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Discussion Starter #1
Do you recommend the use of pad savers and neck savers?

So far I have received mixed recommendations regarding pad savers and no recommendations regarding neck savers.
 

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The HW Pad Saver is excellent. I have used them in my alto and tenor at least as long as Shozza and have had all of my students get them as well. Some of the other brands are the ones that have given pad savers a bad reputation. I use neck savers to wipe away excess solder in my repair work. Since I swab my neck after playing with a clarinet "hanky swab" I have found no need to use one in my necks or mouthpieces (mouthpiece mouse). I think most of the players who bad mouth pad savers are those who have never actually used one---especially the HW brand.
 

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Pad Saver: Yes, as a swab. It makes an excellent swab. Afterward, pull it out and store it separately. It's not necessary to keep it in the bore of the sax.

Neck Saver: No. First of all, it's not a good swab for the neck. A good pull-through works better. Second, the inside of the neck is all metal, so once it's been effectively swabbed, there's nothing to "save," even if you believe in the idea of wicking moisture away from the pads.
 

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The HW Pad Saver is excellent...Some of the other brands are the ones that have given pad savers a bad reputation...Since I swab my neck after playing with a clarinet "hanky swab" I have found no need to use one in my necks or mouthpieces (mouthpiece mouse).
I agree - I've never had a problem with the HW pad savers shedding fibers or falling apart. I've been using my alto one at least 8 years now with no problems and also have one for tenor and soprano. I use a silk pull through swab on the neck and mouthpiece so never bothered to get a neck saver.

If I'm playing for only a short time during a lesson or quick practice I just use the pad saver. During a longer practice session I also use a pull through swab for the body to clean any spit build up in the bottom curve of the horn since the pad saver doesn't reach there.
 

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I would be lost without them. The key here is to start with a clean sax and they will keep the insides clean. Like a new sax or one just overhauled. What this does for me is invaluable but is easy to explain - it prevents me from ever having to tear the sax down and wash it out. I used to have to do that about twice a year because of the organic build-up. The neck is easy to wash out with a neck brush but I use a neck stuffer anyway. I also use a body stuffer and a bell stuffer on alto and tenor. On baritone, I have a long flexible stuffer that does the whole upper bow. I do this as soon as I can after a playing session and do not leave it in. The only reason I don't leave it in is that it doesn't have a rubber stopper cap on it - its double-ended, so I have to use the end plug to keep the horn stabile in the case. On alto and tenor I just leave them in. On soprano with removable necks, I just insert an alto sax body stuffer (without the rubber stopper but with a small rubber protector over the exposed wire) from the bell end and put the regular end plug in over it.
Most of the time after a gig I don't have time to do swabbing because I have three or four saxes to put away before the gorillas start throwing around large, heavy objects and yanking on cables that just might run under a sax stand. But, I do have time to ram those stuffers in and close the case.
BTW, where in the hell would you put the stuffers for your horns after using them on a gig if not in the horn? Whatever, I wash mine maybe twice a year - just wet it, rub it down with hand soap, rinse well and let it dry.
If you're mainly concerned with swabbing at home after practice or something you could swab with them and then leave them out for drying. Mine dry fast in the horn in the case. Maybe still damp on Sunday after a Saturday gig, but dry before Monday night practice. My horns stay out in the attached garage on a shelf unit with the rest of my music gear. The air handler for the house HVAC is in the garage and there's enough leakage to keep it semi-cool in summer and semi-warm in winter, so apparently this really works for me. Everyone's situation is different. You could, for example, put them in the horns after a gig and take them out when you get home or maybe the next day. Whatever works for you but I have been using them consistently since the late '80s.
I took one tenor body stuffer, took off the rubber stopper and put a wood handle on it. This was intended to be for scrubbing out the body but I never used it for that since I never had to scrub it out again after starting to use them all the time. This is what the lawyers call 'case in point'.
 

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I started using a pad saver when a repair tech showed me the buildup of some dried moisture residue that had collected inside of the bottom wall of several tone holes where a swab does not reach when pulled through.

Over a period of years the moisture from the mouth and/or beer, tea and soft drinks would roll down the tubing during the gig and some of it would collect inside the rim of the tone hole. Most of it dried (evaporated) but some apparently remained.

The pad saver will brush the inside of the tone hole area when turned left and right and pushed and pulled. I also use a swab and when I get home I open the case to let the horns air out. I don't leave the saver in the horn.

I use a neck brush after every gig under running water.

Some players will not use the pad saver because they believe that small pieces of the material come loose and stick to the pads which can cause a pad sealing issue.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thank you for the responses.
 

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A lot of the "bad reputation" comes from the practice of swapping the horn and then leaving the pad saver inside, thereby trapping moisture. I usually have two of them, one for the initial swab and then a second to remove the residual moisture but like JL said, give the horn a chance to dry after swabbing by putting it on the stand or open case. Also once in awhile I clean my pad savers with mild dish washing soap, it's pretty amazing what kind of "soup" comes out of them and then just hang it up to dry.
 

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Never a problem leave one in my sax.
 

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I would like to ask would there be any issue with placing "something" between the normally closed pads when storing the horn. I know that not everyone playing gigs etc. would have the time and maybe not even see the need for doing this. My theory is that if the pads are off the tone hole edges these pads would last much longer for two reasons. One being that the tone hole edge is not keeping any pressure against the pad and the second being that it would allow the pads a better opportunity to dry themselves out faster.
I just use the swab to wipe out immediately after playing followed with the pad saver...and it is wet after the swab. It makes sense not to leave the pad saver in place.
 

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Sure, all you need to do is jimmy the low C# with whatever you have, folded business card, napkin, etc, because it is linked to the G# tone hole and will actuate it to open. Specifically on a soprano, that can make all the difference in the world for the life of the pad but it also has some benefits on alto and tenor.

But also keep in mind that the environmental conditions can make all the difference in the world. At 9000+ ft elevation and single digit relative humidity even the condensation evaporates faster than you can clean it out but go to Texas or Louisiana and you may need a blow dryer fit to the neck tenon to keep the moisture under control. Bottom line is to use common sense and don't get hooked up on "words" and recommendations when you see that they won't work in your specific case. You may have to pay some "Lehrgeld" to find the optimal solution but you can minimize that by paying attention.
 

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I would like to ask would there be any issue with placing "something" between the normally closed pads when storing the horn.
As with many things related to sax pad care there are different schools of thought;

https://keyleaves.com/

http://hollywoodwinds.com/styled-2/styled-11/

I have never used either one but I do put a piece of thin plastic between the middle Eb pad/tone hold after the gig and practice. For some reason it wants to stick a lot so the plastic helps. A wet Q-tip (tap water) to clean some of the pads from time to time also seems to help if they get a little sticky from the moisture.

Just depends on what works best for you.

Sure, all you need to do is jimmy the low C# with whatever you have, folded business card, napkin, etc, because it is linked to the G# tone hole and will actuate it to open. Specifically on a soprano, that can make all the difference in the world for the life of the pad but it also has some benefits on alto and tenor.
Good idea. Never thought about that one.
 

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I use an HW pad saver and a Hodge silk swab. It would probably be best to run the silk through and then put the pad saver in, but they are in different cases for different horns. When using either, I run it through and then let the pad saver or silk sit in the open for a minute. I usually have enough other things to organize so this isn't a time problem. The pad saver is easy to discreetly waive a little and dry it out. It probably only dissipates 70% of the moisture before going back in the horn and in the case, but that appears to be sufficient to save the pads from damage. If I played for several hours, I try to remember to remove the sax when I get home and put in on a stand. That doesn't always happen.

The pad saver also keeps air from thermo-siphoning through a moist saxophone. My theory is that the gunk and crusty matter that accumulates in the sax body over decades is simply dust, etc., that passes through a warm horn when it is moist inside. Stuff accumulates. Those pictures are not unusual for a nice well cared for vintage sax. I haven't had any experience with horns later than about the 1960's, so I don't know how fast crust and dust accumulates.

Mark
 

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I'm on it...like a sticky pad to a tone hole!! ;) Thanks!!

Just purchased the HW pad saver, looks to be the best on the market and reasonably priced @ $27. The saver I was using isn't very "fluffy" so I don't think it's making its way into the tone holes to collect all of the moisture off the pads, not that the best will collect 100% but it will surely be 1000% better than the one I have.
 

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Only use HW pad savers in horn and neck, but then use BG next and body swabs ... and then us BG tone hole swabs on the upper stack closed pads. Perhaps overkill but I know the horn and pads are dry.
 

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Somewhere in the sea of padsaver threads. There is a post about using paper coffee filters to dry pads off.
 
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