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Eliminating Leaks

If the pad does not cover properly, a quick but temporary solution may be to wet the pad slightly and recrease the pad by pressing the pad against the socket. If time allows, it is a good idea to tie the key down over night. This puts a deeper crease in the pad and helps make a tight seal between the pad and top of the socket. If this does not correct the trouble, it may be that the pad is not properly seated in the pad cup. The only way to correct this is to remove the pad and reseat it. This is quite a job and requires some skill but many players can do it. Heat the back of the pad cup until the shellac is melted. This will enable you to change the position of the pad in the pad cup. While the shellac is still soft, press the pad down on the socket so the pad touches the socket edge evenly all around. While it is in this position, tie the key down until the shellac cools and solidifies.

Needless to say, heat sufficient to melt the shellac will burn ordinary lacquer off your pad cup. However, if your sax is not lacquered or is lacquered with the newer heatdrying lacquer, the heat sufficient to melt the shellac will not mar the finish. A Bunsen burner is ideal for this job, but any small flame will do the trick. Be careful not to use more heat than is necessary, or you may destroy even .the heat-drying lacquer or burn the pad.

Sometimes the leak is caused by faulty key adjustment. It may be that the key has become bent so one side of the pad cup is tilted or so the front or back of the pad cup is tilted. Usually this calls for an experienced repairman but if the trouble is slight it may be possible for you to twist the pad cup with the fingers until the tilt is corrected. If the leak occurs at the outer edge of the pad cup, away from the key, a piece of soft wood can be placed under the key, back of the pad cup, and the key directly over the pad cup can be tapped sharply with a wood mallet. See Fig. 33. This bends the key over slightly so the pad touches the rim of the socket evenly all around. Fig. 33. Don't use pliers to bend keys, as you are liable to scratch and mar the key.