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I've been using a neck swab for the past couple of years, but not too long ago I stumbled across an article saying that swabbing the neck could make it stuffy and wreck the sound. Granted, this was a vintage article, so I should probably take it with a grain of salt, but it got me curious. I don't see how it could be that different from using a neck brush, but could there potentially be any issues caused by long-term use of a neck swab?
 

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Unless you remove substantial amounts of material from the neck (very unlikely) or change its shape, this should not make any difference.
 

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Is your swab made of emery cloth? No?
Then use it and keep the moisture and bacteria from stinking the thing up...
 

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Did the article explain how removing moisture from a neck could cause stuffiness?

Can we get a citation to the article?
 

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Yeah, my neck swab made my horn way stuffy. I was late to a gig, hustled to put my horn together in a dark corner, and left the swab in the neck. Whoa!

And yes, I figured out the problem quite quickly. :twisted:
 

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Yeah, my neck swab made my horn way stuffy. I was late to a gig, hustled to put my horn together in a dark corner, and left the swab in the neck. Whoa!

And yes, I figured out the problem quite quickly. :twisted:

YEPPER
 

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Discussion Starter #8
The article was in what I think was an old Holton publication; there was no brand on it anywhere except an ad page for the Holton Rudy Wiedoeft model saxes. I'd been reading it mostly for the Rudy Wiedoeft interviews, and most of the sax care information (like how to hold it, cleaning the mouthpiece, etc.) seemed pretty solid. The section on neck care, though, was different from anything I'd read before. "You can clean out the goose-neck or throat-pipe now and then by running cold water through it. But do not draw a swab or cloth through it as this will have a tendency to make the instrument play hard." If anything, running water through the neck sounds like it would cause more problems than swabbing would. I don't know if this anti-swab policy was common in sax care literature back then or not, but it's still strange.
 

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The article was in what I think was an old Holton publication; there was no brand on it anywhere except an ad page for the Holton Rudy Wiedoeft model saxes. I'd been reading it mostly for the Rudy Wiedoeft interviews, and most of the sax care information (like how to hold it, cleaning the mouthpiece, etc.) seemed pretty solid. The section on neck care, though, was different from anything I'd read before. "You can clean out the goose-neck or throat-pipe now and then by running cold water through it. But do not draw a swab or cloth through it as this will have a tendency to make the instrument play hard." If anything, running water through the neck sounds like it would cause more problems than swabbing would. I don't know if this anti-swab policy was common in sax care literature back then or not, but it's still strange.

This is extremely interesting. Everyone I can recall from my earliest sax days held forth the proposition that drying the neck to prevent the growth of sludges and accumulation of residues [soft cloth, soft brush applications] was the way to keep the sax from playing hard.

Sounds like your source was written in the twenties, I suppose.

Does anyone support this "never swab, only rinse" method currently?
 

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Oh man! live long enough and you will hear or read (still like to see it with my eyes) anything and its contrary.

This somehow sounds like the application to saxophones of the myth of the blown out clarinets. Those get blown out by blowing and cleaning.

Today I was in a car dealership and I was telling the salesman that producing electricity for all the cars ( hydrogen or batteries) would cost enormous amount of electricity that we don’t have and he told me (not true) with a very serious face that we are now able to perform cold fusion !!!

A little knowledge is dangerous.
 

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Oh man! live long enough and you will hear or read (still like to see it with my eyes) anything and its contrary.

This somehow sounds like the application to saxophones of the myth of the blown out clarinets. Those get blown out by blowing and cleaning.

Today I was in a car dealership and I was telling the salesman that producing electricity for all the cars ( hydrogen or batteries) would cost enormous amount of electricity that we don’t have and he told me (not true) with a very serious face that we are now able to perform cold fusion !!!
It's true. You can use diffusion bonding to join ice cubes.
 

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This is extremely interesting. Everyone I can recall from my earliest sax days held forth the proposition that drying the neck to prevent the growth of sludges and accumulation of residues [soft cloth, soft brush applications] was the way to keep the sax from playing hard.

Sounds like your source was written in the twenties, I suppose.

Does anyone support this "never swab, only rinse" method currently?
You're supposed to swab the neck?

What will they think of next?
 

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Yeah, my neck swab made my horn way stuffy. I was late to a gig, hustled to put my horn together in a dark corner, and left the swab in the neck. Whoa!

And yes, I figured out the problem quite quickly. :twisted:
LOL! Every so often I'll put my horn together at a gig, put a reed on and toot a few notes to see what's happening tonight, and its very stuffy....'stuffy' because the stuffer is still in the bell! Now this is the critical part - if this happens, you don't say a word or show any reaction - just nonchalantly take it out like this is what you always do - or else the singer and the guitar player will hound you about it til the end of time. :)
 

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Yeah, my neck swab made my horn way stuffy. I was late to a gig, hustled to put my horn together in a dark corner, and left the swab in the neck. Whoa!

And yes, I figured out the problem quite quickly. :twisted:
ROFLOL, been there, done that. Same with my sop when I forgot to pull out the pad saver, it added a lot of resistance :)
 

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Thanks, guys.

The good news for me is that I assemble mouthpiece to neck, mount the reed, and blow it before I put it on the horn. It could be a lot worse getting to the bandstand, and having to take the neck off the horn to remove the offending fuzzy snake - not so easy to dismiss.

"Hey, how'd that get there!"
 

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The worst was sticking a folded business card in the low C# in between sets and forgetting that it was there, only took a few secs to realize it but it felt like an eternity
 

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"…But do not draw a swab or cloth through it as this will have a tendency to make the instrument play hard."…
I wonder if the material they used for the old swabs was shedding lint or dust into the neck, making it "play hard". It's plausible.
 

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I wonder if the material they used for the old swabs was shedding lint or dust into the neck, making it "play hard". It's plausible.

The oldest offering I could find suggested that only silk be used so as to prevent any lint or shedding, etc.

But your suggestion is plausible.
 

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even if there may have been a bit of lint ( and if this may have been true of padsavers it wasn’t true of woven fabric or leather which is what it is used from time immemorial to swab things), this could have been removed easily by blowing in the neck or rinsing with clean water.

I think that this is just another myth and again, I am not doubting it was ever put in print but I would certainly like to read the exact way the phrase was put together.
 

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even if there may have been a bit of lint ( and if this may have been true of padsavers it wasn’t true of woven fabric or leather which is what it is used from time immemorial to swab things), this could have been removed easily by blowing in the neck or rinsing with clean water.

I think that this is just another myth and again, I am not doubting it was ever put in print but I would certainly like to read the exact way the phrase was put together.
You think that swabbing causes stuffiness is a myth? That it was a common fanciful, mistaken belief from long ago, like thunder being giants at bowling?
 
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