Saxophone Forum


by squibcake
(4 posts)
9 years ago

cleaning pads

I'm a first-time poster here on this forum, so I just thought I'd say hello. I've been playing saxophones for about 14 years, only becoming really serious about it over the past 5 years. Over the past couple of years, I've been fortunate enough to land gigs with a few rock groups and a 10-piece deep funk ensemble that plays here in NYC. I've been studying jazz improv for the past few years, and I am doing workshops and taking lessons right now. I guess I joined this forum because I've heard about a thousand different opinions about how to keep your pads stick-free, but I'm unsure about what method I'd like to use. I've been wiping off my tenor pads with a slip of paper saturated with ronsonol lighter fluid, but i'm a bit worried that the solvent may eat through the pads. I just picked up a selmer super balanced action alto and spent an arm and a leg overhauling it and installing new pads and original selmer metal resonators. so i definitely don't want to do anything that could potentially harm my investment. any ideas? Thanks!

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  1. by cjbass
    (14 posts)

    9 years ago

    Re: cleaning pads

    Don't use any solvent on your pads. You are right by using a piece of paper, just insert it close the key and gently pull the paper out. I try to do this before I play so the pads are dry (this one is a matter of opinion, i don't like the paper tearing and little pieces getting caught on the pad). Some people say to use a dollar bill to do it, I personally don't want the oil and dirt of tons of fingerprints going on my leather pads. I try to use only white paper, so that its ink free. I play frequently and clean the pads about once a week, or when they get bad, but I dry out the horn after I play, everytime. Cheers Chris

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    1. by knorter
      (205 posts)

      9 years ago

      Re: cleaning pads

      Welcome, a few of the repair people in NYC use lighter fluid, I do too but I only use it when it needs it. Try using a little on a Q-tip so you can dig into the grooves of the pad. Be careful not to press to hard. Also make sure you use a swab after every session it really makes a difference. I've also seen repairmen use denatured alcohol. If you use a good swab you may only need to clean a few pads every few weeks. Generally I'm playing at least 5-6 hours a day almost every day and find that only a few keys need help every few weeks. Yamaha or Selmer makes a product that I would not recommend, it's powdered paper and also a liquid powdery substance. Both of these fix the problem initially but then they add to the problem later by creating more stickiness. On the swab subject--just don't use those puffy things that you stick into the horn. If you do use one make sure that after you swab you remove it from the horn until it's dry. People swab their horns and then stick the thing back in the horn (with all the moisture still on it) and put it in the case. Never made any sense to me:)

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