The basics of a good woodwind
repair are the same for all instruments. First, any side or excess motion in the
key mechanism has to be corrected. Keys should
only go up and down, period. If a key moves side to side,
sometimes it will line up correctly and seal, other times it
won’t. Also, excess key motion can be noisy!
require a thin leather
pad. Most brands of bassoon pads use a cardboard
backing to hold the pad together. Unfortunately the cardboard
makes the pad stiff, and that can make it difficult to make very fine
adjustments on the larger size pads. To make the pad more
flexible I make “cross cuts” in the cardboard from side to
side. That makes it possible to make the pad “bend” over a
curved or uneven surface.
One of the
most important points when installing a pad is to use LOTS of
glue. If a thin layer of adhesive is used to install a pad,
the only way to adjust it is to bend the metal cup. A better
way to adjust the pad is to heat the glue and float the pad into
position, and that requires a sufficient layer of glue between the pad
and the cup.
are a variety of materials that can be used to quiet the key mechanism,
adjust the pad height, and create a bridge between keys that work
together. Cork is the most common, and that’s good to use in
a place where you may need to do fine adjustments to the pad
height. On larger keys cork can be noisy, so where practical
I prefer to use a good quality felt (the felt used for making hats is
perfect!). Felt doesn’t compress easily, so the adjustment will last a
long time. For some keys or points of adjustment I prefer to
use synthetic cork or tubing.
the instrument is play tested. Sometimes it’s necessary to
adjust the pad height for intonation, other times it’s necessary to
make adjustments to make the keys “feel” right.
It’s especially important for the larger keys on the long joint (low D
down to low Bb) to line up evenly.