Saxophones aren't a small investment for many families. The cost of a saxophone averages between $300 for a very basic student instrument to over $8,500 for a professional grade instrument. How you care for the saxophone and how you store it will play a big role in how well the instrument holds up over the year. Below, you will find out how to maintain your sax and prepare it for long-term storage.
Maintenance for the Saxophone
To properly maintain your saxophone you will need a few supplies.
- Baby bottle nipple brush
- White vinegar
- Pad dope
- Cork grease
- Sewing machine oil
- Clean, soft cloths
Start by removing the reed and cleaning the mouthpiece. Soak the mouthpiece in warm water for ten minutes or so and then use the baby bottle nipple brush to scrub it clean. If spit residue doesn't come off easily, mix one teaspoon of white vinegar with a cup of warm water and let the mouthpiece soak overnight. In the morning, use the nipple brush to clean it and it should come brilliantly clean.
Pads and Cork
Pad dope must be applied to the pads to keep them from drying out. Pad dope also helps to protect the pads from the moisture that is carried through the instrument. Without this layer of protection, the pads could become sticky and prevent them from opening easily.
Cork grease should be applied to the cork to keep it from drying out. When you notice that the cork no longer has a layer of grease, apply a small amount to provide a layer of protection. If you are putting the sax away in storage for several weeks, apply a fresh coat of grease to the cork just before storing it away.
Use a drop of sewing machine oil to keep the keys lubricated. If you notice that any of the keys are becoming stiff, just add a drop to the key. Before you put your sax away for several weeks, put a drop of oil on each key to help protect them from corrosion.
Now that you have taken care of all of the details, use a clean, soft cloth to buff the sax to a shine. Remove all of the oils from your hands, any grease or dope that may be on the sax and any dirt or debris you see.
If you will be storing your sax away for several weeks, be sure to store it inside a quality case that fits the sax snugly. Store it in a climate-controlled setting. This means, don't stick it in your attic where temperatures will rise and fall often. Don't store it in your basement where moisture will be an issue. If you don't have anywhere in your home to store it safely, consider renting a climate-controlled storage unit.