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There is a high sense of professionalism as well as humor on this forum. And some times the humor can be mistaken for serious. As far as proper care of your instrument, these are some of the things I tell my students:

Your instrument is an investment and you need to ensure it is an asset for the long term.

Keep it in the case when not playing it. Make sure you have a good strap that has no damage and will not break. Never hold the horn carelessly or by the neck or in such a way as to hurt any fragile mechnism. Never walk around while practicing as you will inadvertantly knock the instrument into something.

Always take the mouthpiece and reed off after playing. Even if it is for a several hour break. Take them off, swab, use a mouthpeice brush and roll and push a small paper towel through to thoroughly dry. Swab the neck. Run a swab through the body. Wipe off any moisture or fingerprints. Put it in the case. The key here is to keep the moisture out and off the pads and places that will tarnish or require oil for smooth operation; back in the case ensures keeping dust from accumulating at the oily joints or other misshaps like falling off a stand or chair or....

Wash your hands before playing. Oily fingers will ruin a finish. Do not drink sugary drinks before or during playing. This will contaminate the instrument and hasten the aging. That includes alcohol - which I do not, myself, obey. Since I enjoy wine with my playing. And do not eat while or before playing. If you must eat before, rinse your mouth. You don't need particles inside any part of your musical instrument.

Occasionally see a tech. Avoid instrument failure from causing you to change how you would normally play or causing you to fail at a performance.

It really doesn't take much time. It's like learning to stretch before and after exercise. Just do it.
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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All good advice of course, but there is a school of thought that if you leave your horn out on the stand, you may actually play it more. Granted it will be slightly sooner that it will need a service but that is a small price to pay for the extra playing time.
 

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I had been thinking about having my sax on a stand in my new apartment. After reading your post I am having second thoughts. Thank you
 

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With three cats often at war with each other, and a couple of big dogs, leaving my horn on a stand isn't an option. But if it weren't for the critters, I'd probably leave it on a stand during weekends or whenever I was going to be home all day, as Pete says, for ease of access.
 

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It's not that big a problem. Yes, there's a risk that you might knock it off - so it pays to get a decent stand that won't ditch the horn at the slightest knock - and you can help matters by placing the stand in a corner where there's less 'passing traffic'.
I would recommend a cover for the horn - a sax on stand is a dust magnet, so when you're not using it just drape a lint-free cover over it...a well-washed cotton bedsheet is ideal. It'll keep the dust at bay and allow the horn to breathe.
If you're going to do this, always take the mouthpiece off when not in use...it'll help prevent the cork from compressing.

Regards,
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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With three cats often at war with each other, and a couple of big dogs, leaving my horn on a stand isn't an option. But if it weren't for the critters, I'd probably leave it on a stand during weekends or whenever I was going to be home all day, as Pete says, for ease of access.
Not a problem for me, I use wallmounted stands as well as very sturdy Saxrax stands.
 

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There is a high sense of professionalism as well as humor on this forum. And some times the humor can be mistaken for serious. As far as proper care of your instrument, these are some of the things I tell my students:

Your instrument is an investment and you need to ensure it is an asset for the long term.

Keep it in the case when not playing it. Make sure you have a good strap that has no damage and will not break. Never hold the horn carelessly or by the neck or in such a way as to hurt any fragile mechnism. Never walk around while practicing as you will inadvertantly knock the instrument into something.

Always take the mouthpiece and reed off after playing. Even if it is for a several hour break. Take them off, swab, use a mouthpeice brush and roll and push a small paper towel through to thoroughly dry. Swab the neck. Run a swab through the body. Wipe off any moisture or fingerprints. Put it in the case. The key here is to keep the moisture out and off the pads and places that will tarnish or require oil for smooth operation; back in the case ensures keeping dust from accumulating at the oily joints or other misshaps like falling off a stand or chair or....

Wash your hands before playing. Oily fingers will ruin a finish. Do not drink sugary drinks before or during playing. This will contaminate the instrument and hasten the aging. That includes alcohol - which I do not, myself, obey. Since I enjoy wine with my playing. And do not eat while or before playing. If you must eat before, rinse your mouth. You don't need particles inside any part of your musical instrument.

Occasionally see a tech. Avoid instrument failure from causing you to change how you would normally play or causing you to fail at a performance.

It really doesn't take much time. It's like learning to stretch before and after exercise. Just do it.
Wow, very complete except you left out the Haz Mat suit. Ha! All good advice, except I kind of disagree about the walking around part. When I practice at home, I like to move around a little, play in the bedroom, kitchen, hallway, whatever. As long as you are aware of what is around you I think it's good to move around. No one wants to stand in the same place for several hours. Also, I like to leave my horn on the stand for a little while after practice to help with the drying out process.
 

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Very good advice to drill into the student from the very beginning! This should be printed, laminated and posted on either side of their sax case for repetition! :) Maybe on the inside as well!

Personally, I leave my sax out on the stand pretty much all the time. However, I don't have the hazards of pets and/or small kids running around the house either. If those hazards are present, then, either put the sax back in it's case when not practicing or place the sax and the stand somewhere inaccessible/off limits to said hazards!

As far as walking around, good advice for beginners and most students. Those who are inclined to noodle around with out being tied to written music on a stand, well, as long as they are not "walking the bar" across their desk or bed I would think it would be okay. :bluewink:

And yes, a visit to a tech yearly is highly advisable in order to keep the horn in shape and mechanically-induced frustrations to a minimum!

Thanks!
 

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All good advice of course, but there is a school of thought that if you leave your horn out on the stand, you may actually play it more. Granted it will be slightly sooner that it will need a service but that is a small price to pay for the extra playing time.
Not necessarily so!! I have a bari sax on a stand ready to play, great playing King Zephyr in my home. Its been there for longer than I will admit right now, and hasn't been touched. I play bari 3-4 days a week, and for some reason ignore that one, and keep switching between the other two I have in cases.
 

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Very good advice Cepages. I would add just a few things from my experience that I have found to be important.

- The neckstrap should have a locking clasp instead of an open loop.
- A yearly check up by a professional repair tech is a good rule of thumb.

Even well cared for instruments can go out of adjustment in that time.

- Get the instrument checked immediately if the notes are not coming out properly.

Oftentimes using excess finger pressure to force the notes to play causes bent keys and additional repair costs.

- A clarinet swab is perfect to remove the moisture from the neck and mouthpiece.
- The HW padsaver is ideal for students in that they must "swab" their instrument in order to put it away.
- The instrument should be either in the student's hands or in the case at all times.

Whenever we ask the customer what happened when a badly damaged instrument comes into our shop, the answer is always the same: "I set my instrument down on __________________ .
 

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Add check the straps and fasteners on cases regularly as well too. Much of the other stuff I agree with - Some of it I don't understand. Why dissasemble the MPC / reed / lig if resting for a couple of hours? Walking about with your sax is a skill you might use on gigs at some point of your career and I always leave my saxes assembled and on stands if I have actually bothered to take it out of case between gigs. It gets disassembled and checked over as I pack up for gigs...
 

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Here in Chile whith frequent earthquakes leaving the sax on a stand is a risky option. Question : should padsavers be removed or left in?
 

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I keep my mine on a stand ... inside a dedicated "music" closet in my home office when not playing. Keeps it aired out but not out in the traffic flow to get knocked off the stand or collect extra dust. Yea ... I'm anal about it.
 

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Here in Chile whith frequent earthquakes leaving the sax on a stand is a risky option. Question : should padsavers be removed or left in?
I quit using the padsaver years ago. If you don't swab beforehand, all you are doing is trapping the moisture inside your horn, plus a lot of lint by leaving it inside your horn.
 

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...there is a school of thought that if you leave your horn out on the stand, you may actually play it more. Granted it will be slightly sooner that it will need a service but that is a small price to pay for the extra playing time.
And of course the extra playing time will also contribute to a need for service, but that goes with the territory. If you get your horn set up properly by a good tech in the first place, you'll be able to go a lot longer without 'servicing' it. At least that's been my experience. But sure, a horn is meant to be played! The more the better.

I do agree with most of the points in the OP, but no way I'm going to turn down a meal and a brew on a gig! That part (eating & drinking) I don't worry about.
 

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Here in Chile with frequent earthquakes leaving the sax on a stand is a risky option. Question : should padsavers be removed or left in?
Earthquakes a real threat where I live here in California also. But sometimes you have to take your chances. I played in a wine bar recently in front of a wall stacked with wine bottles. A couple of bottles fell off the shelf while we were playing, probably from the vibration of the bass, and this was a low volume gig! It got me to thinking about what a disaster it would be if there was an earthquake. I hear they are removing the wine from the shelving now when bands play there. Glad to hear that because we have more gigs scheduled in that wine bar.

I never use those pad savers. I don't think the name is accurate. Seems to me like they'd hold moisture in the horn. I prefer to just swab it out. I think Stephen Howard wrote an article about pad savors and my recollection is the 'jury is still out' regarding how effective they are. What do you say Stephen?
 

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I keep my mine on a stand ... inside a dedicated "music" closet in my home office when not playing. Keeps it aired out but not out in the traffic flow to get knocked off the stand or collect extra dust. Yea ... I'm anal about it.
This sounds like an extremely good idea.
 

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I never use those pad savers. I don't think the name is accurate. Seems to me like they'd hold moisture in the horn. I prefer to just swab it out. I think Stephen Howard wrote an article about pad savors and my recollection is the 'jury is still out' regarding how effective they are. What do you say Stephen?
'Bore saver' would be a more accurate description.

I'm in the business of fixing other people's horns - not my own, if I can help it - and I make use of anything that prolongs the working life of my instruments...so I use pad savers on my saxes.

The pros and cons, and some practical observations can be found here:

http://www.shwoodwind.co.uk/Testing/Padsavers.htm

Regards,
 

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When I am not at home I run the swab through a few times and of course have to close up the case. At home I use the swab as usual, then the "pad saver," but I don't leave it in the horn. I kind of use it as a secondary swab, as it does a better job getting the moisture resting in the tone holes. Then I put the sax in the case and leave it open with the silk swab to keep the dust off.
 

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The most important thing is to never clean the horn. This way its easier to tell when the pads need replacing as they will be varying shades of green due to slime build up and rotting. If you do decide to clean the horn, I reccomend practicing in the shower while applying liberal amounts of Axe Body Wash (blue bottle) to all parts of the horn. Then fill the bathtub as full as possible, submerge the horn, and play a descending chromatic scale. This should help remove the Axe Body Wash. Might as well blow some massive bottom Bb's too, to check for leaks. Bubbles should only be coming directly out of the bell.

Soaking reeds in Coca-Cola before playing is also desirable, as the extra sugar in the reeds will make them play brighter and the extra sugar in you will give you the energy you need to really shred. You can substitute Coca-Cola with Whiskey, Gin, or Rum (or even mix them together), but do not use Vodka. Vodka is for alcoholics and pansies.

When handling the horn, I reccomend grabbing it by the underside of the bell and gripping it like a handshake from the Governator. This way not only do you have fingerprints for CSI to lift when you murder someone with it at your next gig, you also get the entire palm print too. Use Olive Oil to lubricate any rods that may be stiff, and leaving some salt tabs in the bottom of the bell will collect excess moisture. Cork grease is like chapstick, only really good for one thing. In an era where pinching pennies and multitasking are paramount, I reccomend keeping a tube of KY Jelly on hand. You are a Sax player, after all, and really the only reason any of us do this is to impress chicks and get laid.
 
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