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Saxophone Maintenance Guide
By Peter Hart
2/14/2012 2:31:00 PM
Proper maintenance is essential to keeping your saxophone in top condition. Here's some handy tips to make sure that it stays in the best playing condition possible! 

Always pick the instrument up by the bell, never by the keys. The keys should not be touched until the neck strap is attached and you are ready to play. 

Only the instrument should be stored in the case. Storing music, metronomes, books, etc. in the case can cause bent keys. 

To remove excess water from the instrument simply turn it over (holding it by the bell) allowing the water to drain out. Sax Pad Saver Swabs are NOT recommended because they shed fibers causing leaks in the pads. They also tend to trap moisture inside the instrument. 

Never lay a saxophone down on the palm keys. This can bend the D key. Also, never lay a saxophone on a chair. If the instrument is not being played it belongs on a stand or in its case. 

Always use the end plug when storing the instrument in its case. This will protect the octave key from damage. 

Lubricate the neck tenon cork with cork grease* to allow the mouthpiece to fit easily. 

If the neck fits too tightly on the body, cleaning the neck tenon and receiver with a solvent will loosen the fit. If this does not fix the problem take the instrument to a qualified technician.  Do not force the neck into the receiver or you may bend it. 

To clean the mouthpiece use a mouthpiece cleaning brush* or an old toothbrush in warm (not hot) water. If the water is too hot you can warp the plastic. 

Chipped mouthpieces should be replaced. Also, many stock or instrument brand mouthpieces that come with the instruments are hard to play and should be replaced. Recommended mouthpiece brands include the Clark Fobes Debut for jazz or classical music, the Selmer C Star and Eugene Rousseau for classical music, the Meyer 5 or 6 for jazz alto sax and the Otto Link 6 for jazz tenor sax. Of these the Clark Fobes Debut* seem to be the most versatile and economical. 

Never use liquid polishes on the body of the instrument. Wiping down the instrument with a flannel cloth will remove saliva and grease, helping to preserve the finish. Use a Q-Tip to clean between the keys. 

*Lubricants, brushes and mouthpieces are available at West Music.

Tags: Saxophone Guide, Saxophone Tips, Saxophone Maintenance, Saxophone Maintenance Tips, Tips, Guides
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