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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000231.txt from 2001/04

From: (William Wright)
Subj: Re: [kl] Pads: Single versus Double Bladder
Date: Thu, 12 Apr 2001 05:09:53 -0400

<><> Gordon Palmer wrote:
There must surely be some valid reason why double bladder pads have
caught on as the standard.

I asked a retired technician about this. He's perhaps the best in
our town --- he still works for his friends --- and I put some faith in
his answer.

He told me that he has never seen a single bladder in which the
felt (inside the bladder) is as firm as the felt that is used inside
double bladder pads. This causes several problems all having to do
with sealing --- including that when two pads must close at the same
time, soft felt can allow one pad to seal a moment before the other pad
does. Soft felt also requires more finger strength to seal, and this
may affect (say) the 4th finger on a bass clarinet for some people.

Either of these problems may be more noticeable on a clarinet whose
keywork isn't perfectly adjusted.

He also reinforced and agreed with the concept that most customers
prefer a bit of 'reserve life' when they first notice wear and tear.
This gives them time to schedule a repair and to continue playing until

He says that occasionally (for the few people who have
exceptionally acute high frequency hearing --- such as people who can
hear flyback transformers) the two skins in a double bladder can be
heard to vibrate against each other. So my friend keeps a few single
bladder pads in his garage in order to help the occasional person who
has such acute hearing.

Just for the heck of it, I called a local repair shop, and the
fellow agreed with you that "Nobody uses single bladder pads any longer
because having a few extra hours of playing time remaining when you
first notice some wear is the most important thing of all. If you
aren't paying enough attention to notice such details about your
instrument..... well...." <voice trails off because he doesn't want to
offend anyone>


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