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 What sort of pad is this?
Author: Reformed 
Date:   2023-07-18 17:48
Attachment:  pad.jpg (609k)

Came on a 1947 Boosey & Hawkes Imperial (pre-926) that i just acquired.

Most pads are tan leather and quite new, or at least hardly played since repadding.

Picture is of the throat A key. The black top layer is a bit "spongey" and the bottom is either synthetic or cork.

My first reaction is that there is no way this is going to seal efficiently.

There are signs of light swedging and filling of tone holes with (probably) nail policsh, so it was loved at some stage.

Post Edited (2023-07-18 17:54)

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 Re: What sort of pad is this?
Author: donald 
Date:   2023-07-19 06:48

There is a clarinet player in Christchurch called John Robinson who lived in the UK for many years and learnt to do instrument repairs. Since moving back to NZ (at least a decade ago, maybe longer) he has been doing instrument repairs that include making his own pads. While I don't have regular contact with him, I did a gig with him in 2017 but have had no contact since.
The only time I've EVER seen a pad anything like THAT (the one you picture) was on an instrument that I was told he had overhauled (and made pads for). There's a long story behind this- the instrument was stolen and I was instrumental in getting it back to its owner (a former student of his), but I'm fairly confident the bit about the pad being his creation is legit.
So- while it would be a huge coincidence if he had made this particular pad, I'd venture that somewhere in the UK there is a repair shop that makes these pads (and this is where JR learnt repairs).
For what it's worth, the techs up here in Auckland screamed when they saw that and rolled their eyes, but the clarinet played ok...

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 Re: What sort of pad is this?
Author: clarnibass 
Date:   2023-07-19 07:56

It's hard to tell what is the pad and what is the poor photo quality, but looks a little like Superpads, and some other similar pads made by various repairers using black neoprene.

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 Re: What sort of pad is this?
Author: Reformed 
Date:   2023-07-20 12:18

Thanks, as Donald says that would be a real coincidence!

I bought the instrument from someone in Somerset via the auction site, he hasn't been forthcoming with any information about history.

The clarinet clearly has hardly been played since a very good refurbishment. The open pads have very little indentation, but the closed pads are well indented.

The odd pads are on the complete bottom joint and the throat G#/A keys, all others are tan leather and show no sign of water contact or other discolouration. It plays quite well after a bit of pad height adjustment.

I had 2 motives in acquiring this:

- to see how German mouthpieces played on a 926 (quite well), and

- To add to my growing collection of mid-20th century English clarinets. I believe that it is the first of the Imperials made after the war.

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 Re: What sort of pad is this?
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2023-07-20 13:04

These open cell neoprene-faced sheet cork pads are all a bit hit and miss - some may seal well while others can leak like sieves. I've seen similar on Peter Eaton clarinets with massively variable results, although the only positive is they are silent in their operation.

I had a clarinet come in a little while back where they'd been used and looked like crap as they all had jagged and frayed edges as though they were cut with a blunt chainsaw and whoever installed them even tried to bevel the speaker key pad with the neoprene top layer on it, leaving the remaining bit of neoprene flapping about.

Former oboe finisher
Howarth of London
1998 - 2010

The opinions I express are my own.

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