Saxophones are beautiful instruments, but they can be uneasy to keep clean. The method we make music on sax, like most wind instruments, is by constantly blowing air and moisture through the body. This can result in a thickening of dirt and bacteria, which can cause various issues and, in rare cases, the player’s health.
Whether you play your saxophone regularly or store it in place, you should clean it properly to avoid bacteria build-up. That’s why a regular saxophone cleaning will help you and your instrument stay healthy and avoid costly repairs.
Read on as we’ll walk you through the process of how to clean your sax to keep your instrument sounding great!
Why Is It Important to Clean Your Saxophone?
The saxophone is a fragile instrument. It is complex with many corresponding keys, rods, and a longer string, and even the tiniest knock or leak can significantly impact your ability to play. As a saxophonist, you need to put care on your instrument.
Did you know that if you take much care of it from the start, you may prevent a lot of costly repairs? Saxophone maintenance and cleaning are fairly simple, whether you’re new to playing it or have neglected it for far too long.
What You’ll Need to Clean Your Sax
First, double-check that you have the necessary cleaning product for your Sax. If you have a cleaning kit, it is a wise investment to save you time and work. If you haven’t, then get the necessary materials you can find at home.
- Use little swabs or rags that can pass through the mouthpiece.
- A small toothbrush or bottle brush
- Polishing cloth or handkerchief
- Cotton buds
How to Clean and Maintain Your Saxophone
Soak up some knowledge and know-how to clean your saxophone with these easy steps. A little bit of elbow grease will go a long way towards restoring that old friend to its former glory.
Cleaning the interior
When you’re done performing, remove the neck and mouthpiece from your saxophone and set them aside. Use the swab you have to absorb moisture by pulling it through your body multiple times. Swabbing helps dry the instrument’s interior, prevents bacteria, and removes any build-up of particles from foods or saliva.
Then hold the horn upside down, go through inserting a flexible swab through the neck’s bigger base aperture. You can also run water through the neck, but make sure the cork does not come into contact with the water, or it will swell and deform.
If you find fingerprints on the saxophone’s body, use the polish cloth or pads included with your maintenance kit to wipe them away. Pay great attention to the keys and rods that come into contact with your hands. Perspiration and natural finger oils from some sax players are highly acidic, and if the keys are not maintained clean, they will soon rust the metal plating.
Cleaning the saxophone mouthpiece
Because it comes into touch with your mouth, you’ll want to clean it frequently. Make sure you remove the reed and keep it in an appropriate reed case each time you finish playing.
Then clean the sax mouthpiece with a mouthpiece brush or any small brush to remove any residue. Pull a clean, lint-free cloth through it to dry and remove any particles missed by running cold or lukewarm water through it.
If your mouthpiece has scratches, you can use sandpaper or a fingernail sanding block to resin it with light marks. To smooth it out, work your way up to finer grits.
After each usage, wipe it down completely with a clean rag or cotton swab. Bacteria and chemicals will not thicken as a result of this.
Drying the sticky keys
If you have time, go around the saxophone and remove any moisture from the pads with a small pad drying cloth. You can place a cloth sheet between the pad, and the tone hole is a good idea.
Then, pull the paper out gently while holding the key down, eliminating any sugars and build-up. You may have to repeat this step to remove all of the fouling substance. But also, remember that brushing your teeth before playing is a fantastic method to avoid sticky keys.
Finishing it up
After you’re done cleaning every part of your sax, it’s time to reassemble it again. It should be gorgeous to look at, feel like, and play!
Loose screws should be tightened. Then make sure you put your cleaning swab in warm water.
If you think your saxophone needs general cleaning and repair due to the damage, check this out at the music shop. Minor repairs will be made, and worn pads or corks will be replaced.
Make a Good Onset on the Saxophone
If you only remember one from this blog, make it this: wipe your saxophone after each performance. It’s a simple practice that can help you save time, energy, and money.
So hopefully, this guide will assist you in holding on to your horn for a longer period. Start to take some responsibility and start cleaning!