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My horn has been playing a bit crappy, lately....Upper register notes hard to hold, and generally not lively and full sounding. I naturally thought it was me. I have been slacking off a little from my practicing, in this heat.
But today I finally decided to take a good look at the mechanics and see if I could find something wrong. Lo and behold I found that the body pip was just flopping back and forth, when engaged. I followed the mechanism and noted that the uppermost octave key mechanism spring was hanging off in space! I must have knocked it off, last time I was wiping the horn down.
I took a toothpick and hooked the spring tip back in place, and voila!!!!! My horn is back to sounding great again, the high register wails and life is good, again!
Sometimes you get lucky and find something small, like an unfastened spring, and it makes all the difference in the world.
Last time, it was the G# key. Somehow I managed to bend it. It was just a 30 second fix at the shop, but I still had to drive there to find out how to get the key to stay closed.
I think from now on, I won't worry so much about the water spots, and just let them air dry!
 

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I use a powerful compact hair dryer set on cool or no heat to blow moisture off key cups and from behind rods. I do this after playing more than an hour-and-a-half or so, not every time. It's quick, and cloths catch on everything and don't always get things dry. Eliminates fine swirl scratches on lacquer finishes, too. It's like washing and then blow-drying your Harley Heritage spoke wheels so they don't rust; same thing.

Please tell me more about the MA heat. We have sustained mid-90s with high humidity for most of mid-June through early September where I am in FL. And it really doesn't cool down that much until after 10:00p. Makes outdoor gigs a bit of an effort for reed and brass players.

Oh, and keep a crochet hook in your case.
 

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Glad to hear that; you know how misery loves company.

I guess we shouldn't complain about it too much. At least in winter your pads don't freeze on the way to a gig and drop out while you're playing.
 

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Y'all should try living up here, where it's 90+ all summer, and colder than a witch's octave pip all winter. The variation in intonation is incredible.
 
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