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So why would a clamp that holds the open keys shut help preserve pads? Wouldn't that weaken the springs?
 

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I have used key clamps on all the modern style saxes I own or owned since 1994! A friend of mine has used them since at least 1992. The won't hurt your springs, and the keep the keys from flopping during transport (more of an issue with saxes that have feather lite action, than ones with overly-stiff actions).
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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So why would a clamp that holds the open keys shut help preserve pads? Wouldn't that weaken the springs?
I don't think it would weaken the springs, but I don't think it will help to preserve the pads. I wasn't aware that clamp manufacturers made any claims that clamps preserve pads.
 

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I dunno. I tried those clamp things back in the 90s while in college, and it messed up my horn. This was on a Martin Tenor. Messed up as in the springs did get messed up and one of the pads started seating improperly. I dunno if it was the clamps or what, but when I stopped using them.....no problems.

I dunno if the claim about transportation is really valid. I have flown overseas a couple of times and never had any issues with the horn getting messed up. If you have a solid case and make sure the horn isn't going to be moving around in the case, you should be good.
 

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It's pretty typical to ship a horn with most if not all of the keys clamped or wedged closed. Just flying with it on a plane, where for the most part you are aware of how it's being handled and it's all happening in a day...I would say that clamping isn't a necessity. But when the horn is gonna be in transit for several days or more....it's a good idea.

I would also say clamping just for day-to-day transport is really unnecessary....

I agree with Pete...I dunno why anyone would claim it has a positive effect on pad life. I think that's sorta BS....
 

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In theory it shouldn't bother the springs unless you leave it on for many months at a time. As long as you don't extend or compress a spring past it's point of elasticity it should return to shape- that's sort of the point of a spring. That Slinky you had as a kid was great until you and your brother stretched it out too long and then it was useless. For travel purposes key clamps maybe useful but otherwise I don't understand the point- many of us spend a lot of time trying to find solutions to the sticking of the 5 -6 keys that stay closed naturally on sax (octave key, palm keys, Eb, & worst of all G#) why would you want to clamp all the rest of your keys shut?

I know some folks swear by them, and if they work for you great but I've always felt for me, they'd create as many problems as they might solve.
 

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It seems that the pads worst enemy is moisture. On one of my tenors the only pad that gets wet when I play is the palm (high) F. Needless to say I can get pretty much get that pad replaced every once in a while and go on my way. On the other sax it is the B key. It just appears that it works that way for no particular reason. The idea I've read of using some sort of oil that the water will follow in the bore of the sax is the best thing that I've seen about extending pad life.
 
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