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Discussion Starter #1
I took my alto sax to the shop last week for pad replacements, key adjustments, etc. I've had it for 8 years and I've NEVER had any of the pads replaced, and I've NEVER owned a swab, just that pull through cloth thingy. When I first had the alto looked at like 3 weeks ago, I was given a $500-ish estimate on what it would take to take care of the horn. Mind you, the horn played just fine, it wasn't like there were any noticeable leaks or it was badly out of tune. I've been practicing more regularly over the past year and I've been playing at my church, and I sound pretty good. Of course the $500 shocked me and I didn't go for it. The guy told me that for around $200 he can do some stuff, change maybe 6-7 pads that really need it the most. At any rate, last week I took the horn in with a not-to-exceed repair cost of $300. Had maybe 8-10 pads replaced and the guy did something so that my keys would have a little less resistance or something. I got the horn back on Tuesday of this week, but I didn't get a chance to really practice until last night. And when I did, WOW. I couldn't notice it at first but halfway through my routineafter I've warmed up, the difference was HUGE. I feel like my playing and overall technique improved instantly, as though I put in 6 months of practice in 2 minutes! I never realized how much my horn's lack of maintenance was affecting my playing, I thought all the little problems I was having was due to my lack of practice and technique. I'm glad it wasn't the case. It was really my horn, and now I'm even more pumped to practice more.
 

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You should probably have the tech finish the job he estimated.

For the future, you should think about taking it in more often. Your horns need to have a checkup about once a year or anytime you have an accident - but lets not have any of those!!
 

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FighterForJC said:
I've NEVER owned a swab, just that pull through cloth thingy.
Nt sure what you mean by this. That "pull through cloth thingy" is a swab. If you are referring to those long shove-it sticks, well those are prettty useless. No sense in keeping all the moisture in your horn reather than getting it out and letting the swab dry separately.

A well maintained and well adjusted horn is the first and foremost requisite for a young player. It doesn't really matter is you learn on an $800 student horn, or a $4,000 pro horn, as long as everything works properly and all the keys seal.

Let your tech finish the job he started.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Yes, I know that that pull through cloth thingy is technically a swab. But I know that the conventional swab has proven its worth, I'm not gonna argue about which is more effective. The thing with me is that it's so much more convenient to stick that swab in when you're putting away your sax, as opposed to having to hold your horn upside down and getting the condensation on you, so that the string could fall out of the top of the horn for you to be able to pull the cloth through. Due to my laziness and endless "I -didn't -play -for- that- long, -I- don't -need -to -run -this- cloth through-moments" I've allowed my pads to deteriorate faster than normal.
 

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Technically the pull through is a swab, what is a conventional swab? There are the shove in fuzzy sticks, is this what you are calling a conventional swab?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Carl H. said:
Technically the pull through is a swab, what is a conventional swab? There are the shove in fuzzy sticks, is this what you are calling a conventional swab?
Yes, those ones that could get bent and are nearly impossible to straighten out. I just got a new one with higher quality bristle thingies and it even has a fancy silk-like cloth at the end.
 

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I had one of those, I chucked it for a silk pull through.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Carl H. said:
Technically the pull through is a swab, what is a conventional swab? There are the shove in fuzzy sticks, is this what you are calling a conventional swab?
Yes, those ones that could get bent and are nearly impossible to straighten out. I just got a new one with higher quality bristle thingies and it even has a fancy silk-like cloth at the end.

P.S., I now use the pull-through swab for my curved soprano. I had to trim the plastic bristles and the cloth to make it fit.
 

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Carl H. said:
I had one of those, I chucked it for a silk pull through.
Ditto, except I never had one of the shove-it style sticks in the first place. Silk pull through all the way; I have one for each of my horns: alto, tenor, flute, clarinet, and for my neck and mouthpieces too!

Jewel Silk Swabs. Plus they look awesome and hip being tie-dyed and all.
 
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