Saxophone Repairs: Diagnosing and Repairing Common Saxophone Problems

Saxophone repairs can be costly and take a while. Losing access to your instrument can be a problem and you may not have access to a repair facility for an emergency repair. All sax players know what it is to have something go wrong just minutes before a gig. All sax players should be able to carry out the following saxophone repairs on their own

1. Problems playing in the lower octave. To solve these problems, make sure that there is at least a 1/16″ gap in between the post extending from the saxophone body and the neck octave key ring. If you place your thumb in the gap and gently push down on the octave key, you can adjust the gap until you the problem is solved. A tongue depressor can help you hold the pad in pace while adjust, in case you push too far.

2. The fourth-line D has an undesirable overtone or doesn’t play at all. Check to make sure the neck octave key is opening properly. As before, check the gap between the post and ring.

3. The notes down to low C play properly but low B-flat, B, and C do not respond. Check to make sure that the G pad is opening properly and make sure that both the F and G pads are closing whenever the F key is pressed while holding down the G lever. Adjust the screw above the G key cup until these work properly. Take care not to overtighten and use a drop of purple thread lock after you’re done.

4. The neck isn’t tightening. The tightening screw should be inserted into the unthreaded side first. It may be necessary to have the neck tenon refit, since this can make your saxophone sound stuffy.

5. G sounds stuffy or doesn’t respond. There should be some lost motion when pressing the low C and B keys before they touch the G touchpiece tabs. Too much motion can be corrected by slightly bending the lever.

6. Broken or missing neck cork. Some blue masking tape can be used temporarily to make sure the mouthpiece fits snugly, giving you time to take your saxophone in for repairs.

7. Missing key guard screws. Plastic twist ties can be used to temporarily secure the guard.

8. Broken or missing key spring. A ponytail elastic rigged to the key arm can be used to hold a key open. Avoid rubber bands, since these can wreak havoc on your saxophone’s finish.

Best of luck with all your Future Saxophone Repairs

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