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has anyone an awnser for this,it seems to me it has to be the way one blows the horn,however iv tried everything to find out and still dont know what causes the horn to blow water out badly sometimes and not atall other times.the dry solution is the one im looking for of course,very frustrating so if anyone could help with that that would be great
 

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What do you mean by leak? If you are producing spit it may drip or 'leak'. I find sometimes my sax gets more water in than others, but that is me, I am the one producing it!
 

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it seems strange that sometimes all water/spit goes straight down to the bottom of the bell(which is where i want it to go),but other times it blows out the tone holes.
 

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The water is condensation...mostly
It's largely dependent on the ambient conditions - humidity, temperature etc.
On some days you'll be lucky to see a few drops down the bell, on other days it's dripping out from the toneholes.

That said, some players do seem prone to blowing more moisture down the horn than others.

There aren't any real fixes - but you could try treating the bore with a little silicon-based furniture polish. Best way to apply it is to spray a little on an old pull-through or Padsaver.
This will only work if the bore is clean.

Regards,
 

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Discussion Starter #7
thanks for that iv also tried that,and sometimes dosnt last 5 minutes.a real conundrum
 

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The body's natural response to something placed in the mouth is to produce saliva to begin the digestive process. For some player's like myself, it seems to happen to excess. I had a clarinet teacher humorously suggest I get one of those dentists vacuums to hang out of the side of my mouth while playing.

Seriously, swallowing the saliva before you begin to play, and at rests in the music can help. Holding your sax with the bell pushed forward so the body of the sax is nearly perpendicular to the floor can help as well. A related problem that is not uncommon is for saliva to build up on the back of the reed causing a "sizzling" sound. The solution to this is to "polish" the backs of your reeds by rubbing them firmly on a sheet of thick paper on a perfectly flat surface.

To extend the life of your pads it is critical to swab the sax every time you play, if even for a few minutes. I prefer the LaVoz pad saver which is the topic of another debate (I mean thread).
 

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Discussion Starter #9
thanks for that,when it does happen i try to blow the water away myself,or if on a gig i just use a rag to mop it up there can be a large amount,
i saw the great "mark turner" do the same one night so i guess if it happens to those guys it can happen to anyone
 

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The water is condensation...mostly
It's largely dependent on the ambient conditions - humidity, temperature etc.
On some days you'll be lucky to see a few drops down the bell, on other days it's dripping out from the toneholes.

That said, some players do seem prone to blowing more moisture down the horn than others.
Thank you Stephen for pointing this out. It's not saliva. Just how much saliva do you think you can 'spit' through between the reed and the mpc? Even with a large tip mpc, there's not much room there, and if you are blowing anything more than air into the horn it will sound pretty bad!

The fact is, you are putting air into the horn. That air is full of water molecules that condense out when they hit the relatively cool brass inside the horn. If you're a good player, you're putting a lot of air in the horn and you likely get some condensation leaking out of the upper tone holes. Especially if you're playing outside in the cold. This is no big deal at all.

Here's the solution: Have a small towel handy and wipe your hands and the upper stack of the horn when needed. Now, look for something more important to obsess over! :) :)
 

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could this problem have something to do with embouchure????????just a thought.
No. Well maybe in a roundabout way... If you have a good embouchure, meaning you are putting plenty of air into the horn (a GOOD thing!), then you'll likely get some condensation. It's not a problem.
 

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Thank you Stephen for pointing this out. It's not saliva. Just how much saliva do you think you can 'spit' through between the reed and the mpc? Even with a large tip mpc, there's not much room there, and if you are blowing anything more than air into the horn it will sound pretty bad!

The fact is, you are putting air into the horn. That air is full of water molecules that condense out when they hit the relatively cool brass inside the horn. If you're a good player, you're putting a lot of air in the horn and you likely get some condensation leaking out of the upper tone holes. Especially if you're playing outside in the cold. This is no big deal at all.
Well, you say that....but...

I was discussing this issue recently with a client who's a 'wet player'. We both work on the same sort of gigs (functions etc.) so we both encounter the same sort of environments (halls, marquees, outdoor stages etc.) in the same geographic region, and we both play the same sort of repertoire. We also both play similar tenors - he has a YTS61, I have a 23.
Now, when I get to the end of a gig it's rare for me to find much more than a dribble of moisture rolling out of the bell when I tip it up - but he always ends up with a noticeable puddle.
My horn is reasonably clean (in spite of my not cleaning it that often), but his horn is absolutely covered in goop. I know it's a repeated coating as I see him at least twice a year when he comes in to have adjustments made to the top stack (he likes to tweak...badly, I might add). I set the adjusters right, clean off the pads and wipe the body around the keys...and six months later it's as filthy as ever.

How can this be?
Well, either we're wrong about how much saliva it's possible for even an experienced player to blow down the horn - or there's some other reason.
Perhaps it's a biological thing - people have slightly different body temperatures (only a degree or so, to be sure) so perhaps this is a significant factor?

Regards,
 

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Well, you say that....but...

I was discussing this issue recently with a client who's a 'wet player'. We both work on the same sort of gigs (functions etc.) so we both encounter the same sort of environments (halls, marquees, outdoor stages etc.) in the same geographic region, and we both play the same sort of repertoire. We also both play similar tenors - he has a YTS61, I have a 23.
Now, when I get to the end of a gig it's rare for me to find much more than a dribble of moisture rolling out of the bell when I tip it up - but he always ends up with a noticeable puddle.
My horn is reasonably clean (in spite of my not cleaning it that often), but his horn is absolutely covered in goop. I know it's a repeated coating as I see him at least twice a year when he comes in to have adjustments made to the top stack (he likes to tweak...badly, I might add). I set the adjusters right, clean off the pads and wipe the body around the keys...and six months later it's as filthy as ever.

How can this be?
Well, either we're wrong about how much saliva it's possible for even an experienced player to blow down the horn - or there's some other reason.
Perhaps it's a biological thing - people have slightly different body temperatures (only a degree or so, to be sure) so perhaps this is a significant factor?

Regards,
I sometimes get a wet 'bubbly' sound when I play which I assume is saliva in the mouthpiece which presumably would work its way through?
 

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The liquid that builds up in the mouthpiece and on the back of the reed is certainly not condensation from the exhaled air coming in contact with a cool object such as the bore of the saxophone. It is in fact saliva. The air moving through the mouthpiece as one plays carries this saliva into the instrument. As a tech who works on poorly treated and maintained student rental saxophones, I can tell you for a fact that what begins in the player's mouth winds up in the neck, the bore, the toneholes, the pads, and the bow of the saxophone.

Then you also have the condensation from the water vapor in the breath which is similar to a light spray of distilled water in the sax. What I'm saying is that it is a combination of the two and one has more harmful effects than the other.
 

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Any way to avoid putting saliva through in how I play or is it just unavoidable?
 

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Well, either we're wrong about how much saliva it's possible for even an experienced player to blow down the horn - or there's some other reason.
Perhaps it's a biological thing - people have slightly different body temperatures (only a degree or so, to be sure) so perhaps this is a significant factor?
Oh yeah, some of us are definitely more full of hot air! :) But seriously I think you may be onto something there. In which case it's still not a matter of saliva.

Water itself can be quite destructive. Maybe it's partly a matter of how you play. More air into the horn results in more condensation?

I do think it's possible some people sweat more and maybe have more acid or something in their sweat, which might affect the outside of the horn and result in faster lacquer wear. But I don't really know for sure.
 

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The liquid that builds up in the mouthpiece and on the back of the reed is certainly not condensation from the exhaled air coming in contact with a cool object such as the bore of the saxophone.
Of course it is (aside from the saliva you might put on the reed before placing it on the mpc). You will get condensation in a mouthpiece. I'm not saying there is absolutely no contribution from the saliva in your mouth, but it would be an infinitesimal amount in comparison with the H2O that condenses out of the warm air.

But the whole notion that your horn is filling up with "spit" is just not the case!
 

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Any way to avoid putting saliva through in how I play or is it just unavoidable?
Don't spit into the mpc (and I doubt that you do or it would sound terrible!). But putting a lot of air into the horn is a good idea, and if you do that you'll get at least some condensate.
 

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Of course it is (aside from the saliva you might put on the reed before placing it on the mpc). You will get condensation in a mouthpiece. I'm not saying there is absolutely no contribution from the saliva in your mouth, but it would be an infinitesimal amount in comparison with the H2O that condenses out of the warm air.

But the whole notion that your horn is filling up with "spit" is just not the case!
Sorry to disagree but the temperature and humidity inside the mouthpiece is very close to that found inside the player's oral cavity. Basic scientific principles dictate that in order for "condensation" to occur the water saturated air must come in contact with a cooler surface. The inside of the mouthpiece and the back of the reed are definitely not a cooler surface once the sax has been played for a few seconds.

I'm not saying that there is not moisture inside the saxophone that can be attributed to the water vapor in the blown air condensing against the cooler walls of the body tube, but there is also the saliva that is blown through the reed opening into the mouthpiece and from there into the saxophone. This can also be significant for "wet" players such as myself who tend to salivate when the reed and mouthpiece are placed in the mouth.

Proof of this is the "crud" carried in the saliva from the player's mouth that accumulates on the tops of the toneholes, and expecially in the "well" created by the low Eb tonehole. The sludge that builds up in the bell bow of a saxophone that is never swabbed or emptied of water contains far more organic groceries as well. The distilled water resulting in water vapor condensation would leave none of the above evidence which is common and well known to those who repair and service saxophones. The tech I worked with liked to call the gunk found in saxophones, necks, and mouthpieces "groceries" which does have a ring of truth as to its origins.
 
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