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Discussion Starter #1
Hey people, I've got a reletively new (bought new about 8 months ago) yamaha YAS275 alto and I've noticed that occasionally one or two of the keys stick. I swab my sax after every session and I tried sliding a bit of paper between the pad and tone hole. When removed the paper has a green ring on it. The pads themselves seems alright and the keys don't stick after cleaning, but the whole process seems to repeat after a month or two.

I'm assuming it's oxidation, but is there anyway to stop this from happening? Do I need to clean inside the tone holes themselves? Should I send it to a technician or is this normal?

Cheers
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2007-
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Yep, the green stuff is a mixture of copper hydroxide with a lesser amount of copper carbonate. It's the basis of green patina.

The amount of this you get depends on the type of brass, the type (or lack) of coating on the brass, the humidity in the air and even the constituents of your saliva.

One of the best ways to avoid this is not to put the saxophone in the case wet. Even though you are swabbing it out, there's still a lot of moisture. If you can leave you sax out on a rack where it can dry out, this will be less of a problem.

There's another way that I personally have dealt this before, but some professional techs might not like it. Back in high school, I would remove some of the keys and then use automotive polish and wax. This completely removed the green rot and provided a protective wax coating to prevent it. That basically stopped the problem for me. And even thirty years later, I still own that same sax with the original finish in fairly good condition. Again, a professional tech might have a better idea than this.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Wow I wasn't expecting such a quick response. I'm not sure I'm capable of removing the keys, I'm not technically / mechanically minded at all. I might try emailing a tech if I can find one.
 

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It is normal. The brass is an alloy of copper and zinc. The bare brass at the top of the toneholes reacts chemically and produces what you see. I have also heard it called gringris, but I haven't been able to confirm the accuracy of that term.

You can clean the tops of the toneholes and the pads with a Q-tip soaked with naptha (lighter fluid). If that doesn't remove all of the corrosion on the tops of the toneholes and the pads still stick, you can pull a strip of 1000 grit sandpaper between the pad and tonehole a few times (paper side up) to completely clean the top of the tonehole.

I repair and service saxes for a living, and what you are experiencing is quite common, and nothing to be concerned about.
 

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It's called "Verdi-Gris" and as stated, very common. I usually remove with very fine steel wool and vinegar inside tone holes, the keys do need to come off though.
 

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It's unusual to suffer from the green stuff with so new a horn, so I wonder if there's something you're doing that promotes the formation of the stuff.
It generally occurs if you regularly put the horn away when it's wet - but you say you swab it out after playing.
It might be worth leaving the horn out for an hour or so after swabbing, just to let it dry out.

Other than that, this should help:

http://www.shwoodwind.co.uk/HandyHints/stickypads.htm

Regards,
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for the advice chaps! I swab it after every session and then it goes straight on to a stand. I don't keep it in its case at all. I have noticed that the pads are quite wet after playing. Should I be drying them out as well?
 

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I play a bare brass horn and am only seeing very little verdigris on my pads and I play this horn on average almost three hours everyday plus weekend gigs. I found cleaning the tone holes with q-tip and lighter fluid (naptha) during routine deep cleaning and oil sessions prevents it from building up on my horn. B
 

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