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 Oh, the horror: Repadding your clarinet isn't that easy
Author: chadbang 
Date:   2010-10-08 16:12

As someone who constantly struggles to support his family on his salary, (I guess that's a lot of us these days) I decided to try repadding my new (vintage) clarinet myself. It didn't seem like it would be a difficult task. After I pulled off the old pads, there would be little metal cups, properly positioned, just waiting for the new pads. It would be a cinch. And there didn't appear to be THAT many screws. I thought it surely would be both fun and educational - you know, a hobby thing. Also, buying a $20 sets of pads would save me at least $100 if I installed them myself. I could take the kids out to eat! My bank account would thank me!

Flash forward to DAY THREE:

BUT THAT LADY ON YOUTUBE MADE IT LOOK SO EASY! Oh my goodness. "Will I ever get this thing playable again?" That was going through my head all night long as I went to bed 3 hours past normal with fingers orangey with cork and pad glue. Key oil stains on my pajamas. Wow, are there some fine tolerance on these darn clarinets or what? I never imaged a tiny sliver of cork could make such a huge difference. Or slowly discovering those little metal pad holders don't exactly compensate for ANGLE (that was discovered on Day Two). And then there was the magic word I was missing completely from my vocabulary: "Shim." After prowling the web for hours, someone on a forum mentioned that magic word. Of course, "Shim." Duh! and my life got a bit easier .. just a bit.

Of course I forgot to mention "discovering" the greatest secret of all: that the keys come off in a PRECISE ORDER. I can't tell you how many times I put keys on only to have to take them off again because I didn't say to myself "Oh, you better put that one BACK ON FIRST." Waaaaaaaahhhhh! *anguished baby cry*

Well, as I sit here having just finished up Day Three and now patiently waiting for my King American Standard to dry, I have to say there's a reason for that rare breed known as the "professional." Phew, it's seem to be playing decently now and I'm glad I saved some money. But there will always be that nagging "is that how it's suppose to perform...? feeling that I guess paying someone else to make things right is worth paying for.

Everyone, keep your fingers crossed for me .... please?



Post Edited (2010-10-08 16:24)

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 Re: Repadding your clarinet isn't that easy
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2010-10-08 16:30

Yeah, going in to it whole hog from the start is really not the suggested method.

I began with oiling keys monthly. By that I mean taking all the keys off to do a real deep clean and oil. This will expose you to the KEY ORDER real fast. At this point it is also a good idea to put rods, pivots and keys in a specific (this is the order they cam off) physical order on a paper towel or some such surface that WILL NOT BE DISTURBED until everything is back together again.

As for the pads themselves, I started with one emergency replacement at a time. This IMMEDIATELY exposes you to the idea of FLOATING in a pad so that they sit flush with the tone hole.

The glue thing has never appealed to me. Stick shellac is best, for me because 1) the pads will swell out of the cup upon exposure to heat. 2) you can just put the new pad in to a cup with the old shellac, then re-heat and allow the pad to float in under spring pressure for a good seal OR very light manual pressure for a few seconds until it cools down to a stable position.

THEN, many repair folks use "seating springs" (I think that's the name) to apply pressure to the NON spring pads over night so that the pads will take on that slight crease of the tone hole. ALL of these; floating, seating and ....... well, seating; are critical to getting the the pads to SEAL.

To test, perform a suction test and a positive pressure test. I prefer my horns to seal "like a coke bottle" for maximum sound and 'sure-footedness' from note to note.



..............Paul Aviles



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 Re: Repadding your clarinet isn't that easy
Author: Mark Charette 2017
Date:   2010-10-08 16:48

Paul Aviles wrote:

> on a paper towel or some
> such surface that WILL NOT BE DISTURBED until everything is
> back together again.

Take it from a guy who at one time in his career repaired sensitive electro-mechanical-hydraulic components:

Not a paper towel! NO, NO, NO!

Get thee at a minimum some styrofoam cups, one per key, label the cups with the key name (of course you drew a rough sketch of the key layout on a piece of paper, right?), and stick the screws AS THEY COME OFF onto the styrofoam cups - and label them immediately. Putting anything on a paper towel is asking for an accident - it's not even better than putting them on surface that "won't be disturbed" (like that tray table behind you that you just kicked ...)

I have marvelled at my lack of planning many a time ... and only read the manuals too late (from memory, my most notable screwup that was described in the manual that I read trying to figure out how to get out of my predicament: " ensure the shaft is held vertical with the slot up whilst disassembling the oil separator lest 17 ball bearings drop out and bounce merrily in the bilge." (Worthington high pressure air compressor manual, circa 1977 or so. The rest of the manual was similarly insightful AND delightful in practical procedures - so much so i ended up reading it cover to cover. A large magnet extricated the ball bearings from the oily, slimy, disgusting bilge :)

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 Re: Oh, the horror: Repadding your clarinet isn't that easy
Author: Bob Bernardo 
Date:   2010-10-08 17:05

Hey Chadbang, feel free in emailing me if you are unable to get the horn going. I'm about an hour or so from you. There's also Bob Gilberts Music in Hollywood that can make the horn play really great. The guy Levi is really a great repairman.

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 Re: Oh, the horror: Repadding your clarinet isn't that easy
Author: tictactux 2017
Date:   2010-10-08 17:09

Hint from the easy-disassemble-tricky-reassembling dept:

In addition to putting disassembled keys into separate containers, use your cellular phone or digital camera to take a picture after each disassembling step. Digital memory costs nothing, you can erase everything once you're done, but you have documented the precise order and can use the snaps in reverse order when reassembling the instrument.

Works just as well with electronic equipment that comes with a sh*load of colour-coded cables and other seemingly uncritical components.

--
Ben

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 Re: Oh, the horror: Repadding your clarinet isn't that easy
Author: jasperbay 
Date:   2010-10-08 17:12



To answer your "how's it supposed to perform?" question: An American Standard (or practically any other H.N. White metal clarinet) with a perfect repad job can sound and play as good as most intermediate or pro wood horns. I just finished one , lucked out with a perfect repad, and WOW!

If it still plays a little stuffy, squeaks, etc., keep searching for a pad thats not seating just right. Thats after you try several good mouthpieces, of course.

Clark G. Sherwood

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 Re: Oh, the horror: Repadding your clarinet isn't that easy
Author: clarnibass 
Date:   2010-10-08 17:31

In addition to the accident waiting to happen that Mark mentioned there are few more things I don't really agree with in the first two posts.

First is shims. I prefer not to use shims. Unless you are talking about the glue itself as a shim and I sometimes do that but only if really necessary. Generally I adjust the key side to side and front to back, the latter only very little necessary if using the correct thickness pad. Some keys are not really possible to adjust front to back beucase of their shape so then I might tilt the pad in the cup a bit or use more/less glue.

>> The glue thing has never appealed to me. Stick shellac is best, for me because 1) the pads will swell out of the cup upon exposure to heat. <<

How is that different when using stick shellac vs. any other heat melting glue? Shellac is usually even higher temp than most heat melting glues. Or are you saying you melt the shellac without heating the key itself? That would make a very unreliable gluing to the cup, it needs to be hot for the glue to stick reliably.

>> 2) you can just put the new pad in to a cup with the old shellac, then re-heat <<

Sometimes old glue and especially old shellac is very bad for gluing again. I think it depends on the type of glue/shellac since I've seen years old shellac without any problems. But I've seen some glue or shellac on clarinets that had no hope to re-glue with.

>> allow the pad to float in under spring pressure for a good seal OR very light manual pressure for a few seconds until it cools down to a stable position. <<

Simply letting the spring close the pad or gently pressing the pad, while the glue is soft, will sometimes get a good seal, but many times it won't. Many times, especially for keys with a short arm, the pad would seal too strong at the back. That's because there is more pressure at the front.

>> THEN, many repair folks use "seating springs" (I think that's the name) to apply pressure to the NON spring pads over night so that the pads will take on that slight crease of the tone hole. <<

After the pad is adjusted to seal optimally I just press on it with a bit more force for a few seconds to create that seat. I found that nothing more is necessary. I found clamping pads over night improves nothing if it is done right when installing. For closed keys, it happens by itself from the springs anyway so no need to clamp anything either.

>> ALL of these; floating, seating and ....... well, seating; are critical to getting the the pads to SEAL. <<

I disagree with this. It's the sealing that is critical first. The seat is only done after. At least in situations where the repair is not compromised because of budget issues, etc.

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 Re: Oh, the horror: Repadding your clarinet isn't that easy
Author: Lelia Loban 2017
Date:   2010-10-08 19:56

Apropos of those itty-bitty screws that like to pretend they're auditioning for a flea circus as they jump around all over the place ... I've mentioned here before that, to save my arthritic knees from crawling around the concrete workshop floor on the hunt, I made a retrieval gadget by taping a small magnet to a stick. Well, last time I went to Harbor Freight, I found a *telescoping* metal rod with a magnet at the end. The store even offered two different types of collapsible magnet rod. I chose the one that would fit neatly into my musical instrument repair tool kit. I can't remember now what I paid, but it was cheap, certainly less than US$10.

Lelia
http://www.scoreexchange.com/profiles/Lelia_Loban
To hear the audio, click on the "Scorch Plug-In" box above the score.

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 Re: Oh, the horror: Repadding your clarinet isn't that easy
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2010-10-08 21:58

I do not make a living at repair.............obvious to me not to try when I once set a Miramatsu on fire.


My problem with glue is that I had an experience much as above, the pad nearly burned before I realized that it was not about to "pop out" of the cup. With shellac, the pads always rise out when they are heated....... the way I heat them anyway.




.....................Paul Aviles



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 Re: Oh, the horror: Repadding your clarinet isn't that easy
Author: Tony F 
Date:   2010-10-09 06:17

Your first repad can be tricky, but don't be discouraged by the experience. If you approach the job methodically, one joint at a time, take photos and/or notes, take care of the parts (I use a small deep-sided tray and always lay the parts out in the same order) and take your time it will be easier next time. Learn about the relationships of the adjustments around the crows foot and the bridge between the upper and lower joints and the job will become a snap with time. Use mylar candy wrapper strips to check for pad sealing. Good luck.

Tony F.

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 Re: Oh, the horror: Repadding your clarinet isn't that easy
Author: chadbang 
Date:   2010-10-09 19:03

I let the pads try overnight and I didn't have a large amount of success. I guess I'm about 75% of the way there. One large problem is that the pads I bought (valentino greenbacks) seem much thinner than the old pads on the clarinet and that is hurting me with the larger pads. I have a dickens of a time with the upper (left hand) E key and for some reason the right hand G# key (That ones a real bugger. I can't figure that one out, it seems to only lift the one pad. What pads does that put pressure on. I need a third hand!) I seem to need fatter pads. This Valentino "universal" set doesnt seem ideal at all.

I do love this King Cleveland (I'm sorry I said American Standard before! I was looking at a refurbished one on ebay, I was getting so despondent). This King instrument is magic to me. I can play high notes with ease that I could never accomplish on my high school vito.)



Post Edited (2010-10-09 19:05)

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 Re: Oh, the horror: Repadding your clarinet isn't that easy
Author: saxlite 
Date:   2010-10-09 20:30

If you wish to do-it-yourself, you would do well to get a copy of a good repair instruction manual, such as "A Clarinetist's Notebook" by Robert Schmidt, or "The Complete Woodwind Repair Manual" by Reg Thorp. You'll save lots of time and grief and get the results you want by investing a few $$ in these or other good how-to books.

Jerry

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 Re: Oh, the horror: Repadding your clarinet isn't that easy
Author: Lelia Loban 2017
Date:   2010-10-10 12:32

I agree with Jerry about the need for a good repair manual. We can figure out a lot of stuff just by observing carefully as we take clarinets apart, but I wouldn't want to be without manuals. Ferree's Tools sells the Erick Brand repair manual (US$24.94) and the Ferree's Repair Manual (US$30). Both cover band instruments in general, not just clarinets. The Erick Brand manual is illustrated; the Ferree's manual, which I haven't seen yet but just ordered, is advertised as more detailed but not illustrated.

Lelia
http://www.scoreexchange.com/profiles/Lelia_Loban
To hear the audio, click on the "Scorch Plug-In" box above the score.

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 Re: Oh, the horror: Repadding your clarinet isn't that easy
Author: jasperbay 
Date:   2010-10-10 16:57



Sounds like you'll have to redo the problem pads, and since adjusting pads a day later doesn't work with"adhesives" (I assume you used silicone) you'll have to remove those pads, and use either a small piece of hot melt glue or shellac flakes on your next attempt. To install/adjust those glues, I use a 75W soldering iron, but your wifes clothes iron on 'wool' or cotton might also work.

As for some pads being too thin, you can bend the cup/arm down, or use a thin shim under the pad ( I make them from the card backing on old pads). I've even used wedge-shaped shims when I didn't feel like bending things.

Not sure which pads you're having trouble with (the only key that lifts two pads is the throat A key that also lifts the G# key). The RH E/B key closes two large pads, and can be a little tricky.

That your horn now plays the high notes so well means you have a leak in one of those upper throat pads, acting as an extra "vent". When you get close to a good pad seal you'll then be able to play the low notes well!!

Good Luck, and Persevere!!

Oh, I picked up an American Standard, and they are virtually identical to the Cleveland model, and the necks seem to be interchangeable with all those Cleveland Band Instrument Co. 'Regents' and stencils.

Clark G. Sherwood

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 Re: Oh, the horror: Repadding your clarinet isn't that easy
Author: diz 
Date:   2010-10-10 22:08

Not to self: do not take your clarinet apart, no matter how tempting. Fascinating thread, thanks chad!

Without music, the world would be grey, very grey.

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 Re: Oh, the horror: Repadding your clarinet isn't that easy
Author: EEBaum 
Date:   2010-10-10 22:45

Tinkering is an activity best limited to backup horns.

-Alex
www.mostlydifferent.com

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 Re: Oh, the horror: Repadding your clarinet isn't that easy
Author: Lelia Loban 2017
Date:   2010-10-11 12:07

>>Tinkering is an activity best limited to backup horns.
>>

Well, I agree that *learning* to tinker is best done on backup horns. Once you've learned, tinkering becomes an irresistible addiction, though I think pro repair technicians deserve every cent they charge.

I intended to learn on extra-cheap, expendable, student-quality flea market and yard sale finds. As it happens, my first chosen victim was a vintage H. Bettoney Silva-Bet. I picked up this early 20th century metal clarinet for $20 at a yard sale because I was afraid of damaging a wooden or plastic clarinet and I was under the ignorant impression at the time (1998) that metal clarinets were all worthless. Oops. Luckily, I didn't manage to ruin that good clarinet (I've still got it), though I had to re-do the re-pad twice to get it right!

Lelia
http://www.scoreexchange.com/profiles/Lelia_Loban
To hear the audio, click on the "Scorch Plug-In" box above the score.

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 Re: Oh, the horror: Repadding your clarinet isn't that easy
Author: Mark Charette 2017
Date:   2010-10-11 12:18

Lelia Loban wrote:

> Once you've learned, tinkering becomes an irresistible
> addiction,

I know. I'm flying model helicopters to feed that urge rather than tinkering with clarinets ...

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 Re: Oh, the horror: Repadding your clarinet isn't that easy
Author: justme 
Date:   2010-10-11 12:24

" As it happens, my first chosen victim was a vintage H. Bettoney Silva-Bet."


Noooooooooooooooooo! [frown] [hot]


Justme





"A critic is like a eunuch: he knows exactly how it ought to be done."

CLARINET, n.
An instrument of torture operated by a person with cotton in his ears. There are two instruments that are worse than a clarinet -- two clarinets

Post Edited (2010-10-11 12:26)

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 Re: Oh, the horror: Repadding your clarinet isn't that easy
Author: saxlite 
Date:   2010-10-11 14:59

I made a nice lamp out of my Bettony Three-Star.....


Jerry

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 Re: Oh, the horror: Repadding your clarinet isn't that easy
Author: chadbang 
Date:   2010-10-19 21:24

Well, I believe I am near success! What was my big problem may have been the repad done by a previous person. The pads on the lower keys were very thick. I thought that was the way they were supposed to be set up. That's why I was having a dickens of a time getting my pads to the right height. His pads stood almost twice as high as my Valentino pads. I was using shims to try and match his heights. Maybe he used sax pads? Anyway, I got so frustrated and despondent that I decided to buy all new pads and strip off everything. Completely clean out the keys and just see what would happen if I used Valentino/regular-sized pads. I was afraid he might have bent/adjusted the keys for these higher heights he had set up and they wouldn't seal, but I just felt like I wanted a clean start. I put on the new pads and voila. They work great! No need to adjust keys or anything. I am so happy. I need to replace one more thick pad and I think I'll be as well adjusted as I need to be (given my skills). Thank you again for all your help.



Post Edited (2010-10-19 21:29)

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 Re: Oh, the horror: Repadding your clarinet isn't that easy
Author: jasperbay 
Date:   2010-10-19 22:05



Well Done!! It took me something like 10 repads before I got one perfect, without any adjustments after reassembly. You may well be one of those "natural" talents! As I recall, my first job had to be completely redone also. Nowadays, its become kind of fun to bring one of the old girls back from the junkheap, to make beautiful music again!

Clark G. Sherwood

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