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My new most favorite pad

jbtsax

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At the NAPBIRT Conference this spring the Music Medic display had several Buescher altos padded with a new pad Curt Altarac calls the "chocolate roo" pad. It is a dark brown color and has the smoothest leather I have ever seen on a saxophone pad. I took a few samples home and showed them to a customer who was having his King Super 20 Tenor overhauled. He jumped at the chance to try them in his sax (with just a little encouragement from yours truly who wanted to try them out).

To my dismay, after I made a promise to my customer I found the pads were not even on the Music Medic website yet. In a panic I contacted Curt's assistant and she got right back to me saying they could make up a special order in just a few days. To make a long story short they arrived even sooner than they had promised, fit like a dream, and the installation was the smoothest I have ever done due to the perfection and consistency of the pads themselves. What's more the dark brown looks great with the older dark lacquer of vintage saxes.

The customer liked them so much, two weeks later he brought in his Buffet Super Dynaction Alto to have them installed in that horn as well. Again Music Medic graciously made up a special order even thought they are not officially on the market as yet. The photo below speaks for itself.

 

altissimo

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leicester
oh lord, my Buescher Aristocrat and Conn C Melody both need a repad and these would be perfect.... sigh...
 

Alc.

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So...'chocolate roo' would be kangaroo?
 

U CAN CALL ME AL

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I wonder how much unnecessary work / modification on saxes is carried out. Fancy black, white, chocolate pads fancy resonators, plated/ solid silver necks, engraving, coloured key pearls etc., etc..

All this time at the techs browsing catalogues visiting retailers reducing practice time, increasing profits for the makers. Is it worth it?

My saxtech says if it ain't broke don't fix it unless it's obvoius becomes unplayable or something falls off it, or smashes the hell out of it.
 

griff136

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I live in Exmouth Devon.
The customer is king and if they demand a particular type of pad with a special resonator fitted then I'll gladly oblige . More often than not they'll take my advice on what pad/resonator choice they should go for dependent on their budget. In the big scheme of things, the price of a set of Kangaroo pads compared to the pro equivalent is nominal. Although some gold plated resonators are a tad over the top IMHO.
I have some pads in the workshop that were made in China and look the part but thats about as far as it goes - I keep them to show customers the difference in quality of pads - skin smoothness, firmness and thickness. As a technician myself, I chose dark brown kangaroo skin pads (supplied by Richard Keilwerth in Germany 5 yrs ago) on my Selmer tenor - I like the firm positive feel of them, the skin is more robust so will last longer and they don't stick half as much as a "regular" pad.
It's all down to personal preference.
 

jbtsax

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The tenor shown above absolutely needed a total overhaul. Many of the pads were still the originals which were from 1947! The flat metal resos with a rivet in the center were chosen to closely match the originals. The kangaroo leather pads were recommended because as Griff indicated, the leather is much stronger and they have far less tendency to stick. All of the "bling" on those old Super 20's was installed at the factory and became an important part of their popularity and legend behind these great vintage horns.

The saxophone work I prefer is to be given an instrument to restore or overhaul. That way I have complete control over all of the mechanics, the materials used, and the adjustments. Lots of things that "aren't broken" can be improved to work more quietly and efficiently, to last longer, and to be more dependable. Many saxophones can be made better than when they left the factory with new techniques, tools, and materials. In the hands of a skilled artist, an instrument is a tool. I have no problem with those who take pride in their instrument's appearance. The old saying goes, "You can't play the shine". My response to that is, "Perhaps, but you can sure enjoy looking at it during the rests." :)
 

kevgermany

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I think you have to balance originality with improvements. No question about kangaroo leather. It's better/lasts longer than other types. I think one of the points here is that brown ones are available, at one stage you could only get black or white.

Other modern developments like ptfe make a big difference where parts slide.

I agree with not doing unnecessary work, but some guys like to be flashy. And is enhancing your sax any different to improving your house/car/clothes? Or much of modern cosmetic surgery and dentistry?
 

U CAN CALL ME AL

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In my post I did not in any way intend to denigrate saxtechs and the work they do, or the recommendations they make. It was a query about player related fads.
I have been fortunate in that so far none of my saxes have required a total overhaul but would go for the best pads on recommendation as the cost is not significant compared to the whole.
My Conn 12M was purchased from a player in a big band who had it repadded in Hong Kong with Chinese pads total cost $90! months before I bought it. As Griff says the quality is not the best, but it still plays fine 5 years on. I'm saving for a nice Roo job when the time comes.
 

thomsax

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Just some reflections:

A long pad life. Is it just the type of leather? A good care is also important?

The "resonators, reflectors, pad covers"...... do the make the pads last longer? One of my best sax has flat oversized sterling silver resonators! The more the resonaters cover the pads the better?

Are chemicals (tanning agent) been used on pads? Is a sterling silver resonator better compared to a brass or a nickleplated when it comes to this (to avoid plating problems)?
 

kernewegor

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And when you come off you bounce down the road.
I was batting my gums with one of my Ozzie rellies and he told me a yarn about a news story which got reported in the media years ago. They like a good laugh - it takes their mind off their terrible beer.

A couple of blokes were driving through the bush and a 'roo jumped out in front of their ute without giving them time to stop.

They got out to have a dekko, cut up about having knocked the 'roo off its perch.

Nothing could be done, but one of them decided to dress the 'roo in some of his clobber and take snaps.

He has snapping away when the 'roo opened it's eyes and hopped away at a right lick, wearing the snapper's jacket and hat.

Roos can move. They never saw it again... and the jacket it was wearing had his wallet, money and credit cards in the pockets....

That was the story. I believed him.

It was too good a story not to... I like a good laugh, too... http://urbanlegends.about.com/library/blroo.htm
 
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griff136

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I live in Exmouth Devon.
Just some reflections:

A long pad life. Is it just the type of leather? A good care is also important?

The "resonators, reflectors, pad covers"...... do the make the pads last longer? One of my best sax has flat oversized sterling silver resonators! The more the resonaters cover the pads the better?

Are chemicals (tanning agent) been used on pads? Is a sterling silver resonator better compared to a brass or a nickleplated when it comes to this (to avoid plating problems)?


It's not just the type of leather - other factors include:
1. The waterproofing on some pads ( often silicone based and very sticky).
2. The type of felt - pressed or woven, and how it feels - hard, firm,medium,soft and stupidly cotton wool type soft.
3. The backing - card, metal, flimsy paper almost and no firm backing.

Resonators/reflectors do nothing to prolong the life of the pad. Plated resonators are a personal preference and do nothing except look good or bad (depending on your own view of things)

As with most things in life you get what you pay for.


My idea of a decent pad - A smoother leather,a medium to firm felt and a stiff backing.
 

old git

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Always thought that to qualify as felt, it had to be pressed or that's what the hat makers say.
 

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