A saxophone is a hardy instrument and generally requires fairly low maintenance. However, by ensuring you follow a few easy guidelines, it will undoubtably give you extra years of good service.
Saxophone Maintenance Tips
Once purchased, the costliest item on your saxophone is without doubt the reeds. These should each last several weeks under regular playing before the need to be replaced. When it comes to reeds in saxophone maintenance, longer life expectancy can be helped by taking care not to catch the tip of the reed on your collar or lapel or replacing the cap in a hurry; any split to the reed will end up with it being thrown in the bin. If you like to remove the reed from the mouthpiece for cleaning purposes, place it in a reed guard to keep it flat.
Keep the cork on the crook in good condition by using cork grease, this will keep the cork supple, ensuring it doesn’t crack or split.
Join the Crook to the body by opening the screw where the crook fits and gently (with a side to side action) ensure the smooth fitting of the crook before tightening the screw. The crook should be in line with the body of the sax, although a little adjustment may help with personal comfort.
Always, always attach the strap to the ring at the back of the instrument and once it is over your head and the strap is comfortably seated on your neck, adjust it so the mouthpiece is level with your lips. You need to have full confidence in playing the instrument without worrying about its safety.
For saxophone maintenance after your practice session is over, some players like to keep their sax on a stand. This is a good idea as it encourages you to pick up the instrument randomly without the need of timely re-assembly. Perhaps a good idea however only if you’re free of clumsy children and pets. Arguably you also won’t need a pad saver as the air is readily flowing throughout the instrument drying the pads, though it is worthwhile dropping a pull through cleaner through the sax to remove internal condensation.
If you are disassembling the sax, do everything in reverse, remembering to replace the plug stop where the crook was. A pad saver may be a good idea at this point if the instrument is being returned to its case as there is no air flow to assist the pads in drying out. Just as if you were leaving the instrument out, drop your pull through cleaner through the sax to remove internal condensation.
If your saxophone is of a gold lacquer finish, a light cleaning with a lacquer cloth helps keep the instrument free of grease and finger sweat. Just as if your sax is of a silver finish, a silver cloth does a similar job.
You can also buy several other perhaps non-essential items for saxophone maintenance to keep your instrument in tip top condition such as mouthpieces brushes and patches, crook pad savers and reed cases.
We at Booths recommend a service for saxophone maintenance once a year, which involves stripping the instrument down, cleaning and re-oiling the rods and pivot points, checking spring tensions and keyworks regulation and finally pressure testing the instrument.
We hope you found our guide on saxophone maintenance useful and should you have further questions or are seeking an instrument repair service in Bolton, please get in touch.
The Booths Music repair shop is located in our town centre workshop in conjunction with Studio Circle Office Space.