The saxophone is a special and delicate instrument both in tone and in build. As with all delicate things, with its delicate nature comes a need for careful tending to ensure its continued top performance and durability.
In this article, we shall focus on looking at the need to properly clean this instrument, what you need to clean it and how to clean it.
Why You Should Clean Your Saxophone
Let’s begin by examining a few reasons why it is important to clean it. According to this article here, we are advised to clean this instrument after every performance.
The first reason is for the health of the instrument. When you play the instrument, you deposit your saliva (oil and dirt) in different parts of it. This saliva contains some acidic properties that is quite corrosive and will eat away gradually at the different parts of this instrument.
There is a second reason. More than just acidic content, your saliva also carries micro-organisms that can be harmful to the body. These bacteria can build up and cause serious health issues if not constantly cleaned out. We are therefore talking about both the health of the instrument and the player.
A few other reasons have to do with the aesthetics of the instrument. This is a way of keeping your instrument shiny. You will also not have a buildup of dust, dirt, grime oil and other materials that can hamper the performance of the instrument and even cause a buildup of harmful bacteria and other micro-organisms.
It is for these exact reasons that every saxophonist’s best companion is his or her cleaning kit.
Items in a Kit
There are a couple of items that most saxophone cleaning kits will contain. These include:
This is known by different names including cleaning swab, or cleaning cloth. You will usually need different sizes depending on the kind of saxophone you own. A through cloth is called this because it has a rope that allows you pull it through the sax. This cleans the inside of the saxophone of any liquid and dirt.
Other cloths that will be required will be used for polishing, and generallywiping dirt and dustfrom the different parts of the sax.
This is pretty self-explanatory. It is necessary for cleaning the mouthpiece. It is very important that this part is properly cleaned. Remember that this is the part that makes direct contact with your mouth each time you play the instrument. It therefore makes absolute sense for it to be perfectly free of dirt and impurities at all times.
Tone Hole Cleaner
This is used to clean the tone holes. These holes can easily get clogged and so should be cleaned fairly often. You should also be careful while using the tone hole cleaner, so you do not cause any damage to the holes.
This paper is used for cleaning the pads when they are damp. You should also use it for cleaning the tone hole openings.
This is necessary to make it easier to push the mouthpiece over the cork without damaging it. It is especially very necessary when the saxophone is new or when the neck cork has just been replaced because it is a lot more difficult to slide in then.
How to Clean Your Saxophone
To clean your instrument, the first thing you need to do is to clean the mouthpiece and the neck. Ensure you thoroughly remove any moisture with the cleaning cloth.
Next, use the pad paper to remove any moisture that may be present in the pads and tone holes. For greater cleaning efficiency, you may need to take the instrument apart. Do not attempt this if you are new to this. If you can’t handle this, you may have to take it to a qualified technician for proper care.
To clean the inside of the saxophone, use the through cloth and pull it through the bell and out of the neck joint. This will clean out the inside of the instrument.
Do not forget to clean the tone hole with the tone hole cleaner and finally, use one of the cloths to thoroughly wipe down the instrument. You may also want to give it a polish, so it really shines.
For a very detailed guide, follow read this article here: https://www.wikihow.com/Clean-a-Saxophone.
A Few Recommendations
In rounding off, let’s quickly look at some of our top recommendations. These are products we feel can get the job done perfectly for you.
Andoer Saxophone Cleaning Care Kit
This kit contains 9 pieces including a reed case for safe storing of your precious reeds. Other pieces you will find in this kit include: a thumb rest, extra belt, four cleaning cloths, a mini screwdriver and a mouthpiece brush.
You will notice that this offers more than just cleaning items.
Luvay Saxophone Cleaning Care Kits
This cleaning kit comes with six very important cleaning pieces. These include: two through cloths of different sizes, two cleaning cloths, a mouthpiece brush and a small case. This kit can be used for cleaning saxophones and other woodwind instruments.
Yamaha Alto/Tenor Sax Maintenance Kit
This is a kit you should seriously consider if you are new to this. It comes with a care manual as well as cork grease, polishing cloth, mouthpiece brush, tone hole cleaner, cleaning swab and pad papers.
This should easily set you on the right path with regards to maintaining your instrument.
There are always a lot of options to choose from whether for this or other products. The important thing here is for you to ensure you choose a cleaning kit that will help you keep your instrument in the best of shapes. This is very important if you want your instrument to continue to perform at its best for many years to come.
You should also remember that when you take proper care of your instrument, you are also indirectly taking care of yourself because you will be removing harmful bacteria that could easily getinto your body from your mouthpiece or hands.