Untitled Document
     
Advertisement Click to advertise with us!
     

Pad material innovations?

Well Im playing a bit of sax after a 28 year hiatus; during that time having forgotten what a pain sticky pads are.

We bagpipers have been investigating numerous alternative materials in those years: wintex, goretex, neoprene, naugahyde, even rolled out thin & dried tubes of marine caulk. Not only for airtight bag materials, but also for pads.
My Uilleann pipes pads (albeit a mere 17) are all neoprene. inexpensive, tight, easily replacable, and decidedly un-sticky.

Have saxes tried adapting any of these newer materials on their padwork? Or have you already & Im just out of the loop? Im not sure how much it would alter timbre & feel, but wouldnt it be worth it to have done once & for all with the unexpected sticky pad :?:
 

Gandalfe

Striving to play the changes in a melodic way.
Staff member
Administrator
Playing soprillo to bass sax and nary a problem. With new pads, I run a dollar bill (it's the graphite don't cha know) across the pads and very quickly they don't stick anymore. It helps that I don't drink sweet drinks when playing too. YMMV.
 

jbtsax

Distinguished Member
Distinguished Member
Bagpipes have pads??? I had no idea.

Woodwind supplies vendors are constantly looking for a material that can replace and improve upon animal hide. So far no one has come up with a product that can outperform the feel, durability, and workability of leather---let alone the price and availability.

Clarinet pads are another story. There have been several products that have proven successful in creating an airtight and durable pad. The Valentino, Kraus Omnipad, and Norbeck to name a few. For some reason the same materials in a larger diameter pad just does not perform as well on saxophone toneholes.

I suspect that neoprene has been tried by pad manufacturers and found to be unsatisfactory in some aspects. It may give the pad too spongy a feel for most players' tastes. I don't know. It seems strange in the era of space age materials that no one has come up with a better saxophone pad than felt over cardboard covered by animal hide, but that's the way it is. No one has found a material to replace the plants that grow in swamps for the best reeds either.

Jim Schmidt has created the amazing gold foil pads, but they have never caught on with the buying public. Maybe it is because they cost $235 a set in addition to the price a tech would charge to install them.
 

Helen

Content Expert Saxophones
Staff member
Administrator
No one has found a material to replace the plants that grow in swamps for the best reeds either.

Well, that's not necessarily true. There are lots of us who would argue that a number of materials over the years have done a great job at replacing the swamp material known as cane. :p

Jim Schmidt has created the amazing gold foil pads, but they have never caught on with the buying public. Maybe it is because they cost $235 a set in addition to the price a tech would charge to install them.

That's interesting. I haven't heard of these. Any pictures that you know of, that are available online?
 
So far no one has come up with a product that can outperform the feel, durability, and workability of leather---let alone the price and availability.
IMO the microfiber imitation leather pads made by Music Center are better than leather pads, but I think you are right about price and availability. They are more expensive and I'm not even sure they are made anymore. One American supplier had a big stock of them some years ago but no one bought them, I guess mostly because of tradition, since other more expensive pads are successful with a lot of marketing (the microfiber pad had none AFAIK).

Clarinet pads are another story. There have been several products that have proven successful in creating an airtight and durable pad. The Valentino, Kraus Omnipad, and Norbeck to name a few. For some reason the same materials in a larger diameter pad just does not perform as well on saxophone toneholes.
I can see why the Valentino pads (at least those I've seen) wouldn't work on bigger tone holes. It is mostly for the same reason I don't like them on any tone hole, they become unlevel too easily because they lack support. This issue is solved by the Omnipads. But I think the other issue is the thin metal tone hole rims, regardless of size. Leather (or microfiber...) on felt resist that very well. I have tried Omnipads on some metal tone holes with more thickness to the rim and this worked excellent, but not on regular sax tone holes yet. I know they started making them for bass clarinets which have relatively big pads.
 

SOTSDO

Old King Log
Staff member
CE/Moderator
At an ICS show back in the late 1980's...

...there was a gentleman from Israel who was showing his patented system of metal tone hole closures (one hesitates to call them pads). Although at a clarinet show, he had brought along a bassoon with these devices installed, and I and some of the other exhibitors with some experience on the faggott took his machinery for a test drive or two after we closed down for the day.

I didn't have one of my reeds along, but the one that he furnished served quite nicely. The instrument was a low end Fox modified to his needs, and the closures were certainly an interesting approach to the tone hole problem.

Each of the "small pad keys" was instead equipped with a tone hole riser with a reamed conical seat, standing perhaps a quarter inch proud of the normal tone hole pad seat. The corresponding key was provided with a carefully machined metal conical protrusion that closed its associated tone hole with a precision fit into the seat.

As configured, it worked flawlessly. The instrument had even intonation throughout the scale, and the keys closed firmly and without any leakage as far as I could tell.

The slight clicking as the seats opened and (in particular) closed when the keys were operated was a bit disconcerting. But, anyone who has ever heard the Mozart Bassoon Concerto performed live knows that a properly set up bassoon when being played sounds something like a small tap dancing or clogging act up close, so that was small change compared to the norm. Besides, we players hear those noises clearly, but unless miked very closely they are not apparent at performance to audience distances.

It was a clever idea, with precision closures and complete immunity to moisture (although a clarinet would have been a better choice for a demonstrator than a rubber sleeved bassoon wing joint. (Bring a bassoon to a clarinet convention - h'mmm...)

Against that, you had the fact that it was 1) unusual, both in appearance and in sound, and 2) it was not immune to the hazards of the concert stage and rehearsal hall. Mischance when handling the instrument could require attention, just as would a clarinet. However, the metal closures were far harder to adjust.

We ate at the pig roast with the inventor (and Eddie Daniels, and John Denman and Donna Altieri - quite the dinner party, I tell you what. We all had a riot (and the roast pig was succulent in the bargain). Even with the language difficulties, we could all tell that he was very passionate about his idea.

However, I think that Jerry Pierce pronounced the final ICS opinion on his invention when he looked at it and then said "Who brings a bassoon to a clarinet convention?"
 
Last edited:
yep. pads, keys, etc. all that.

mace_7.jpg
images
(the Northumbrian chanter in the b/w image being an extreme example...)


yes, odd no ones come up with a better plan than leather, but the commercial need may not be there to justify the R&D of doing it right,,,perhaps some brilliant sax tech will be perusing this...start to get thinking...

but Gold? omg.

tangential, but we also are having great sucess with composite reed materials.
#6 plastic from drinking cups & plates is near perfect for most bagpipe double reeds:

images


single reeds too...
images


Im not saying theyre better or worse, but for us reliability & predictability trump. Not that sax is my big thing, but I really think saxes could benefit from a newer material. anyway, please keep the input coming, its a good read!


& thanks for the dollar bill tip, it worked like a charm. guess I can now escape the stigma of cigarette papers :cool:
 

jbtsax

Distinguished Member
Distinguished Member
Well, that's not necessarily true. There are lots of us who would argue that a number of materials over the years have done a great job at replacing the swamp material known as cane. :p

It is true that the synthetics are favored by some players in the rock, fusion, and jazz idioms, but I am not familiar with any classical player who prefers synthetics over traditional cane reeds.

That's interesting. I haven't heard of these. Any pictures that you know of, that are available online?

Here you go: http://www.jsengineering.net/goldsaxpads.asp
 
It is true that the synthetics are favored by some players in the rock, fusion, and jazz idioms, but I am not familiar with any classical player who prefers synthetics over traditional cane reeds.
There are more than a few, but here is an example, quoted from Legere's website: "As reported in Die Press, August 26, 2010: Andreas Ottensamer recently won a Solo Clarinet position with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. Mr. Ottensamer prevailed in heavy competition for the position using a Légère German Cut clarinet reed and the PlayEasy system from Austrian mouthpiece master Nick Kückmeier. In the final pairing of the competition, both players were playing Légère! Mr. Ottensamer joins the other Solo Clarinetist in Berlin, Wenzel Fuchs, who also plays with Légère reeds. What more can we say?"
 

SOTSDO

Old King Log
Staff member
CE/Moderator
Any chance that you remember who it was...?

Nope, not a chance in the world. I recall that he was a bit above average in height (I'm 6' 3", and he was shorter than me), and he may have been bald.

But, other than that? Nada. In my defense, it was over twenty-five years ago...

As for dollar bills and sticking pads, I was always given to understand that it was a combination of the sizing used on the paper with the gunk that they picked up when in general circulation. I don't recall graphite being in the mix when making them.
 

jbtsax

Distinguished Member
Distinguished Member
There are more than a few, but here is an example, quoted from Legere's website: "As reported in Die Press, August 26, 2010: Andreas Ottensamer recently won a Solo Clarinet position with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. Mr. Ottensamer prevailed in heavy competition for the position using a Légère German Cut clarinet reed and the PlayEasy system from Austrian mouthpiece master Nick Kückmeier. In the final pairing of the competition, both players were playing Légère! Mr. Ottensamer joins the other Solo Clarinetist in Berlin, Wenzel Fuchs, who also plays with Légère reeds. What more can we say?"

Thanks for that information. I was thinking of classical saxophonists when I wrote that remark, but it is good to know that there are clarinetists who have made the leap.
 

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
I'll mention, in passing, that there have been several pad replacement systems that have been available for the sax, but they've never caught on. The combination of higher price and the technology not being quite there -- such as with the Selmer padless saxophones: the O-rings would dry out and get very hard, producing a VERY loud click when you pressed a key.

In other words, there hasn't been something new out there that significantly outperforms a traditional pad material to justify the price and/or horn modifications.

==============

FWIW, my wife's got a practice bagpipe chanter here, so I've seen the reed, at least. I didn't know about pads for bagpipes, though. Hey, my one thing that I've learned for the day.
 
Top Bottom