blowing, a lot of moisture enters the saxophone.
This moisture (condense water & saliva) consists
of a lot of sugars and other sticky substances.
It also sticks to the pads. Especially the keys
that are closed when in rest can become very sticky.
The upper keys, G-sharp (left little finger) and
the low D-sharp (right little finger) suffer a lot
from this problem. The high keys and the low D-sharp
are pressed open manually, but the G-sharp has to
be opened by a spring. This can give problems.
The solution: dry the saxophone thoroughly after
playing and do the abovementioned keys, if necessary,
extra; use absorbing tissue paper. Clean the pads
and the rim of the socket with a cotton bud, soapy
lukewarm water or methylated spirit. When the pad
is dry, talcum powder it a bit with a cotton bud.
Usually the abovementioned pads have to be replaced
sooner than the others. You can tighten the spring
that opens the G-sharp key extra. BUT then you will
often also have to tighten the contra spring (the
one closing the key). And the left little finger
already suffers so much from being the underdog...
THE SAX CAN ONLY PLAY HIGH NOTES
one of the octave keys or one of the high keys
are open. If the octave key on top of the neck
is open; bend it a little. Just take the neck
with one hand and with the other bend the key
towards the keyhole. The octave mechanism is rather
fragile because at this point two parts of the
sax are slid into each other. These parts frequently
instance when you put the sax back in its case.
Therefore, always use an octave key protector
(the black cap). It is also possible that one
of the upper keys is bent because it has bumped
up against something. Just bend it carefully back.
Preferably in such a way that the pad exactly
fits the socket. A real high pitched tone is usually
caused by the reed and / or the mouthpiece.
A KEY HAS SUDDENLY GONE LIMP
key has a spring that constantly pushes the key
in its resting position. By accident these springs
can jump off the hook. Hook it back on with a crochet
hook or a pair of tweezers. In case of a broken
spring: have it repaired professionally. Temporary
you can perfectly solve this problem by using a
piece of elastic.
A METAL ON METAL CLICK
piece of cork or felt bumper is missing or has fallen
off. Glue it back on again. Not too thick, not too
thin. A metal on metal click caused by play in the
rod is more serious. Sometimes it can be remedied
by oiling the rod extra, otherwise you should let
a craftsman attend to it.
LOOSE SCREWS, RODS AND SHAFTS
check all screws and rods to see if they are tight
enough. It could be difficult finding a replacement
screw. Also check if the shafts do not walk out
of the screw point. You can tighten them with a
small screwdriver. After you have done this check
if the key still runs smoothly and, if necessary,
turn the screw or rod slightly loose again. You
may fixate the screw or rod with nail polish.
IF A PAD FALLS OUT
this may never happen, but still. Glue the same
pad back in the same position. (Use glue or even
better shellac). The chance that this pad will seal
the socket is very small. Look at it as a makeshift
solution and let a skilled repairman check it later
when you have the time.
THE LOW D & D-sharp SOUNDS EMPTY
of its build every sax more or less has this feature.
By opening the low C (right little finger) a bit
further you can minimize this problem. Cut a bit
of felt away with a sharp razor blade or you could
also open the low C-sharp (left little finger) while
playing these keys. The low D and D-sharp will sound
reasonable clear now.
THE SOLDER IS LETTING LOOSE
solution: glue it. But be warned, skilled repairmen
hate it when you do this.
OUT OF TUNE
could be the build of the instrument, in which case
there is nothing one can do. The cause can also
be the balance adjustment (thickness of the corks,
felt bumpers etc.). Up to a limited extend this
can be remedied. Or: the instrument is leaking;
this can of course be fixed, but it is best if you
let a skilled repairman do this.
THE PINNACLE OF OUR TOP TEN: LEAKS !!!!!
most important shortage of a saxophone is and
and will be: A
LEAK! The low tones attack difficult
and you can only produce a sound with considerable
force . You can hear this and, with the right
equipment, also see it.
HEAR IT: Leave
all the keys open (middle C-sharp). Now play with
light finger pressure softly downward (so: C,
B, B-flat, A, etc.). If the pitch jumps" an octave
or if the tone starts to "bobble", the sax is
leaking. The lower the key, the more difficult
it is to attack. (A piling up of leaks occurs).
TIP: Never doubt yourself here. If you find it
difficult to play the low keys it is nearly always
the fault of the saxophone and not the player.
SEE IT: Go
to Dick Smiths and buy a 9 volt light bulb and
a holder for it, a 9 volt battery and a clip that
goes on top and a 1.5m length of +/- electrical
wire. Solder one end of the wire to the + and
- of the 9 volt battery clip and the other to
each of the contacts of the bulb holder. Screw
the bulb into the holder and attatch the battery
to the battery clip. The light bulb should now
work. Next, make a room as dark as you can, take
off the Gooseneck and pass the light slowly down
inside the sax. Close the keys with light pressure.
If you can see light coming out from under a closed
pad, you have a leak.
is easy to put a new pad in the key yourself.
As a makeshift solution this can temporary keep
you out of trouble. To let the pad completely
seal the socket is, as said before, a difficult,
highly skilled, tedious drudgery. Make no mistake
new saxophone absolutely does not mean it functions
well. Often several keys are leaking. The same
also holds for expensive brands!