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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm pretty much addicted to coffee. I drink way too much of it.

The invention of modern affordable single serve coffee makers was my downfall - first the Kuerig and then the Tassimo.

Anyway, I'm guessing its probably not great play the sax right after eating a meal. The idea of blowing bits of food into my sax sounds pretty nasty. So, I avoid that. But drinking, that's another story. It seems every time I get the urge to pick up the sax, I'm drinking a cup of coffee.

Just wondering how bad this is for the sax. Any worse than sweetened sodas perhaps? I'd imagine a water diet is probably the best thing for a sax player (when it comes to keeping the pads as clean as possible). I do take my coffee pretty plain without sugar.

I've just noticed that a couple of the keys on the upper stack of my recently acquired tenor have gotten really sticky and slow to open. They make a popping sound when released.
 

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If you're drinking coffee without adding milk or sugar, there's really not much that will be transferred to your horn.

Single serve coffee? Hah! That's nothing new - it's been available as espresso for decades.

I just spent part of my weekend discovering some of the nuances of my new Gaggia Brera! :shock:
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I just spent part of my weekend discovering some of the nuances of my new Gaggia Brera! :shock:
That's a pretty nice machine. I've just got a basic Tassimo single serve. It holds about 2 liters of water and uses the mini pods with barcodes to determine mix. I mainly use it for coffee but it can make espresso and latte's with specialty pods.

I take my coffee with a small amount of cream only. Glad to hear its no big deal.

Any tips for cleaning the pads? Saliva soaked que-tip or lighter fluid? Dollar bill didn't do much.
 

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Many prefer lighter fluid. I periodically (2/yr) use Runyon Pad Dope.

Don't forget to remove your mouthpiece, dry the reed, and swab your horn after use. If you leave the whole assembly on a stand, waiting for the next practice, bad things tend to develop (mung on the reed/mouthpiece, funk in the bore, sticky pads, etc.).
 

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I don't buy into the idea that eating or drinking anything has any affect on the horn. When I play (and I bet this is true for everyone), I don't blow saliva or food particles or the remains of my drink into the horn. I blow air. And even if a few molecules of coffee or whatever get caught up in the air stream, well it's only a few molecules! I'll admit I often do drink some water before playing, but I doubt it matters.

However, unlike many players, I also swab out the mpc, neck, & horn after playing. Mostly to remove moisture (H2O), but maybe that takes care of those tiny pesky food/drink molecules as well, if they are there at all.

So enjoy your espresso!

edit: Just saw your post below. Toss the 'pad saver' and get a pull-through swab.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Don't forget to remove your mouthpiece, dry the reed, and swab your horn after use. If you leave the whole assembly on a stand, waiting for the next practice, bad things tend to develop (mung on the reed/mouthpiece, funk in the bore, sticky pads, etc.).
Thx. I've been pretty diligent about disassembling the horn when I'm not playing it, drying everything out. Stuff gets pretty moist in there.

Was using pad savers on my horn and my son's alto until yesterday. He was pulling the pad saver out and the little end piece plastic came off in his hand, his other hand was coming down at the same time and he ended up with a nasty gash in his palm where the exposed bare metal rod met with flesh.
 

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Yeah, another coffeeholic over here!

Thelonious Monk said "Without music life ain't worth diddley." .......... Coffee should be added to the list :)

 

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Anyway, back to the sticking pads. You have to fix it soon. Pad 'leather' is very fragile and will tear on sticky pads so you have to fix it as soon as you can. Clean with Q-Tip and drugstore alcohol/water solution. Treat with Pledge. Spray some Pledge into the cap and dip a Q-Tip in it, rubbing it all over the pad and concentrating on the seating ring. You're done, except depending on how much you play, you might have to do this more often.
I play four to six gigs a month. My horns got so bad this summer (adult beverages and outdoor gigs) that I had to do something. What I described above is what works. There are probably other ways that work, but they all have drawbacks, like 'gig dust' for example. This procedure was a natural for me because I use Pledge already to clean/wax my saxes. During that process, all you have to do is be sure to spray the pads too, then wipe. Lately I've started spot-treating the trouble-prone pads during the middle of the week, then I don't have any trouble on the weekends. I even had the G# stick on a baritone. Now you know that a baritone catches most of the breath moisture in the upper bow, and typically all pads past the palm keys last forever because they don't get wet. So you can see why I was baffled when the G# started sticking. Pledge was the only thing that worked.
You have to get the correct kind of Pledge and the commercial variety you find at the Home Center is best. It contains water, silicone and liquefied paraffin, and it sprays out foamy white.
 

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Does it play better with a large-chambered 'piece ?????
All my pieces have larger chambers - mouthpieces, coffee cups, and the occasional pistol.

So, sad to say (but I really don't care), I have no way to compare the response to a small chambered device.
 

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I don't buy into the idea that eating or drinking anything has any affect on the horn. When I play (and I bet this is true for everyone), I don't blow saliva or food particles or the remains of my drink into the horn. I blow air. And even if a few molecules of coffee or whatever get caught up in the air stream, well it's only a few molecules! I'll admit I often do drink some water before playing, but I doubt it matters.
Some saliva does get into the instrument. If you pay attention to it, you'll notice that you tend not to swallow much while playing. The excess saliva goes into the horn, rather than pooling in your mouth until you drool.
Even if you do swab the horn, you can never get everything, be it moisture or food. Those little bits of sugar are nutrients for anything that might attempt to grow in the horn (or on the pads). Of course exactly how much is left and how much that matters given all the other variables is anyone's guess.
If you still don't think anything gets in your horn, it at least gets onto your reed. You can test that one: the next time you drink something with color or eat (preferably while alone), bring along a popsicle stick or a shot reed, and put it in your mouth right after you swallow the last bite/sip.

I'm sure it responds best with the finest French-made brew, mug, and spoon. :twisted: ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Lots of fellow coffee lovers here. Glad to know I'm in good company.

1saxman, thanks for the great tips on cleaning the pads. I visited Steve Collins here in Bham, he runs a sax repair shop and he also uses denatured alcohol to clean the pads. Sax playing is surely a continuing education.
 

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Have had a plumbed in Spaziale espresso machine for 5 years or so. Down to less than $0.75 a cup for the capital cost of the machine.

It is quite capable of making a great espresso, with a great coffee and an adept barista
 

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Some saliva does get into the instrument. If you pay attention to it, you'll notice that you tend not to swallow much while playing. The excess saliva goes into the horn, rather than pooling in your mouth until you drool.
I don't buy that argument either. Blow onto your hand. How much saliva are you spewing out when you do that. None. Not unless you consciously spit. I can't imagine spitting into my mpc while playing; it just ain't happening. Period. Of course there is plenty of water (H2O) in the air you are blowing and that moisture will condense in the horn (moreso on a cold day) and on some of the pads, especially those high up on the horn. But it's not saliva and it's not food or drink.

Sure, you'll get some saliva and stains from wine, espresso, etc, on the outside of your reed. So what? --that'll wash right off, and reeds don't last forever anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
[Disclaimer] From a complete beginner's perspective... (hopefully that goes without saying if you've read any of my posts here, lol)

Perhaps its just the fact that I'm learning, but there's a marked difference in the amount of moisture in my airstream depending on whether i'm tonguing the note or not. I find that the act of tonguing the reed introduces more saliva into the instrument (for me at least).

I can blow into my hand and it stays dry - come to think of it, when I'm bowling or playing tennis for example, that's exactly what I do to keep my hands dry. However, in the process, if I were to start tonguing Ta's into my hand, I'd bet my hand would be wet after only a few moments.

It seems that the tongue transfers the moisture to the reed, then into the instrument at a much more progressive rate than just blowing alone.
 

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Some people salivate into their horns some do not. I dont unless Zi have eaten or drunk something that makes for an oversupply of same.

Fortunately, neither coffee nor whiskey have that impact and my stomach prefers food after I play so all is good for me.
 
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