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Saxophone Care and Cleaning Tips

Published on 30/01/2012

  • Saxophone Care and Cleaning Tips

Regular maintenance is important for saxophones, and is your best insurance against costly repair bills.

Always hold the saxophone by the bell where there are no keys. Keys can easily get bent from rough handling. Take care when attaching the gooseneck to the body as the octave mechanism can easily get bent. 

The cork on the gooseneck needs an application of cork grease. It will prevent the cork from drying and disintegrating and eases putting the mouthpiece on and provides a good seal. A new cork joint will require greasing for the first few uses - thereafter at least twice a month or more if the gooseneck seems tight. Do not apply too much in one application - always wipe away the excess with a cloth and avoid getting it over the rest of the instrument, especially on the pads.

Ensure that the inside of the saxophone is dried every time it has been played using a pull through cleaner. Cleaning the inside after every time you play will lengthen the life of your pads. When you play, the moisture in your breath condenses on the inside of the instrument. Pads suck up the water like sponges. If you don’t do anything about it they will get hard and brittle. Besides being noisy, sooner or later hard and brittle pads will start leaking. 

Always remove your reed after playing and store it in your reed guard holder. Wash your mouthpiece in warm soapy water at least once a week. Do not use hot water as this can discolour your mouthpiece. A mouthpiece cushion provides a more comfortable resting position for your top teeth and helps prolong the life of the mouthpiece.

Pads can stick, especially the pads that are closed when at rest. Try to prevent the problem by not eating lollies or sugary drinks before you play.

Do not keep music or anything else in the case unless there is a separate compartment specifically for this as there is a risk of bending keywork when the case is being closed.

If you play regularly you can leave your saxophone on a sax stand. This will not cause any damage to the instrument. However, make sure it is kept somewhere safe and on a solid surface.

Other articles are Flute Care and Cleaning TipsClarinet Care and Cleaning Tips and Turmpet Care and Cleaning Tips.