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:
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....
Sorry I’m a bit late in my response but thanks for your helpful response. I love the light idea and I have considered just getting it professionally cleaned but I really need an overhaul. The metal mouthpiece is actually stuck to the neck. I’ve tried gloves, freezing it but I think the cork will need taking off and replaced as part of the overhaul. It’s worth it. In the meantime I’m going to gather all my music books since I’ve got plenty as well as make myself I superior saxophone cleaner. The one that gets dragged through the instrument.
It’s strange how I have a renewed appreciation for this instrument now.
My c# is really off.
I’ll buy the light as a maintenance play as I’d really like to keep my instrument as clean as possible.
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 ).
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)
Yes. It’s a turning point in my life for certain and looking within I can’t help but do. It’s been eye opening to realize I have ocd as bad or perhaps worse than my father and I sort of got stuck there.
I liked it better when I stuck my head in the sand and became oblivious. At the moment I don’t have that option any more. Then it strikes me just how spoiled I’ve made my lifestyle and feel bad about it.
Generally I over think stuff. Looking far too deep into things which is something I’ve always done but something shifted and I’m not sure what. Worrying about my parents is definitely on the list. Again too much thought.
I just want to get lost in some music and give my mind a rest.