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Discussion Starter #1
Hi
I'm a complete beginner here - and a late developer to boot, having received an alto sax for my 48th birthday. I'll probably have lots and lots of questions, so I apologise in advance.

My saxophone came with a padguard like this: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Rico-Alto-S...8E/ref=sr_1_10?ie=UTF8&qid=1299743414&sr=8-10

But I read somewhere that they shouldn't be used all the time as they don't let the pads dry - instead to clean out the inside of the sax I need a pull through sax swab.

I've checked online, they are fairly cheap so I don't have a problem with buying one - but do I need it or are the padguards better?

And do I need a pull through sax swab for the neck, as well - or will the one do both?

Advice appreciated!
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Is it possible for a mod to move this please - I meant to post it in the beginners section? Apologies and thanks in advance!
 

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Just a guy who plays saxophone.
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Welcome! I am kind of new here too...This site is a wealth of information and GREAT conversation. There are a lot of differing views on pad-savers (use search function), but the members are generally civil on this, and other topics...if not, the Moderators do a great job of either weeding out offenders, or locking threads that have gotten out of hand.

Good luck to you! I started at 28 (now 34), and it is the best thing I've ever done...if my wife ever reads this post, it is the SECOND best thing I've ever done:mrgreen:

I have two silk baritone swabs. I keep one in the alto case and one in the tenor case. The string is long enough to pull it through the horn and the neck at the same time. On gigs and lessons, I just run the swab through several times. When I am at home I do the same swab routine followed by a few push-pulls with the pad-saver, then I put the horn in the case and leave it open with the swab draped over to dry out.
 

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Your " Pad Guard " is conventionally called a " Pad Saver" there are many different types on the market but only a few which fibres are lint-free or thereabouts, the best brand the my knowledge, is HW and those are definitely lint-free.
I think you are mistaken thinking that the function of a padsaver in not letting the pads go dry, quite the opposite, it should instead dry the inside of your saxophone , after playing, absorbing all the excess moisture which can , in fact, ruin , in time, your pads! Some people are opposed to the use of a padsaver. I , on the contrary, would recommend using one but only if one made by a materials which sheds nor lint. Read This for information

http://www.shwoodwind.co.uk/Testing/Padsavers.htm
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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I think some of those are better than others. If it sheds hairs, bad. It needs to be made of material that absorbs moisture away from the pads, and most of these don't even touch the pads, let alone made of absorbent material.

I would use a pull through swab if I'm putting the horn away, but mostly I don't bother as I tend to just leave my horn out on the stand so it dries out anyway.

EDIT: I forgot to mention:

http://tamingthesaxophone.com/saxophone-maintenance-cleaning.html

Plenty in that article about care and maintenance.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Your " Pad Guard " is conventionally called a " Pad Saver" there are many different types on the market but only a few which fibres are lint-free or thereabouts, the best brand the my knowledge, is HW and those are definitely lint-free.
I think you are mistaken thinking that the function of a padsaver in not letting the pads go dry, quite the opposite, it should instead dry the inside of your saxophone , after playing, absorbing all the excess moisture which can , in fact, ruin , in time, your pads! Some people are opposed to the use of a padsaver. I , on the contrary, would recommend using one but only if one made by a materials which sheds nor lint. Read This for information

http://www.shwoodwind.co.uk/Testing/Padsavers.htm
Thanks, I've just read the article you posted. So I got my pad saver out and ran my hand up and down it a few times, and a few bits of lint came out. So I guess it would be best to buy a new, lint free one.

To be honest, I am only ever going to play for about 30 minutes a day anyway, and never (I repeat NEVER!) in public; are there rules for experts and different rules for beginners, or should beginners follow the same rules as the experts and people that play a lot?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I think some of those are better than others. If it sheds hairs, bad. It needs to be made of material that absorbs moisture away from the pads, and most of these don't even touch the pads, let alone made of absorbent material.

I would use a pull through swab if I'm putting the horn away, but mostly I don't bother as I tend to just leave my horn out on the stand so it dries out anyway.

EDIT: I forgot to mention:

http://tamingthesaxophone.com/saxophone-maintenance-cleaning.html

Plenty in that article about care and maintenance.
Thanks. I have a stand for my sax but was wary of leaving it out because it will gradually accumulate dust. I'm quite happy to leave it out though as long as it doesn't damage the sax - so you are saying it is fine to leave it on the stand every day?

On the same theme - what about the reed? As a complete beginner I am finding that the sax makes my lips sore, so I am only playing for a few minutes at a time. I read online that I should keep my reed soft and in water (or water and vodka) so I have put it in water when not in use - how long can I leave it on my sax before it dries out? A few hours? All day? Weeks?!
 

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If you are afraid of dust collecting on you sax cover it with a light cloth and nothing will happen to it. There are no " rules" but just good habits which might be followed or not by pro's and amateurs alike. Cleaning and keeping your saxophone clean is one of these. Some people do it all the time, some others do it sometimes and some, never do that. The same goes for the mouthpieces. If you patiently search the archives of SOTW there are many threads on these topics (and countless others of your interest , that I am sure) , read them and make up your ming to which regime you want to adhere.
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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Thanks. I have a stand for my sax but was wary of leaving it out because it will gradually accumulate dust. I'm quite happy to leave it out though as long as it doesn't damage the sax - so you are saying it is fine to leave it on the stand every day?
Just drape a cloth over it if you are worried about dust. leaving it out is great as it prompts me to practise more.

On the same theme - what about the reed? As a complete beginner I am finding that the sax makes my lips sore, so I am only playing for a few minutes at a time. I read online that I should keep my reed soft and in water (or water and vodka) so I have put it in water when not in use - how long can I leave it on my sax before it dries out? A few hours? All day? Weeks?!
I use synthetic reeds mostly, so I don't worry about drying out. When I use cane reeds I usually leave them on the mouthpiece, but wet them before playing either in my mouth or soak in water for a couple of minutes. I would not leave it in water or water and vodka for too long.
 

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Just drape a cloth over it if you are worried about dust. leaving it out is great as it prompts me to practise more.



I use synthetic reeds mostly, so I don't worry about drying out. When I use cane reeds I usually leave them on the mouthpiece, but wet them before playing either in my mouth or soak in water for a couple of minutes. I would not leave it in water or water and vodka for too long.
The reason I wanted to leave my sax out was because (a) it looks so damn cool (!) and (b) to encourage me to pick it up and play, if only for a few minutes, several times during the day. I'll find a cloth to cover it when it's not in use.

Would you recommend synthetic reeds to a beginner?
 

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If you are afraid of dust collecting on you sax cover it with a light cloth and nothing will happen to it. There are no " rules" but just good habits which might be followed or not by pro's and amateurs alike. Cleaning and keeping your saxophone clean is one of these. Some people do it all the time, some others do it sometimes and some, never do that. The same goes for the mouthpieces. If you patiently search the archives of SOTW there are many threads on these topics (and countless others of your interest , that I am sure) , read them and make up your ming to which regime you want to adhere.
At the moment it will be regular cleaning - just like when you get a new car. After that, I'm sure the regime will slip somewhat, but I'll try and keep it up to a reasonable standard of cleanliness.
Thanks for your advice. I'm very new to the forum and overwhelmed by the amount of advice on here - I could sit and read the posts all day! it's a brilliant resource for someone like me.
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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The reason I wanted to leave my sax out was because (a) it looks so damn cool (!) and (b) to encourage me to pick it up and play, if only for a few minutes, several times during the day. I'll find a cloth to cover it when it's not in use.

Would you recommend synthetic reeds to a beginner?
Yes, but only Legere Signature.

No need to get obsessive about the cloth, I'd leave it out when you want admire it and just have it looking cool, cover it up at night when nobody sees it.

The difference a bit of dust will make is probably taking it in for a service every 101 weeks rather than every 102.

Or just look after it yourself with some gentle oiling every now and again, see the Haynes saxophone manual written by our very own Stephen Howard.
 
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