Another episode int he continuing "C" soprano saga! - shifting pads (with snap-in resos)

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    Default Another episode int he continuing "C" soprano saga! - shifting pads (with snap-in resos)

    I am now attempting to address the worst part of the little Buescher "C" soprano. It's been over a year since the tech installed the Roo pads, and I think between the tech and myself the pads have been adjusted dozens of times. They accept adjustment but a week later the horn is unplayable.

    The pads are glued in (not shellac) and the resos have a touch of glue as well. Not the way I would have done it. But I've had issues with using shellacked pads and snap-in resos before - it took a lot more work/time to get the pads in the right position. But at least they did stay put - this project horn won't keep pads in adjustment for nothing.

    I'm asking for advice on correcting this. In my mind, the solution ranges from tweaking the pads a new way (that would be awesome), to overhaul again using shellac (clean out all that nasty glue), to grind out the blasted spuds and overhaul without the snap-ins. I know there are very strong opinions on the use of glue vs shellac - I don't particularly want to start that discussion unless someone has first-hand experience of glue causing the shifting pads issue and shellac fixing it. I'd like to keep the horn original (i.e., leave the spuds and use the snap-ins) but if the darn thing is unplayable it is useless to me. I want a player first, and collector piece second.

    One request: Simple and practical solutions please, if possible! Most on this forum are very talented and could build a horn from a block of brass. I'm not that talented nor am I looking for that size project. I'm an engineer/gunsmith/sax player/car builder who is learning to fix saxophones out of necessity (and because I seem to like frustrating little mechanisms). Thanks in advance!

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    Default Re: Another episode int he continuing "C" soprano saga! - shifting pads (with snap-in resos)

    This may relate to the slop in the mechanism, vs the relatively stiffness/hardness of the pad. If the pad is relatively stiff, and takes a very fine and shallow seat, then any looseness in the mechanism will let the position of the pad shift relative to the edge of the tone hole.

    Solution: Use softer, less compliant pads, or rebuild the mechanism to remove the slop.
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    Default Re: Another episode int he continuing "C" soprano saga! - shifting pads (with snap-in resos)

    Please describe what you mean by adjustment. Also are you talking about Music Medic white roos or something else. Were the keys fit and the toneholes leveled when the tech installed the pads? Part of the problem may also involve the materials used at the regulation points compressing. My first guess is poor techniques used when first installing, leveling and seating the pads. A common one is using too much pressure when closing the key and checking the pad. It looks ok at first, but later when the compressed areas relax the pad is not sealing all the way around. I have repadded Buescher curvies using white roo pads with snap-ons installed using shellac and have not had any problems. In my experience going to a softer pad that takes a deeper impression is just putting a band aid on the problem and will make seeing future leaks and doing regulation even more difficult. My advice is to level the toneholes, tighten the keywork, install new pads correctly, and use the best available regulation materials.

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    Default Re: Another episode int he continuing "C" soprano saga! - shifting pads (with snap-in resos)

    These pads are Music Medic Chocolate Roo pads. I'd say they are pretty firm.

    By adjustment, I mean making them seal where there was a small leak. I don't know the details of how the tech did it. Once I started, it was mostly a bit of heat and trying to shift the pad in the cup a bit. It is interesting because some of the pads appear to warp a week or two after fitting well. All the pads seem to fit well in the cups tho - I measured each cup and ordered pads accordingly (along with a few extra sizes to optimize the fit).

    I don't know if the tech leveled all the tone holes but he did fix one (low "D" I think) where a post had pulled it down. That one is still not perfectly level tho.

    There is a slight amount of lateral key movement on some keys. I wouldn't call it "a lot" but I wouldn't call it "tight" either. I'm sure a pro could make it better.

    I don't like the "deeper impression" band aid either. I'll start over again before I go that route.

    Would it be useful to remove and re-glue/reseat the existing pads? Or would I be wasting my time using the previously installed pads? (I think I know the answer tho......... )

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    Default Re: Another episode int he continuing "C" soprano saga! - shifting pads (with snap-in resos)

    Interesting. The snap-on resos are another variable. The method of seating that works well for me is to level the pad without the snap and then when the shellac cools, insert the snap and double check the seating. It is very difficult to make suggestions without the instrument in front of me. Not knowing the competence of the tech who installed the pads is another challenge. If you would like to ship the soprano to my shop in Utah I would be happy to make a detailed assessment of what is making the pad work undependable free of charge. Just let me know.

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    Default Re: Another episode int he continuing "C" soprano saga! - shifting pads (with snap-in resos)

    Thank you very much! I appreciate your offer!

    I was contemplating doing what you just hit on - seating the pads, letting the horn sit for a week or two and then check the pads again before I install the snap-ins. I think the snap-ins could be fighting the slight pad adjustments. Might need to leave a little more room around the snap-ins with a slightly bigger punched hole in the pad.

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    Default Re: Another episode int he continuing "C" soprano saga! - shifting pads (with snap-in resos)

    Save yourself some trouble and get some key clamps. Clamp the horn shut - run some steam through the horn -just long enough to get the pads warm and damp - then let it sit for a few days clamped.

    (Make sure everything is level before you do this of course).

    I've used those pads on a handful of horns now. I really like them - but they are extra work. Same aggravation you describe on my Selmer Series iii, Yani SC901 sopranos and my Martin C melody tenor. The seating only lasts for a while - and that's if you get everything perfect in the first place.

    Use the clamps as needed. Initially I only used them for a few weeks - but I expect to need to use them again at some point.

    The leather is so thick that it really resists taking a good seat. Don't be afraid of it - you have to show it who is boss.
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    Default Re: Another episode int he continuing "C" soprano saga! - shifting pads (with snap-in resos)

    Quote Originally Posted by hgrail View Post
    Save yourself some trouble and get some key clamps. Clamp the horn shut - run some steam through the horn -just long enough to get the pads warm and damp - then let it sit for a few days clamped.

    (Make sure everything is level before you do this of course).

    I've used those pads on a handful of horns now. I really like them - but they are extra work. Same aggravation you describe on my Selmer Series iii, Yani SC901 sopranos and my Martin C melody tenor. The seating only lasts for a while - and that's if you get everything perfect in the first place.

    Use the clamps as needed. Initially I only used them for a few weeks - but I expect to need to use them again at some point.

    The leather is so thick that it really resists taking a good seat. Don't be afraid of it - you have to show it who is boss.
    That is interesting; I've always tried to be gentle with the pads, scared I'd ruin them. I may try that, nothing to lose before I replace them.

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    Default Re: Another episode int he continuing "C" soprano saga! - shifting pads (with snap-in resos)

    "I think between the tech and myself the pads have been adjusted dozens of times."

    If it were a doctor, a plumber, a mechanic, the answer would be the same: try another one. This one is not cutting it.

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    Default Re: Another episode int he continuing "C" soprano saga! - shifting pads (with snap-in resos)

    I think I may have a clue about the pads not taking a set. I remember when I first got the horn (before the tech re-padded it) that the factory pads seemed really thin. The Roo pads are thin but not this thin. If the pads are bottomed out tight in the cups, held in with glue (not hard like shellac), could it be that all the adjustments are mostly just pushing felt and leather around, and not really moving the pads in the cup? And yes, most (not all) of the leaks after a week or two are at the front of the key cups - the back usually hits first by a hair. I could bend the arms but my bending levers don't seem to fit some of the arms very well and I really don't want to bend every arm anyway - I'd rather re-pad.

    I don't know of any thinner pads - the Roo are .160". Does someone make thinner pads? Would a re-pad with the same pads and shellac (instead of glue) fix this?

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    Default Re: Another episode int he continuing "C" soprano saga! - shifting pads (with snap-in resos)

    Quote Originally Posted by click View Post
    "I think between the tech and myself the pads have been adjusted dozens of times."

    If it were a doctor, a plumber, a mechanic, the answer would be the same: try another one. This one is not cutting it.
    Well, that's what I did, I'm doing my own work now. I guess I'm not quite cutting it either - yet! If I were still in Atlanta, I would not have this problem. My tech there was excellent and a pro sax player, which makes a HUGE difference when they hand the horn back to you. But the nearest pro-level tech I've found is nearly four hours from here. And I want to learn myself anyway.

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    Default Re: Another episode int he continuing "C" soprano saga! - shifting pads (with snap-in resos)

    Can't remember any specifics with Buescher sopranos (and don't remember seeing a C anyway), but some sopranos need thinner pads i.e. roughly 3.5mm or even slightly thinner. I think some Selmer sopranos have them. I usually use clarinet or bassoon pads for those keys.

    Using shellac instead of hot melt glue doesn't really do anything, it depends what glue and what shellac. either is unlikely to cause any issues unless it's one of those hot melt glues that are extremely soft when dry (I've only seen that once or twice).

    Some "shellac" like the Music Medic synthetic shellac, which lot of repairers really like, is the only type I've seen that does this (see photo). I've seen this to a very slight degree with real shellac too (the stick just became slightly curved after a very long time).
    Hot glue is less rigid and more springy than shellac, but not to a degree that causes any problems. I've never seen good hot melt glue do that (the gradual slow movement).
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    Default Re: Another episode int he continuing "C" soprano saga! - shifting pads (with snap-in resos)

    There are 4 elements here which are variables:

    1) Roo pads (their inherent firmness and thickness)

    2) Snaps

    3) Method of affixing (glue vs. shellac vs. nothing).

    4) As. Dr. says, poss. mechanism/keywork slop

    Lets take the last first - has the tech removed all key play everywhere ?

    Next....When Roo Pads take a seat (and listen up y'all and bookmark this thread, because I am gonna say something NICE about Roos), they take a seat. So I do not believe that the pad surface/felts themselves are flexing in and out of their seat. IMHO they are also pretty thin and I have never had poor-seat issues with them once properly adjusted. So it isn't a 'deficiency' in the pad itself, I would posit.

    Now, the affixing - you (OP) intimate that the glue is not 'floating' the pads, but rather just adhering 'em to the keycup. Did I assume this correctly ? Or does the glue completely fill the keycup behind the pad and allow some leveling when mounted/instaling ? Because if the glue was intended just to adhere, I'd wonder if there is enough glue beneath the entire pad to be providing a complete substrate across the entire back.

    Lastly...as Saxoclese notes....what is the sequence of installing and adjusting the pads ? IOW...does the tech glue 'em in, install the snaps, then mount the key and heat/adjust to seal ? Or does he glue 'em in, mount key and heat, adjust to seal, remove key and slap on the snap, then re-mount key and re-adjust if needed ?

    I used to do it the first way, then discovered that causes problems relatively quickly. So switched to the second, which I have also found to be much more successful.

    Basically, I guess my suggestion would be to attack each variable...because trying to come up with an Rx for a problem having multiple variables without isolating each variable can turn into a goose chase (and the goose will win).

    So I'd start by assuming the pads aren't donating to the problem. Because people have installed Roos on Bueschers with snaps successfully before.
    Then key slop can be addressed easily.
    So that leaves the adhesive type or amount, or the method of installing and adjusting to level/seal. If I had someone come in and explain this issue, and I eliminated key slop, this is where I'd start.
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    Default Re: Another episode int he continuing "C" soprano saga! - shifting pads (with snap-in resos)

    Quote Originally Posted by squawk View Post
    I think I may have a clue about the pads not taking a set. I remember when I first got the horn (before the tech re-padded it) that the factory pads seemed really thin. The Roo pads are thin but not this thin. If the pads are bottomed out tight in the cups, held in with glue (not hard like shellac), could it be that all the adjustments are mostly just pushing felt and leather around, and not really moving the pads in the cup?
    If the glue was intended to float the pad a little bit, then that floating should 'move the pads in the cup'. If the glue was intended just to hold the pads stationary, then the pads aren't gonna 'move in the cup' and the only way to get a proper seal is to actually start moving/adjusting the cup itself.
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    Default Re: Another episode int he continuing "C" soprano saga! - shifting pads (with snap-in resos)

    Now we are getting down to the nitty gritty of the problem. Assuming the pads held in with just a small amount of adhesive are hitting first in the backs of the keys, the only answer (keeping the existing pads) is to reorient the keys to the toneholes. You don't need key bending tools to do this. You may need tools such as the Ferree's set to lower the backs of the key cups, but to lower the front of the cup is relatively easy. I use regular craft sticks, like tongue depressors, from Walmart. First I cut them to length using my wirecutters, and then break them to the width I need to cover the back 1/3 of the pad. With the stick inserted, I use my thumbs to carefully push down on the front of the key. It doesn't take much movement to make the positive change needed. If you go too far, simply put the stick under the front 1/3 of the pad and with a small dowel tap the back of the key down where the key arm attaches to the back of the key cup.

    Two other issues may be causing the "warped pads" previously described. (1) Pads too large for the key cups. (I am not a proponent of stuffing the largest size possible into each key cup.) You can only do so much with a heated pad slick "ironing"a the leather. and (2) Not punching a large enough hole so the snap can be inserted without interfering with the face of the pad.

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    Default Re: Another episode int he continuing "C" soprano saga! - shifting pads (with snap-in resos)

    Quote Originally Posted by JayePDX View Post
    If the glue was intended to float the pad a little bit, then that floating should 'move the pads in the cup'. If the glue was intended just to hold the pads stationary, then the pads aren't gonna 'move in the cup' and the only way to get a proper seal is to actually start moving/adjusting the cup itself.
    Judging from the one I've removed, there is only a VERY thin film of glue - there isn't room for anything more. I would say with certainty the pads are glued to the cup - there is no float.

    I am pursuing getting some thinner pads..........I am really beginning to land on that item, and the installation.

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    Default Re: Another episode int he continuing "C" soprano saga! - shifting pads (with snap-in resos)

    Quote Originally Posted by saxoclese View Post
    Now we are getting down to the nitty gritty of the problem. Assuming the pads held in with just a small amount of adhesive are hitting first in the backs of the keys, the only answer (keeping the existing pads) is to reorient the keys to the toneholes. You don't need key bending tools to do this. You may need tools such as the Ferree's set to lower the backs of the key cups, but to lower the front of the cup is relatively easy. I use regular craft sticks, like tongue depressors, from Walmart. First I cut them to length using my wirecutters, and then break them to the width I need to cover the back 1/3 of the pad. With the stick inserted, I use my thumbs to carefully push down on the front of the key. It doesn't take much movement to make the positive change needed. If you go too far, simply put the stick under the front 1/3 of the pad and with a small dowel tap the back of the key down where the key arm attaches to the back of the key cup.

    Two other issues may be causing the "warped pads" previously described. (1) Pads too large for the key cups. (I am not a proponent of stuffing the largest size possible into each key cup.) You can only do so much with a heated pad slick "ironing"a the leather. and (2) Not punching a large enough hole so the snap can be inserted without interfering with the face of the pad.
    I think between having no room to float the pads and assembling the snap-in resos before floating the pads I've got a mess that needs re-padding with thinner pads and at least better glue. Maybe some more compliant/softer pads than the Roo. I think I would rather custom order thinner pads (maybe 20 thou) and not bend the keys. There's a next level of talent/experience that I'd need to work thru with bending all the keys and I don't want to use this horn for that purpose. Maybe an old alto or something for that......

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    Default Re: Another episode int he continuing "C" soprano saga! - shifting pads (with snap-in resos)

    Quote Originally Posted by saxoclese View Post
    I use regular craft sticks, like tongue depressors, from Walmart.
    I use strips of old credit/debit/rebate cards. I've found them much easier to get into tight places, they bend and stay bent; I can use just one or stack two together to limit/control my bending. And some are thicker than others so I can fine tune my bend.

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    Default Re: Another episode int he continuing "C" soprano saga! - shifting pads (with snap-in resos)

    Quote Originally Posted by squawk View Post
    I think between having no room to float the pads and assembling the snap-in resos before floating the pads I've got a mess that needs re-padding with thinner pads and at least better glue. Maybe some more compliant/softer pads than the Roo. I think I would rather custom order thinner pads (maybe 20 thou) and not bend the keys. There's a next level of talent/experience that I'd need to work thru with bending all the keys and I don't want to use this horn for that purpose. Maybe an old alto or something for that......
    If you can hold off a few days, I have a True Tone soprano that I own that is in line for a restoration. Let me install a few white roos which I stock and see what I come up with. I am not familiar with any suppliers who make pads a custom thickness. My reservation about going that route is that in the future when a few pads need replacing you are going to be in the same situation.

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    Default Re: Another episode int he continuing "C" soprano saga! - shifting pads (with snap-in resos)

    I not jumping right on a re-pad but I'm not against it. I think the Bb soprano may not have key cups as shallow as the C soprano, not sure. But I won't be ripping out the pads for a while - I'm going to work on the Martin first.

    Music Medic says then can make custom thinner pads without a hitch, so I'm waiting for some details on that. I'm not done adjusting yet tho. Tonight I gave it another round, but this time compensated for the expected pad movement after the adjustment. I agree with hgrail that the Roo pads leather is very stiff, and they don't like to come back to relaxed shape quickly. I got it very playable tonight, hope it lasts. I'm still amazed at how touchy this little horn is compared to a TT alto, or even a Bb sop. Sure won't be taking on a sopranino anytime soon..........

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