Paul R. Coats
Examine all pads for splits and seating, including octave key pads. Replace
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
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.
1-4 and 1-5 Bb. Check for proper adjustment by depressing the Bis Key.
Adjust at the setscrew just above the F pad.
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.
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.
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.
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 clean.
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.
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".