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Saxophone Maintenance

Tips for Every Day

1. Don’t pick up the instrument by the rods or keys. This can bend keys very easily. Lift it out of the case by the bell.
2. Wipe the neck joint and receiver on the body of the saxophone with a cloth to remove any build-up. This will make assembly easier. The neck should fit well. Don’t tighten the screw too tight. This could damage the neck. If the neck is loose, it can affect the playability of the lower notes. Bring the instrument to a repair technician to adjust the neck if it is too loose.
3. Apply a small amount of cork grease to the neck cork to help the mouthpiece fit on without having to use excessive force. The neck cork can wear down and become too loose. If the mouthpiece slides around on the cork (especially if it slides in as you are playing) it needs to be replaced.
4. When screwing on the ligature, don’t tighten the screws too tight. This will restrict the movement of the reed and could damage the ligature. Always leave the screws loose as you put it away on the mouthpiece. Leaving it tightened can warp the mouthpiece as it rests in the case.
5. When you are finished playing, run a cleaning swab through the instrument to remove moisture. Wipe off the body and keys with a cloth to remove oils left by your fingers.
6. Store your saxophone in the case when you are not playing it. Do not place any paper or music in the case. This presses on the saxophone and can bend the keys.
7. If you see any screws that are coming loose, take your saxophone to a repair shop to have it adjusted. Don’t try to adjust them yourself – you can over-tighten the screws and cause damage.

Tips for Yearly Maintenance

1. You should have your instrument check and adjusted by a repair shop at least once every year. If you use the same instrument for marching and concert band, you should have the instrument adjusted after marching band so it is in top condition for concert band. Spring is the best time to have your instrument serviced because repair shops are not overloaded.
2. Don’t let your instrument sit unused over the summer. First of all, practicing will keep your skills sharp. And, small bugs can get into the case if it sits too long and eat the felt of the pads. That would be an expensive repair!