Sax on the Web Forum banner

1 - 20 of 29 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hello Everyone and Happy New Year!!

I have a Trevor James Revolution II Tenor Saxophone. I have it for 7 years and I am playing professionally for the last 2 years. It has a full bright sound and the ergonomics of the sax are brilliant for a student/intermediate saxophone. Actually I think it's a clone of the old Mark VI in its design and ergonomics. The pads had started to have some mold, become stiff and the higher ones on the left side (D, D#,E) had been torn so I decided to replace them all at once.

I ordered the parts from JL Smith. I got the best ones that I could find there, the "Lucien Deluxe Sax Pad - Metal Resonator". Somewhere I had read that my horn had from the factory the "Pro by L.Pisoni" (also with metal resonators, they were identical only the JL smith's had a bit brighter leather). I replaced them, changed also some corks and felts than had fallen. Though I'm not much experienced the service was mediocre to good. At start it didn't play at all down from the middle G. After some calibration to the pad heights through some corks, screws and making with flame some pads close better I managed to make it play all the way down to Bb better than before!

The problem now is, that the sound appears to be much different.
1) Something has changed in the color of the sound and sounds more metal.
2) At some specific notes I hear a permanent background noise like vvzzzz.
3) Also I have the feeling that the intonation ratio between the high/low notes is much higher than before (quite audible now and sounds out of tune in the higher or lower ones when tuned in the middle range)!
4) And blowing at the same rate air, some notes like (middle B and middle C) have different loudness!

I'm feeling very anxious now for 2 reasons! I have no other instrument to play and I'm losing gigs. And the only service in Greece is in Athens and Thessaloniki which takes too much money to send it and fix it (almost the value of the instrument 2nd hand) and too much time (around 2 months).

I read in some threads that the height of the pads might play some role to the pitch of the note produced. In my sax I see all pads being quite high anyway and it wouldn't change the pitch if I place them a little bit lower. I don't know if this has anything to do with this background noise that I hear. Also, placing the LED light to check for leaks, I see almost no leaks in the pads, apart from some small ones which can be seen only when the pad is pressed too softly. I made also the trick with the plastic glove at the bell that I saw on youtube to check the rate of leaking and it was not perfect but quite satisfying after a few weeks of changing the pads and have started to form around the metal holes. Any suggestions to address the root of the problem and where all these differences in sound would come from would be highly appreciated!! Thanks
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
682 Posts
Did they change the type or resonators used? I've heard stories of people changing the type of resonator material and it changing intonation and tone.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Did they change the type or resonators used? I've heard stories of people changing the type of resonator material and it changing intonation and tone.
I ordered the pads and made the repadding myself. I used exactly the same type. They were almost identical. Only difference was the leather color of the JL Smith pads which was a bit brighter (more orange compared to Pissoni which was almost brownish). I can assign photos if this helps.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2016
Joined
·
18,231 Posts
I read in some threads that the height of the pads might play some role to the pitch of the note produced. In my sax I see all pads being quite high anyway and it wouldn't change the pitch if I place them a little bit lower. I don't know if this has anything to do with this background noise that I hear. Also, placing the LED light to check for leaks, I see almost no leaks in the pads, apart from some small ones which can be seen only when the pad is pressed too softly. I made also the trick with the plastic glove at the bell that I saw on youtube to check the rate of leaking and it was not perfect but quite satisfying after a few weeks of changing the pads and have started to form around the metal holes. Any suggestions to address the root of the problem and where all these differences in sound would come from would be highly appreciated!! Thanks
Well first off, Mia Xara for attempting to do a repad on your own. I do understand that there might not be an adequate tech on Crete (hmmmmm....perhaps I need a change of shop scenery ?).

I think that when a pad is sealing properly, a light touch on the back of the keycup should seal the hole entirely. A tech friend once showed me a method whereby he touches the key down with the back of his pinky finger. If the pad doesn't seal entirely, then what you will have is a leaky pad.

So that is one thing which jumps out at me. Leaks in certain areas of the horn can make the entire horn intone wonkily.

The second is.....usually when a horn gets a repad, it needs to have its keyheights readjusted. So, for the sake of argument even if you did a really good leak-free repad job, you did say you replaced some corks in the process and if these were any key feet, then that would alter the opening/height of the keys and could effect intonation.

It's a fairly arduous process. You could get all pads set nice and properly, and sealing well, and the horn speaking up and down. But then there is still the process of setting heights for maximizing intonation, which oftentimes requires you to take apart the horn, or certain parts of it, one or two more times.....

IMHO, the pad type/brand is not going to give one a particularly noticeable change in the tonal color of the horn, particularly when you replace resonator pads with resonator pads...

My 2 cents.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member/Technician
Joined
·
4,690 Posts
There are too many variables for why its now playing out of tune, I suspect 80 percent of the issues being leaks, and the other 20 percent venting and regulation issues.

It may need to be repadded again, it may not

Steve
 

·
Distinguished Technician & SOTW Columnist. RIP, Yo
Joined
·
17,204 Posts
I agree with JayPDX and Simso.

Something to consider:
1. If at first it was unplayable after the pad change, then that makes a statement that you had no idea how about the significance of eliminating leaks as you installed each pad. You may have improved since, but possibly still do not realise how leak-free a sax needs to be. A leak only 0.01 mm thick, visible only under some pretty bright local light, constitutes a significant leak.
2. Waht sort of leak detection are you using? unless it is a pretty bright light under a pad, in surrounding darkness, you are very likely to miss leaks, particularly for keys that you do not operate directly, such as G# & F#.
3. If there are small leaks then you are likely to have to blow with more air pressure and lower lip pressure. Part of this package is that tuning could be affected.
4. If you have to press hard to close leaks, then your fingers/hands are under more tension. That may subconsciously cause other parts like your lips to be under more tension, which can affect tuning.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Coffee Guru
Joined
·
39,230 Posts
Robleg, be very careful about stories that you’ve “ heard”! Changing resonators and pads never changed tone and intonation in any of the many horns which I have bought and had serviced before selling, this is my experience made with several dozens of saxophones. So it cannot be that.

Leaks and bad regulations of felt and corks are probably the culprit.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
264 Posts
I came across this "shortcut" (using a small spring behind the pad) to getting the pads to seal:


While I imagine the pros here will see this as a heresy, would it not make things easier for the OP, given that a real tech is an expensive and time consuming option?
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Coffee Guru
Joined
·
39,230 Posts
even if this would work for closing ONE pad, there are many other things to go wrong when it comes to several other keys that are working in a combined action for which you need a lot more than closing one key at the time.

In other words you can have a saxophone where each individual key closes, but then you still have leaks some of which might not even be obvious
 

·
Distinguished Technician & SOTW Columnist. RIP, Yo
Joined
·
17,204 Posts
I came across this "shortcut" (using a small spring behind the pad) to getting the pads to seal:


While I imagine the pros here will see this as a heresy, would it not make things easier for the OP, given that a real tech is an expensive and time consuming option?
What the ???
Indeed!!!

To me, this is an appalling way to go. The most wonderful property of a traditional pad, firmly glued, is that the materials are capable of permanently taking up the microscopic (i.e. less than 0.01 mm - 0.0004") irregularities that are still exist after key cup alignment with tone holes is correct, and tone holes are level, and pad installation is accurate.

IMO any pad, or installation, that in part introduces springiness in any way, by materials or other (eg spring), counters that. It is a bandaid for substandard installation, but will never feel as positive to the player as an setup that eliminates springiness as much as possible.

Also, he talks about shellac cracking. Any clued-up mechanical engineer would expect any cracks to be at right angles to the surfaces, i.e. where there is tension. (Shellac -like materials are actually used in engineering to detect areas of tension). These cracks would not allow the pad to fall out. For the pad to fall out the shellac would either have to sheer across the entire back surface, or the adhesion would have to fail because of poor gluing processes, such as heating the shellac rather than the key cup.

Also, he gives the tone hole file a "few cranks". It would be very unusual for that to be sufficient. Hence misleading. Tone holes are normally more irregular than that, and those files remove a lot slower than might think.

He talks about the spring pushing the pad out to meet the tone hole. If that did indeed happen then there is an excellent chance of air pockets behind the pad. That is a recipe for unreliability... Then the player eventually takes it to a tech for adjustment. That adjustment is never reliable because the tech has no idea that the fundamental problem is from the pad installation itself - i.e. with insecure mounting - until he by chance has reason to remove a pad. That is one of the bains of my life as a technician. A pad installers sins that come to haunt me.

[Quits soap box]
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
264 Posts
if I understand correctly what he's doing there, there should be no springiness once the glue has solidified, however there will indeed be air pockets behind the pad, which won't do any good long term.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2016
Joined
·
18,231 Posts
Well....my initial reaction is generally the same as those above. This seems a really odd assembly/installation procedure, although I highly respect Jim Schmidt. Perhaps the voids behind the pad are not of major consequence since the pads sit 'in' a rigid mounting disc, however. So regarding some of the comments above, I think we need to consider that the materials of these pads are in no way conventional; therefore perhaps using a different installation process yields better performance.
I am sure Jim would be happy to explain the glue-spring concept more if asked. It's sorta too bad he doesn't stop by here anymore.

IMHO, Jim approaches the engineering as both a musician and an industrial engineer. Which is quite awesome because sometimes it takes an eye from a different craft/design field to really make a design leap in another field. But I digress.

Here I will just say, the installation procedure shown should probably never be used on a conventional pad for a number of reasons (one being that the JS pads are rigid backing, while conventional cardboard-felt-leather pads are not). Gordon names a few others.

So I think this is more a case of the right installation for the right product. IMHO, using springs and glue backing would NOT make things any easier for a layman.
IMHO the 'easiest' way to learn how to pad a sax...is to learn how to pad a sax, and not look for shortcuts. I think it'd take about a dozen horns, honestly, before an amateur would really be able to get the hang of setting pads well.....which is why most folks suggest starting on inexpensive project horns, to cut their teeth.

To the OP, as already suggested above you may want to find a really strong leak light and go thru your horn again; locate the leaks you missed, correct them as required, then play to a tuner to adjust keyheights as required (closing the height flattens locally, raising the height sharpens locally).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
264 Posts
JayePSX, well spotted the rigid backing of those pads, which seems to me to be a significant factor in using the "spring method".

Regarding key heights, the OP may want to have a look at MusicMedic's method.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,016 Posts
I'd be interested in comments about leaving a slight leak in the front of the pad that is compensated by finger pressure. Getting rid of that has been what I'm after.

Shouldn't we have no leak before having to press harder?
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2016
Joined
·
18,231 Posts
Yes, that was why I mentioned the 'back of pinky' method my friend had once illustrated for me. I think, when seating a pad, you wanna achieve a light-free seal with minimal cup/key pressure.....
 

·
Distinguished SOTW member, musician, technician &
Joined
·
5,003 Posts
I'd be interested in comments about leaving a slight leak in the front of the pad that is compensated by finger pressure. Getting rid of that has been what I'm after.
Assuming there's at least some thickness of glue for the pad to "float" on, a slight (or sometimes more than slight) leak at the front is what almost always happens when someone is "sitting" a pad by heating the key cup, melting the glue and pressing the key on the tone hole. Pressing while the glue is soft allows the pad to move based on the firmer pressure at the front. Pressing harder can increase the size of the leak. So no surprise it happened in this case too. If I install a pad that ends up like this I correct it. This creates a spongy feel, hitting the tone hole, then requiring more pressure to seal.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member/Technician
Joined
·
4,690 Posts
JayePSX, well spotted the rigid backing of those pads, which seems to me to be a significant factor in using the "spring method".
Unfortunatley there is no such thing as the spring method, one sole person doing and advocating it does not make it a method.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Technician, Forum Contributor 2
Joined
·
1,760 Posts
IMHO the 'easiest' way to learn how to pad a sax...is to learn how to pad a sax, and not look for shortcuts. I think it'd take about a dozen horns, honestly, before an amateur would really be able to get the hang of setting pads well.....which is why most folks suggest starting on inexpensive project horns, to cut their teeth.
I absolutely agree. I know that when I first started woodwind repair under under the direction of a mentor, I still had to pad a horn several times before I got it sealing from top to bottom. And I had the advantage of watching a master do it day in and day out and I had him advising me along the way. As has been said here before, it isn't rocket science, but it takes know how and practice to get it right. And every horn, and in fact, every key/pad combination on a horn is probably going to require something a little different than the one before it.
 
1 - 20 of 29 Posts
Top