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Hey folks, Im trying to increase my knowledge on woodwinds and how to repair them and thoerys behind why it is so. So I thought I would ask this question, does anyone know why flute pads are clipped in and not glued in like on saxophones and clarinets. There must be some acoustic advantage achieved by this method, does anyone actually know why or have any ideas as to why this is so.
Steve
 

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Tradition, and I think that greater precision is available for pads in that size range from partial shimming. You will find some vintage French saxes have the pads installed with flute-like screws and retaining washers, but they are the exception.
I have padded some flutes using Jim Schmidt's magnet retainers instead of screws and washers. Works even better. It doesn't twist the pad, comes out easily for shimming, leaves no screw heads sticking in the bore.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Ive never seen the magnetic retainers, I have a jim shmidt catalog, So I might have a browse of it. How do they work
Steve


Edit: Sorry I have a J L Smith Catalog
 

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I think i have screwed in pads in my B&S blue label soprano, they look the same as my flute. Maybe it's about the size?
 

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The metal washers on closed hole flutes should actually improve the sound, as resos do in saxes, by leaving less soft pad surface to flex and create acoustic losses.

Toby
 

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simso said:
Ive never seen the magnetic retainers, I have a jim shmidt catalog, So I might have a browse of it. How do they work
Steve
Edit: Sorry I have a J L Smith Catalog
Here is more info on them: http://users.cvip.net/~js210/fpad.html
I would reccomend mastering the traditional methods before attempting a conversion to this system. I only mentioned them because they are a relatively new and interesting alternative to the traditional system.
 

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"does anyone know why flute pads are clipped in and not glued in like on saxophones and clarinets. "

Apart from the issue of having an adjustable bed of filler behind the pads:

Glue: Less work at manufacture; more work for technicians.
Clips or screws: More work at manufacture, but less for technicians.

Flute players have somehow been conditioned into accepting paying for more work at manufacture. Perhaps that is partly because of the strong traditional link between flute making and silver-smithing.

Perhaps it is partly because sax pads started as leather pads with a stitch in the middle. Presumably for better sealing, flute pads quickly evolved to the membrane covering, which needed more than a stitch to stop this more buzzy material from buzzing in the centre of the pad. Screws and washers were an obvious solution.

Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps...
 

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interesting, Gordon...clarinets have small pads so the 'membrane' doesn't make that much noise, but sometimes the lower keys buzz. Clarinets also seem to be setup with leather or cork pads quite a bit these days. I like cork.

Has anyone ever played a flute setup with leather pads and shellac? Might be fun to try...any reason not to?
 

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shmuelyosef said:
Has anyone ever played a flute setup with leather pads and shellac? Might be fun to try...any reason not to?
I've worked on a few of the old Ogilvie bass flutes that come with leather pads. Years ago I encountered one of those old Bundy flutes with those dangling reddish rubber floating pads that you sometimes see in old Bundy saxes. I think it was an unsuccessful experiment in the '70s that they sold a few thousand of. Because it had no spuds, I installed Valentino clarinet pads with hot glue and it worked well.
Leather pads can work well in clarinets because of the tonehole shape. I think that the grained surface of the leather may be a bit too crude to be optimal on soprano flutes. Also, most clarinet pads are closed in their resting position, and most are single-action keys (they operate independently of other mechanisms). This is very forgiving when it comes to making a pad seal.
On a flute, the opposite is true. Most keys are open, and most have to close in various combinations with other keys. For this to work well with a light touch, great precision is required. I think the smooth surface of bladder skin or synthetics suit this purpose better than leather in the smaller 17-19mm
size range.
 

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shmuelyosef said:
....Has anyone ever played a flute setup with leather pads and shellac? Might be fun to try...any reason not to?
Furthermore.

Old-style leather pads were quite porous, and this has a serious effect on response for a flute, particularly the low notes.

New style, non-porous, leather pads tend to stick to tone holes, as is frequently discussed re saxophones. The light springing that is typical of flutes woud be disastrous in conjunction with pads that stick as much as is tyupical on saxes.
 

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Gordon (NZ) said:
Furthermore.

Old-style leather pads were quite porous, and this has a serious effect on response for a flute, particularly the low notes.
And leather pads feel horrible on a flute because of the tolerances they must meet and just can't to achieve that feel.

Joe B
 

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I had one finisher in Elkhart that used hot glue AND screw/washers. He flaked the glue and put a layer in the pad cup, installed the washer and screw loose, heated and seated ala Piccolo/sax and then tightened the washer screw. Overall it was nice as the pads had a nice quiet feel BUT it was impossible to shim these and if a repair tech didn't know this was done, the pad was ruined. While on the subject, it doesn't hurt to install larger washers to give a flatter pad and more resonator surface. Yamaha has been doing this for years on upper line foot joints.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Mmm might be onto something there re resonance and buzzing
I know clarinets have a very small tone hole in comparison to a flute, and I assume this is why clarinets dont need resonators, Ive never seen a skin pad with a resonator so this might be the over all reasoning as to why they use a clip in pad eg skin pad with chimney hole for plastic resonator to clip on.
I think shellac and leather wouldnt work as well, because leather is a very coarse material in comparison to skin pads. My daughter plays the flute and Ive found that just a whisper of a leak or pad not quite touching and she cant get a sound out.

Steve
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Question for gordon if I may or chime in anyone else who can help us out. Reshimming the daughters selmer bundy flute and having issues with fitting and removing the plastic spuds, it doesnt use screws or resonator plates to retain the pads, but a all in one plastic clip which fits onto the outside of the centre chimney.
When Im trying to remove the spud between shims I inevitablty tear the skin of the pad whilst trying to get the spud of, end up having to start again, got the shimming process worked out, I just needed a decent range of various thickness shims to accomodate the miniscule differences for clamping pressure.
Ive used all sorts of soft tipped tools to try and pry it off, but no success
Any help would be greatly appreciated
Steve
 

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I ordered, from the internet, "wax carvers/spatula dental tools" that work well. I ground mine thinner and buffed sharp edges. Still they have potential to rip pad skins, just have to be careful!
 

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Okay got the art down pat for doing the plastic resonator clipped bundys, gee they are painful to remove the retaining spuds between shim adjustments. I found after I had shimmed the key cup, that even depending on how you play the unit can create leaks were there were none before. Eg I had shimmed the key so that way just gentle light pressure in the centre of the key seals perfectly, however my daughter plays by laying her fingers on the hinge rods and gently rocks the key from the outer edge, hence there are a couple of minute and I mean minute leaks still. I was using rolly paper to check clearances, which is about 1.5 thou thick, next time Ill have to find some material which is 1/2 a thou thick, so that way the key is sealing all at once within half a thou all the way around, so doesnt matter if you rock the key from the edge or press gently in the centre, Ahh the trys and tribulations of flute repadding.
Steve
 

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simso said:
Okay got the art down pat for doing the plastic resonator clipped bundys, gee they are painful to remove the retaining spuds between shim adjustments. ...
That's one reason I don't shim pads on most instruments. Instead, I adjust key cup alignment.

".... Eg I had shimmed the key so that way just gentle light pressure in the centre of the key seals perfectly, however my daughter plays by laying her fingers on the hinge rods and gently rocks the key from the outer edge..."

IMO, it's time she or somebody got her to play the thing how it is intended to be played. She could also be setting herself up for RSI-type problems.

" ....I was using rolly paper to check clearances, which is about 1.5 thou thick, next time Ill have to find some material which is 1/2 a thou thick..."

Try video tape (mylar). It's just over 0.02 mm (0.0008"). Thinner if you sand paper off the coating.

1 thou is actually quite a significant leak. This can be ascertained by putting a leak light inside a sax, and closing a leather pad on translucent or transparent feeler of this thickness. The escaping light is what I would regard as a significant leak, even on a sax.

When a feeler is used to find leaks on a flute, very light finger pressure is used, and the relative drag on the feeler is what is detected in different locations around the pad. IMO this detects differences considerably smaller than the thickness of the feeler.
 
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