Sax on the Web Forum banner

1 - 20 of 33 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
933 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
What's the best way to clean up general 'gunk' buildup on sax keywork and body under keywork?
Are there tricks to do this without removing keywork?
I have a MK VII which i recently aquired and it needs some TLC, its got some really gross areas.

Q-tips alone just aren't cutting it.
Some of the gunk is dried on and won't simply rub away using a gentle wipe.
Lacquer is very spotty all over the horn so some bare brass and some not.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2015-
Joined
·
34,047 Posts
What's the best way to clean up general 'gunk' buildup on sax keywork and body under keywork?
Are there tricks to do this without removing keywork?
I have a MK VII which i recently aquired and it needs some TLC, its got some really gross areas.

Q-tips alone just aren't cutting it.
Some of the gunk is dried on and won't simply rub away using a gentle wipe.
Lacquer is very spotty all over the horn so some bare brass and some not.
Are there spots of green and orange verdigris that you are trying to remove, or is it just “gunk”? If the latter, try wetting, waiting, then wiping. Use a damp Q-tip to wet and loosen the gunk, then go after it a few more times. Once you get the heavy stuff off, I like to use Meguiars Cleaner/Polish (an automotive product). I have used it for years on guitars as well as lacquered saxophones - it is gentle on the finish, leaves a high shine, and resists subsequent water droplets. It does not remove the oxidation, but may inhibit further growth.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
933 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Mostly gunk.
There is some greenish/whitish corrosion as well but want to attack the general funk which, as far as I can tell is a combo of oil/dust that has dried and caked on or some still “wet”. Guess I will find some zen with a box of q-tips and a glass of water.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2015-
Joined
·
34,047 Posts
Given that you have the condition that you describe, it would be good to strip the horn of its keys, clean the rods and pivots, and relube it. That will also give you better access to do the requisite cleaning.

Matt Stohrer (aka SotW member “abadcliche”) has an excellent video on YouTube about “Changing the Oil in Your Saxophone”.

Given the investment that you just made, you are likely best off taking the horn to a tech for basic cleaning, leak check, and adjustment.

Enjoy your new horn!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,436 Posts
Take it to a tech and get it cleaned and properly setup. Anything less won't really do justice to the horn.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,693 Posts
Another reason to take it to a tech is that you don't want any cleaning agents to get on the pads, so either take it apart and clean up then or else bite the bullet and have a professional do it.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2016
Joined
·
18,512 Posts
What's the best way to clean up general 'gunk' buildup on sax keywork and body under keywork?
Are there tricks to do this without removing keywork?
No. Horn needs to be disassembled.

If one is not mechanically inclined or does not have the proper screwdrivers, etc....take it to a tech for a chem bath or sonic cleaning. If the condition on the exterior is as you describe, it is likely that the pivot rods and key barrels should be cleaned off of existing oil and new oil applied.

Mostly gunk.
Guess I will find some zen with a box of q-tips and a glass of water.
Please just find a tech ....and bring him a box of cigarrettes and a bottle of water.
In comparison to the cost of your horn, spending $100-150 for this tech work...is negligible. Not really worth saving that $ vs. the risk of a DIY which doesn't address everything.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,370 Posts
I have just a few ideas to add to the excellent advice already given. I have good success cleaning between the keys while a saxophone is still assembled by spraying Lemon Pledge in a small cup and dipping one end of a Q-tip in the solution using that to "scrub" encrusted areas. It acts not only as a polish, but as a solvent as well. If a sax has mostly dust and "dust bunnies" I use a soft long bristle paint brush to loosen the dirt followed by compressed air.

In the off chance that you would like to try the clean-oil-adjust yourself for the learning experience as well as cost savings you may find the information in this thread helpful (or it may scare you into having it done by a professional). :) https://forum.saxontheweb.net/showt...n-Sax-Repair&p=3735190&viewfull=1#post3735190
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,693 Posts
Lemon Pledge works great but my favorite is https://fastwax.com/

They had a Susan B. Comen fundraiser and I got there by the end of the day and the guy just wanted to leave so he sold me an entire carton (12 cans) for $80. That stuff clean up even burned in residue in the oven but also dog nose slobber on the glass doors and leaves a protective coating.

For hard to access spots (after dissembly) I just found that a Water Pick is great (especially between the posts and around the diamonds)
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
TENOR, soprano, alto, baritone
Joined
·
8,010 Posts
I'm a Pledge guy too but there's absolutely no need to be 'careful' or 'judicious' with it. I spray it on about a third of the horn at a time. Whatever it gets on it doesn't matter. Wipe it off with a soft cotton cloth or terry cloth. The long wooden-stick double-end swabs are great for the tight spots. It cleans up raw brass to some extent and helps you rub off tarnish. It has water in it so it dissolves organic deposits. the liquid paraffin in it dissolves the black oil/crud deposits. It polishes lacquer without any abrasives and is harmless to plating. It is good for cork and leather and doesn't have any ill effects on felt or anything else. If you get interrupted, you don't have to worry about getting back to it before it 'dries'. The worst case is you have to spray it again but that might be several weeks. :) I actually use it for my pad treatment - I have to do it several times during the hot, humid outdoor job months. If you miss spots getting it off under keys, etc., nothing happens. There's just some extra paraffin there that will wipe off next time or anytime you feel like getting a swab out and wiping it.
BTW, its also great for cleaning and polishing the shell/pearl/plastic key touches. It should take you about two hours to do a sax.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
933 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
No. Horn needs to be disassembled.

If one is not mechanically inclined or does not have the proper screwdrivers, etc....take it to a tech for a chem bath or sonic cleaning. If the condition on the exterior is as you describe, it is likely that the pivot rods and key barrels should be cleaned off of existing oil and new oil applied.


In comparison to the cost of your horn, spending $100-150 for this tech work...is negligible. Not really worth saving that $ vs. the risk of a DIY which doesn't address everything.
I do think a proper oiling by a tech would be a good idea, is it really only $100-$150 for a tech to disassble, change the oil , and re-assemble?
 

·
Distinguished Technician & SOTW Columnist. RIP, Yo
Joined
·
17,204 Posts
Be careful what you spray all over the horn!
There are many solvents (and citrus oil) that does a great job of softening the glue that holds on the many tiny key and linkage felts and corks. Many of the glues used are softened by liquid "paraffin".
Cleaners often contain materials that are totally inappropriate in pivots, eventually gumming them up when the solvent evaporates.
Residual oils are likely to collect mkore dust and dirt than a clean surface does.

Also be careful what you do with Q-tips. Much of the glue used, especially if it has aged, is not very tenacious, and a gently push with a Q-tip will dislodge a cork or felt.

So I add my voice to getting the job done while the keys are off.
If you are not confident about removing keys, then don't. You are likely to do significant damage, e.g. plier damage to pivot rods, knocked off corks and felts, bent pivot long rods, broken and de-tensioned springs, lost point screws, interchanged screws and rods, etc.

Just because a few of the thousands of people in this forum have done it successfully and like to tell the world, does not mean that anybody can.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,693 Posts
BTW, its also great for cleaning and polishing the shell/pearl/plastic key touches. It should take you about two hours to do a sax.
Not if you have to take a deep breath and summon all your courage with every little action ... that'll increase it to 6-10 hours. just enough time for the information to be committed to long term memory .. one tip for the OP on the side, before disassembling ANYTHING WHATSOEVER, snap about 10x photographs of what you think is reasonable. You'll be surprised how many pictures it sometimes takes to be able to see what you need.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
1,453 Posts
DIY because you are interested in learning the art of repair and have a spare horn to work on:
-Not a bad idea.

DIY because you think you can save some cash and it sounds like it should be easy because you "just gotta learn a few tricks":
-Bad idea fraught with peril.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Coffee Guru
Joined
·
40,460 Posts
Sometimes cleaning can be beyond most people’s capabilities.

A friend of mine has bought two “ Remy” saxophones, a saxophone assembled in the NL by Remy Veerman. These aren’t cheap! At almost €3500 it is one expensive horn.

The sax in made of a very yellow metal and is unlacquered. The gunk and tarnish that has developed in a very short time has proven beyond any cleaner that I have always used to clean saxophones.

The only way to deal with this is to have it disassembled or doing this oneself and beside using some chemicals use a buffing wheel. I have never seen anything like that ever before. Bear in mind these are saxophones that are just, at most, few years old!

This is one I found on line which is in a slightly better state than the worst of the two my friend has. (don’t know to whom this one belongs to).





I don’t understand why the Remy saxophones aren’t better protected from this but buying a new, expensive saxophone, and see it reduced to this ( some people may look the warn-ou but the tarnish is a different thing) is beyond my comprehension.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
933 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Convinced. I’m not taking it apart.
I’ll continue to gently q-tip where easy.
Will get it pro cleaned at some point.

It’s my Mark VII I got from Roberto’s.
It was, as many of his horns for sale are, on consignment.
Many there were quite “gunky”, but in perfect playing condition, set up terrific, etc.
I think he just doesn’t put much value on “pretty” Vs. “Playable”.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,693 Posts
Grimy and gunky is the new orange .... Nothing against patina where it is appropriate but it's like working with rusty tools

Sometimes cleaning can be beyond most people’s capabilities.
Reminds me of what my son once said during his "substance" period of life: Why should I clean if it gets dirty again anyway?
 
1 - 20 of 33 Posts
Top