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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000242.txt from 2001/04

From: "Kevin Fay (LCA)" <>
Subj: RE: [kl] Pads: Single versus Double Bladder (It does not matter)
Date: Thu, 12 Apr 2001 12:55:51 -0400

Eric Mumpower asked:

<<<I've encountered repair craftsmen (who sponsor, even) who
recommend old (pre-Rico-buyout Valentino) foam pads. And cork pads seem
to be popular with some people. . . .Would anyone like to share their
opinions on why/when one might or might not want to use these

I do not like bladder pads. Part of this comes from my late father, an
aerospace/mechanical engineer -- when I described to him the
construction of bladder pads he was horrified. "Fishskin" isn't from
fish; it's sheep intestine. Felt is the compressed hair of dead
animals. Neither material would be certified by the FAA as safe to use
in the construction of an aircraft.

I've had the same cork pads on my 1977 Buffet R-13 Bb since 1980. None
of them -- not one -- has needed replacement, and all of them -- every
one -- seals like the day it was put on. This is good.

All of the bladder pads on the instrument have had to be replaced at
least twice. The usual worst culprit is the right hand Ab/Eb key.
Fortunately for me, in 1988 Albert Alphin replaced that pad with one of
the early black Valentinos. None of the repair techs who have since
tweaked up the horn have bothered to replace it -- it seals as good
today as the day it was put on. This too is good.

I suspect that part of the reason more repair people don't use cork pads
is that you have to be relatively skillful to make and install ones that
work. Others' disdain is philosophical, perhaps; I'm told Bill Brannen
makes his own bladder pads because the bought ones aren't good enough --
his choice of bladder pads certainly isn't because it's less effort.
Since he does cork pads, too, I'm sure he has his reasons.

I was unaware that Rico bought out Valentino. From the tone of Eric's
post, I gather that there has been a deterioration in quality? (This
makes me sad.) Perhaps this is the reason that more repair techs don't
use them. Maybe others are just resistant to anything invented after
the turn of the *last* century -- who knows?

There is no reason other than lack of resources and focus that Dow or
Dupont couldn't come up with a fantastic material that's easy to
install, seals every time regardless of "seating" and makes no noise.
After all, NASA is pretty good at stopping air leaks.

Now for my problem -- I have a fairly new Yamaha A. Between the time
that I bought it (6 mos. ago) and when I get the first repad (this
summer), I'm suffering with the factory pads. They seal up fine, but
make that horrible lip-smacking/sucking/sticking sound. It's driving me
nuts. Other than replace the pad (which is scheduled), what can I do to
make it stop? I have to play Tchaikovsky's 6th in two weeks, and you
can hear that awful noise in the quite bits. Help!


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