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Beginner Moist Fingertips

photoman

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This is not the most wholesome topic, if you are sitting down to a meal while reading this; but at the very least it may give you a giggle if the question is as daft as I suspect it might be - but it is something I have noticed over the last few days, and felt the need for the wise words often found here.

I have noticed some dampness around my fingertips and on the left hand keys - mainly when playing A or G, and especially after a long practice (perhaps 45 minutes or so.) I have already asked about gurgling noises and making too much water in the mouth, so I'm sure it's all connected.

I'm just not sure if I might have a leak from those pads or if (as I suspect) I'm firing my mouth moisture to the sides of the mouthpice and hitting my fingers.

Stephen
 

Fraser Jarvis

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I used to get this with my Barone tenor in the winter, thing was it was always out on its stand in a unheated studio, when it was time to play I'm guessing it was a build up of condensation on the inside on the cold metal, never happened in summer though.

Another cause is fatigue, if your using to hard a reed or trying to hard for to long your mouth will produce excess saliva which will then exit from the A & B tone holes onto your hand, try a softer reed and see how you get on.
 

photoman

Daydream Believer
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County Limerick Ireland
Another cause is fatigue, if your using to hard a reed or trying to hard for to long your mouth will produce excess saliva which will then exit from the A & B tone holes onto your hand, try a softer reed and see how you get on.

I'd say you've put your finger on it (pun intended), Fraser :thumb: I am getting it with #1.5 and #2 reeds (having just changed up to a 2) so I doubt it will change much if I go back to the 1.5. But perhaps I'll learn to control the output of the mouth oil, sooner or later.

The question that you really answered was that it's not uncommon to get moisture coming out of the tones holes and it's not about a leak. Thanks for putting my mind at rest on that one.

Stephen
 
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kernewegor

Bon vivant, raconteur and twit
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cocks hill perranporth KERNOW
No nothing to do with having a leak, seems to be more common with tenors though...

I suspect that the shape of the neck on the tenor causes saliva to build up at the mp end of the neck. Then when the sax is tilted forwards while playing or putting the instrument down it goes down the bore in a dollop, instead of doing it continuously as the alto does. Alto spit would thus tend to dribble down the back of the sax, but tenor spit would surge down the front... where the main tone holes are.

Does Sonny Rollins continually see-saw his tenor to prevent spittle build-up, I wonder?

Well, it's a theory - what do our experts say?
 

photoman

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County Limerick Ireland
I suspect that the shape of the neck on the tenor causes saliva to build up at the mp end of the neck. Then when the sax is tilted forwards while playing or putting the instrument down it goes down the bore in a dollop, instead of doing it continuously as the alto does.

Worryingly, I'm playing an alto. I do actually have "pre-loved" tenor coming this week, so I can eventually compare spit dollop frequencies. :)

Stephen
 

kevgermany

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I don't think it's the neck, more the angle at which people tend to hold the sax - more leaning forward than with the alto. Bari's really bad for this.
 

jbtsax

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Kev is correct. When the bell is pulled back the condensation travels down the front of the sax where the open toneholes allow it to run out. The solution is simple. Learn to play like Pete Thomas. ;}

 

kernewegor

Bon vivant, raconteur and twit
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cocks hill perranporth KERNOW
Kev is correct. When the bell is pulled back the condensation travels down the front of the sax where the open toneholes allow it to run out. The solution is simple. Learn to play like Pete Thomas. ;}


The other answer is to double on harmonica and import harmonica technique to the sax - blow, suck, blow, suck... recycling is all the rage these days, after all.
 

Colin the Bear

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Burnley bb9 9dn
More a condensation problem, I would have thought, than a saliva problem. It happens more when the ambient temperature falls. I have to tip the moisture out when busking in winter and I've had an icicle on the end of the clarinet. The amount of fluid that needs to be drained from the u bend on the baritone is unreal. I can feel it building up when playing and tone and pitch seems to suffer.
 

photoman

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County Limerick Ireland
The amount of fluid that needs to be drained from the u bend on the baritone is unreal. I can feel it building up when playing and tone and pitch seems to suffer.

I have tipped some water from the bottom bow on the alto already, so I would be aware of the condensation issue. The room I practice in (my quite large study - from where I send this very missive) is not cold at the moment, and won't get too cold in the winter, and it is heated quite efficiently. So it may be just my own spittle output that is the issue.

I really started the thread because of the moisture on the A and B keys, and I was worred that was a leak - but it seems as if this isn't uncommon and it's not connected to a leak issue, so thanks for that reassurance.

Stephen
 

Young Col

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Coulsdon, London/Surrey
It happens to me sometimes too and I agree it's to do with angle. I play mostly alto and when I'm sitting down playing in a band I hold it to the side. I often get moisture coning fromthe A and B holes after a while. Standing up, with the sax more upright, it rarely happens.
 

jbtsax

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Seriously a few ideas that have helped me with the condensation/salivation problem are to draw the moisture from the mouthpiece back to where it came from during rests, and to take the neck off the sax and tap it on my knee during longer rests.
 

jrintaha

Senior Member
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283
Locality
Helsinki, Finland
It is indeed condensation. Even if your room is relatively warm, I'm certain it's less than the 36-37 degrees Celsius that your body and the air coming out of your body is. Not very applicable for the tenor sax I guess, but whenever I play the trumpet, I first blow a couple of lungfuls of slow warm air through the horn to warm up myself and the horn. Then I blow a couple of times with full force with the spit valves open to get the condensed water out of the horn. I do this same routine every time there's a rest in the trumpet line.
 

photoman

Daydream Believer
Messages
235
Locality
County Limerick Ireland
but whenever I play the trumpet, I first blow a couple of lungfuls of slow warm air through the horn to warm up myself and the horn. Then I blow a couple of times with full force with the spit valves open to get the condensed water out of the horn. I do this same routine every time there's a rest in the trumpet line.

I can just about remember back 40 years or more opening the spit valve on my Eb and Bb cornets that I played in brass bands, as a yoof. When I bought my first Sax recently, I was a bit surprised to see it didn't possess one, but now I realise that they are cunningly disguised as the A and B keys. :)
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
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Just north of Munich
I can just about remember back 40 years or more opening the spit valve on my Eb and Bb cornets that I played in brass bands, as a yoof. When I bought my first Sax recently, I was a bit surprised to see it didn't possess one, but now I realise that they are cunningly disguised as the A and B keys. :)

:)))

If you're missing one, get a bari... :mrcool
 

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