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I live in a damp house, I have a vintage alto (a '61 Martin stencil) and she's not very happy. Dehumidifier coming in asap, but any other tips for keeping the mould out this winter?

Sax is new to me so still learning its habits, but already pads are sticking and it doesn't feel "right" and has been getting worse as autumn wet weather rolls in - complicated by fact that there are some mechanical issues to iron out so finding it hard to know what's the damp and what's mechanical (esp. as my knowledge is limited!) and what's just the sax's "normal" behaviour - I have gone from a Soprano selmer super action serie II in Britain to this in NZ, so steep learning curve in sax behaviours/mechanics too.

Any tips/wisdom appreciated, too many variables for me to figure out what's the priority. My techie is 4 hrs away so can't just swing by for a check in :(

Thanks,
Catherine
 

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Catl - there is quite a bit on this in the archive, I think, if you want to try the search engine. I'm sure you'll get more help if, after that, you still have questions.

"clean saxophone moisture" as a search string brings up some items, as well as the area "Saxophone Care & Maintenance."
 

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As a long-established tech in Auckland, I have been unable to attribute any doesn't "feel "right" sax behaviour to humidity in New Zealand. There are a host of other possible causes, which I could ascertain only when checking out such an instrument.

Have you considered sending by courier. They're pretty reliable in NZ. I cannot recall an instrument being damaged or lost in transit, and I've been sending/receiving them for over 35 years.
 

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Yep. I daresay that it's a bit wetter on the windward side here. All of my saxes do fine.

Reeds however...
 

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G'day catherine,

If mould is a problem, be it on your pads, in you sax case, or even on the walls of the house, you can deal with it pretty easily by doing the following.

1. Grab a spray bottle and fill it with water. Add just 1/4 teaspoon (only a few drops, less is more here) of Oil of Cloves to the water and spray it on your walls, in your sax case, or on your pads. Wherever you have a mould problem. Oil of Cloves kills the mould and also the spores. Bleach and many other commercial cleaners only whiten the problem so you no longer notice it but fail, to kill the mould spores. If treating your pads this way, spray the mix on a piece of paper and wipe it between the pad and tone hole.

2. Air circulation. Where you have good circulation, you won't have such a big problem with mould.

3. Sunlight. Lots of sunlight and you won't have such a mould problem.

Hope this helps.
 

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Humidity isnt a big issue here in perth, however humidity is an issue in Katherine - the Northern Territory, very humid and hot, to say the least, about 3000kms north of me at the moment. When I lived in katherine, if I stored my sax after playing it, it would get mould happening very quick as it is the perfect breeding enviroment, I found it was exceptionally important to swab and let air dry befroe putting away. Here in perth you can play your sax put it straight in the case and forget about it for a few weeks with no irsk of mould.

My point, its important as drew mentions to allow the instrument to air well before storage if your in an enviroment which promotes mould
 

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live in a damp house, I have a vintage alto (Ia '61 Martin stencil) and she's not very happy. Dehumidifier coming in asap, but any other tips for keeping the mould out this winter?
Dont want to be the one stating the obvious, but prevention better than cure and all that would it not be a better idea to get the damp proofers in and sort your damp problem out once and for all? it's not just the saxes getting problems, over a period of time you may start to develop asthma like symptoms living in a damp environment....
 

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I agree completely with Dogpants 2 & 3. And Kingsax. They all address prevention.

Dogpant No 1. Interesting. And certainly a popular concept judging from Googling {antifungal oil clove}. At that dilultion is there much smell?
 

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Keeping your sax in the case and dehumidifying the case is probably easier than lowering the humidity in your whole space. It must be pretty wet in there. My saxes live on a soundstage that has a humidifier for keeping acoustic guitars and drums between 40% and 60% humidity. The saxes don't seem to suffer any negative effects from this. I suspect they are quite a bit more damp when they go into the case after a gig....
 

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The average humidity at Bay of Islands seems to be around 70%.
Where I am it is more like 78%, and does not sadden saxes.

I'm sure the sax sadness is for other reasons.
 

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I agree completely with Dogpants 2 & 3. And Kingsax. They all address prevention.

Dogpant No 1. Interesting. And certainly a popular concept judging from Googling {antifungal oil clove}. At that dilultion is there much smell?
Clove Oil is really strong smelling stuff but when you dilute it, it's no so bad. You can smell it for sure but it fades quick enough. I think it's a pretty volatile oil, so it's strong smelling but fades quick.
 
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