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I run a swab through the horn (sham wow material) and one through the neck (cottony material). I put a wooden wedge to hold C# and G# up to dry out and I unhook the Eb spring to let that dry.
Ok this is more than most people do but I'm mostly wondering about how you think is the best way to let the whole thing dry. I take out my wet swabs and then leave my sax in its case with it about an inch or two open (using the buckle thing to prop it open). Is this going to let it breathe enough?
thanks :)
-Theodore
 

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Okay,

What I am going to tell you is going to sound kind of facetious. But I am actually trying to make a very valid point here.

Take your nice shiny saxophone outside. Pour a little dirt down the bell. Then, with your hands still dirty, practice for about two hours. Now go back inside and wipe the horn down with a damp bath towel and run your swab through it once. Put it on a stand and then come back the next and practice for two hours or more and then use the bath towel and single-pass swab again. Repeat for the next ten years with the intent of building up to practice longer and more effectively over time.

This way you will take the emphasis off of keeping the horn really clean and instead put the emphasis on making the horn sound really good. A saxophone is just a tool. Keep it clean enough so it stays serviceable and doesn't corrode too quickly. Other than that, work on your playing ability. In the end, you will worry a whole lot less and have a lot more fun. :bluewink:

PS: Lemon Pledge works great to keep lacquer looking good without too much fuss.
 

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Enviroguy, you make a good point, but I'm not sure the OP was talking about keeping the sax shiny. I think the question is how to keep excess moisture out of the horn to increase the life of the pads.

I also run a swab cloth through the horn, but I never put one of those fuzzy things (so-called 'pad savers') in the horn as I think that would slow the drying process. Best way to let the horn dry out is leave it on a stand for a couple of hours. Can't do this after a gig, of course, but you can at home.

Regarding the need to prop open the G#, or other keys, I wouldn't bother with that unless they tend to stick.
 

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If i let it dry closed... my G# will stick the first time i open it and then its fine. I guess i'm just paranoid about it because I had an old buesher that stuck really hard and the mechanism was wack in the first place.
And yes, i actually prefer the look of an old VI or something where the lacquer is gone in places, but i'd like to keep my pads tight as long as i can.
And yes, point taken as far as practising and playing is more important.
 

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My horn(s) lives on it's stand where it quickly dries out & the G# has never stuck.
About once a week I remove the reed & clean the mouthpiece and the inside of the crook.
Every two years I take it completely to pieces, clean it, oil it, change the odd pad & check all the operation.
It always looks shiny, never gives any problems, & is played every day....is that not what they are supposed to do?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
My horn(s) lives on it's stand where it quickly dries out & the G# has never stuck.
About once a week I remove the reed & clean the mouthpiece and the inside of the crook.
Every two years I take it completely to pieces, clean it, oil it, change the odd pad & check all the operation.
It always looks shiny, never gives any problems, & is played every day....is that not what they are supposed to do?
so you just leave it all put together when you're done? no swab every day? i like this idea - i guess if you leave it in it's stand it should never get moldy... i think i'll try this cause there are so many time when i just want to play a few licks but not enough to put together and take apart the instrument
 

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Is moisture the only issue? Presumably most of the moisture which builds up when you play is just condensation from your breath, but some of it is spit, isn't it? If you just leave the sax to air dry, won't that accelerate the accumulation of organic gunge which will eventually gum up the works? Or is the amount of gunge too small to worry about, to the extent that drying is the only real consideration?

I have been worrying about this because I swab out my alto and tenor after playing but haven't found a suitable swab for my curvy soprano yet so all I do is leave the case open after playing. I've been concerned that's not enough.
 

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so you just leave it all put together when you're done? no swab every day? i like this idea - i guess if you leave it in it's stand it should never get moldy... i think i'll try this cause there are so many time when i just want to play a few licks but not enough to put together and take apart the instrument
You've got the idea in one.
My horn is always available; just the odd few bars to play along with something on the radio perhaps. If I had to dig it out of it's case & put it together every time I wanted to play, I would miss the moment. It means that I can practise whenever the mood takes me as distinct from a formal "practise time".
It is my belief that the horn is to play....not to polish. Co-incidentally, using my method, the horn is always clean & dry.
Can you imagine a worse environment for a horn than being stuffed, damp, into an airless coffin?
The only time my horn is in it's case is when being transported to & from a gig.
 

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I guess I'm a little more manic than most people about drying the pads after playing because I figure it will save me having to pay for a repad too soon. After playing I do the standard drill: drain out the condensed water from the bell, wipe out the bell with a small hand towel, run two different pass through swabs through the sax (a silk one and a B&G), and dry the neck with the silk pass through and a Soprano size B&G swab and a smaller pass through swab.

This is pretty normal for most people I suppose, but then I also dry the pads with pieces of Melita coffee filter paper that I have cut up and keep in an envelope specifically for that purpose. The filters are cheap and very absorbent so they soak up any moisture on a pad in a flash. I insert a paper under a key and press it closed. If a key is wet--and usually the side F and the LH palm keys are, as well as B2 and C# and sometimes Eb--the paper will show it immediately and I keep moving dry parts of the paper under the key until the pad is dried.

It only takes a few minutes but prevents the water from drying on the pad and drying out the leather. I've seen saxes with old dried-out blackened pads and I'm pretty sure that excess moisture drying on them is what did it. And usually it's the closed keys that get that way first and the palm keys in particular because they are closer to the source of the condensation. I figure an ounce of prevention in the form of 7 minutes of extra attention like this is worth a couple of hundred bucks of unnecessary cure later on.
 

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You've got the idea in one.
My horn is always available; just the odd few bars to play along with something on the radio perhaps. If I had to dig it out of it's case & put it together every time I wanted to play, I would miss the moment. It means that I can practise whenever the mood takes me as distinct from a formal "practise time".
It is my belief that the horn is to play....not to polish. Co-incidentally, using my method, the horn is always clean & dry.
Can you imagine a worse environment for a horn than being stuffed, damp, into an airless coffin?
The only time my horn is in it's case is when being transported to & from a gig.
This is my method as well. Then again, I have FIVE altos now, so if this leads to one needing a re-pad, I do have a backup... and a backup for the backup, and a backup for the backup's backup. (The backup for the backup for the backup's backup is out on loan -- no great loss, it plays completely different from the other four, which are almost interchangeable.) I don't think it's a big deal, as the first set of pads on my (daily driver) JAS-767 lasted 17 years.
 

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This is my method as well. Then again, I have FIVE altos now, so if this leads to one needing a re-pad, I do have a backup... and a backup for the backup, and a backup for the backup's backup. (The backup for the backup for the backup's backup is out on loan -- no great loss, it plays completely different from the other four, which are almost interchangeable.) I don't think it's a big deal, as the first set of pads on my (daily driver) JAS-767 lasted 17 years.
That, to me, sounds a good system.
I am restricted to two altos....only one of which I play.
In terms of service, I rely on a bi-annual strip, clean, oil, adjust, & the occasional pad replacement. It is very rarely that I need to change a pad between services.
The service takes me about two days....during this period, if I feel the need, I can always play one of the tenors...or the C Mel...or the soprano.....
 

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I also dry the pads with pieces of Melita coffee filter paper that I have cut up and keep in an envelope specifically for that purpose. The filters are cheap and very absorbent so they soak up any moisture on a pad in a flash.
That's a good tip. Thanks. I probably wouldn't bother with the larger pads that stay open, but for those palm key pads, this is a great idea. I've noticed upper palm key pads are always the first to go and they get the most moisture.
 

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On altos Eb1 usually gets really wet because the pool of water in the bell sloshes onto it, which is why it is often blackened and dried out on horns you see on EBay. Actually any of the pads can get wet if you lay your sax down even for a moment instead of always setting it on a stand. That's why I dry all the pads, even the open ones, because I find most of them can get wet one time or another, especially after playing more than 3 hours in this humid climate. BTW, I cut the paper into different sizes, lengths and shapes to fit the different size pads more easily. A set lasts several months (I discard them when they get too floppy to insert easily) so one package of coffee filters will probably last 5 to 10 years. It's a lot cheaper than a pad job.
 
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