (of thickness as appropriate as possible) such that they look tidy and even in the cup i.e. "the norm". And not deeply sunk.
Then I do what is necessary to make them close flat on the tone holes, and all other relevant adjustments.
 
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