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 Most air-tight bass clarinet pads
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2019-03-15 22:47

Among the available high quality bass clarinet pads, is there one anybody would recommend as the least porous - that provides the best seal? I'm curious what experienced techs and bass clarinet players think - and whether different material is better in the upper (LH) section than in the lower (RH) where the pads are larger.

How would you check an individual pad (either before of after it has been mounted on the instrument) for its sealing ability?

Karl



Post Edited (2019-03-15 22:49)

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 Re: Most air-tight bass clarinet pads
Author: shmuelyosef 
Date:   2019-03-15 23:15

I recently repadded my bass clarinet (yamaha 221-ii) with MusicMedic Roopads. I have had very good experience with these on my own and customer saxophones. So far, I'm very happy with the performance. They seated easily and seem to be very stable and leak-tite. The clarinet plays much better than the original setup.

I check for seal with a 'feeler'. Used to use cigarette paper (in the day), but now I use modern material:

https://www.votawtool.com/catalogsearch/result/?q=feeler

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 Re: Most air-tight bass clarinet pads
Author: shmuelyosef 
Date:   2019-03-15 23:26





Post Edited (2019-03-15 23:26)

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 Re: Most air-tight bass clarinet pads
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2019-03-15 23:30
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I used Pisoni Pro J pads on a plastic Jupiter bass clarinet overhaul last year and they work a treat. They have a nice matt finish to them instead of shiny - I use them as standard on all sax overhauls, so thought I'd give them a whirl on a bass clarinet. I also used cork pads for the speaker mechanism and LH thumb key, open G vent and LH1 fingerplate.

I was using kangaroo skin pads on saxes, but found them far too porous for my liking which is why I switched to Pisoni Pro J as the scored 0 on a mag machine porosity test conducted on a selection of pads.

Chris.

Post Edited (2019-03-15 23:32)

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 Re: Most air-tight bass clarinet pads
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2019-03-16 00:31
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I had to make the bell key pad a mega thick 6mm by gluing on a cork shim for it to sit even in the pad cup and function well as the keys on this bass are made from some ridiculously strong alloy which doesn't want to bend, which only makes it perfect for school use.

Chris.

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 Re: Most air-tight bass clarinet pads
Author: clarnibass 
Date:   2019-03-16 08:03

>> How would you check an individual pad for its sealing ability? <<

I did exactly that by using a "tone hole" made of a plastic pipe, checking many different models of pads with a magnehelic machine.

Almost all pads I checked sealed the same (max on the mag).
One exception was saxophone roo pads from Music Medic, which consistently showed slightly less seal. That was a couple of years ago so I don't know if anything was changed since then.
If I remember, J. L. Smith (Valentino) saxophone pads might have also had less of a seal... but not sure.

Here are some of the other pads I checked (not sure I can remember all).
Several models of saxophone pads from Music Center: Mypads, Premium Deluxe, Waterproof, PRO.
Music Center clarinet and bassoon Premium Deluxe pads (the same other than colour).
J. L. Smith / Valentino saxophone pads.
Black and white saxophone roo pads from Music Medic.
Music Medic regular pads (non-roo).
Precision saxophone pads.
Clarinet bladder pads from Music Center (Mypads and Premium Deluxe), Music Medic (old ones from over five years ago), Precision.
Synthetic clarinet pads (Omnipads, Valentino Masters and Greenbacks).
Some random Chinese saxophone pads.

One of the main reasons pads need to be replaced is that the skin and/or the felt hardens over time. So a great seal at first isn't necessarily the most important. Some pads, like the Music Center Premium Deluxe leather pads have a plastic layer between the skin and felt to help against that. I think the Music Medic clarinet roo pads have a layer of bladder. I haven't tried the Music Medic clarinet roo pads, only the saxophone ones.

The best pads for bass clarinets (and saxophones) are the Music Center microfiber pads. Unfortunately they are only special order direct from them and extremely expensive. Although mainly for vegan reasons, the microfiber (which looks like imitation leather) is tougher than leather on pads. I haven't found synthetic pads that I liked enough for such large keys.

Having said all that... I'd say any decent pad would be good.

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 Re: Most air-tight bass clarinet pads
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2019-03-16 23:41

Thanks, everyone. My bass has what looks like white leather in most of the upper section. Are those more likely to be white "roo" pads or might they be just white leather of some other kind or even synthetic? How do you tell the difference (if you don't remember what your repairman told you when he put them in)?

Karl

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 Re: Most air-tight bass clarinet pads
Author: Johan H Nilsson 
Date:   2019-03-16 23:57

For air-tightness, nothing beats a well fitted cork pad. But don't use on the long trill keys that will sit down at a slightly different positions from time to time. Also make sure to mend chips in the tone hole edges that will cause leakage.

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 Re: Most air-tight bass clarinet pads
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2019-03-17 00:47

Cork on bass clarinet? I've never seen cork pads that large.

Karl

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 Re: Most air-tight bass clarinet pads
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2019-03-17 01:20

You can get the large diameter cork pads from Pisoni or similar, but they're far more costly per pad due to obtaining them from high quality cork and with as few imperfections as is humanly possible given their size.

Selmer (Paris) basses with the trill and side keys mounted on long axles will be more reliable than the long lever ones (especially the Bb trill key) on basses. Leblanc basses may be alright as the trill keys are individually mounted on their own separate rod screws and provided there's no wear in the key barrels, they should operate reliably.

White leather pads are used on Buffet and Yamaha basses as standard and usually have a waterproof and airtight surface layer which is better than untreated leather which can be just as airtight as a sieve.

Chris.

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 Re: Most air-tight bass clarinet pads
Author: Ed Palanker 2017
Date:   2019-03-17 01:23

The repairmen I used when I played used brown leather pads and hand rubbed them with some type of oil to make them seal tight. Don't know what it was he actually used. I can only say that I won't have to replace any for reseat any years after he overhauled it. As a matter of fact, I don't remember having to have any of the replaced but I might just not remember. I do remember his doing work on the top of the tone hole to help assure a tight fit.

ESP eddiesclarinet.com

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 Re: Most air-tight bass clarinet pads
Author: shmuelyosef 
Date:   2019-03-17 04:13

Quote:

clarnibass said:
Some pads, like the Music Center Premium Deluxe leather pads have a plastic layer between the skin and felt to help against that. I think the Music Medic clarinet roo pads have a layer of bladder. I haven't tried the Music Medic clarinet roo pads, only the saxophone ones.


I wasn't that fond of the clarinet roopads until recently when:
(from the MM website) "For air and water tightness, we wrap the pad in a layer of bladder skin much like our standard clarinet pads."

This made a large difference and I have put them on my personal bass clarinet as well as at least a half dozen other clarinets since. I use them regularly on saxophones as well, and all my personal saxophones have roopads now except my baritone (still on original pads!). My primary tenor is now 11 years on white roopads (from Curt's early days of providing these).

Since we're about pads, has anyone tried the Valentino Master's pads on the bass upper joint. I really like these on soprano clarinet upper joints (except the register where I still use cork), but have found them problematic in the larger sizes and still use leather.



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 Re: Most air-tight bass clarinet pads
Author: clarnibass 
Date:   2019-03-18 11:04

>> How do you tell the difference (if you don't remember what your repairman told you when he put them in)? <<

You can't. The roo pads skin does have a slightly different texture than some other leather pads... emphasis on some. Even then I'd have to actually see it (not in a photo) to maybe have a good guess.
Statistically they are very unlikely to be synthetic.

>> For air-tightness, nothing beats a well fitted cork pad. <<

When tested on one tone hole, several leather, bladder and synthetic pads were equal to cork pads when checked with a magnehelic machine. That said, there are some variable when actually playing a key on a clarinet that could make some pads seal better even though they are the same in a test. In some cases cork pads can have an advantage over some types of pads (not all). In other cases it's the opposite.

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