Managing condensation/water

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    Default Managing condensation/water

    Has anyone heard of modifying a saxophone in some way to control/direct the water condensation that accumulates inside the sax? I'm interested in finding a way to do so. The reason being that it's very annoying to have water dripping out of the keys and getting on one's fingers, and the key touches.

    I'm thinking something relatively simple...like creating a super small channel for the water by putting some small scratches inside the bore to direct the water a certain way...obviously I don't have any technical expertise, but does anyone have any thoughts or information on this?

    Thanks!

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    Distinguished SOTW Coffee Guru milandro's Avatar
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    Default Re: Managing condensation/water

    My most effective advise has always been to hold the saxophone straight in front of you.

    Any tilting and holding on the side will generally produce condensed water vapor in the shape of drops coming out from the top toneholes as soon as you play those notes.

    It is not the first time that we talk about this and that someone comes up with an idea to divert the strem of condensed vapor.

    https://forum.saxontheweb.net/showth...re-getting-wet!

    So other people thought of waxing a path (or any grease) inside the body tube.

    I really think that this should be only an “ extrema ratio “ method

    anyway just a few threads about this thing of wet fingers

    https://forum.saxontheweb.net/showth...s-on-Yani-T992
    https://forum.saxontheweb.net/showth...re-getting-wet!
    https://forum.saxontheweb.net/showth...xcess-moisture
    https://forum.saxontheweb.net/showth...is-this-normal
    Life is just a bowl... some have cherries in it, some don’t. Those who have the cherries aren’t likely to share them though.

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    Default Re: Managing condensation/water

    Wipe em on yer pants.

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    Default Re: Managing condensation/water

    well op is not really complaining about having wet fingers but he is trying to find an alternative and a possible solution , so, the problem is not quite what to do with wet fingers (and I am sure that the idea to dry the fingers someplace has come to OP on his own).

    Quote Originally Posted by lukasali View Post
    Has anyone heard of modifying a saxophone in some way to control/direct the water condensation that accumulates inside the sax?!

    Again someone before came up with some sort of wax (if memory serves me right) grease path idea and I mentioned already that in a few posts on this matter (which has come up many times before).

    That might create a running path but will require some periodical applications and I am not sure of how this would be easily done.

    Scratching the bore is most certainly a bad idea
    Life is just a bowl... some have cherries in it, some don’t. Those who have the cherries aren’t likely to share them though.

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    Default Re: Managing condensation/water

    Are you playing a tenor? They tend to be worse for water on the finger. It can be to do with the angle you are holding the instrument. If you hold the tube so it is upright it may have less water running to the keys.
    I think some players are wetter when they begin to learn and as they develop tend to produce less moisture.

    Assuming there's no leaks there's a few things you can try.
    I think Stephen Howard once suggested spray furniture polish on an old pad saver and twisting that inside so it leaves trails of wax that'll direct the moisture away from toneholes. Might be worth a try but not that effective for me.
    I tried putting plastic inserts in the toneholes which worked fine but it messed up the intonation. I've also stuck bits of cotton to the inside of the bore which helped but anything inside the bore is going to get pushed when you swab. (You do swab/ use a pullthrough don't you?)
    So I've gone back to looking at posture. I play standing up and have any music at head height so I'm not tilting the sax.

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    Default Re: Managing condensation/water

    It happens. Focus on getting the best sound, and let the water find it's way.
    Go for The Tone,

    g



    "When you are doing well, don't forget to do good." - Sichan Siv.

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    Default Re: Managing condensation/water

    Pete Thomas has it all figured out.

    Pete Thomas.jpg

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    Default Re: Managing condensation/water

    Not sure about the climate in Oregon, but if you have different temp rooms / spots in your house, make sure to store the axe on a warm-ish place, or let the metal warm up before blowing. Couple of degrees a huge difference makes. (ever wondered where the word "tub" as in bathtub, etc. comes from? try playing a cold tuba and you'll know)
    Tenor: Ida Maria Grassi "jade roller" + Ponzol M2 SS Soprano: Amati Kraslice Super Classic + Yammy 6C

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    Default Re: Managing condensation/water

    Prevention:
    1. Play in a warm place.
    2. Don't blow anything other than moist air down the sax. Collect saliva in a reservoir behind the lower teeth, under the tongue, and swallow it when the opportunity arises.
    Contentment is not the fulfilment of what you want, but the realisation of how much you already have.

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    Default Re: Managing condensation/water

    Thanks for all the replies. As usual it brings up a few points I would, in the spirit of constructive conversation, like to address:

    - yes, I can and do wipe my fingers off on a cloth.
    - I can't practice in a worm place, at least for half the year. I live in Oregon, in an older house with inefficient heating and the cost of keeping the house warmer than 65 or so (Farenheit) is prohibitive for 3-4 months a year. Additionally, I like to practice outside at nicer times of year and even then it regularly gets a bit below 70F, the temperature at which it seems condensation becomes an issue.
    - my posture is ok. Besides, it's not that the dripping out of toneholes stars while playing; rather, it starts when I have to put the horn down or do something with my hands other than hold the sax vertical. This happens quite a bit as I teach classes and lessons, but also when practicing if I want to use a backing track or Youtube or drink water or something like that. It's simply not realistic to NEVER have the horn in a position other than perfectly vertical.
    - I should have clarified about "scratching" - I'm not suggesting doing this haphazardly, or myself. I'm imagining experienced techs (fortunately a few are close by) very carefully, delicately, tracing a line/lines inside the bore to act as a track for water to follow. This is similar to Milandro's idea of having grease inside, but since I regularly clean out the inside of the horn a grease path would not last long at all. Maybe a small trail of epoxy or paint would function similarly...
    - Yes, of course I can ignore it and keep playing. But it is still annoying, (slippery keys, mental distraction) and seeing as I'm spending many hours a day with the horn in my hands reducing the water drippage would be a not-insignificant improvement of my saxophoning experience.
    - I'd most especially interested to hear what repair techs have to say; whether they've thought about this or seen it done ...so please chime in if you haven't already! Less interested in being told by non-techs why it's a bad idea. (But thanks for watching out for me, I know your intentions are good )

    Finally, I don't post that often, so people on the forum haven't really gotten to know me, but I've been playing a long time (25 years last September) and teach and perform professionally. Also have a master's degree in music. Just to be helpful so you all can gauge where I'm coming from and don't have to worry about be attacking the bore of my horn with a power tool or some similar tomfoolery.

    Thanks Milandro for the links to old threads - part of the reason I posted this one is because it was hard to find old ones on this topic. Gonna go read those now!

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    Default Re: Managing condensation/water

    Oh - and I didn't even mention the biggest problem! It isn't distraction/irritation or slippery keys, it's that quite often there's enough condensation that it forms a bubble between the tonehole and the pad on certain toneholes. This means when the C# tonehole opens up sometimes the bubble of water actually stops the horn from venting at the right spot be forming an airtight connection form the entire circumference of the tonehole to the circumference of the pad (and occasionally resonator) and you end up with a note that is flat, straight up the wrong pitch, or speaks with a significant delay (or not at all). That's what started all this - once a technical problem starts messing with the music, and not just my comfort, I'm looking for a more permanent solution.

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    Default Re: Managing condensation/water

    Quote Originally Posted by lukasali View Post
    ...Besides, it's not that the dripping out of toneholes stars while playing; rather, it starts when I have to put the horn down or do something with my hands other than hold the sax vertical. ...
    Are you using a sax stand?

    And anything you apply to the bore, including scratches, is unlikely to overcome the effects of gravity. Basically you have two choices:
    1. Apply a water-repellant such that the condensed droplets clump together and run more readily to where gravity takes them.
    2. Apply a surfactant eg detergent, such that the condensate spreads evenly over the surface, and seeps to wherever gravity takes it.
    Contentment is not the fulfilment of what you want, but the realisation of how much you already have.

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    Default Re: Managing condensation/water

    Quote Originally Posted by lukasali View Post
    - yes, I can and do wipe my fingers off on a cloth.
    You might take your head out of your hands. The last thing a reasonable person would suspect is that a 25 year player/teacher/professional would ask such a question, and I really and truly thought it was coming from a rank beginner, and, clearly, so did Dr. G. My response was meant as HUMOR, you know, when you say something meant to be ridiculously obvious, and was identical in meaning to Dr. G's, but more gently put.

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    Default Re: Managing condensation/water

    Quote Originally Posted by lukasali View Post
    - I can't practice in a worm place, at least for half the year. I live in Oregon, in an older house with inefficient heating and the cost of keeping the house warmer than 65 or so (Farenheit) is prohibitive for 3-4 months a year.
    If you have a playing room that can be closed off with a door, you could use a space heater to heat it up for your practice sessions. Turn it on maybe an hour before you start to practice, and leave the horn in the room so it slowly warms up as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by lukasali View Post
    Oh - and I didn't even mention the biggest problem! It isn't distraction/irritation or slippery keys, it's that quite often there's enough condensation that it forms a bubble between the tonehole and the pad on certain toneholes. This means when the C# tonehole opens up sometimes the bubble of water actually stops the horn from venting at the right spot be forming an airtight connection form the entire circumference of the tonehole to the circumference of the pad (and occasionally resonator) and you end up with a note that is flat, straight up the wrong pitch, or speaks with a significant delay (or not at all).
    This occasionally happens to me (last night, in fact), although it's much more likely to occur on soprano, and to a lesser extent on alto, than on tenor. I suppose the smaller the bubble needed, the easier it is to form. While I don't have a foolproof method of preventing the problem, I've found that preemptive measures can help. Don't wait for the water to start dripping out, or the bubbles to start growing, before you take action. After you've been playing for a little while, take off the neck and shake it out vigorously to remove excess water. Better on the floor than down the bore! If you have a chance, swab out the horn occasionally during a session. (This is much easier to do quickly with a Pad Saver-type stick swab than with a pull-through swab.) When I can, I inspect the palm key pads for moisture. You clear any drops away temporarily by using a piece of absorbent paper as a blotter, or by opening the key and blowing hard on the pad.

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    Default Re: Managing condensation/water

    Quote Originally Posted by lukasali View Post
    Oh - and I didn't even mention the biggest problem! It isn't distraction/irritation or slippery keys, it's that quite often there's enough condensation that it forms a bubble between the tonehole and the pad on certain toneholes. This means when the C# tonehole opens up sometimes the bubble of water actually stops the horn from venting at the right spot be forming an airtight connection form the entire circumference of the tonehole to the circumference of the pad (and occasionally resonator) and you end up with a note that is flat, straight up the wrong pitch, or speaks with a significant delay (or not at all). That's what started all this - once a technical problem starts messing with the music, and not just my comfort, I'm looking for a more permanent solution.
    The more details you share, the better (more specific) answers you'll receive.

    If you are forming bubbles, then you need to change the surface such that it cannot form a bubble. I'll suggest two things: 1) Treat your pads with a waterproofing agent - I like Runyon "Pad Dope", and 2) Take the keys off the offending tone hole and treat the interior surfaces with something like Lemon Pledge or Meguiars Polish (an auto body product). Either way, you want to create a surface on the metal that water will bead up on rather than flow.

    And yes, if you know that condensate if preferentially forming inside a normally closed key, periodically remove it before it creates a problem. For instance, I know when my horn is starting to accumulate moisture inside the palm D - so I open the key and blow the moisture off the pad. Done.
    Go for The Tone,

    g



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    Default Re: Managing condensation/water

    The condensation begins inside the neck. If you remove the neck regularly and tap the tenon end vigorously on your thigh you will both remove the moisture and look like you peed your pants at the same time.

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    Default Re: Managing condensation/water

    Quote Originally Posted by saxoclese View Post
    The condensation begins inside the neck. If you remove the neck regularly and tap the tenon end vigorously on your thigh you will both remove the moisture and look like you peed your pants at the same time.
    I don't have time during a set to remove the neck - a quick puff at the palm D is all I need.

    Your mileage will vary.
    Go for The Tone,

    g



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    Default Re: Managing condensation/water

    I can confidently say in my 40+ yrs of playing, I've never known someone to form SO much spit/condensation that a "bubble" forms between the pad and tone hole. Honestly and not trying to be a wise guy (yes, this is rare), I think you literally need a spittoon or something, so your incredibly high level of spit goes somewhere other than inside of your horn. Seriously....maybe have a cup or empty water bottle you can make your "deposits" in between tunes or multiple measures of rests.
    Regarding the creation of a "spit tunnel" inside the bore of your horn, again, I'm really not trying to be a wise arse, but that's just plain silly. Simply because I can pretty much assure you that your spit doesn't have a pre-conceived path it travels. You certainly don't hold your horn perfectly still or at the exact same angle when you're playing, so something like that would be useless. I go back to the cup/bottle idea. I really don't see any other solution.

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    Default Re: Managing condensation/water

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr G View Post
    I don't have time during a set to remove the neck - a quick puff at the palm D is all I need.

    Your mileage will vary.
    That's what bass solos are for.

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    Default Re: Managing condensation/water

    Quote Originally Posted by saxoclese View Post
    The condensation begins inside the neck. If you remove the neck regularly and tap the tenon end vigorously on your thigh you will both remove the moisture and look like you peed your pants at the same time.
    BONUS!

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