Cleaning a smelly saxophone

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104
Location
Canada
#21
Nice horn, Nikki! I almost bought an SML Gold Medal tenor for CAD200 a few months back, but didn't get to it in time. Still kicking myself.

L&M shops usually have dependable techs. You could try a UV lamp as aldevis suggested, but if the smell's strong, you'll probably need to strip it, chem bathe it, and replace the corks, felts, and pads. Still, even with the price of a full refurb, you'll still be ahead if you ever wanted to sell. But I'm guessing this one's a keeper, eh?
Thank you . $200 CAD for an SML tenor sounds like a good deal but I won’t rub it in. It probably needed all kinds of work done to it. Maybe someone just bought it for parts.
( shrug ) lol. ;)

I don’t know how much mine is worth. I was guessing from the ads I’d seen and I still think Yamaha makes an excellent sax. I was comparing two different saxophones that both need fixing so it’s an unfair comparison.

I am going to get a complete overhaul. This thing is worth it. It will be like new. So happy.
Squeal.

Thanks again.
 

aldevis

Surrealist Contributor.
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#23
You’d think that mouthpiece would give a jazzy only sound but to my ear it sounds rich and mellow. I love the Morgan or Meyer mouthpieces if only to give my embrochure a rest. I’d forgotten that it came with the saxophone.
Just a guess, of course, but I expect it to have a very tiny tip, considering the year, But I may be wrong. Meyer and Morgan are more likely to be "middle of the road"
 
Messages
104
Location
Canada
#24
Just a guess, of course, but I expect it to have a very tiny tip, considering the year, But I may be wrong. Meyer and Morgan are more likely to be "middle of the road"
Yes it does and I think I like it also because I used it a lot so got very accustomed to it. The other mouthpieces seemed large in comparison but they definitely offered a rounder sound to my ear. Lots of things are coming back to me.

I sometimes wonder how I could ever have stopped playing but I suppose most of us go through stages. My brother plays trumpet & Flugal horn and goes through similar stages. I really miss playing.
 

Colin the Bear

Well-Known Member
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11,722
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Burnley bb9 9dn
#25
The smell is probably mildew from storing it damp. To get rid of the smell in a case you might try sprinkling the inside of the case liberally with Bicarbonate of soda. Brush it into the fabric of the lining and close it. After a few days, vacuum out the bicarb. It may take a couple of treatments but should shift it. Another way is to leave it open, outside in bright sunlight.

A new case may be on the cards but be aware they're not all the same inside so you need one that fits and protects. Not too flash mind. Your saxophone is desirable and portable. ;)
 
Messages
104
Location
Canada
#26
The smell is probably mildew from storing it damp. To get rid of the smell in a case you might try sprinkling the inside of the case liberally with Bicarbonate of soda. Brush it into the fabric of the lining and close it. After a few days, vacuum out the bicarb. It may take a couple of treatments but should shift it. Another way is to leave it open, outside in bright sunlight.

A new case may be on the cards but be aware they're not all the same inside so you need one that fits and protects. Not too flash mind. Your saxophone is desirable and portable. ;)
I agree but it’s also because it got stored in our musty basement. Years ago we had a major leak in our house from my husband attaching a deck with no flashing. It made our basement rather musty smelling because it had gotten somewhat mouldy. Really horrid stuff and now my saxophone smells the same. I think what I’d like to do is gradually work on getting it fixed up and really sanitized ( new case for sure :thumb:) but in the meanwhile purchasing a new to me one.

At this point I’m actually even considered brand new.

Saxophone has been a bit part of my life that I know want back. I’m claiming my life back and empowering myself. This is about where my husband rolls his eyes. :rofl:

Thank you Colin. Much appreciated.
 
Messages
104
Location
Canada
#29
I’ve inquired about how much it would cost to change all the pads and have it professionally cleaned (ultrasonically and it will cost $750 to start. I’ve read that even after an ultra sonic cleaning, that the instruments can still smell .

Apparently this is a common problem so I don’t feel as bad.

I think I’ll have it restored but consider a back up saxophone as well but I’m not interested in purchasing a second hand instrument without first trying it.
 

aldevis

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#30
I’ve inquired about how much it would cost to change all the pads and have it professionally cleaned (ultrasonically and it will cost $750 to start. I’ve read that even after an ultra sonic cleaning, that the instruments can still smell .

Apparently this is a common problem so I don’t feel as bad.

I think I’ll have it restored but consider a back up saxophone as well but I’m not interested in purchasing a second hand instrument without first trying it.
Wait before getting a new horn.
Procedure would be:

2- Get rid of the smell: sun, UV lamps, whatever
3- See how the pads are after the treatment and maybe go for a full overhaul
4- If you really can't wait, get an ultracheap decent horn.

(If you change the pads, plan to keep the old ones: they may be made in a specific way and come useful in future: a whole different subject, here)
 
Messages
104
Location
Canada
#31
This probably should go in a completely different thread altogether but I’m wondering if my sudden need to want a new saxophone isn’t a distraction from other issues going on. For that reason alone I will put this idea on hold for a while.

In the meantime I will clean up my saxophone and try and restore it and get rid of the musty smell. I will actively seek a new case and throw out this old stinky one. I’m going to hand clean every single pad myself since I am so meticulously oriented , annoyingly so. o_O

There’s a lot that can be done and I don’t know enough about this to make a spontaneous decision like I’ve been trying to do that I might later really regret.

I actually only registered on this site to ask my question about the Yamaha and an overhaul on my old one but then it’s suggested that you introduce yourself so I tried to do an all-in-one post ( lol ) and it got divided up into three different threads by the moderators .( sorry )

Now I’m feeling a bit like one of those annoying people on sites who ‘talk more about doing xyz than what they are actually doing in reality concerning xyz and I certainly don’t want to be one of those people.

I’ll contunue to bore you to tears but my instrument has come to mind a lot recently because I’m caring for my aging parents who are in their last stages of life. I lost a brother in 1979 and wasn’t that close to my other brother . He’s the one who plays trumpet. Since we are caring for my parents together , it’s brought us closer, so I can’t help but think about our past history with our musical instruments. There are pictures of us at our parents house around the piano.

It’s bittersweet! I have all these happy memories of being with family the way things were and, of course, things change and that’s not the way the are any more.

Is my wish to renew my saxophone playing merely a wish to cling onto the past? :popcorn:

I know. I’ve gone all Freudian on you..
Looking after aging parents is REALLY difficult. :(
 
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Alice

Psychedelic
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4,970
Location
Kent
#32
Is my wish to renew my saxophone playing merely a wish to cling onto the past?
Hi Nikki! I think you mentioned somewhere that you felt you had suppressed a lot of your own interests and activities after you became married to a man who didn’t encourage you to enjoy them and that you really miss that part of yourself. I can really empathise with you about this. I don’t see the renovation of a once cherished instrument is anything to feel bad about. I don’t think you are clinging to the past. I think that you just want to be free again. I can tell you that once you start playing again and enjoying that little bit of freedom which is just for you, you will benefit from it in all ways. You won’t regret it.
Looking after your parents is bound to affect you emotionally and physically. I think that playing again is going to give you that little space where you can just be you.
 

spike

Old Indian
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Half way up a hill
#33
I think that playing again is going to give you that little space where you can just be you.
Alice has put it in a nutshell.
I'm not going to bore you with the story of my life.
Sometimes you need that little space where you can just be you.
I take my dog for a walk every day, we run around the fields and forests together, I talk to the trees and my dog sniffs and runs around looking for rabbits, deer and wild pigs. Back home, when I play saxophone I'm off in my own little world looking for riffs and licks and wonderful melodies.
The sun comes up and the sun goes down, enjoy life as it comes, I'm so grateful that I can make music, I've been doing it for most of my life, it makes me happy and I know it makes other people happy too.
Hang in there Nikki :) smiles across the miles.
 
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Messages
104
Location
Canada
#35
Yes ! I think when you join lives with another, you sacrifice a lot of the self and essentially loose a big part of yourself for the other person which is what I did and lost myself.

. My man was jealous of the other musicians I played with and at the time I thought it was cute. Now? Not so much. :confused2::doh:

My husband didn’t want me driving my motorcycle so I sold it to make him feel better but I really missed my bike. It was a great bike too.

And another thing to consider is that music is a form of art which is considered VERY therapeutic. I’ve got other forms of art I passionately get into as a way of expressing myself like painting and woodcarving.

The fact that I am emotionally sentimental actually can be a huge bonus to playing any instrument since any good musician knows , that great creativity come from great passion.

Yes indeed. Thank you for the reminder

Walking my dogs is the favourite part of my day. We go for fabulous country walks through the forests everyday. I’m basically an introverted loner but I enjoy my life to the fullest.

Thank you ( hugs & kisses & all that jazz )
I’m diving IN people. :thumb::sax:
 

tenorviol

Full of frets in North Shropshire
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#36
I originally started getting involved in music (singing) over 25 years ago because I was going through difficult times. It was the best thing I ever did. Seven years ago I went nuts and bought a) an alto sax, and a few weeks later b) a cello... other instruments followed.

Looking after elderly parents can be very tiring. My mum has suddenly become house-bound this year - she is otherwise OK (for someone in their 80s). It takes up time and we tend to not notice that it is also stressful.

So our stress-busting activities such as music become even more important at such times.
 
Messages
104
Location
Canada
#37
I’m going through a difficult time.
You can spend a lifetime reading all the self help books available and think you’re doing ok until you have to reunite with dysfunctional parents and the stuff that resurfaces can turn you inside out

. Raw , ugly stuff that ‘s been shoved down for years and now it’s right there bubbling away at the surface.

Right now music is my salvation but so is carving at the moment. I’m making hsndcarhed Christmas ornaments to give away as gifts.

My parents are 85 & 89 and I DO notice that dealing with them is stressing me out.
That’s an understatement.
 

JayeNM

Formerly JayePDX
Messages
401
Location
New Mexico, US
#39
I’ve inquired about how much it would cost to change all the pads and have it professionally cleaned (ultrasonically and it will cost $750 to start. I’ve read that even after an ultra sonic cleaning, that the instruments can still smell .

Apparently this is a common problem so I don’t feel as bad.

I think I’ll have it restored but consider a back up saxophone as well but I’m not interested in purchasing a second hand instrument without first trying it.
Here's the thing....and apologies if someone already said this in another reply:

The smell isn't 'in the metal' or 'on the metal' so much. The smell is in the pads, in the felts. Ultrasonic cleaning is great. So is Chem cleaning. They are similar but different, but doing one or the other will typically get your horn in a nice, clean state.

But the pads need to be replaced. Mildewy smell, cigarette odor smell, etc....these are in the pads.

On SOTW someone had a similar situation and didn't have the $ to spring for a repad...so he ordered these UV sterilizer lights:

UV Sterilizer Light Portable Air Purifier DC5V Ultraviolet Germicidal Lamp O9M5 | eBay

and reported they actually worked...got rid of around 70% of the musty, mildewy odor. These supposedly also work pretty well on cases suffering from the same aroma. So in a financial pinch, perhaps an alternative.

But a cleaning (chem or sonic) and repad will take care of 100% of it, pretty much guaranteed. A repad and ultrasonic for $750CAD doesn't sound like a bad deal....
 
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JayeNM

Formerly JayePDX
Messages
401
Location
New Mexico, US
#40
I’m going through a difficult time.
You can spend a lifetime reading all the self help books available and think you’re doing ok until you have to reunite with dysfunctional parents and the stuff that resurfaces can turn you inside out....
My parents are 85 & 89 and I DO notice that dealing with them is stressing me out.
That’s an understatement.
This.... stuff.... is wired inside us - regardless of how hard, consciously, you may have done all you can not to follow the same path; how you tried to make different decisions, etc. You can live a whole generation thinking you have bucked it...but nobody bucks it, really.

I have recently just come out of 'the other end' of what you describe.....pretty much intact, I may add (although ...perhaps some folks in the peanut gallery here... may disagree :oops:).

I can offer you this:

the struggle you are going thru, especially at this point with your parents so aged...is inevitably a 'come to jesus' period. It's hard and icky....but with the help of some guidance from others, self-care, mindfulness, and self-love....you will come out of it with a new understanding, in better control of your life, less conflicted, and all in all you will come to a better, more peaceful place.... and be a better person as a result.

(And you can still play sax while all of that is happening)

(Just not a moldy one, of course).
 
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