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When is a pad "Bad"

1148 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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Things are different now. 40 years ago I would play for months with rock-hard palm key pads and the B2 cut through all the way around the sealing ring. But after getting way too many pad jobs and 'overhauls' over the last 20 years, my plan now is too avoid the 'overhaul' altogether and just get 'play condition' tune-ups or pad jobs. I suggest getting yourself a set of the pads your tech put in last so if you have an emergency you won't have to wait for him to order them. Then when it comes time for a pad job he can use up the ones you have left over which most likely will be most of them, especially the larger ones.
When I got my latest MK VI tenor (186xxx made in '71) in 1998, it still had many of its original pads, mostly below G. Whoever had been working on it definitely had the strategy of doing the least to the sax as long as it retained it's sound and playability. I really wish I had continued with that minimalist strategy and had been more selective in who I let touch it.
I think if a horn comes to you with hard palm key or other top pads you should strongly recommend replacement. After all, its right there in the shop. Torn pads too. I have played years recently with a petrified palm D but since I have developed a new strategy, I would replace it as soon as I discovered it. My new strategy is take the horn to the doc at least every year instead of waiting for it to get touchy.
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