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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000061.txt from 2004/08

From: "Lelia Loban" <>
Subj: [kl] Silva-Bet pads with bolts
Date: Tue, 3 Aug 2004 16:11:01 -0400

Recently, I bought a full-Boehm H. Bettoney Silva-Bet Bb clarinet (probably
from the1930s). It's a metal clarinet with silver plating, similar to my
other Silva-Bet except for the extended range and a curious set of pads.
The clarinet is in unplayable condition, but there's no damage: It just
needs a full overhaul. My question is about what type of pads I should

Currently, the upper section pads are ordinary fishskin bladder pads, the
same type sold today in medium thickness. The pads on the upper section
are installed in the normal way with French cement. On the lower section,
there's no pad glue, and no residue of old glue. The pads are held in by a
metal washer or resonator around a very small bolt that goes through a hole
in the pad into a raised, threaded nut permanently soldered to the inside
back of the pad cup. Holes have been punched through the centers of the
pads for the bolts. The lower section pads thus look like flute pads (but
they're not flute pads).

This arrangement appears to be original, but I'm pretty sure the pads
themselves are not original. It looks to me as though the deterioration of
the pads is all due to damp storage, since I see no evidence that the pads
were ever *used*. Some of the key touches show silver plate wear
consistent with the *instrument* having been used, but I think that at some
point it was re-padded, then not played again and left sitting around until
dampness and pad bugs did the dirty work. (The case lining is also
rotted.) I think the pads were unused because, while the pads that remain
closed until the player opens them have the typical groove where the key
hole presses into the pad, there's no normal groove on any of the pads that
stay open except when the player closes them. There's no pattern of
discoloration typical of use, either. The discoloration is spotty, gray to
black, and not concentrated in the centers of the pads. It appears to be
mildew, not the brownish or yellowish color of old, used pads.

The pads are so deteriorated that I can't tell whether installing the lower
stack with only screws and no glue worked well or not; and I don't know
whether the clarinet was originally set up with *fishskin* pads. My
inclination right now is to install the same kind of pads that I found on
the instrument, but has anyone had experience with bolted-in pads on a
vintage clarinet? Does anyone know whether I should be repadding this
clarinet with punched leather pads instead of fishskin?

Lelia Loban
America can do better: Kerry and Edwards in 2004.

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