Saludos desde Costa Rica. As many of you know I moved here a bit more than a year ago.
My first apartment here was a total disaster on many levels. After a month of nice dry weather, the rainy season suddenly hit like a sledgehammer with heavy rains every day. The casita was located under a dense tree canopy with little sun and insufficient airflow. The crib rapidly turned into a dangerous, moldy box, basically I got scammed over the internet. Live and learn.
Within 2 weeks of the rains starting, I realized that I and my instruments were in serious trouble. We are talking about EXTREME humidity that never abates. The gel packs I put in th sax cases were woefully insufficient. I began to have respiratory issues, and my horns began to suffer. I brought them to a friend's house and put them in her dry room. It only slowed the mold, which I caught early, but didn't stop it. TOO LATE.
I brought the alto to one of the 2 main repair guys down here who lives just 10 min away from me (lucky.) He disassemble and super deep-cleaned my beloved alto (SA80ll) up, but it turns out the problem was not REALLY fixed. Now there is mold spots starting to reappear.
My Yanagisawa 900 sop. seemed more ok but also suffered the start of mold problems, which over the last year have slowly been getting worse. Mind you it is not too bad, but it is only going to continue to spread. Resistance is futile.
The pads in the alto are 10 yrs old and the sop actually has original pads that I guess are at least 25 years old but were fine. The alto was played VERY hard, and I always changed out the typical problem pads that get wet and crap out fast pretty much every year such as the palm key pads, Bb bis, low Eb, The only real solution I think is a complete deep clean and total re pad job for both horns. I'm taking the plunge and having both completely re padded because I see that this is not going to stop.
Now i'm lucky to live in a wonderful dry apartment in a beautiful location at 5600'. I now have a dehumidifier that really keeps things nice and extra dry. Fortunately there is no rust issues yet on these horns. Springs, set screws and rods are fine so I guess I should consider myself lucky. BTW there is NO bad smell in the cases, and I am super sensitive, but I will spray them with Lysol and alcohol and maybe call a priest and have an exorcism performed on them. The mold problem was early in its development in both horns, but I can see that it IS chronic and not going away. So for the first time ever, I'm having 2 of my primary saxophones overhauled.
The guy down here is ordering MusicMedic Pads. Of course I like a nice firm pad and plastic resos on the alto and soprano. Hopefully the regular Music Medic pads are decent. I have zero experience with them. Turns out he uses dark amber shellac. Very happy about that. But there is some anxiety. This guy certainly knows what he's doing but I've had the same guy in NY doing my repairs and overhauls for over 30 years now... I really have no choice but to take the plunge.
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