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Always heard thin pads are best for vintage Martins. Is it because of the way the keywork was initially set up? Or perhaps the bevelled tone holes? Is it just a myth and cups and keys can be bent any which way to make up for the small difference in pad size?

Anyone care to elaborate?
 

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The keywork is designed and set up to operate properly utilizing the thinner (160-.165) pads when adjusted to the proper key heights. Not doing so will cause the pads to hit the tone hole at the rear where the keycup is soldered to the stack key first, instead of plopping down directly, simultaneously all the way around as it should.

Bending, manipulating,or outright "King Konging" the keys in an attempt to fix this issue with thicker pads simply creates collateral problems that are totally avoidable by using the proper pads.
 

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This is completely mechanical and it's not a question of a myth or not. If a saxophone (Martin or other) was designed to better fit with thinner pads (unless something was changed sometime) it would be better to use thin pads. But the thinner pads would need some bending anyway, since you don't always put the exact same amount of glue, and no pads are accurate and consistant enough, and keys move, etc. But your suggestion in another thread that not using thin pads will somehow make a Martin not "sing" is simply not true. It's just mechanical reasons because thinner pads will require less work. If it is a good one and leak free it will "sing" anyway.
 

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You can always add more glue or put shims under thin pads but thick pad will always be fluffing up and causing the horn to go out of adjustment. It is just dictated by the thin cups and angles of the arms on Martins.
 

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Hey Clarnibass,

If you are directing this towards me, for the record I never said that Martins won't "Sing" without the use of thin pads, simply that they won't seal and function as well. You've obviously confused someone else's comments with mine. :rolleyes:
 

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SAXISMYAXE, sorry if I wasn't clear. What I said wasn't towards you at all. I was referring to what Grumps wrote in another thread, that he has heard that Martins need thinner pads to really "sing" arguing the thickness itself is the important, while actually the seal and venting of the pads is what's important, and in some cases thinner pads will make it easier to achieve.
 

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I recently had a few pads replaced on a Committee II tenor, and my repairer was surprised by how low the key heights were and equally surprised by how well the horn sang with so little clearance between pads and toneholes. I assume from this that the low setup (which cannot be opened up without filing the heels of keys) is why the pads have to be thin.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
clarnibass said:
But your suggestion in another thread that not using thin pads will somehow make a Martin not "sing" is simply not true.
You're really getting hung up here on a figure of speech. In the thread that inspired this new one, the original poster was having problems with a Martin which was recently overhauled. I had asked if thin pads were used, and added that they needed them to "sing". Well, read the other opinions here. A horn that has been "kingkonged", has clanking mechanics or will more readily fall out of adjustment will not play as well as one set up in a more ideal fashion. And yes, in my opinion, will not sing as well either.
 

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Maybe because English is not my first language "figure of speech" is especially important. In that thread, maybe instead of asking if they used thin pads, it was better to ask if it seals completely and has enough ventilation. It's always best to use the correct thickness pads, and that is what I would do.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I disagree. When someone has a vintage Martin which played fine, was overhauled, then didn't play so fine; asking if thin pads were used (for the many reasons stated above) would be on point.
 

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Ditto what Bruce Bailey said. I've rebuilt only a handful of Martins. The keycups are fairly shallow. That coupled with the on-average smaller key arm/key foot angles on these horns when they came out of the factory pretty much dictates the use of the thinnest pads available for adequate venting.
 

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clarnibass said:
SAXISMYAXE, sorry if I wasn't clear. What I said wasn't towards you at all. I was referring to what Grumps wrote in another thread, that he has heard that Martins need thinner pads to really "sing" arguing the thickness itself is the important, while actually the seal and venting of the pads is what's important, and in some cases thinner pads will make it easier to achieve.
Sorry Clarnibass. Don't despair, your English comprehension and usage is far better than my Hebrew! ;) I simply didn't remember ever posting that, and I didn't know if you thought you were quoting me or not.

Cheers.
 

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The pads that certain suppliers often call "standard", are approx .185" thick. I have a complete inventory of them, and almost never use them. A well-established local colleague regards his stock as so dead that he has recently sold the lot. These pads are less than suitable for MOST saxes, because pads this thick will almost always close at the "back" of the tone hole before contacting the front, unless the front is packed out with glue used as a filler.

On the other hand, what is often described as "thin" is approx .165" thick, and are what I use for almost every instrument.

I think this is probably the experience of most serious technicians.

So the reality is that I have come to regard the .185" pads as "thick", and the .165" pads as "standard", because according to use, that is exactly what they are.

Some saxes do not have a lot of spare space for keys to lift higher than they were designed to lift. For such saxes, irespective of brand name, the result of installing over-thick (.185") pads is bad. Either a lot of glue is needed at the front as packing, or the keys need to be be tilted forward to accommodate the extra thickness. Either approach reduces venting, which cannot be corrected if the key cannot lift higher without hitting another part of the sax. This adjustment to accommodate over-thick pads is becomes ridiculous if the key cup arms are unusually short on a particular model of sax - because of the whole geometry of the key, without going into detail and drawing diagrams.

Perhaps this is why this discussion has been unfortunately hidden away in the Martin section of the forum rather than in the Tech section. Martins are by no means the only saxes to have unusually short key cup arms.

BTW, IMO such short arms are an extreme deviation from the theoretical ideal of having pads lift vertically from tone holes, and as such, represents a lower standard of mechanical design, but don't tell Martin enthusiasts that!

So may I suggest that this discussion may be little more than a semantic one. Normal, standard (.165") pads, which some suppliers unfortunately call "thin", are used for all saxes unless there is a particular reason for using thick (.185") pads, which many suppliers unfortunately call "standard".

The names given for thickness are really quite arbitrary.

Perhaps it is pertinent that Music Center (world's largest pad maker, previously Pisoni) in Italy, lists the following thicknesses for their standard range of pads. (They actually make any thickness to order):

Thick: 4.5 mm (i.e .177")
Medium: 4.3 mm (.169")
Thin: 4.0 mm (.157")
Very Thin 3.8 mm (.150")
 

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I just want to say that, speaking as the owner of a new vintage Martin tenor with all new pads, you guys have totally freaked me out.:?

Rory
 

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Good post Gordon, and I think that maybe my definition of thin(er) and thicker was differernt from others...? I didn't realize but maybe most when mentioning something other than thin pads meant 4.7mm (0.185")? I was using something similar to Music Center, 4mm is thin, and anything above is thicker. 4.5mm or more is thick. I stock mostly 4mm and also (but less) 4.5mm, and use 4mm much more (I recently changed back to Music Center pads and they vary in thickness only slightly, less than any of the other pad makers I've tried).

Rory, don't freak out! This all came from another thread, on which I also mentioned that a Martin tenor is the best tenor I've played (sound, response)!
 

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OK a question please for all those above who wrote Martins need thin pads. What pad thickness exactly did you mean, what pads thickness do you use on most saxophones, and what do you consider thicker pads?

Thanks.
 

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Regardless of what past or present point of reference one is comparing the definition of what are the extremes of thick and thin pads available:

As Gordon touched upon, current industry application (parameters which seem to work ) translates to:

Thin equals .160 to .165.
Thick around .185
 

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clarnibass said:
OK a question please for all those above who wrote Martins need thin pads. What pad thickness exactly did you mean, what pads thickness do you use on most saxophones, and what do you consider thicker pads?

Thanks.
Kraus' 115 sax pads, 0.160"

http://www.krausmusic.com/pads/saxophon.htm

I believe (but am not certain) they are Luciens made by Music Center in Italy, like the rest of the sax pads Kraus offers.
 

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Yes, I believe that is where Kraus gets them, but he has hinted that the particular Kraus model is made to Kraus specs, and could well be different in some way from the closest one listed in the standard range in the Music Center catalogue. After all, Music Center will manufacture to any requested spec.
 
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