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Where to get Superpads & at what cost.
Despite the number of imitators (most flattering)!! :-) Superpads are only available from Eddie Ashton at Woodwind & Co.
Now at first this may appear to be me greedily trying to keep them to myself, after all, didn't I invent/develop them in the first place so why shouldn't I want to exclusively guard them? Well this is not quite the case as I shall try to explain.
Almost daily I receive e-mails from clarinettists & instrument repairers around the world asking me to supply a set or sets of Superpads & each time I have to refuse. Again, it may seem initially churlish but here's why.
Superpads are not picked from a draw containing pads of the correct diameter, this being just one of a number of desirable parameters. They are hand-made individually for each instrument only when it is determined what is required. Two or three pads may be made for a particular key before a satisfactory solution is found. It's not often appreciated that two instruments of the same make, type & even consecutively numbered are in fact quite different in detail due to both the many tolerances in manufacture as well as each piece of wood being different. To perhaps better understand this, think about two reeds from the same box & how different they will be. It's therefore not possible to produce a set of pads for a Clarinet without seeing what is required. In the case of a Bassoon the possible variations are even greater. All 'sets' of pads are in fact an approximation to what is ideally required.
Further, they are positioned in the key in a non-conventional way (& yes this is a secret by the way). Skin pads are traditionally glued into the cup & 'bedded' into position using heat & pressure. Another alterative term for bedding is 'forcing'! If something is forced into a position it will sooner or later try to revert to its restful state. One of the great benefits of Superpads is that they are set in their rest position without any force being applied & therefore have no reason to subsequently move & destroy fine regulation between keys.
To supply sets of ill-fitting pads to be questionably set in position by the end user would seemingly earn good revenue (for 'good' read 'easy'), but poor execution & workmanship in a lot of cases, would be blamed on the pads themselves & I am naturally at pains to protect the high reputation which they have justifiably gained over the years, even taking into account the severe limit on numbers caused by the understandable reticence of players to trust their instruments with a carrier (although I've never experienced a problem &, done properly, is fast & safe).
A complete overhaul including Superpads costs £275 & the work usually takes about 2 days.