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 Help needed setting lower four pads
Author: m1964 
Date:   2021-05-14 18:40

I re-padded a Selmer 10, using membrane pads from
While most of the pads went in without any problems, I have a problem with the lower 4 pads: E/B, F/C, F#/C#, G#/D#.

After finishing the clarinet, I found that it took a little more pressure that I would like, to close F/C and E/B keys completely.

Checked the pads and found that all 4 large pads do not seal well on their outer edge (the side facing away from the linkage).

What would be a solution?

I understand that thinner pads probably would fit better but I am not sure if the large pads exist in different thicknesses.

Can a thin shim (like a half-moon shaped piece of paper) be added between the pad and the cap?

I think I used glue pellets as pad adhesive. I also have white shellac, but prefer the glue because I use a soldering gun to heat the pad cups.


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 Re: Help needed setting lower four pads
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2021-05-14 21:00

Easy solution - don't use skin pads and especially cheap Chinese skin pads.

Use good quality leather or synthetic pads of the correct thickness (3mm) instead.


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 Re: Help needed setting lower four pads
Author: Steven Ocone 2017
Date:   2021-05-14 23:34

The tone holes may not be level, and the pads may not be flat. Not every pad I buy ends up getting used. I buy the flattest pads available and I still toss quite a few.

Steven Ocone
Ann & Steve's Music

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 Re: Help needed setting lower four pads
Author: Matt74 
Date:   2021-05-15 05:29

You can buy all sizes in different thicknesses. Don't use shims on clarinets. Depending on how parallel the cups and tone holes are you have to adjust, but you don't want the pads obviously "tipped". -- The only exception is the Ab/Eb (xxx|xxx x) which sometimes is nearly impossible to get flat in the cup, even with thin pads. It shouldn't be a problem on a nice horn with the correct pads.

How to tell if the pads are too thick:

The pad cups with the shortest arms will be the biggest problem.

If the pads are seated nicely in the pad cup, AND when you close the key, the pads press the tone hole firmly at the hinge, BUT leak massively at the edge away from the hinge, they are too thick The only thing you can really do is get thinner pads. Music Medic makes nice "thin" pads. (or get leather/synthetic ones). If the pads you are using fit tight in the pad cups before glue, you can try using a .5 mm smaller pad, which will make it sit a little further up in the pad cup, and allow it to level better.

If they're not too thick:

If they look ok on the horn, and they look like they are touching all around, including away from the hinge, but just not sealing very well:

1. Soften the glue with the key on the horn (don't set the pad, or clarinet, or yourself on fire...). Tip the pad up a little toward the hinge with a pad slick or butter knife and re-seat. You may need to "scoot" the pad sideways a little in the direction you want.

2. If that doesn't work the glue is all mashed down and you need to take the pad off and add a little more glue. Take it off, put on a little more glue (in the center of the pad or cup if you can), and re-seat them. Putting more glue in the center makes it easier for the pad to tip and seat itself. You want the glue evenly distributed in the end, but starting with a little hump in the center helps the pad to seat itself. It gets squished flat.

- Matthew Simington

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 Re: Help needed setting lower four pads
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2021-05-15 13:34

If you really insist on still using skin pads that are step-sided as clarinet pads usually are (when there are far better alternatives), then it's not the overall thickness of the pad that's the issue, but the thickness of the felt disc. This is especially true with Buffets where they need pads with a felt disc of around 1mm thick at the most.


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 Re: Help needed setting lower four pads
Author: clarnibass 
Date:   2021-05-15 14:45

There could be one or several problems, with the pads being too thick being the most likely.

Assuming these are stepped pads and that you installed them in the usual way - with the step over the pad cup rim - the thickness is determined by the felt. Stepped bladder pads are available in different thicknesses, but often it is only the back that is thinner, to fit thin pad cups. If the felt thickness is the same it will make no difference (other than needing even more glue to the fill the cup).

If there is a gap between the step and the cup rim, maybe there is too much glue? If the step is pushed against the rim and they all leak at the front, it really sounds like they are too thick. Alternatively, it is sometimes possible to align the keys to use these pads, but doing that in that direction is a little tricky. Even with special tools some clarinets have a poor design that won't allow it.

If alignment is ok, probably best to do what Chris suggested and use non-stepped pads. Unless some of the keys are misaligned in the front/back that non-stepped pads would try to seal to close to the edge (or worse). This is more likely on cheaper clarinets, but I've seen it on a few old pro Buffets, for example.

At worst case, add more glue and angle the pad. It will need a gap at the front and will look ugly, but if you have to use these pads then do whatever you need to make it work.

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 Re: Help needed setting lower four pads
Author: m1964 
Date:   2021-05-15 18:51

Thanks a lot to everyone who replied.

The pads I used are flat, not stepped. The tone holes do not have any obvious damage.
I will try to re-seat the pads, if it does not work, will change them to stepped pads. I am trying to get a perfect seal which may not be possible but there is no obvious reason why they don't seal well, except for being slightly too thick.

To Chris P.: the pads I used are from their more expensive line, not the cheapest ones. But, if they don't work I will order something from JLSmith or Ferrees.

thanks a lot to everyone.

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 Re: Help needed setting lower four pads
Author: clarnibass 
Date:   2021-05-16 08:25

>> The pads I used are flat, not stepped. <<

Flat refers to the face of the pads, with better quality ones being flatter. Pads without a step are usually... non-stepped pads.

Looking at the zhmelody website, they don't show a photo of the back of the membrane pads. What is it? Some synthetic material instead of leather or bladder?
However there is a sort of photo of the back of the membrane pads on their pad set page, and it does look like they have some kind of step. Smaller and more of a taper than the skin pads, but still a step unlike the leather or synthetic pads.
Enough of a step that the comments on stepped pads are relevant, depending on what diameter pads you used in comparison with the keys.

>> The tone holes do not have any obvious damage. <<

Not sure how you checked, but unless they have obvious chips, it's not often possible to tell by just looking at them. Tone hole sometimes have a gradual dip and the front/back sides are by far more common.

>> I will try to re-seat the pads, if it does not work, will change them to stepped pads. <<

If part of the problem is from a combination of the thickness and the way they sit because of the step, then it might be better to use non-stepped pads. Unless the felt itself is thinner on whatever stepped pads you use. See my previous post for an explanation about stepped vs. non-stepped.

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 Re: Help needed setting lower four pads
Author: Matt74 
Date:   2021-05-16 11:19

The Music Medic pads have thin felts, with a sharp step. I used them on my R13.

- Matthew Simington

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 Re: Help needed setting lower four pads
Author: m1964 
Date:   2021-05-16 20:46

Thanks, will check them out

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