Care of Your Saxophone
This simple maintenance routine will keep your saxophone playing and looking its best for many years.
Before you play
- Place the thin end of your reed in your mouth to moisten it while you assemble the rest of the saxophone.
- If the cork on the neck is dry, rub a small amount of cork grease on it.
- Lift the body of your saxophone out of the case by the bell.
- Hold the body of the saxophone with your left hand. Loosen the neck screw, and remove the end plug. Gently twist the neck into the body with your right hand, taking care not to bend the octave key. Tighten the neck screw.
- Twist the mouthpiece (with the cap still on it) gently onto the neck so that it covers approximately ½ of the cork.
- Remove the mouthpiece cap and with the ligature already around the mouthpiece, slide the thick end of the reed under the ligature and align the tip of the reed with the tip of the mouthpiece. Tighten the ligature screws to hold the reed firmly in place.
- Put the neck strap around your neck and attach the hook to the ring on the back of the saxophone. Adjust the length of the strap so you can comfortably put the mouthpiece in your mouth.
When you finish playing
- Disassemble your saxophone in reverse order above.
- Use your swab to remove moisture from inside your saxophone’s body and neck. Drop the weighted end and string down the bell and turn the instrument upside down so the weight falls through the body; pull the swab through the body to absorb the moisture. (The tan leather pads under each key seal the air flow when you play; moisture will cause the pads to get stiff and leak air, making your saxophone harder to play.)
- Remove the reed from your mouthpiece and place it in your reed holder. (Your reed holder protects your reed and keeps it from warping.)
- Use a lacquer polish cloth to wipe the fingerprints off your saxophone. (Your fingerprints contain acid that will etch into your saxophone's finish and make it dull.)
- Put your saxophone in its case and fasten both latches. (Most saxophone damage occurs when the instrument is left out on a bed or a chair, or on the floor. If you'd like to leave it out, use a saxophone stand.)
- Check for loose objects in your case that could bounce into your saxophone, scratching or denting it. Don't put anything on top of your saxophone in its case as it would press on the keys and bend them out of adjustment.
- Clean your mouthpiece with a mouthpiece brush and warm water.
- Clean the finish of your saxophone thoroughly with a saxophone polish cloth. (The saxophone polish cloth contains the right amount of lacquer polish to clean the finish. Liquid polish is not recommended because it can get on the pads and ruin them, and brass polish should never be used as it removes a saxophone's clear lacquer finish.)
- Use a small key brush to clean the dust and dirt between the keys.
- Wash out your swab or replace it with a new one.
- Apply a small amount of key oil to the pivot points of your keys. (Take care not to apply too much key oil as it will get on the pads as well as drip into your case. To apply the right amount, put a drip of oil on a piece of paper; then dip a toothpick into it and touch it to the pivot points on your saxophone.)
- Bring your saxophone to the Amro repair shop at least once a year and whenever you feel it's not playing its best. The technicians will inspect and test it free of charge, usually while you wait. And if you have Amro’s Maintenance & Replacement plan, any adjustments and repair it needs are free.