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Maintenance and Guides

How to care for your

Saxophone

Assembly

Saxophone
  1. Place your case flat on the floor or a sturdy, level surface.
  2. Make sure that the case is right-side-up. This is usually indicated by the logo being on the top of the case and the handle is on the bottom half. The latches of the case usually flip up when opening. Release the latches and open the case.
  3. Remove the reed from its protective cover and place the reed carefully in your mouth to begin soaking.
  4. Place the neck strap around your neck.
  5. Pick up the saxophone by its bell, and fasten it to the neck strap through the neck strap ring. Remove the end cap from the instrument body.
  6. Place the neck into the saxophone body carefully with the neck cork pointing back at you, being sure to place the neck key ring around the octave key. Tighten the neck screw only enough to keep the neck from rotating in the body of the sax with a little pressure.
  7. Note: Some soprano saxophones will not have a separate neck.

  8. Remove the mouthpiece and ligature from the mouthpiece cover and place the reed under the ligature by sliding the “thick” end under the ligature with the flat part of the reed against the flat part of the mouthpiece. Align the tip of the reed with the tip of the mouthpiece and tighten the ligature screws firmly. If the ligature has two screws, the screws should be over the reed. If the ligature has one screw, the screw should be opposite the reed, or “on top”.
  9. Slide the mouthpiece onto the neck approximately ¾” for Soprano/Alto saxes and 1-1-1/4“ for Tenor/Baritone saxes. Grease the neck cork with cork grease if the mouthpiece does not go on easily. Make sure the mouthpiece is oriented so when placed in your mouth the reed is touching your bottom lip.

After Use Care

  1. Remove the mouthpiece and then reed from the neck of the instrument.
  2. Loosen the ligature screw(s) and remove the reed. Wipe it gently on a soft cloth and place it carefully back into the protective holder.
  3. With a microfiber cloth, wipe down the inside and outside of the mouthpiece removing as much moisture as possible. Place the mouthpiece and ligature back in the mouthpiece cap and then in the case.
  4. Remove the neck from the instrument after loosening the neck screw. You may have a neck cleaning swab that absorbs moisture - run it through the neck and remove it from the neck. Place the neck back in the instrument case.
  5. Hold the bell of the instrument, and remove it from the neck strap.
  6. Swab out the instrument by inserting the swab weight and string through the bell. Pull it gently through the body of the instrument after rotating the instrument to have the weight and string fall through the body and come out where the neck attaches. Do this multiple times to remove as much moisture as possible. This will keep the instrument clean, and will prolong the life of the pads, keeping them working properly for far longer than if they were not swabbed.
  7. Place the end plug in the body of the instrument to protect the octave key, and properly place the instrument in its case.
  8. Remove the neck strap, return it to the case, and close the case.
  9. Note: Avoid placing excess items such as music books as the extra weight can cause damage to the case overtime. In addition, music placed on top of the instrument may bend the rods and keys, causing the instrument to not function properly.

    Note: Ensure that the instrument is stored in a proper environment out of extreme temperature and humidity levels. Avoid leaving or storing your instrument in hot or cold cars, attics, basements, and garages.

Regular and Preventative Maintenance

  1. Brush your teeth prior to playing. This helps prevent the acidity in your mouth from damaging the instrument and food particles from building up in the instrument and decomposing.
  2. Wipe down the instrument of fingerprints and moisture.
  3. Occasionally scrub out the mouthpiece using dish soap, warm water, and a mouthpiece brush.
  4. Handle the instrument with care. The slightest bump or dent can throw the keys out of alignment.
  5. Do not allow pets to get into the instrument case.
  6. If possible, do not store in the instrument in the truck of a car or other hot/cold place. This can damage the glue that holds the pads in the instrument.
  7. Once a year, take the instrument into a repair shop for yearly maintenance. They will:
    • Clean dirty pads or replace them as necessary.
    • Thoroughly clean and sanitize the mouthpiece and neck.
    • Replace any missing/damaged corks or felts.
    • Adjust “regulations” between coordinating keys, oil and grease moving parts as appropriate.
    • Check to see that all screws are staying in place.
    • Play test, vacuum the case, and advise if they see any concerns that can be avoided by how the instrument is handled/stored.
  8. Do not attempt to make repairs to the instrument yourself, even if they seem very simple! We have seen many damaged instruments from well intentioned players, friends, or family members attempting seemingly easy repairs. It is ALWAYS less expensive to take the instrument in before it is damaged by incorrect repair.

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