How to care for your saxophone

How to care for your saxophone

If you care for your saxophone you will get higher value for your investment. Here are a few tips:

  • Don’t drink (other than water) or eat while or just prior to playing. Food particles, sugars from drinks etc, are very prone to affecting pad action and causing sticking pads. Aim to rinse your mouth with water before playing.
  • Keep an eye on the state of your mouthpiece and reed. Never use a chipped / split reed. If your mouthpiece looks like it might need a wash, it most certainly will!  Your mouthpiece connects to you and comes into contact with a great deal of saliva, providing a perfect breeding ground for bacteria. A simple wash in warm water (not hot) with a mild washing up liquid and a good rinse to finish is perfect.
  • Always store reeds in a reed holder – don’t leave them on the mouthpiece.
  • Always use an end plug – these protect the octave mechanism and help to secure your saxophone in its hard case.
  • Use the neck screw! Ease it off to assemble the neck (using a twisting motion) and always tighten when aligned.
  • Always keep the neck joint clean and polished – never use grease or any oil / lubricant. This simply attracts dirt and grit.
  • If your neck cork feels tight and resistant, apply a little cork grease. Don’t overgrease – this can sometimes result in the glue which holds the cork dissolving.
  • Never hold your saxophone by the neck.
  • NEVER LET YOUR NECK STRAP HOLD YOUR SAXOPHONE. The neck strap is a weight bearing support. It will NOT hold your saxophone on its own.
  • After playing, clean internals of the saxophone removing moisture with a pull-through.  This will prevent excessive bacteria forming.
  • If your pull through gets stuck…take it to a repairer to remove.
  • After playing, aim to give the exterior a light clean with a polishing cloth to remove any acids contained in perspiration. Never use a liquid polish on your saxophone.
  • Do not store excessive amounts of accessories or books in your case. However handy it may seem, cases are designed to hold your instruments. Any excess pressure on the case will result in pressure on your instrument.
  • If annual servicing is carried out, oiling of mechanism is not necessary. This can produce unnecessary problems if not performed correctly.
  • Never use excessive force or pressure with your saxophone – if it doesn’t feel right, it’s probably not, always ask advice.