Simple Saxophone Maintenance
Saxophone Maintenance. Saxophone care. As the owner of a saxophone, you need to give it a little bit of love, attention and look after it.
While a saxophone may look complicated, it is very easy to provide the preventative saxophone maintenance that it needs all by yourself.
In this video I show you 4 simple saxophone care ways to keep your saxophone in perfect working order.
Simple Saxophone Maintenance – 4 quick and easy ways to look after your saxophone.
A saxophone is an expensive and complicated piece of musical amazingness.
Just like a car, you need to be able to keep it in good working order , otherwise it will cost far too much when it breaks down.
Here are four simple ways that show you how to look after your saxophone.
1. Mouthpiece cap.
Get into the habit of using a mouthpiece cap.
A mouthpiece cap or mouthpiece cover will protect your reed. It is very easy to break a reed by bumping or knocking it on your shoulder, on your chin, on your shirt, on the chair you are sitting on, on the curtains, on random strangers who happen to be walking past.
When you are not playing your sax, put the mouthpiece cover on !
If you know that you will not be playing for a few minutes, then do yourself a favour and protect your reed from yourself and others by putting your mouthpiece cap on.
You probably got one with your sax anyway.
2. Keep the inside of your saxophone clean.
Your breath is moist. It contains residue from what you ate for lunch and what you’ve been drinking.
It’s not as if you are deliberately pouring gallons of saliva into your saxophone – far from it. But, if you leave the condensation from your breath inside your saxophone then over time you will cause problems for your saxophone which are expensive to fix.
It is easy to clean the inside of your saxophone.
Use a “pad saver” fluffy thing. You can get them from music shops or online to suit and fit your saxophone – they come in specific sizes for soprano, alto and tenor saxophones. Watch the video above to see mine in action.
Or, you can use a “pull through” cleaning cloth. This is essentially a piece of string with a small weight on one end and a soft cloth on the other. You can feed the weight into one end of your saxophone, then pull it out the other end. This drags the cloth through the inside of your sax and wipes off the condensation, lunch chunks and cookie crumbs that you’ve left inside.
Also, don’t forget to clean the inside of your mouthpiece. You can use a cloth, or a rag, or a pull through cleaning cloth.
Please make sure you clean the inside of your saxophone and your mouthpiece EVERY time you pack it up and put it away.
3. Tighten the screws.
A saxophone, at first glance, looks like a complicated piece of machinery. So many rods and screws and springs and little pieces !
The screws that hold your saxophone keys in place are quite small. Over time, these screws can come loose.
They need to be tightened again on a vaguely regular basis.
You do not need any technical or mechanical knowledge or know-how, or a degree in quantum physics to fix this.
All you need is a very small screwdriver.
Every month or so, sit down on a chair with your saxophone in your lap. Check carefully all of the rods and screws – and using your very small screw driver simply tighten the screws back so that they are flush with the top of the socket that they are in.
There is no need to tighten them up too much. Simply re-seat them so that they are just like all of the others. No big deal.
4. Use cigarette “roll your own” papers.
Smoking is bad for you.
Every now and then, the various keys and pads on your saxophone can get sticky and not open or close properly. When this happens, the notes don’t work or your saxophone can sound a little like a strangled duck.
By inserting a cigarette rollie paper in between the sticky pad and the main body of your sax, closing the key and gently pulling out the paper, you can get rid of the gunk, moisture and left over potato crisps and pizza.
Rollie papers are like very fine sandpaper. They are slightly abrasive but will not cause damage to your expensive instrument. Please don’t use real sandpaper !
They are also quite absorbent too. They can suck up the moisture which is also a good thing from a saxophone maintenance perspective too.
This process works for all sticky saxophone pads. A sticky G sharp key is the most common pad that may need a little TLC, saxophone care and saxophone maintenance.
If you have any tips for looking after a saxophone, then please let me know in the comments below.
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Keep playing your saxophone !
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