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Author Topic: Should I put resonators on my contrabass  (Read 2163 times)

Offline DaveLeBlanc

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Should I put resonators on my contrabass
« on: August 12, 2017, 04:44:09 PM »
After examination of the pads they're functional but nasty. Looks like a full repad is in the works.
So, got me thinking. Should I get resonator pads? What will they even do, especially on a composite clarinet? I don't hear much about resonators on anything other than saxophones.
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Offline LarryS

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Re: Should I put resonators on my contrabass
« Reply #1 on: August 12, 2017, 04:46:40 PM »
You mean those phiton resonators? Ridiculously expensive little bits of metal that I can't see how they could function. There's a guy puts them on everything from clarinets to carrots. Swears by them but won't post a video showing with / without.
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Offline DaveLeBlanc

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Re: Should I put resonators on my contrabass
« Reply #2 on: August 12, 2017, 06:16:16 PM »
Understood! Haha, when I was googling I even found a dissertation about the science behind them.
I can't really see how they could make much of a difference at all, personally.
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Irvine, California, United States

Offline LarryS

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Re: Should I put resonators on my contrabass
« Reply #3 on: August 13, 2017, 08:14:25 AM »
The fact that you have drill into your instrument after paying hundreds of pounds for them would kinda put me off.
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Offline Silversorcerer

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Re: Should I put resonators on my contrabass
« Reply #4 on: August 13, 2017, 01:21:40 PM »
Everything makes a difference. Whether it is a difference that you can hear is a different question. Whether it is a difference you might consider an improvement is probably the most important question.

Back when I got my C-melody sax, the original pads were long gone and it had what I found out later were Conn reso-pads. These were just tan leather pads with a stiffer card behind the felt, not resonator pads like we think of today. I had to replace a few so I ordered the same kind to be consistent. It plays and sounds OK, but in the lower register the lowest notes always seem too loud and unbalanced to my ear. That's also where the pads are the largest diameters and would have the biggest influence on tone and projection.

Later I picked up a Frank Holton C-mel that someone had attempted to re-pad with a stock pad set most of which didn't fit the cup diameters and all of which were far too thick. The method to attempt getting a good seal was to bend the pad cups down onto the tone holes, and of course that didn't work at all. The whole upper stack was a mess that was impossible to get anything to seal or regulate. A good number of the original pads were still present on the lower stack (project horn abandonment on ebay time) and these were very soft pads, thin, white leather and felt only and had that stitched dimple in the middle. Most of them still sealed. It made me wonder what original functionality in the upper stack had been wasted.

There are many young players who get these old C-mels and deck them out with the metal resonators, and then you hear nothing except how unbalanced they are and how the intonation is compromised, etc., etc., and inevitably they blame it on the early saxophone design deficiencies.

This is like equipping an English racing bike with oversized tires and complaining because they pop off the wheels when inflated.

I checked with Prestini and they are willing to make a set of original type pads for the Frank Holton, so I can see how it was supposed to originally perform. It's been all torn down for months and whoever tried to force fit the wrong pad sizes mangled just about every pad cup on the instrument. When I really get bored I pick out one to work on for a few hours. One by one these are getting close to being able to install. I'll probably take Prestini up on the soft pad custom run. The cost would be about the same as resonators and I can see how one of these C-mels sounded originally. I think these were intended to have a more mellow tone and play at a lower volume than a big band saxophone.

It's all fine to experiment, and I understand your investment in the instrument was low, probably the same situation with whoever attempted to re-pad the Holton. There is a tendency for us to think of an instrument that didn't cost us much as an opportunity to experiment. Perhaps. On the other hand we might look at it as if we got a great deal on a restoration opportunity rather than a hot-rod candidate.

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Offline Suscom

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Re: Should I put resonators on my contrabass
« Reply #5 on: December 31, 2021, 11:20:06 AM »
Hi Guys, I sell PhiTon resonators in the UK for audio use.
Creative Mass make beautiful racks in the US as well as Centre Pods which sit under the chassis of amps etc.
My website has a video which explains the theory of how these devices absorb vibration, cancel out their own sound and reduce entropy (disharmony) from electical and magnetic distortion. www.bluesaudio.co.uk you don't have to drill holes in your clarinet, the resonators replace the two screws holding the reed tight or the six screws controlling pitch in a guitar. Carlos Santana and Chuck Correa use resonators and appreciate the improvement in clarity and lowered noise floor.
I used to play the Clarinet to a basic level, Stranger on the Shore etc. Hope you give these products a try, I give a 30 day money back guarantee with Corfac's products and he is an Audio engineer working worldwide in Operas and jazz clubs!

Offline DaveLeBlanc

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Re: Should I put resonators on my contrabass
« Reply #6 on: December 31, 2021, 01:02:55 PM »
I don't see any woodwind pad resonators on this website.
David Watson of the original The Clarinet Pages
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Offline Goonny_Bedman

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Re: Should I put resonators on my contrabass
« Reply #7 on: January 15, 2022, 12:11:53 PM »
I don't see any woodwind pad resonators on this website.

I think it's pretty obvious from the chap's post that you're supposed to use two egg-sized resonators to replace them "two screws holding the reed tight".

I'm not quite sure if the resonators are supposed to go into your mouth or not.

Offline windydankoff

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Re: Should I put resonators on my contrabass
« Reply #8 on: January 15, 2022, 02:41:06 PM »
Here's what I think ... I test ideas that cannot be easily tested, by doing something in the opposite direction. Pad "resonators" are hard discs that decrease the soft sound-absorbing area of a pad. They are only practical to place on larger, lower pads. I would propose an experiment of opposite effect. I would insert something soft into the lower bore of the horn where the large pads are. A narrow strip of cloth or leather, for example, with an overall area of less than the lower pads. It will dull the sound in the lower section, a bit. Resonators will presumably do the opposite, making the lower-section notes (of each register) stronger and brighter (opposite of what the cloth does). See if it makes those low-section notes duller.

But all this begs the question:
"Why bother?" – With resonators, you may honk out the bottom few notes a bit louder, but will also (presumably) brighten the lower clarion. Your transition over the break will be effected. If it's smooth now, I would not suggest altering it.

I think this is all an interesting thought experiment, but it may not produce a desirable result. If it did, it would be a commercial option, like on sax pads where resonators have been normal for many decades. Do they have a history of use on contrabass clarinets?
« Last Edit: January 19, 2022, 05:50:37 PM by windydankoff »
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