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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000100.txt from 2004/08

From: "Lelia Loban" <>
Subj: [kl] Silva-Bet pads with bolts
Date: Wed, 4 Aug 2004 16:04:40 -0400

I asked what kind of pads people thought I should use for a full-Boehm H.
Bettoney Silva-Bet Bb clarinet (probably from the1930s). It's
silver-plated metal with ordinary fishskin bladder pads, installed with
French cement, on the upper section. On the lower section, the pads are
held in without glue, by a metal washer or resonator around a 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 clarinet was repaired
at some point, because it has a sloppy soldering job on the bell. The
bolts and washers look original, but I'm pretty sure the pads themselves
are replacements, because the key touches have plate wear, but the pads
show only decay from damp, with no signs of use.

Bill Hausmann wrote,
>>In sure this is original, since it is too weird to retrofit!
>>It is not unlike the Buescher "snap-in" sax pads, in that
>>you must punch a hole in the center of the pad to fit
>>over the post soldered into the cup that the resonator
>>snapped into to hold the pad. Some folks liked them
>>but in many cases the posts were removed in overhauls
>>and standard pads fitted. That tends to be a NEGATIVE
>>factor in resale of those instruments today.

Yes -- I was glad to see that apparently the upper pad cups on this
clarinet never did have the bolts and washers. There's no sign of removal.
Evidently the original setup was for resonators only on the lower section,
probably for the same reason saxophones are often set up that way: plain
pads for the smallest pads higher up, where the notes are naturally more
shrill and carry farther, with resonators on the lower pads to give those
notes added carrying power.

Bill wrote,
>>Personally I would stay original if possible. I know
>>leather pads are better for BASS clarinets. Leather
>>should be much more durable over the long haul.

Yes, I also prefer to restore instruments to as close as I can get to the
original condition, and will definitely use the original resonators and
bolts. (Come to think of it, they're probably called screws, since it
seems that all threaded linkages on clarinets are referred to as either
rods or screws, although many of the "screws" are really bolts, since they
screw into permanently- attached nuts -- posts. I wonder how we got into
the habit of calling bolts screws?)

I wish I knew what kinds of pads were on there originally. Leather pads
were original equipment on some soprano clarinets older than this one. I
own two wooden Bb clarinets and one wooden Eb clarinet from the end of the
19th century with deteriorated leather pads that must be either the
originals or very old replacements; but I haven't been able to find a
catalogue advertisement for resonator pads on any clarinet. I have an H.
Bettoney flyer from 1937 that advertises that the company introduced the
Silva-Bet in 1925. The flyer offers several different models of clarinets,
with five different Silva-Bet models, including full Boehm; but the ad says
nothing about pads installed this way.

My instinct is that leather pads would hold up better than fishskin with
those metal washers. The thin fishskin has wrinkled around the resonators,
and on some of the pads, the resonators have slit through the fishskin.
However, it's not a fair test of whether the resonators would be too
wearing on fishskin pads, because there's so much deterioration from age
and damp. Some pads on both upper and lower stack are bloated but squishy,
while others have collapsed. Most are tattered in one way or another.
Maybe I should start with fishskin (on the chance that the earlier repair
person tried to match original equipment) and plan to replace the pads
if/when the fishskin splits, but I'd hate to waste the pads and the time to
replace them again. OTOH, it would be a learning experience, and that's
never really a waste.

Christy Erickson wrote,
>>>Lelia, I'm wondering if those "Roo" pads might be
>>>something to look into for that metal clarinet. I don't
>>>believe they sell them for clarinets but you can check
>>>at the website for

Since the clarinet was made in Boston, Massachusetts, I'm fairly sure pads
made of kangaroo leather wouldn't return the instrument to original
condition.... They sound interesting, though. I've heard that Australians
have something of a love-hate relationship with kangaroos and think of them
as big, goofy vermin. Maybe turning their hides into clarinet pads is a
form of pest control-cum-conservation: kill them but use the remains.
There's a thought -- rat leather? Squirrel leather?

Kidding. (Bleeee-ee-ee-ee-eaat!)

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

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