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Distinguished SOTW Technician
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Discussion Starter #1
Who's had any negative experiences with padsavers? In particular the HW ones.

I don't want to know about negative opinions people may have formed of them, such as "Oh, they're such a bad idea" or whatnot, I would like to know of factual evidence of them causing actual harm or damage to any saxophone and spoken from experience.

There are padsavers on the market that do damage as they're too thick and break the solder joint on the lower 8ve bush when they catch it on the way in/out and others that shed cotton fibres that stick in toneholes and on pads, but I want to know if anyone's had any actual damage caused by the HW microfibre ones.
 

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Sorry, only positive experience. No shedding, fast drying in the horn, never noticed any fibers on pads or in case. Been using them for 20 years.
 

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Still use the original ones I got 30 years ago...looking a little mangy now, but no probs except the rubber stopper (that you pull it out with) comes off occasionally.
With the advances in wicking-type fibers over the intervening years I would imagine the new ones to be even better, and they look to be...fluffier but the material doesn't look like it would shed.
I should get some new ones too so I'd also like to see what people say about the modern version.
 

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Never any problems after 20+ years using them on both alto and tenor.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Great! I'll take the 100% lack of negative responses as they don't cause any problems.

The current HW ones are very fluffy so the fibres have maximum contact of the bore, but they also compress right down to the wire core so pose no danger to the lower 8ve bush as they run right past it without snagging.

The ones to be avoided are the La Voz ones which have cotton and thick fleece in them and the Helin ones which are thick cotton and don't compress and shed fibres.

The best ones are definitely the HW ones - red/black for alto, blue/black for tenor and green/black for soprano. The older microfibre ones were yellow/white for alto and blue/white for tenor - they all have the black plastic end plug. Use an alto neck saver in the top coil of your bari and that'll keep it clean.

Shove it and see!
 

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Distinguished Technician & SOTW Columnist. RIP, Yo
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While watching TV, I thrust a current-type HW Pad-Saver (tm) in and out of my alto, over a large sheet of white paper.... 3000 times, hopefully representing roughly 10 years of use, solely to check if any lint was dropped. I could not find one speck of lint on the paper or within my sax. Just one small tuft that came ot early on.

A fantastic product.
 

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I have two HW yellow white for alto, the tenor is another different brand and ma but no fluff released and very good too
 

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Discussion Starter #8
A recent comment that made me laugh was they cause tonehole wear or distortion.

Reminds me a bit of something I heard about a prisoner who escaped by cutting through the steel bars in his cell by wearing through them with dental floss (I think it was on QI). Only the fibres on pullthroughs won't get in between closed pads and toneholes, so there's no risk of them cutting grooves in toneholes - the only grooves you're ever likely to find are file marks where someone's attacked them with a file.
 

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I agree the product has proven itself over 30 plus years that it absorbs moisture. Great for right after a gig to get rid of the spit until you can get home and use a swab.

However, why call it a padsaver. It really is not drying the pads unless the pads are locked down. It should be called a tubesaver.

B
 

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These things in the horn aren't the devils tool but.... The swab goes in the horn and collects condensation, lays around in the case or on top collecting dust when you are using the sax, goes back in the horn etc.. I don't see these swabs being cleaned often, or at all. And, now they make 'em for necks and mouthpieces. Imagine if you cared for your cereal bowl and spoon with the same methods, never wash but covered them in microfiber. Using a pull swab for the neck and the body of my sax and cleaning the mouthpiece takes less time than writing this post. And a good, washable pull swab costs less too. But your right, other than snagging the octave vent and the cheap ones leaving a few fibers around the low Eb, never seen any real damage.
 

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The problem ones are the Jupiter type that have two layers and are tricky to get in the instrument. I've witnesses damage to octave mechanism as the instrument is squeezed trying to get the padsaver in. I've also seen some exmaples where the fluff has got all over the place - on springs and mechanism as well as coating the pads and inside the toneholes.
I have some pictures somewhere I'll try and find.

The HW ones don't seem to any of the same problems. I'm not convinced they don't shed any fluff, but the amount is insignificant.
 

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I used the original ones for years and have never had a problem. (30 years using these). I just replace them when they get beat up looking and need to be replaced. The rubber stopper seems to come loose on most of the ones ive owned, over time.

A well known tech told me to not use them, as "the feathers come out and cause leaks by getting stuck between the pad and the tonehole".

Ive used these in many horns, and i find that statement to just be more BS.

I've never had any issues, and alot of the crap you hear thats negative about these things, is just that---crap. I've never had any leaks caused by loose feathers.

Alot of the stuff you hear, is just passed down without any factual proof to back it up.
 

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Count me as another happy owner/user of vintage HW pad savers.
 

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These things in the horn aren't the devils tool but.... The swab goes in the horn and collects condensation, lays around in the case or on top collecting dust when you are using the sax, goes back in the horn etc.. I don't see these swabs being cleaned often, or at all. And, now they make 'em for necks and mouthpieces. Imagine if you cared for your cereal bowl and spoon with the same methods, never wash but covered them in microfiber. Using a pull swab for the neck and the body of my sax and cleaning the mouthpiece takes less time than writing this post. And a good, washable pull swab costs less too. But your right, other than snagging the octave vent and the cheap ones leaving a few fibers around the low Eb, never seen any real damage.
I got some small ones in a used clarinet that were at least 20 years old and never washed. They were brown and sticky but the pads on the horn were still supple and sealed just fine.

Nonetheless they were tossed.

These things need to be washed every once in awhile.

B
 

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I got some small ones in a used clarinet that were at least 20 years old and never washed. They were brown and sticky but the pads on the horn were still supple and sealed just fine.
You really shouldn't use these in wooden clarinets as it draws out the oils from the wood. Maybe that was why it was sticky(?)
 

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OK, here's some pics. The fluff came off a green padsaver and you can see it's got all over the place. IIRC the case was a different colour so all the green stuff is off the padsaver and not the case.
You can see the fluff on the inside of the toneholes. It's built up a little bit on one of the pads and you can see has it has drawn moisture through discolouring the pad and causing a leak.

Padsaver fluff is no myth.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
OK, here's some pics. The fluff came off a green padsaver and you can see it's got all over the place. Padsaver fluff is no myth.
That's from the old style La Voz ones that had cotton threads in them - the newer microfibre HW ones won't shed fibres and won't leave your sax looking like this.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
You really shouldn't use these in wooden clarinets as it draws out the oils from the wood. Maybe that was why it was sticky(?)
Definitely avoid using them with any wooden instruments! I've seen the bore of a Yamaha clarinet roughened up due to raised grain as the owner used padsavers in both upper and lower joints and it took some polishing to get it somewhere near shiny. They wick water and oil from the bores of wooden instruments so shouldn't be made for them.
 
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