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When is a pad "Bad"

1147 Views 9 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  Jazz Is All
This is mostly a follow up to my other thread about overhaul/repad frequency.

It seems like many leave sealing pads alone. This begs the question, and I open this one to fellow techs for their opinion alike, when is a pad considered bad?

There are the obvious optical reasons as when the skin is ripped exposing the felt beneath, however thought about the pad that has hardened felt and is rock hard as a result. At a NAPBIRT clinic, repair guru Ed Kraus was talking about hard pads on a clarinet, and he had his Mag machine on it, and set it down. That bump in motion caused a momentary leak. Softer pads didn't do that. Stack keys when they close can make that bump and cause a closed, hardened pad to momentary leak.


Personally I feel a fresher pad is for forgiving and allow for small imperfections, but thats just me. I don't want pillows for pads, nor do i want steel. Just a nice firm, fresh pad. Even on closed holes.
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Leather has been chosen as an ideal covering for saxophone pads because of its "supple" texture. When the leather starts to harden or become brittle it not longer has that quality that insures an airtight seal over the tonehole. For me personally, I am loathe to put a fresh new pad in a stack key alongside pads that have begun to harden when they have to be regulated to close together. I have done so on "budget" play conditions in the past and have never been happy with the result.

Part of my training as an apprentice was to prepare the returned rental saxes and clarinets to be rented out again. The standard I was given to decide when to replace a pad was to judge whether it looked like it would hold up for another year or not. This reasoning took into account not just the current condition of the pad, but its projected "reliability" as well. In my own saxophone repair, I use the same criteria when doing "play conditions" for my customers because in my view the main thing they are paying me for is to insure their instrument is dependable.
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