Accessories HElpp!! my swab is suck in a neck

Ben Walter

New Member
i recently got yamaha alto sax. Yesterday I tried to take the neck off to use the pull-through on the body and big swab out the neck. It just won't shift at all. Now it seems to have seized up completely and I don't want to force it and bend or break something.

Does anyone have tips for how to safely shift it this time and for how to prevent it happening again ? Maybe some selective warming up might help the socket to expand.

please help me


Take it to a sax technician!

I'm guessing the swab you used was too large for an alto neck (you need to get the right sized one, and make sure it goes in smoothly, not in some crumpled heap, and pull gently, always pull gently)

If the swab is stuck in the neck, and you don't have a local friendly technician, then you could try sending something gently back the other way - like a wrapped metal coat hanger with the end bent and covered (wrapped in a hanky, say, to prevent scratches, and slightly bendy to go around the bend, and definitely protect the sax from the risk of scratching by covering the end) , very very gently, but the best thing would be to get hold of the bottom end of the swab (maybe thin nose pliers?) and pull it back out of the large end.

But personally I wouldn't go that route, I would just go to the sax technician, I couldn't bear the thought of damaging my sax.

JBT sax will no doubt be along soon with great advice.
Just re-reading your the neck still on the saxophone?
Or is the swab stuck in the neck which is not on the sax?

Either way, I think you need a sax technician. If you've tried to pull the body pull-through, through the neck, it didn't stand a chance!

And a technician may be able to remove the bottom bend and bell and pull the pull-through back out from up the body and neck of the sax.
As I understand it, you can't get the crook off the sax and in trying to move it, it is now completely stuck. If that's correct the I would try to cool the neck by wrapping a very cold wet cloth around it as close to the joint as you can. Then wrap a hot wet cloth around the top of the sax tube as close as you can. Hopefully one will contract and one will expand releasing the crook. If this does work then clean the inside of the ten non with a cloth soaked in vingear and do the same on the crook. The joint needs to be clean and dust/dirt/grease FREE. Don't be tempted to grease the joint as this will attract dirt and cause more problems. Good luck
This does sound like an assembly error of some description - good advice above. Do NOT apply force - there are lots of things that will bend and go out of alignment very easily and which will cost you a lot of money to have put right.
I'm a bit confused here is the swab stuck in the neck of the sax, or the neck is stuck on the body and can't be removed, or the neck is stuck on the body and the swab stuck in the that would suck...:headscratch:

best advice is above take it to a good sax repair person...

Greg S.
A good pal of mine once got a pullthrough stuck in his crook and took it to a local “repairer”. Said repairer decided to add lighter fluid and burn it out! A call of ‘help, I need a new Selmer crook” came shortly after…. :(
Reminds me of the Dads Army episode when Pikey got a pullthrough stuck in his rifle, he and "Uncle" Arthur couldn`t free it - then Mainwaring tried to remove it with a stair rod which got stuck also and in trying to pull that out destroyed the bannister rail at the church hall .. Pikeys Mum walked in , looked at it and the thing fell out

Moral to this tale Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned .if you get a pull through stuck in your horn , get the mother in law to do the gorgon trick on it , it`ll fly out like a ferret from a drainpipe .
I have a set of these hemostats in various lengths that help unstick cloths from inside instruments. The only swab I would ever use inside a sax neck (crook) is the handkerchief style clarinet swab. Any swab with a brush or sponge in the center is just asking for trouble.

If you are going to try to tap the cloth out, use a wooden dowel and try to move the cloth back to the open end---never the other direction. Don't ask me how I know this. :)
Some small animal that eats swabs would be handy- an extremely small ferret or some sort of beetle maybe…
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