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 Liquid accumulation under pads
Author: AHS 
Date:   2019-11-09 09:06

I play a fairly new (less than 1-year old) Backun B-flat Protege clarinet. I am plagued by liquid build-up under the A, G# and C# pads on the first joint. This starts maybe 15 minutes after I start playing. The A and G# become unplayable and the C# gurgles. Swabbing out, blowing out and using Yamaha drying paper under those keys all help, but only quite temporarily. I've been playing clarinet for a very long time and I've never had this problem before with other clarinets. I called Backun and they simply said, "swab-out." I've read the archived posts here about moisture under pads, but those seem to identify problems with pads in the lower joint, not the pads that are causing my problem. I understand that moisture accumulation is a fact of life, but this is excessive in my experience. Is anyone aware of this as a specific issue with the Backun? Can anyone suggest a fix other than the usual - blowing out, swabbing out, drying paper?

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 Re: Liquid accumulation under pads
Author: Bob Bernardo 
Date:   2019-11-09 13:46

I've been on this forum for a few years, maybe more. This is the first I've heard about this model clarinet causing water issues. Your response from Backum sounds typical! They are not great at helping people. I was tempted to buy a set of horns several years ago, but I when talking to Morrie he blew me off and I guess I wasn't a good enough player in his ideals. He lost out in $23,000! I then got sponsored by Yamaha. Whenever I need something from Yamaha they are right there helping me. A different barrel with a special taper, well no problem. A few notes are just off a bit, no problem, they fix the horn! They fix their horns with extreme knowledge. No they aren't perfect, but close. Let's face it no clarinets lately are perfect, but some are surely better than others.

I think you are dealing with a respect issue. Like me, maybe we aren't famous enough for Backun!

I think I would call them back and ask them to look at your horn. Send it in. Give them another chance. If you don't have any luck well try another company. Sadly Yamaha has raised their prices a bit and at the same time Backun seems to continue to anger his prize players such as Ricardo with Philly and of course partner issues with the great Julian Bliss. They haven't talked in years. Ricardo and Julian are super nice people. I know them and like them a lot.

Maybe the horn has a warp in it causing the condensation; water to slide around the warped area and this error leads to keys bothering you. By the way, no you should have to wipe the bore every few minutes. That's just nuts.

I have seen when a pad or 2 leak moisture can flow into the leaking pad holes. This makes sense if we think about it. The water is pushed out to where the air leaks; the water follows the air flow. One of the reasons why I still like cork pads, they seal for years and years.

I get tired of items being defective. Buffet cannot seal a pad so their horns leak and as players we need to have the NEW horn repaired! Usually around $500 to $1200 for tuning and pad replacements. Why not make a horn right the first time? Why are some notes dead on Buffets? I just bought a BBQ costing $1300. I had to assemble it. But within 3 minutes of opening the box I said to myself I'm not doing this. It's a 5 hour job. I took it back because the directions were horrible and there were 92 screws and nuts to be screwed in. Yes 92 and they were of course all different sizes. Directions were in Chinese. Why not just assemble it and ship it in a good box? All you have to do is light the BBQ and your are cooking, within 5 minutes. Why is Backun blowing you off? It's time to stand up and tell Backun to fix his darn horn or tell him to buy it back, since he's too lazy to look at it and since he thinks it is you with the problem. He has the problem. Same should happen to Buffet. Since the horns leak so badly send them back until they can hold a seal of 30 seconds.

I don't think it is you with water issues. The horn sucks and they need to take pride and fix it. As players we just want decent horns which work all of the time, including the first time.

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

Yamaha Artist 2015

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 Re: Liquid accumulation under pads
Author: Bob Bernardo 
Date:   2019-11-09 14:04

Sorry to go on and on, but this is a time when companies need to be respectful and listen to complaints which are almost always accurate. Very few of us are as good as Bliss and Ricardo. But we surely deserve respect and decent horns. I also feel this way about mouthpieces. Companies should make them very consistent and each one should play just like the next one. I wish there was no need to buy a mouthpiece and have to get it fixed. That's so wrong and at the same time it's wrong for private mouthpiece makers to charge $300 and up to $2000 for a mouthpiece that costs less than $35 for the rubber, plastic, and the 2 cent cork. These people should be ashamed for stealing money like this. Clarinet playing should be fun and not expensive. Hope fellow mouthpiece makers become nice and charge much less in the future. At the same time players need to know that expensive mouthpieces are usually fair quality at best. Paying a lot for a mouthpiece is again wrong. For example in some cases I can get a Selmer or a Yamaha mouthpiece to sound and play like Chedeville's. We have the Fobes Debut mouthpiece for about $50. That's what I'm talking about.

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

Yamaha Artist 2015

Post Edited (2019-11-09 14:32)

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 Re: Liquid accumulation under pads
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2019-11-10 02:45

So you're saying that you can switch to another clarinet and this does NOT happen?

The flow of condensation is a bit unpredictable because it occurs throughout the interior surface. Since you have an issue at the top part of the horn as well as the VERY typical side key area, my thought is that is is not just one "flow" related issue.

The "C#/G#" issue can be lessened by taking your mouthpiece and turning it a further five degrees or so clockwise. Instead of lining up the reed with the register key, as if it is an analog clock at 6:00, make it look more like 6:35.

The top key issue sounds more like it is just an excessive condensation issue. What would cause this? You may have a higher humidity situation where you are right now combined with cooler temperature. Check a hygrometer (there are cheap thermometers from the hardware store that have hygrometers as well) to see if you are at or over 60% humidity. Then realize the air in your body that you pump into your horn is close to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The cooler the interior of your horn compared to that, the faster condensation will build up.

If you've ever tried to put a glass of ice tea on your mother's favorite wooden piece of furniture without a coaster, you've experienced the pain of condensation of the moisture in the air the hard way.

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

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 Re: Liquid accumulation under pads
Author: AHS 
Date:   2019-11-10 18:14

Thank you, Paul. The reed alignment is certainly do-able. As for the A key, I played a Buffet E45 for decades at the same location before getting the Backun. I never had this problem with the Buffet.”, so I’m doubtful that it is simply a function of external humidity. However, perhaps the reed realignment will also help the A key problem.

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 Re: Liquid accumulation under pads
Author: Tony F 
Date:   2019-11-11 01:57

I have a similar problem, but only with one of the clarinets that I own. It's a Pustophon and is by a wide margin my favourite clarinet. The A, A# and C# pads tend to burble due to water build-up after playing for a while. Last night I replaced these pads as they were showing signs of deterioration. I don't get the problem with any of my other instruments. There's nothing that I can see about the Pustophon that is any different from other clarinets in this region. I deal with it by swabbing and blotting. Another mystery.

Tony F.

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 Re: Liquid accumulation under pads
Author: donald 
Date:   2019-11-11 15:04

Sometimes (but not always) the (very common) problem of condensation can be magnified by small micro leaks- pads that are seated well enough to play ok, but not QUITE sealing perfectly. When the tech puts the clarinet through the Magnahelic test we're talking 2% worth of leaks. These tiny leaks cause low pressure nodes in the bore (remember, air does not flow through the bore, pressure waves travel through the bore) that aren't enough to make the notes unstable (like an obvious leak would) but attract condensation.
I've actually seen an experiment that proved this happens, was super interesting but alas not on youtube.
Low pressure nodes in the bore encourage condensation to collect at that spot, who would have known?

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 Re: Liquid accumulation under pads
Author: Tony F 
Date:   2019-11-11 16:18

Thanks Donald. Food for thought there. It will be interesting to see if the problem persists now that I've replaced those pads.

Tony F.

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 Re: Liquid accumulation under pads
Author: AHS 
Date:   2019-11-12 19:41

That makes a lot of sense, like sediment collecting in the eddies if a stream.

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