1. Examine all pads for splits and seating,
including octave key pads. Replace as necessary.
2. Check operation of the octave key. Finger G
and operate the octave key. The pad on the neck vent should
remain closed, the pad on the body vent should open and close.
Finger A and operate the octave key. The pad on the neck vent
should open and close, the pad on the body vent should remain
closed. Lubricate if needed. If it still does not work correctly,
consult a repairman.
3. Finger middle finger C. Check that the
little pad just above the first finger of the left hand closes.
On Yamaha saxes adjust the left stack screw. On other makes a
repairman must shim with cork or felt.
4. Finger 1-4 and 1-5 Bb. Check for proper
adjustment by depressing the Bis Key. Adjust at the setscrew just
above the F pad.
5. Finger D and work the G# key. The G# pad
should remain closed and the tone should not change. If the G#
pad opens even slightly it will prevent low C#, B, and Bb from
speaking and prevent proper use of articulated G# fingerings.
Adjust the G# setscrew.
6. For advanced players: Check intonation of
low Eb, D, C#, C, and B. Adjust the felt bumpers. Use a good
tuner for this!
7. If all else is O.K., doping the pads helps
even on new pads! Old stiff pads are sometimes softened with pad
dopes. Use the Lavoz "Pad Saver" swab. These two steps will
greatly extend pad life, more than paying for the cost of the pad
dope and swab.
8. Lube the neck cork with cork grease, Chap
Stick, or Vaseline. I use Singer Sewing Machine Oil on keys.
Oiling the keys twice a year is adequate.
9. Wipe the sax several times a week with a
damp cloth and buff dry. Wax with Pledge several times a year, or
spray with Runyon Lacquer Life. Silver colored keys on student
line saxes are nickel plated and need no special care, just wipe
10. Never leave the reed and ligature on the
mouthpiece when the instrument is stored. Wash the mouthpiece
daily with lukewarm (never hot) water. At the very least, wipe
dry with a tissue or cloth after playing. Use a brush if
necessary--a Gerber baby bottle nipple brush works well. Soaking
the mouthpiece overnight in vinegar will remove saliva stains.
Keep a minimum of 4--8 reeds at all times. Keep reeds in a good
reed holder such as Vito or Lavoz Reedguard VI. Never store your
reeds in the plastic "Novapack" containers that reeds come
packaged in. Never play the same reed two days in a row. Play
reeds on a rotation schedule and they will last much longer. Wrap
the mouthpiece and neck in soft cloths (old gym socks work well)
or commercial neck and mouthpiece bags. Do not allow them to
rattle around loose in the accessory compartment of the case.
Mouthpieces are often damaged beyond repair this way.
11. When transporting your instrument on the
bus (or shipping) place bubble wrap in the case around the sax
and accessories. Do not use a "Gig Bag" unless you are willing to
hand carry your instrument at all times and hold it in your lap
for trips. Compact "Flight Cases" are available that have minimum
size and the strength necessary to protect your instrument. I can
recommend the SKB Contoured Pro Sax Cases (my personal choice),
the Winter Flight Cases, Pro Pac Contoured Cases by Pro Tec, and
the Selmer Walt Johnson Gig Cases (used by the Air Force's Airmen
of Note). These are all truly "roadworthy".