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standard pads over rolled tone holes.

2111 Views 10 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  wilsaxo
I have a Kolert alto from the thirties with rolled tone holes. Is it possible to repad it with standard pads?

I heard that the drawback to not using reso-con pads is that the action is slower. Is this true?

Would such a rolled tone hole sax repadded with regular pad be adequate for the needs of a beginner?

Would the instrument be significantly less air tight than it I were to use the reso- con pads?

Clearly if the horn were to leak too much the use of regular pads is a bad idea.
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you should be ok using regular far as i know, current keilwerths with rolled tone holes don't use anything special. If set up properly, you shouldn't have any issues with leaks caused by that combination. My understanding is that the reso-pads were designed to reduce stickiness that can happen due to the larger surface area on the rim of the rolled tonehole.
Yes just use std pads, reso's were conns non glue pads like bueschers snap in pads. The outer material was the same
With rolled tone holes, it is important that the pads are of high quality (consistent thickness) and superbly installed over level tone holes. (Or else resort to really squishy pads that will give the player a squishy feel :)
Rolled tone holes are never flat if they are rolled from tubing of the body and not a roll soldered to the top of the tone hole. A Conn reso-pad has its skin stretched like a drumhead (read: flat) over a metal ring. It is the worst thing to go on a rolled tone hole unless the tone hole is made flat as well. As you try to flatten them they will widen, which is not good for sticking (basic wisdom form Flutemaker David Straubinger). This is why techs installing Straubinger and JS Flute pads bevel the inside and outside of flute tone holes to thin out and minimize the contact surface. A conventional pad of the kind sold as professional these days can be made to fit to a rolled tone hole much better than pad that is flat by design: Conn reso, JS

It's great to see your enthusiasm in learning sax repair! Keep at it!

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Thanks David for your generous encouragement.

I gather you saying the following; If the rolled tone hole has a round surface there is a chance of leaks due to the fact the the con resopad- being stretched like a drum ie being fairly hard- makes minimal contact with the surface. On the other hand, if the technician flattens the surface there is a greater chance of sticking.

The bevelling technique use on flutes – but perhaps adaptable to saxophones, is an attempt to find the middle ground between these two extremes.

On the other hand if I use a high quality conventional pad the chances are the pad will seal better, not worse than if I use the conn reso pad, though in fact this last pad was designed to be used on rolled tone holes.

If I do use the con resopad, everything has to be exactly in place as Gordon says…
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zagzig said:
On the other hand if I use a high quality conventional pad the chances are the pad will seal better, not worse than if I use the conn reso pad, though in fact this last pad was designed to be used on rolled tone holes.
Yes. Just avoid using the high quality pads that say "hard" or "extra firm".
Most of the levelling of rolled tone holes can be done with without flattening (widening) the surface contacting the pad. It is mainly filing that does this.

A lot of flattening can be done without filing.

The metal in that roll is pretty darn thin. If you file it flat, then carve away more metal to keep the contact area narrow, then the sax has a bump and a few tone holes get non-level again, and you repeat the process, ...... you can finish up going through the metal and totally wrecking the tone hole lip. I would go down this road with the utmost caution.
It is impossible for a manufacturer to roll a tone hole surface and have it be flat, even if they make hand made flute with high prices and famous names. If checked with a standard like the back of a JS Tone hole file or surface plate, the pad contact surface will most likely resemble a potato chip with high spots and low spots. A conventional pad can be coaxed into conforming to this shape where a "flat by design" pad can't. Conn reso pads are flat like a drumhead, but not hard, because of this stretching over their retaining ring. Hardness would come from the cushion under the skin. Conn reso pads are the worst to use on a rolled tone hole that is not flat if a light touch is wanted. They have to be squeezed by the player to work (a testament to the great sound of Conns that players have been willing to do this all of these years). These pads were designed to save labor in the factory, not needing any shellac cooling time, and as a marketing tool as a user replaceable pad without even taking the keys off of the horn.

Gordon is right about other methods to make the tone holes flat that don't remove metal. There even some new tools for this by Jim Thomas available through J. L. Smith and Company. Final flatness for a "flat by design" pad will still involve metal removal with fine grits and/or lapping.

Hardness is only a factor in how noisy the contact is, not the ability to get the pad to seal on the tone hole all the way around. Are you using a feeler (.0005") to check for contact or just a light? For the past few years I have been making extensive use of the Magnehelic leak meter to check that the pads are sealing. It has taken some creative thinking but I can isolate anything on a saxophone from mouthpieces to solder joints and red rot, to determine as small as a fingerprint's worth of leaking.

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I straitened the tone holes of my Kolert with out using the file as I had gather that this is a possible way of ruining the instrument.

Would a strip of ciggarrette paper work as an adequate feeler?

Thank David for putting the resopad in perspective.

A question:

Assuming a perfect level tonehole of the correct flatness, would there be any difference between a resopad and a hard conventional pad?

Also how would the two react in terms of stickiness?

I will look at the rolled tone hole flattening tool…
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The thinest cigarette paper is probably .001". Some of our suppliers sell .0005 mylar shim stock that I prefer. In a pinch I've used supermarket plastic bag material as the thinest is .0005" and the thicker is .001". It tends to curl up though and you have to keep cutting new ones but the price is right. I cut the feelers to about 1/8 -1/4" wide and tape, or glue, them to paper clips or pipe cleaners. This allows me to bend the tool to reach hard to reach areas.

The tone hole tools are actually dent rollers designed to work inside the body and bring up the low spots by pressure and rolling sort of like burnishing. This is a variation of the dent ball and rebound technique. Curt had an excellent article on the website about this dent ball under tone hole method a while back that may be still up. I haven't used the Jim Thomas rollers but I have used his flute tone hole tool that works on the same principle.

The reso pad problem is that they are limited to the Conn sizes. The drum head idea inspired David Straubinger and is a part of his design patents for his flute pad. If someone starts making a new pad design stretching the skin over a frame in a different way than the Conn resos, they may hear from Straubinger's lawyers. If someone would make the Conn reso style in more sizes it would be nice. No one would buy them without them being in fashion, and they are already quite old fashioned. Much marketing, forum posting, and mental anguish would have to be involved. Just look at the history of the Jim Schmidt pads and the RooPads. And the Roo is a conventional pad! Ask Curt or Jim if they would want to start from scratch again? Now if Jim would just do to his sax pad what his latest flute pad improvements embody then... or if Straubinger would make a sax pad. I've asked both of these guys in the past, maybe it's time to bug them again!

Stickiness is more a pad treatment issue. The companies for the past 20 yrs or so sought waterproof and consistent coloring but ended up with all the stickiness talk that goes on now. They haven't fix the problem. The only tan pad I am aware of that is treated and doesn't have this problem is the J. L. Smith pad that they came out with last year, and it is the only tan pad that I consider using in my shop. Stickiness is also related to surface contact area, the less the better.

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