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 Bass clarinet pad options
Author: _david_ 
Date:   2019-11-02 08:10

I've picked my bass clarinet back up after not playing it for far too long, a ~10 year old buffet 1193. One thing I've noticed is that the 3rd finger C/G pad feels very mushy, like there's a solid 16th of an inch of key travel between when you first feel it contact and when it feels fully seated. It's not causing any obvious playing problems... but I just *really* don't like how it feels. Maybe it's petty and I'll get over it.

The pad on the main register tube (the lower one on the body not the neck) also feels pretty sticky, even after cleaning with cigarette paper. Not a huge delay but there is a pretty noticeable noise when it opens and it makes the key feel a bit sticky.

What would be the best pads to replace these with? I tend to like cork pads on my Bb, and I assume cork would be okay for the register tube pad, but the C/G pad is pretty darn big, 24 or 25 mm.

On a side note, the keywork feels more rattly than I remember, and there is a fair bit of play in some of the linkages. Is it common for basses to go out of adjustment simply being stored or was it probably always like that and I just don't remember?

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 Re: Bass clarinet pad options
Author: Bob Bernardo 
Date:   2019-11-02 08:48

Hi David, sounds like leather pads. They work well, but like you I hate that feel. Maybe try Valentino's. I'm not sure if they are made for bass clarinet. I like the green backs.

Skin pads

Designer of - Vintage 1940 Cicero Mouthpieces and the La Vecchia mouthpieces

Yamaha Artist 2015

Post Edited (2019-11-02 09:20)

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 Re: Bass clarinet pad options
Author: Steven Ocone 2017
Date:   2019-11-02 22:06

Leather pads come in different levels of firmness, but what is more important is that the entire perimeter hits the tone hole simultaneously. The back of the pad may be hitting first and it is taking extra pressure to close the pad completely. This gives a mushy feel. If a pad is properly leveled - the entire perimeter hits at once - it won't feel as mushy, because the whole pad is resisting your finger pressure, not just one area.

Also this key may be improperly regulated with others that may be creating this problem.

Steven Ocone
Ann & Steve's Music

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 Re: Bass clarinet pad options
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2019-11-03 03:58

The LH3 pad is a large diameter one, so you may not be able to get some synthetic pads in that size.

Leather pads are PERFECTLY FINE and are standard on the majority of bass clarinets if they're seated correctly and aren't porous. If they're installed so they touch at the back first, then they will feel spongy and require undue pressure to force them closed.

I had to reseat the majority of pads on my Buffet Prestige bass as most of them weren't seated correctly.

Here's Pisoni's pad size list (quantity, diameter and thickness) for a Buffet Prestige low C bass (1999 onwards):


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 Re: Bass clarinet pad options
Author: clarnibass 
Date:   2019-11-04 08:12

>> Maybe try Valentino's. I'm not sure if they are made for bass clarinet. I like the green backs. <<

Sounds like you prefer relatively firm pads overall, so why do you prefer the simpler, softer, lower model Greenbacks over the Masters (which have a firmer back)?

It's very possible that the pad is hitting at the back first, but soft enough to compensate with more pressure. It's especially more common with that specific pad on the Buffet bass clarinet.

Cork pads tend to be pretty noisy on the register keys on the bass clarinets, so depends whether that would annoy you or not. Especially the one on the body.
Rolling paper doesn't necessarily clean anything. Clean it with a degreaser like lighter fluid or even alcohol might be better than nothing. Use something that won't shed fibers (rolling paper can sort of "dissolve" and stick on the pad). Rolling paper is unlikely to remove whatever is on it that is causing the sticking (which could also be something with the pad itself).

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