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How Do You Clean Your Saxophone?

Wonko

Member
Messages
322
When I started playing I used a Padsaver (like this Pad Saver - Body - Tenor Saxophone) And for more than 10 years I had no trouble with a sticky G#.
Since more than a year I switched to a swab to clean my sax. A few months later I started getting trouble with a sticky G#.
Last year I got a set of keyleaves to keep the most important key's open. That has helped matter immensely.
 

randulo

Playing alto 2 ⅓ years
Subscriber
Messages
4,180
My brand new Yamaha YAS480 started to have sticky pad issues within months. I now have a routine, as soon as I finish playing.
I run the swab through the body and a small one through the crook and the mouthpiece.
Then I open each normally closed pad and insert a cloth with a piece of plastic to keep it straight, gently close the pad and dry it. I also run that under the C and B area, because they seem to get very wet sometimes. Unless I forget to to do this, the pads will occasionally stick.
I did learn early to check the problematic pads each time I assemble the instrument.

Am I to understand from some comments above that it's better to let the sax dry in a stand than laying it down in the case? I have an undisturbed area, no pets or curious kids, so if that's best, I can leave it vertical on the stand.
 
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SaxyNikki

SaxyNikki

Member
Messages
491
Am I to understand from some comments above that it's better to let the sax dry in a stand than laying it down in the case? I have an undisturbed area, no pets or curious kids, so if that's best, I can leave it vertical on the stand.
I bought a 7 year old YSS475, 16 months ago from a professional who played regularly in a quartet and was very good. He played other saxophones and when I went to his house, all his saxophones were left on their stands near a window in the sun.

He told me that it’s the healthiest thing to do for an instrument. He said putting the saxophone away that has been cleaned but not dried is very unhealthy because mould seeks dampness and doesn’t care whether it’s clean dampness or dirty dampness. It’s all the same to mould spores.

The technicians at the music store I go to get my horn serviced said that cleaning the saxophone and letting it air dry is the best thing for it. Placing it in direct sunlight disinfects it. Sunlight is nature’s best disinfectant apparently.

Thank you :)
 
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SaxyNikki

SaxyNikki

Member
Messages
491
When I started playing I used a Padsaver (like this Pad Saver - Body - Tenor Saxophone) And for more than 10 years I had no trouble with a sticky G#.
Since more than a year I switched to a swab to clean my sax. A few months later I started getting trouble with a sticky G#.
Last year I got a set of keyleaves to keep the most important key's open. That has helped matter immensely.
Are these key leaves fairly easy to use?
When you purchase them are there just two to place? G# & C#?

We don’t have $1 dollar bills here in Canada.. A $5 bill is the lowest dollar bill we have but with this corona virus, getting this type of change isn’t possible so I’d have to use two $20 dollar bills from the bank machines and the idea of actually spending them afterwards sort of grosses me out, yet wasting them drives me batty altogether. I will look into these thanks.

The BG cleaning bag for soprano sax Amazon didn’t have so they are sending me one for a flute which probably won’t fit through the top hole so I’ll have to see what I can do with it.

I do have a pad saver but since I don’t store my saxophone in its case but on a stand like in my avatar, I no longer use it.

Thanks
 
Last edited:
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SaxyNikki

SaxyNikki

Member
Messages
491
I leave mine to dry on their stand, no pad problems.

Jx
I left mine on the stand and my G# was sticking..
It took a bit of playing before it sprung open.
When I went to try and clean that key/note, it’s not easy, in fact, almost impossible, which is what prompted the question.

Thanks
 

Wonko

Member
Messages
322

Stephen Howard

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,827
The technicians at the music store I go to get my horn serviced said that cleaning the saxophone and letting it air dry is the best thing for it. Placing it in direct sunlight disinfects it. Sunlight is nature’s best disinfectant apparently.
Relying on the sun to disinfect your horn is a waste of time. The pathogens need to be directly exposed to the light for many hours - and the place where they congregate in a horn is (quite literally) where the sun don't shine.
It's also a bad idea in terms of some of the glues used to seat pads - particularly if you're placing the sax next to a sunny window. The temperature of the horn can rise quite dramatically - and while it's very unlikely that a pad will fall out, the key cups may get hot enough to soften hot melt glue.
It may also have a colour-changing effect on vintage horn lacquers.
 

GCinCT

Seeker of truth and beauty
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1,537
Am I to understand from some comments above that it's better to let the sax dry in a stand than laying it down in the case? I have an undisturbed area, no pets or curious kids, so if that's best, I can leave it vertical on the stand.
I don't leave mine on the stand all the time because I have cats and I worry. After playing, I clean carefully and leave the horn on the stand for a couple of hours to let the pads dry, then put it away in the case. I keep it my office with the door closed for that time period. I don't put it in direct sunlight, in fact, the light in the room is subdued.

I use both a swab and a pad saver as well as key leaves. Overkill? Perhaps, but a horn is a pretty big investment and I want it to last and always play its best.
 

randulo

Playing alto 2 ⅓ years
Subscriber
Messages
4,180
Overkill? Perhaps, but a horn is a pretty big investment and I want it to last and always play its best.
Absolutely. Overkill would be hiring a specialized team to come over and clean the instrument inside and out each time you've blown into it. Protecting it with "belt and suspenders" will never hurt anything. (waiting for joke addendums)
 
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SaxyNikki

SaxyNikki

Member
Messages
491
Relying on the sun to disinfect your horn is a waste of time. The pathogens need to be directly exposed to the light for many hours - and the place where they congregate in a horn is (quite literally) where the sun don't shine.
It's also a bad idea in terms of some of the glues used to seat pads - particularly if you're placing the sax next to a sunny window. The temperature of the horn can rise quite dramatically - and while it's very unlikely that a pad will fall out, the key cups may get hot enough to soften hot melt glue.
It may also have a colour-changing effect on vintage horn lacquers.
No! No! No!
You clearly didn’t read the entire thread.
I am not suggesting that you play your saxophone then once finished just plop it on your stand and place it in the sunlight. or even counting on the sun to disinfect the saxophone.

I’m all for cleaning the saxophone as good as possible and with all the right products. Letting the saxophone air out on the stand was suggested by many and THAT IS what I’m doing.

The idea of putting your saxophone where it gets a bit of sunshine each day, I was told was helpful.
I live in Canada. It doesn’t get very hot here and my saxophone gets a bit of sunlight everyday. It’s morning sun and it’s not for very long. Certainly not for long enough to cause damage so I do just that and won’t worry about it.
 

jbtsax

Well-Known Member
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Messages
7,789
Any material that keeps the pad separate from the tonehole while the pad dries will work. One doesn't need a dollar bill. I have heard of folks using an index card, playing card, or business card. Another solution could be to disengage the spring on the G# touch so the G# key opens itself.
 

h4yn0nnym0u5e

Member
Messages
193
Any material that keeps the pad separate from the tonehole while the pad dries will work. One doesn't need a dollar bill. I have heard of folks using an index card, playing card, or business card.
I think there are a couple of reasons for using the (US) dollar. One thing is they're made of cotton fibre, so are fairly absorbent compared to paper notes (let alone the plastic ones we now have in the UK :(). This helps wick moisture away from the pad. The other is they're flexible enough not to distort the pad, which maybe card would be?

Not sure what Canadian$ are made of, and can understand not wanting to tie up $40. Then again, what would a set of leaves cost? Not sure of current exchange rates... Plus you can't spend those on beer in an emergency! Then again, you'd not be able to spend US$ either. But $2 doesn't buy much beer anyway.
 

hedgehog

I love singletrack.
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260
I used to use dollar bills but changed over to these cleaning papers (no brand preference implied...it's what they had at the local shop). They are 70 for about $10 so in one way cheaper than $1 bills.
 

hedgehog

I love singletrack.
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260
I think you're right. I like to buy patronise my local music store, and since they stock the cleaning papers, I went that way.
 
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