Poorly floated in pads ... Can they be re-floated after they have formed the tone whole imprint ?

Hi All !

I'm new to the forum so I hope you have patience with my newbie boobies .
My wife recently got a second hand ' Bundy' Selmer student bass clarinet . It actually only has " Selmer USA." printed on it and I can't even seem to find out what year that would be from the serial number , but I believe that that's all much of a muchness as this model hasn't changed significantly since its Bundy launch ( please correct my if I'm wrong ) .

The horn is in good condition and clearly been cared for which matters more than its age I feel . It has been recently re- corked and padded and that job looks pretty well done although I had to do the typical handful of fine valve closing adjustments . I've got it all smooth running and hermetic , although a number of the pads could be better floated in , including the large " B" twins ( .....well I'm just the guy that does the mechanics ) . It's a key with a rather low mechanical advantage , so I figure that really good seating and balanced closing is critical here . My wife often resorts to using both right and left hand levers to play the B on her clarinets and I'd like her not to feel she can only get a good note that way .

I'm guessing that if I want to REALLY fine tune this movement on her bass clarinet I'll have to fit new pads as trying to re- float the existing ones with their established imprint won't work well .

Thank in advance for any feedback on this or any relating matters . Julian
New pads are maybe $3.00 for that size, why not just replace them?

The problem with refloating it is that there may not be enough shellac (or hot glue, etc) behind the pad to properly refloat it if it is not high enough in the pad to the tonehole.

of course, you want to use the same floating material that was used before, which may be a problem.

You also need to mark the pad/padcup edge and not move it from that position. So if you have to backfill you lift the edge, then refloat it.
That's assuming it's too low.
If the pad is too high then one can take out some shellac, etc fairly easily.
But if you are not experienced in this it can be quite the job.

Here's a video about problems of lifting pads to match a tonehole without the proper backing. I think it makes sense.
Last edited:
Many thanks guys ..... I guess that was the answer I had expected but with all the reasons properly explained !

I have tried to find stick shellac on the Internet with no luck ....in fact luthier supplies seem not to be particularly available generally .

If anybody knows of a good supplier I would be very greatful .
Stick Shellac

from Music Medic

Ferrees - Amber Shellac

Ferrees - Clear Shellac

I really prefer the Amber Stick shellac from Ferrees. It seems to be a bit "stickier" than the others.
I actually prefer the pellets / flakes as I put the shellac into the cups .. IMHO, the easy faster way.

various stick shellacs can be found on eBay too
Thank you guys !...... You have been of great help ..... I really appreciate it .

I'm going to leave these pads as they are for the moment . They DO close , just not as evenly as ide like them to for good reliable triple valve precision . I'm going to get some replacement pads and stick shellac ready for the problems I expect them to give . Until now , ive only fixed and adjusted my wife's B sibs . I see that these bass clarinets demand a lot more fine adjustment .( I love it though ).

I'm sure I'll be back pretty soon with more questions . Julian
Top Bottom