Tutorials

Keeping the Sax. Clean

Bude Bill

Member
Messages
42
Location
I live in North Cornwall.
Advice please, do you guys take the reeds off when finished playing/practicing? I ask as I left mine on for a couple of days and it went black, not something I fancied near my embouchment.

Also the mechanics, the octave key opens a valve at the top of the instrument, but when the keys for "G" are pressed this does not open but another valve on the upper right side opens. Is this correct?

I ask as sometimes when going from an upper D,E,F or G it seems to stay in the upper register.

As you can tell I have NOT found a teacher yet, learning all my own bad habits.
 

Chris98

Senior Member
Messages
1,076
Advice please, do you guys take the reeds off when finished playing/practicing? I ask as I left mine on for a couple of days and it went black, not something I fancied near my embouchment.
Hi Bill,

I always take my reed off and wash it and the mouthpiece under the cold water tap once I'm done for the day. The reed goes back in a reed guard and an old (dry) reed goes on the dried mouthpiece. I swab out the sax with a pull through and then leave it to air dry for half an hour or more before putting it back in it's case.

Also the mechanics, the octave key opens a valve at the top of the instrument, but when the keys for "G" are pressed this does not open but another valve on the upper right side opens. Is this correct?
That sound like it should be.

I ask as sometimes when going from an upper D,E,F or G it seems to stay in the upper register.
Possibly a too tight embouchure or you just need to get used to your sax, try doing octave jumps both up and down. It's always possible that one of your octave vents aren't being sealed properly but, I'd suspect it's just a case of getting used to your instrument.

As you can tell I have NOT found a teacher yet, learning all my own bad habits.
It's the ones you've not spotted that will catch you out ;}

All the best,

Chris
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
22,004
Location
Just north of Munich
My son leaves his clarinet reeds on. They go black as well.... Doesn't bother him. :shocked:

Have/had the same problem going down with it staying in the wrong register. My embouchure's too tight for lower notes when I'm playing the higher ones. Takes a big effert to loosen up as I go down the scale.
 

losaavedra

Member
Messages
392
Location
Rojales, Spain
I rarely take my reed off after playing and I too get the odd black one after a few days, particularly if I've had a couple of beers while practicing, but it doesn't worry me particularly. It can be cleaned off (if one has a mind to) with a very weak bleach solution but mostly I ignore it as it doesn't seem to effect the sound at all. Ceilings of under-ventilated rooms do the same here in Spain, its what happens with high humidity in an enclosed space. Regarding the octave pad I'd noticed that it seemed to do its own thing sometimes when other keys (than the thumb one on the back) were pressed or released, but for the same reason that I can no longer recognize anything much that goes on under the bonnet of my car, following through what's happening with a sax (an amazing bit of plumbing in my opinion) is rather beyond my ability to concentrate for long enough to sort out what's actually happening! As long as it continues to do predictable things then that's enough for me. Finally, when I get unintended octave jumps I agree its embouchure related. They go away when I loosen it up more to stay with low notes or tighten it up for the highs. I found getting across the alt boundary smoothly, without embouchure adjustment, quite tricky when I first got my alto. Part of my pre-play routine is to see if any of the 'normally down' pads have become stuck down ... they can produce some unanticipated notes if left that way because the linkages from the buttons don't actually lift them but just rely on the pad spring to do it. If a pad is sufficiently stuck then the spring alone won't overcome that. Sound will still come out of the blunt end, but not what you were expecting!
 
OP
Bude Bill

Bude Bill

Member
Messages
42
Location
I live in North Cornwall.
Thanks to one and All

Thanks guys for your sound advice. I think I will take Chris's advice and wash the reed etc. from now on. It seems to be the most hygenic way.

I will stop worrying about the plumbing now and carry on praticing, trying to soften my embouchement for the lower octave.

Regards
 

Chris98

Senior Member
Messages
1,076
Hi Bill,

Keep an old (soft) toothbrush handy as well, I tend to gently scrub the reed as well as the beak of the mouthpiece to prevent the build up of the 'organic matter' that seems to collect around the edges of my mouthpiece patch. It’s a dirty business but someone has to do it. :mrcool

Chris
 
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