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Hi folks. I'm looking at an old Buescher alto, ca 1925- '26 that the seller says has snap-in pads that should be replaced. I've never done it - replace pads so I'm wondering what snap-ins are? It there some kind of magnet or metal ring that holds the pads in place? I'm pretty sure I can get the horn for pretty small $$ but if the pad job is a really big deal I'll give it a miss.

Thanks in advance for any help.
 

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The snap is simply a resonator that instead of being glued or affixed to the pad, simply covers it and snaps into place in the pad cup through a hole in the pad. It was just Bueschers way of doing things. Many a tech have convinced owners of such horns to clip the studs in the pad cup and go with normal pads, but whether it's done by the tech for his own benefit (as many don't like to fuss with them) or the client is highly debatable. Most folks that keep them in place also use adhesive for a better and more reliable seal.
 

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Grumps is absolutely right. Below are some pictures of some keys from a True Tone alto restoration that I have almost finished. You don't need a special pad, however the .160" or .165" thickness pads work the best. Techs who install these regular pads remove the existing rivet or resonator and punch the appropriate size hole in the pad to accept the Buescher snap in resonator. The pads shown are the white roo pads from Musicmedic.com. I find that installing the pads with shellac along with the snap in allows for a much more perfect pad seating job. If the sax you are looking to buy still has all the existing snap in resonators, that is a plus. They are getting so rare nowadays, they alone are often worth as much as the sax in unrestored condition. Below the picture is an early Buescher ad for installing the snap in studs in the key cups of older Buescher horns, and selling the reso's separately.



 

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I have two old Bueschers. Over the years I have re-padded both with Snap-In pads as originally installed.
It is a simple,clean, quick & very effective method of pad retention & I would not consider a Buescher without it's snaps....just as I would not install a Ford engine into a vintage Bugatti.
Many "tech" are too set in their ways to take the trouble to adjust to this excellent system & convince the gullible that Snap-In pads are insecure....or even rotate!
 

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And of course, it's never wrong to go back with real metal-backed Buescher type pads like nature intended.

I really don't think the snaps add anything from a performance perspective. Last year, I rebuilt a True Tone alto that had already had the snaps filed down. So I went back with roopads and domed Noyek resonators. The horn feels great and has a lively punchy sound that the original snap resonators would probably not promote.

But, I'd never recommend filing down the snaps yourself in favor of regular pads. It would be kind of like cutting the horn off of a unicorn so you could have a regular horse.
 

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And of course, it's never wrong to go back with real metal-backed Buescher type pads like nature intended.

I really don't think the snaps add anything from a performance perspective. Last year, I rebuilt a True Tone alto that had already had the snaps filed down. So I went back with roopads and domed Noyek resonators. The horn feels great and has a lively punchy sound that the original snap resonators would probably not promote.

But, I'd never recommend filing down the snaps yourself in favor of regular pads. It would be kind of like cutting the horn off of a unicorn so you could have a regular horse.
Well described.
I have both a Buescher TT and a Buescher stencil C tenor. The Buescher has Snap-In pads whereas, of course the stencil does not. I re-padded the stencil with Stick-In pads incorporating large resonators & it does indeed have more punch & an abrasive quality that the "Works" Buescher does not.
That however does not make it better....just very slightly different.
I would never use, or advise Stick-In pads in a "real" Buescher; the Snap-Ins work very well & are inherent in the original design.....an intrinsic feature of the horn and the period.
 

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Most folks that keep them in place also use adhesive for a better and more reliable seal.
This is very important. A pad needs to have a solid back support for a reliable seal and to keep adjustment. Air pockets behind the pad would be a problem and it won't be relaible at all (reminds of a repad I saw where most of the pads - not snap ins, regular ones - weren't glued at all!). So to the OP, I wouldn't really be concerned about the snap in pads. As long as you are giving the sax to an excellent repairer, they would be able to repair it. It might change the repair price a little bit, who knows. Other factors such as the condition of the hinges, tone holes, etc. have much more effect on cost of repairs and it can be a "big deal" (i.e. not cheap) regardless of the types of pads, or not.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Grumps is absolutely right. Below are some pictures of some keys from a True Tone alto restoration that I have almost finished. You don't need a special pad, however the .160" or .165" thickness pads work the best. Techs who install these regular pads remove the existing rivet or resonator and punch the appropriate size hole in the pad to accept the Buescher snap in resonator. The pads shown are the white roo pads from Musicmedic.com. I find that installing the pads with shellac along with the snap in allows for a much more perfect pad seating job. If the sax you are looking to buy still has all the existing snap in resonators, that is a plus. They are getting so rare nowadays, they alone are often worth as much as the sax in unrestored condition. Below the picture is an early Buescher ad for installing the snap in studs in the key cups of older Buescher horns, and selling the reso's separately.



Ah, many thanks. The pix really help. So the intent is to hold the pad in place with a snap "button." Clear to me now. I agree that adding adhesive makes sense. I can visualize the edges of a pad flopping around somehow without glue. I don't have the horn yet, and I may not get it, but if I do at least I know what the snap pads are all about.
 

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The original Snap-On pads have a metal backing that fits tight in the key cup to hold the pad. No glue is needed.
Curt Alterac has written an excellent article on Installing Pads on a Buescher Saxophone

I would tend to agree with Curt that to do the best possible job of "floating" and seating the pad to perfection, it is advisable to use a thin layer of shellac to hold the pad in place. Having rebuilt several Bueschers, I have tried installing pads both ways, and find that adding a layer of shellac enables me to do my very best work. Without the shellac the pad seating is "so-so" and more pressure is required to make the pads seal airtight.

I'm not insisting this is the right way to do it, only that it is the way that works the best for me enabling me to work to the standard I have set for my self when doing a repad or overhaul on these great old saxophones.
 

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The original Snap-On pads have a metal backing that fits tight in the key cup to hold the pad. No glue is needed.
true only if you reskin the old original felt with the original back. These are either white kid with silevr backs, tan kid with silver backs, or brown kid with brass backs, all of them stitched on the back. The aftermarket replacement that Ferree's and more recently Curt and other sells are not as good a fit as the real deal.

...it is advisable to use a thin layer of shellac to hold the pad in place. Having rebuilt several Bueschers, I have tried installing pads both ways, and find that adding a layer of shellac enables me to do my very best work. Without the shellac the pad seating is "so-so" and more pressure is required to make the pads seal airtight.
I'm not insisting this is the right way to do it, only that it is the way that works the best for me enabling me to work to the standard I have set for my self when doing a repad or overhaul on these great old saxophones.
Agreed. I was a passionate defensor of the no glue school until I tried Ferree's and then Music Medic snap pads. Music Medic's are a little better selected, but they plain out just sucks. SOme fit lose, some will need to be pressed in so tight that the skin wrinkles and bulges so far out that getting the retainer/resonator to snap is a challenge.

Anyway I don't like the thickness of Roo pads on snap in horns, I like them to be at least one cardboard shim thicker, so I've returned to make my own pads wich is a time consuming task but renders the kind of result I aim for. Don't like to use shims...
 

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Why not just use a bit more shellac if you think you need a thicker pad? I find the .165" Music Medic white roo pads to be just the right thickness for the Bueschers I have overhauled. Both the Buescher original pad sets I have seen from both Music Medic and Ferrees are too thick, hit in the back first---even without shellac, and would require significant key bending.

The True Tone I am finishing right now was bought from a guy who tried to repad it himself by just inserting the pads and popping on the resonators. He got discouraged and sold it because it wouldn't play. When I got it not one key closed in the front since the pads were all too thick.
 

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The aftermarket replacement that Ferree's and more recently Curt and other sells are not as good a fit as the real deal. Music Medic's are a little better selected, but they plain out just sucks. SOme fit lose, some will need to be pressed in so tight that the skin wrinkles and bulges so far out that getting the retainer/resonator to snap is a challenge.

Anyway I don't like the thickness of Roo pads on snap in horns, I like them to be at least one cardboard shim thicker, so I've returned to make my own pads wich is a time consuming task but renders the kind of result I aim for. Don't like to use shims...
Has anyone raised this concern with Curt? From past experience, Curt is only too happy to listen to feedback and make changes or improve quality control.
 

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Yes I've talked to Curt and Rich adn they say they don't have control or saying upon that because they don't make them.

JBT, I don't like to use much shellac. I think that just enough to cover the space between leather and backing in the back and to hold the pad in the cup is the best possible fit. Starting from there, on snap in pads I use it just as a "filler" leaving the snap on resonator area perfectly clean. Plus I don't like to bend keys that are perfectly level and paralell to the tone hole. I've read that some people say that using snap pads causes them to need to bend the keys, wich seems a little odd to me, given the fact that the snap in pads are indeed thicker than .165, they are .180 (not referring to the chrome metal backs that are being sold now as "snap on pads" but to the real deal) and they were originally equipped with those.
 

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For me, a major advantage of the Snap-In system is that shellac is NOT required....at least, not in my experience.
Any levelling can be achieved with shim sectors of card judiciously placed behind to pad to provide the necessary tilt.....not possible if the pad is stuck in with shellac.
The placement of card sector shim can even, with care & two small screwdrivers/levers, be achieved without dismantling the horn.
No heat, no shellac, no mess, no burnt fingers....a super system. :)
 

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Yes I've talked to Curt and Rich adn they say they don't have control or saying upon that because they don't make them.

JBT, I don't like to use much shellac. I think that just enough to cover the space between leather and backing in the back and to hold the pad in the cup is the best possible fit. Starting from there, on snap in pads I use it just as a "filler" leaving the snap on resonator area perfectly clean. Plus I don't like to bend keys that are perfectly level and paralell to the tone hole. I've read that some people say that using snap pads causes them to need to bend the keys, wich seems a little odd to me, given the fact that the snap in pads are indeed thicker than .165, they are .180 (not referring to the chrome metal backs that are being sold now as "snap on pads" but to the real deal) and they were originally equipped with those.
That is interesting because my experience with pads thicker than .165" when dry fit into the key cups (without shellac) is that they touch in the back first which would require that the front of the key cup be bent down in order to seat the pad. The metal back pads both from Music Medic and from Ferrees have been too thick to use without significant key bending in my experience. That is why I go with the .165" thick roo pads.
 

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It would seem to me that the fact that some of the looser fitting pads can turn in the key cups without shellac would make using shims behind the pads an unstable adjustment at best. Of course everyone has a system that works for them. I have never heard of a professional tech in the US who uses shims to seat sax pads except for the most severe cases of manufacturing defects in the key design.
 

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It would seem to me that the fact that some of the looser fitting pads can turn in the key cups without shellac would make using shims behind the pads an unstable adjustment at best. Of course everyone has a system that works for them. I have never heard of a professional tech in the US who uses shims to seat sax pads except for the most severe cases of manufacturing defects in the key design.
Why should a pad turn in it's cup? There are no rotational forces applied.
 
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