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How Do You Clean Your Saxophone?

Saxodent

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201
Sorry but even in this present time I wrote this article 5 years ago about the consequences of not cleaning your Sax and Mouthpiece properly.
 

Stephen Howard

Well-Known Member
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2,102
December 2019

Not much of a study, to be frank. It raises more questions than it answers, and doesn't seem to have been well designed.

For example:
Of the 52% who didn't clean their instruments, what percentage fell ill? Were the infections in this group greater than in those who did clean? Did any players suffer multiple infections?

The 62/1000 incidence sounds impressive - but it's a scaled figure, which means that out of the 54 players samples, just three reported an infection. There's no data on pre-existing conditions and no local control group. For example, the air quality in Nottingham is rather poor. As of last year they were on the WHO's naughty list for exceeding safe levels of air pollution.
Did that make a difference? We don't know - they never factored for it.

It looks to me like they knew there were flaws in the study because they've put the standard "we can’t infer a causal relationship" disclaimer in.
 

CliveMA

Member
Messages
690
Is oiling mechanisms something we should leave to techs or is it something players can do themselves? How frequently?
 

jbtsax

Well-Known Member
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8,101
Is oiling mechanisms something we should leave to techs or is it something players can do themselves? How frequently?
Stephen Howard can give you some very detailed information and advice on this topic. In my experience a saxophone in good condition does not need key oil very frequently. The biggest problem I see with players oiling their own mechanisms is not using a fine tip needle oiler, and using too much oil. My best advice is that when you oil your saxophone you should have the needle oiler in one hand and a cotton bud in the other to catch the oil that runs down the post and onto the body. I like to use the Music Medic Ultimax products which are now available in the UK from Dawkes.
 

Stephen Howard

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,102
Is oiling mechanisms something we should leave to techs or is it something players can do themselves? How frequently?

Pretty much all you'll need to know can be found here:


...and some of the science:

 

Nikki

Formerly SaxyNikki
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972
I think there are a couple of reasons for using the (US) dollar. One thing is they're made of cotton fibre, so are fairly absorbent compared to paper notes (let alone the plastic ones we now have in the UK :(). This helps wick moisture away from the pad. The other is they're flexible enough not to distort the pad, which maybe card would be?

Not sure what Canadian$ are made of, and can understand not wanting to tie up $40. Then again, what would a set of leaves cost? Not sure of current exchange rates... Plus you can't spend those on beer in an emergency! Then again, you'd not be able to spend US$ either. But $2 doesn't buy much beer anyway.
Not sure what Canadian dollars are made of?
Here’s a picture of our $1
8007973F-1DA7-4240-A5A4-CE70C1DA1FAD.png

Our two dollars
F6E612F4-CD64-42D4-B14A-08ADBA9C6A4D.jpeg

Needless to say they are much good for this particular purpose.
Our bills are plastic covered so have zero absorbency. Luckily my G# isn’t sticking as much.
I’Ve gone back to leaving my sax on its stand .
 

Nikki

Formerly SaxyNikki
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972
So I ordered a BG 33 for my soprano , waited 2 full months and got a BG A 32 F which is for flutes. Basically it’s too big. Should I cut it so it’s smaller? Is that advisable? Any suggestions. This is new for me. I’ve never used one of these before.
0354E019-5699-4C6C-9EA5-6813D8980A03.jpeg
 

Jazzaferri

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,672
So
long as one wipes up after , is there such a thing as too much oil. I oil mine as soon as it starts to feel a bit sluggish. Maybe 4 times a year. Use med viscosity sax oil with a pin oiler . Over time I get a bit of darkish oil coming out the Lower key posts. That tells me oil is probably a good thing,
 

CliveMA

Member
Messages
690
So I ordered a BG 33 for my soprano , waited 2 full months and got a BG A 32 F which is for flutes. Basically it’s too big. Should I cut it so it’s smaller? Is that advisable? Any suggestions. This is new for me. I’ve never used one of these before. View attachment 14608
Oh dear, how disappointing they sent you the wrong one!

I think you can safely cut it to size.
My soprano BG swab has exactly the same black part with the weighted end.
The swab part is long and narrow: 12cm wide by 34cm long in an oval shape. Any wider than 12cm and it will have difficulty fitting through the soprano neck. It has the same close stitching on the edge. If you simply cut it to size, my wife (who knows a lot more about cloths) doesn't think the microfibre will fray. A seamstress could sew the edge if risk of fraying does concern you.
 

Nikki

Formerly SaxyNikki
Subscriber
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972
Oh dear, how disappointing they sent you the wrong one!

I think you can safely cut it to size.
My soprano BG swab has exactly the same black part with the weighted end.
The swab part is long and narrow: 12cm wide by 34cm long in an oval shape. Any wider than 12cm and it will have difficulty fitting through the soprano neck. It has the same close stitching on the edge. If you simply cut it to size, my wife (who knows a lot more about cloths) doesn't think the microfibre will fray. A seamstress could sew the edge if risk of fraying does concern you.
Oh thanks Clive. Those dimensions are very helpful and luckily I’m a seamstress so can easily sew an edge. It is the type of material which probably won’t fray but a stitched edge will certainly strengthen it. Yayyy!
 

CliveMA

Member
Messages
690
Even with the correct swab, the neck is very tight fit. Here's a photo of how I swab it. Put in through the bell and out through the neck. At the bell end, make sure the swab is spread out flat. If it is bunched it will get stuck in the neck otherwise!

sopswab.jpg
 

Nikki

Formerly SaxyNikki
Subscriber
Messages
972
Even with the correct swab, the neck is very tight fit. Here's a photo of how I swab it. Put in through the bell and out through the neck. At the bell end, make sure the swab is spread out flat. If it is bunched it will get stuck in the neck otherwise!

View attachment 14609
Ohhh. See I would have done this all backwards.
Your swab is much longer and more narrow than mine but I suppose a shorter one is better than none at all. I know the proper reed cleaning has really helped. Every bit helps.
 

Stephen Howard

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,102
So long as one wipes up after , is there such a thing as too much oil. I oil mine as soon as it starts to feel a bit sluggish. Maybe 4 times a year. Use med viscosity sax oil with a pin oiler . Over time I get a bit of darkish oil coming out the Lower key posts. That tells me oil is probably a good thing,

As long as one wipes up, probably not.
Given that the action on a horn is trying to maintain a semblance of precision with two relatively soft materials (in engineering terms) in a state of friction, it could really do with some form of recirculating and filtered lubrication. This would be impractical, of course - and the next best thing would be frequent oil changes. Impractical again.
So a regime of 'manual flushing' is about as close as you're going to get to the ideal - but you really do have to keep on top of the wiping up.

That said, if your action starts to feel sluggish over time then there may be something else going on rather than a lack of lubrication. Dry actions (the rod screws, at least) tend to run quite fast, but with a lot of noise.
 

CliveMA

Member
Messages
690
Ohhh. See I would have done this all backwards.
Your swab is much longer and more narrow than mine but I suppose a shorter one is better than none at all. I know the proper reed cleaning has really helped. Every bit helps.
You've received a flute swab (cylinder and diameter about 18mm) versus soprano sax (cone diameter at neck about 8mm) so swab needs to be much less width to fit in sop sax.
 

Targa

Among the pigeons
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8,981
Ohhh. See I would have done this all backwards.
Your swab is much longer and more narrow than mine but I suppose a shorter one is better than none at all. I know the proper reed cleaning has really helped. Every bit helps.
Before you use it attach a second string to the bottom so if it jams you can pull it out that way.
Though it is hours of endless fun removing a jammed pull through as I have found out by using the tenor one in the alto - only four times.
 

Nikki

Formerly SaxyNikki
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Messages
972
Before you use it attach a second string to the bottom so if it jams you can pull it out that way.
Though it is hours of endless fun removing a jammed pull through as I have found out by using the tenor one in the alto - only four times.
Oh yes. While removing a jammed swab DOES sound like hours of exciting fun,:rofl: I thank you for the tip.:thumb: Getting that stuck IS something I’ve thought of often and the damage it could do. :w00t:
 

Nikki

Formerly SaxyNikki
Subscriber
Messages
972
You've received a flute swab (cylinder and diameter about 18mm) versus soprano sax (cone diameter at neck about 8mm) so swab needs to be much less width to fit in sop sax.
Yes. Your photo as well as the dimensions you added were VERY helpful. Thanks Clive. I can always count on you my friend. :happydance::manicure:
 
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