SYOS

How Do You Clean Your Saxophone?

CliveMA

Member
Messages
357
I've adopted advice in the thread to air the sax on its stand after practice to help prevent sticky keys. That seems to work well.

But the neck cork seems to dry out, too. What is the general advice for maintaining the neck cork? How often should I apply cork grease? How do I know how much is enough but not too much?
 

Pete Effamy

Senior Member
Messages
2,197
I've adopted advice in the thread to air the sax on its stand after practice to help prevent sticky keys. That seems to work well.

But the neck cork seems to dry out, too. What is the general advice for maintaining the neck cork? How often should I apply cork grease? How do I know how much is enough but not too much?
I thin k that the cork problem must be your location Clive, I have no problems like that at all in the UK.
 

thomsax

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,648
Don't some people recommend cigarette paper?
Yes. and I think the hardcore "cigarette-paper-pad-cleaners" use Gitanes papers;) Talking about Gitanes and I start to think about JJ Cale and his "Shades" album. I like J.J Cale and the last song on the LP is "Cloudy Day". A slow blues instrumental and the sax player is Denis Solee (Nashville,TN). I learned the solos by ear on both alto and tenor. In C#m (E) (tenor D#m/F#, alto A#M/C#) if I remember right. Good music to listen to when you clean your sax and also to "clean" your ears after playing!!
View: https://youtu.be/CC8Z-FfKrEQ


Back to cleaning sax topic.
 

CliveMA

Member
Messages
357
Cork Care recommends:
  • "Cork needs regular greasing. One of the most common task we do in our work shop is replacing neck and tenon corks. While cork will compress over time and eventually require replacing due to wear in most instances a lack of grease is a major contributor to the cork tearing and requiring replacement.
  • A good guide is for a new cork apply grease every time you assemble the instrument for a week or two so that the cork grease gets impregnated into the cork. A very thin layer over the cork is enough. After this period once every couple of weeks is usually sufficient. If the cork is dry or rough to touch or the instrument is no longer going together smoothly it is likely time to put on some more grease. Always wipe off any excess grease".
  • To increase the life of the cork try to avoid leaving your mouthpiece or instrument assembled for long periods of time.
I'd noticed the neck cork getting dry to touch when I leave it on the stand.

Comments on above recommendations? How frequently do you grease your neck cork?
 

GCinCT

Seeker of truth and beauty
Subscriber
Messages
1,537
I apply cork grease any time the mouthpiece seems resistant to sliding onto the cork. It's approximately once a week. I don't use a large amount. I have the cork grease stick (like a Chapstick). I run the stick over the cork along its length in 3 or 4 places around it and then use my fingers to distribute it evenly.

After a playing session where I've added cork grease, I wash my mouthpiece more thoroughly since it will have residual grease on the inside.
 
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thomsax

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,648
Cork Care recommends:
  • "Cork needs regular greasing. One of the most common task we do in our work shop is replacing neck and tenon corks. While cork will compress over time and eventually require replacing due to wear in most instances a lack of grease is a major contributor to the cork tearing and requiring replacement.
  • A good guide is for a new cork apply grease every time you assemble the instrument for a week or two so that the cork grease gets impregnated into the cork. A very thin layer over the cork is enough. After this period once every couple of weeks is usually sufficient. If the cork is dry or rough to touch or the instrument is no longer going together smoothly it is likely time to put on some more grease. Always wipe off any excess grease".
  • To increase the life of the cork try to avoid leaving your mouthpiece or instrument assembled for long periods of time.
I'd noticed the neck cork getting dry to touch when I leave it on the stand.

Comments on above recommendations? How frequently do you grease your neck cork?
I think the cork grease is helping me make it easier to tune my saxsax. And when the neck cork is compressed I leave the neck , just the part that the cork cover, in destilled water. The cork needs water instead of grease. Look at a wine cork. I replace my neck corks quite often.
 

thomsax

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,648
I think the cork grease is helping me make it easier to tune my saxsax. And when the neck cork is compressed I leave the neck , just the part that the cork cover, in destilled water. The cork needs water instead of grease. Look at a wine cork. I replace my neck corks quite often.
: " ..... leave the neck over a night one ..."
 

randulo

Playing alto 2 ⅓ years
Subscriber
Messages
4,180
How amusing: I was just about to ask this very question, how often. I think I've been doing it about every few weeks or when I think it feels dry.
 

s.mundi

Member
Messages
575
[ADMIN EDIT: quoted post removed so quote had to be removed]

We hunt several times a year. I use natural hides to clean my horns. It is an amazing accomplishment to turn a hide into a chamois. Those chamois are used to make some of the best saxophone swabs that I have ever used.
 
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randulo

Playing alto 2 ⅓ years
Subscriber
Messages
4,180
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) .
I have similar for my alto and curved soprano, and for the alto neck and mouthpiece, a smaller one to dry them. That has an articulated cord on it, so it's easy to quickly dry neck or mpc.
 

Pete Thomas

Chief of Stuff
Commercial Café Supporter
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13,482
I have removed several posts to OT forum. Some were offensive/inflammatory but also please bear in mind this is a good information thread. While we do like some OT banter, this was going too far and detracts from the good information in the thread.

The removed posts will be reviewed by mods as some action may need to be taken because it was all getting a bit unpleasant.

Now, back to to cleaning your saxophone please
 

jbtsax

Well-Known Member
Subscriber
Messages
7,789
Comments on above recommendations? How frequently do you grease your neck cork?
Almost never. My mentor taught me to carefully fit and sand a neck cork so that it is a cylindrical shape its full length. As the mouthpiece is pushed on farther it doesn't meet cork that becomes thicker.

Once the cork is shaped and sized by sanding with emery cloth, it is given a smooth finish by "hand ragging" with narrow strips of 1000 grit wet-or-dry sandpaper.

Then a block of paraffin wax is heated over a flame and a generous amount of paraffin is applied to the entire surface of the cork. That is followed by heating a "pad slick" and "ironing" the wax into the surface of the cork.

A bit of cork grease is applied so the mouthpiece can be pushed and twisted all the way to the end of the cork just to make sure it can. The first few times the mouthpiece is put on, it will remove a bit of the excess wax on the surface.

After that, for months the mouthpiece goes snugly but easily onto the cork without the need for cork grease or any other lubricant. When the "going gets tough" after time, melted paraffin is added and ironed again to start the process over again.

The last neck cork I installed on my alto was in 2005 when I did its last overhaul. It is still like new 15 years later. I've gotten older and more worn out, but my neck cork is still going strong. :(
 
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CliveMA

Member
Messages
357
Almost never. My mentor taught me to carefully fit and sand a neck cork so that it is a cylindrical shape its full length. As the mouthpiece is pushed on farther it doesn't meet cork that becomes thicker.

Once the cork is shaped and sized by sanding with emery cloth, it is given a smooth finish by "hand ragging" with narrow strips of 1000 grit wet-or-dry sandpaper.

Then a block of paraffin wax is heated over a flame and a generous amount of paraffin is applied to the entire surface of the cork. That is followed by heating a "pad slick" and "ironing" the wax into the surface of the cork.

A bit of cork grease is applied so the mouthpiece can be pushed and twisted all the way to the end of the cork just to make sure it can. The first few times the mouthpiece is put on, it will remove a bit of the excess wax on the surface.

After that, for months the mouthpiece goes snugly but easily onto the cork without the need for cork grease or any other lubricant. When the "going gets tough" after time, melted paraffin is added and ironed again to start the process over again.

The last neck cork I installed on my alto was in 2005 when I did its last overhaul. It is still like new 15 years later. I've gotten older and more worn out, but my neck cork is still going strong. :(
That is amazing!

How universal is your method across techs?

What do you suggest for a "new" sax straight from the store/factory (which may well have stood on a wall stand for months/years as a demo without ever having grease applied)?
 

jbtsax

Well-Known Member
Subscriber
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7,789
That is amazing!

How universal is your method across techs?

What do you suggest for a "new" sax straight from the store/factory (which may well have stood on a wall stand for months/years as a demo without ever having grease applied)?
I don't think it would be a problem to apply the wax at any time in the life of a cork. I am not against using cork grease if a cork is dry and the mouthpiece hard to put on. I just wanted to share another option. I have heard a few techs mention this method, not too many. One who posted uses "bees wax" instead of paraffin. I've never tried that.

The very best cork grease I have come across is Doctor Slick. Which reminds me I need to order some more since I'm almost out.
 

CliveMA

Member
Messages
357
I don't think it would be a problem to apply the wax at any time in the life of a cork. I am not against using cork grease if a cork is dry and the mouthpiece hard to put on. I just wanted to share another option. I have heard a few techs mention this method, not too many. One who posted uses "bees wax" instead of paraffin. I've never tried that.

The very best cork grease I have come across is Doctor Slick. Which reminds me I need to order some more since I'm almost out.
I'm mechanically useless. So I was wondering whether I could ask any tech to do that method for me.
 

randulo

Playing alto 2 ⅓ years
Subscriber
Messages
4,180
The bigger issue is if you have two or more mouthpieces with slightly different diameters. Among my "collection" I have two Syos, and even they are slightly different. I have another that is not airtight it's so wide inside.
 

thomsax

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,648
The bigger issue is if you have two or more mouthpieces with slightly different diameters. Among my "collection" I have two Syos, and even they are slightly different. I have another that is not airtight it's so wide inside.
I guess the shape of the neck cork is shaped after the mouthpiece that you play most? "Plumbers" tape, thin cork ,,,,, . There are some guys that built up the shank of the mouthpiece. If it is just little then you can expand the cork with a flame och hot air gun. Some players use steam, but in the long run it dry out the cork and makes it fragile. You can can also have a neck for each mouthpiece. ;)
 

randulo

Playing alto 2 ⅓ years
Subscriber
Messages
4,180
I guess the shape of the neck cork is shaped after the mouthpiece that you play most? "Plumbers" tape, thin cork ,,,,, .
Yes, fixes that do work. I don't deal with it because for the moment, I don't like that piece (and it was one of the most expensive). However, on my first alto, when it got recorked, I brought two pieces in as the tech asked and he did the best compromise for using both. Other than the non airtight one, all the others are ok, just a little variable in the ease of putting them on. One slides easily but firmly, the other has a tiny bit more resistance than I'd like, but is still fine.
 
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