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How Do You Clean Your Saxophone?

Nikki

Formerly SaxyNikki
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794
After you’ve played your saxophone, how do you clean it?

What to you use to clean it?

Do you have any good maintenance tips you’d like to share?

Did you purchase a clarinet cleaner with a weight at the end for your soprano and does it work well?

The one I have is pretty useless so I’m looking for ideas.
 

CliveMA

Member
Messages
514
After playing, I wash the reeds in water and store them in a Vandoren case that maintains humidity (tenor) or a Rico case (soprano).

I wash mouthpieces with liquid soap and water and dry with my soprano sax swab.

I then swab my saxophones 2-3 times with weighted swabs (BG brand). The soprano one has a slender weight that even fits through my mouthpieces. I use an Alto swab for my Tenor. The Tenor neck is the trickiest but I have a special swab for that with a double weight so it can bend thru the neck ok.

I use a padsaver cloth to remove moisture from all normally closed pads. I have Key Leaves padsavers ordered but they have not arrived yet for the Tenor. I'm having difficulty sourcing same for soprano.

Every 6 months, the Yamaha manual advises a special cleaning process for the neck but I haven't done that yet.

Then I carefully polish the lacquer with a microfibre cloth to remove all human contact. Holding the sax only through the cloth I carefully put it back in its case.
 

CliveMA

Member
Messages
514
oops, just checked, and my bendy weighted swab (2x2cm) is by Protec. It sort of has multiple parts and is meant to be partially inserted and then withdrawn. It is quite versatile because of the bendy weight. My two other swabs are BG and both have one long slender weight (4cm) .
 

CliveMA

Member
Messages
514
All swabs are hand-washed regularly. At least weekly but sometimes every day, depending on how many hours practice and weather. It is almost always extremely hot and humid where I live.
 

CliveMA

Member
Messages
514
Yamaha's official Maintenance Guide recommends more than what I suggested. They also clean the Octave tone hole with a special tone hole cleaner. I don't do that but I do use my pad dryer on the Octave tone hole.

Yamaha recommends cleaning the smaller parts once per week. I have not done that thoroughly but I superficially do it after every practice.

Yamaha also recommends applying key oil every 2 to 3 months. I don't do this but I do plan to get my instrument serviced regularly (every 12 months?)

I searched but can't find an article on cleaning the neck but it is in the Yamaha booklet that comes with every new Yamaha sax (whether that sax has a neck or not). Briefly, once every 6 months, make a lukewarm soap solution mixing brass soap with warm water. Remove the Octave key from the neck. Wrap the cork with adhesive tape to avoid it getting wet. Apply some of the soap solution to a sax neck brush and scrub the interior of the neck. Then apply clean water. Then dry with cleaning swab. (Whoa, that reads a bit scary to me! I might damage something in my ignorance).
 

Wonko

Member
Messages
334
Yamaha's official Maintenance Guide recommends more than what I suggested. They also clean the Octave tone hole with a special tone hole cleaner. I don't do that but I do use my pad dryer on the Octave tone hole.

Yamaha recommends cleaning the smaller parts once per week. I have not done that thoroughly but I superficially do it after every practice.

Yamaha also recommends applying key oil every 2 to 3 months. I don't do this but I do plan to get my instrument serviced regularly (every 12 months?)

I searched but can't find an article on cleaning the neck but it is in the Yamaha booklet that comes with every new Yamaha sax (whether that sax has a neck or not). Briefly, once every 6 months, make a lukewarm soap solution mixing brass soap with warm water. Remove the Octave key from the neck. Wrap the cork with adhesive tape to avoid it getting wet. Apply some of the soap solution to a sax neck brush and scrub the interior of the neck. Then apply clean water. Then dry with cleaning swab. (Whoa, that reads a bit scary to me! I might damage something in my ignorance).
WOW!
If I would clean my sax like you do, I would spend more time cleaning the sax than playing it!
After playing, I rinse the mouthpiece and reed in plain water and dry it. I put the reeds in a vandoren Hygro reed case (since the last 2 years, before I didn't have this). Then I clean the neck with a pad saver (like this one) and the main body of my tenor with a swab.
Every 6 months or so I clean the spots on the outside.
And about once a year I get it to my sax-tech for a check-up and maintenance.
I've been playing more than 10 years now and my sax still plays quite well and looks like new
 

thomsax

Well-Known Member
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3,676

U CAN CALL ME AL

Well-Known Member
Subscriber
Messages
1,054
  1. After playing upend sax to allow moisture to fall on to carpet.
  2. Place on stand to dry naturally after wedging open G# and C#.
  3. Remove mouthpiece, rinse and dry place reed in reed guard.
  4. Let it be!
I realise this is not the advice you are seeking but my saxes are to be played and listened to rather than looked at. I appreciate that for many a sax is quite a financial investment and owners wish to keep them in pristine condition for the time when they move on and maximise resale value. Personally all my saxes, a modest 5 in number are keepers and suit my needs so I see no merit in wasting my time polishing etc.
 

Nick Wyver

noisy
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Messages
5,943
After playing, take reed off put in plastic box with vodka.
Mouthpieces cleaned now and again, ditto necks.
Saxes cleaned when serviced (if I ask him to but not every time). Servicing is at random intervals - probably works out at every couple of years, so cleaning less often.
 

CliveMA

Member
Messages
514
WOW!
If I would clean my sax like you do, I would spend more time cleaning the sax than playing it!
You're doing more cleaning than I am! ;)

But seriously, I must investigate your pad/saver for the Tenor neck. Does it tend to leave bits of blue furry cloth stuff behind?
 

Jeanette

Organizress
Cafe Moderator
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25,732
After playing, take reed off put in plastic box with vodka.
Mouthpieces cleaned now and again, ditto necks.
Saxes cleaned when serviced (if I ask him to but not every time). Servicing is at random intervals - probably works out at every couple of years, so cleaning less often.
Pretty much same except reeds just go in plastic holders they came in. I will use a pull through if I've played away from home then sax on stand when I get home.

Jx
 

CliveMA

Member
Messages
514
Yamaha saxophone neck cleaning brush: Yamaha sax neck brush.jpg

I think Santa Claus left it behind when cleaning the neck last Christmas!
 

GCinCT

Seeker of truth and beauty
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Messages
1,599
I have a cleaning regimen very similar to the one @CliveMA uses. Every time I play. I also leave the body on the stand for an hour or two to let the pads dry before putting it back in the case. This may seem excessive to some, but my horn is a pretty expensive and well loved possession. Much like a car, proper maintenance will keep it playing well and parts will last longer.

I have a set of Key Leaves and I find them to be very effective. Clive,here is the link for the soprano set from the Key Leaves web site: Soprano Sax Key Props
 

CliveMA

Member
Messages
514
I have a cleaning regimen very similar to the one @CliveMA uses. Every time I play. I also leave the body on the stand for an hour or two to let the pads dry before putting it back in the case. This may seem excessive to some, but my horn is a pretty expensive and well loved possession. Much like a car, proper maintenance will keep it playing well and parts will last longer.

I have a set of Key Leaves and I find them to be very effective. Clive,here is the link for the soprano set from the Key Leaves web site: Soprano Sax Key Props
Thanks. The Key Leaves site won't ship to Australia and I can't find an Aussie stockist.

I'd like to leave my saxes on their stands to dry but my ever curious cat makes it tricky.
 

GCinCT

Seeker of truth and beauty
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Messages
1,599
Thanks. The Key Leaves site won't ship to Australia and I can't find an Aussie stockist.

I'd like to leave my saxes on their stands to dry but my ever curious cat makes it tricky.
I'm sorry to hear that. I hope find a source.

I've got cats too and they worry me. I keep the horn in my practice room with the door closed, but I still worry they will get in.
 

CliveMA

Member
Messages
514
I'm sorry to hear that. I hope find a source.

I've got cats, too and they worry me. I keep the horn in my practice room with the door closed, but I still worry they will get in.
Cats are too sneaky. And they have esp for what you don't want them to do!

I've asked the Aussie site I bought the Tenor Key leaves from if they can get the sop one.
 

hedgehog

I love singletrack.
Subscriber
Messages
268
Everything I do is mentioned above, but I do one more. My mouthpiece is hard rubber. I'm not fond of the odor that can develop in hard rubber. So...once a month, after the usual washing, I give it a coating with olive oil. So far, it's working well to suppress the odor, although I've only had this piece for 18 months. Oh, my tech says, "don't cheap out...extra virgin olive oil is best!"
 
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