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 Pad seating on G#/A key!
Author: klook 
Date:   2010-10-26 20:24

Okay I'm certainly in the novice camp with rebuilding clarinets, but I've done quite a few now and they have all turned out well in the end.

There's one thing that comes up almost every time though, and that is seating the pads on the G# and A keys. Are these always so finicky? Are there any tips out there from the pros?

Oh, I typically use leather pads from Ferrees, and don't really have any issues usually with other keys other than these, unless there is tone hole damage (which is another topic I suppose!)


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 Re: Pad seating on G#/A key!
Author: jasperbay 
Date:   2010-10-26 21:34

I usually make notes on the top of those cups (little + or - felt pen marks) according to wether I want more or less of the pad to stick out of the cup in those areas. In other words, decide how you want those two pads to look before taking the keys off the horn. That at least gets me in the ballpark, and they often don't need to be 'readjusted' after reassembly.

I assume you're not asking about the adjustment screw setting. That screw (if present) should be adjusted so the A key lifts just slightly before lifting the G# key.

Clark G. Sherwood

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 Re: Pad seating on G#/A key!
Author: klook 
Date:   2010-10-26 22:24

Do you make the notes based on how the old pads look?


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 Re: Pad seating on G#/A key!
Author: Bob Bernardo 
Date:   2010-10-26 23:06

I usually use cork pads on the upper register. Yes the cork is often difficult to adjust. Not only are the G# and A keys hard to adjust, but also the C# lower register G# upper register. There's really no magic way to get around this so patience is required. Once in awhile it can take me 30 minutes for just one of these keys, although thats unusual.

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 Re: Pad seating on G#/A key!
Author: jasperbay 
Date:   2010-10-27 04:01

Yes, I look the old pads over, see how well they seated, then decide how the new ones should sit in the cups, wether they'll need shims, tilting, whatever. You can also bend/tweak cups or arms with leather covered pliers, but usually easier (and safer)to adjust the pad in the cup.

It occurs to me that another reason these two pads are 'tricky' is the short distance from the pivot to the pad. Instead of lifting relativly straight off the tonehole, the pad kind of 'rocks' off the tonehole in a short arc'. This means the pad 'height', or how much it protrudes from the cup is very critical: too much or too little, and the pad rests on the front or back of the tonehole. This can change over time (maybe another reason to try cork) as the leather pad seats in, so just when you think you've got it perfect, things change. Life can be cruel, and a cute little adjustment screw can't fix everthing. I often end up heating the cup back with a 75W soldering iron, with the key-in-place, seems to help 'seat' leather pads on the tonehole.

Clark G. Sherwood

Post Edited (2010-10-27 15:37)

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 Re: Pad seating on G#/A key!
Author: Lelia Loban 2017
Date:   2010-10-27 18:22

While it's true that
>>a cute little adjustment screw can't fix everthing
-- it can fix a lot. The screw where the A and A-flat cross over is so sensitive to maladjustment that half a turn either way can make a difference. When the pads seem right, I go on the assumption that they *are* right. Like the innocent-faced moppet with the shiv down his sock, that little screw is only putting on its "cute" act so you won't suspect it of being a delinquent.

To hear the audio, click on the "Scorch Plug-In" box above the score.

Post Edited (2010-10-27 18:23)

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 Re: Pad seating on G#/A key!
Author: Caroline Smale 
Date:   2010-10-27 21:09

When seating most new clarinet pads, but particularly those with short arms like the A and Ab it is best to always make the front of the pad (opposite the hinge point) a tad heavier than the back. This means that as the pad settles in slightly over the first few weeks of playing it will actually end up evenly balanced around the tonehole rim.
This is caused by the angular motion of the pad which means the front beds in rather more than the back.
The exact amount of difference varies with pad material/hardness e.g. cork should be almost exactly even on day 1.
Only experience will get it perfect first time but thats true of most things.

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