Many saxophones are designed so that
part of the octave mechanism extends beyond the body of the instrument.
When saxophones are made this way, the manufacturer furnishes an end plug
which is inserted in the small end of the body when the mouthpipe is
removed. The case is made so the top end, with the end plug inserted,
rests in one block, while the bell and bow are held snugly by block and
padding. When cradled in this position, the octave mechanism is protected
at the top end, the keys do not touch the sides of the case, and the
entire instrument is protected from jolts and jars. If the end plug is not
used, the instrument is too short for the blocking and is liable to bang
around loose inside the case. Such treatment results in damage to octave
mechanism, key system, and tone hole sockets. Conn tenors are furnished
with end plug but the altos are made so no end plug is needed. On some top
octave key model altos an end plug is furnished for insertion in the large
end of the mouthpipe to protect the mouthpipe key.
Keep all accessories in box or tied
down so they will not clatter around loose inside the case. This will not
only mar the finish of your instrument but may cause serious damage to the
Don't play with chewing gum in the
mouth, nor right after eating candy or drinking a "soft drink." You will
blow sugar water into the instrument and when this gets on the pads you
will have a lot of trouble from pads sticking.
Protect the mouthpipe key when putting
the mouthpipe on and taking it off the body. Be sure the mouthpipe
ligature screw is completely unscrewed before you try to take the
mouthpipe off or put it on. Also, be careful not to knock off corks when
joining the arm from the octave mechanism to the mouthpipe key.
Don't use rubber bands to operate keys
whose springs have become broken. In a short time the sulphur in the
rubber band will produce a black tarnish where it contacts the instrument
and will eventually eat through the finish on a plated instrument.
A piece of camphor in the case will
absorb moisture and will retard corrosion and tarnish. Recommended in
summer when humidity is high.
Don't make a practice of playing your
instrument without a neck strap by resting the bell against a chair or
table. This puts a strain on the bell and tends to cause the keys to bind.
Always loosen the ligature on the
mouthpiece when putting it away. Constant pressure of a tight ligature is
liable to warp the facing and in time may even cause a constriction in the
Always put the cap on your mouthpiece
when it is not in use, especially when you put it in the case. This will
prevent breaking many a reed and it may prevent chipping the tip or
marring the facing of your mouthpiece. Even a small nick or chip on the
tip will ruin a mouthpiece.
If you are one of those who blow lots
of water into your instrument, you can make the pads last longer if you
will blot them dry with ordinary blotting paper, especially those near the
mouthpiece where the water is heaviest.
If you have a dry mouth, don't chew
gum to help the flow of saliva. The sugar in the gum will cause sticky
pads. Some players are helped by putting a small, smooth pebble or other
non-soluble object in the mouth. This starts the flow of saliva. Be sure
to take it out before playing.
When you put the reed on your
mouthpiece, ordinarily you will put the reed on the mouthpiece and then
slip the ligature over the reed. Since there is a gap between the tip of
the reed and the tip of the mouthpiece, often the ligature snags the reed.
You will save reeds if you will put the ligature on first (loose, of
course), and then slip the reed under the ligature.
If the cork on the mouthpipe becomes
compressed until the mouthpiece tends to drop off, there is nothing to do
but recork the mouthpipe. Don't push the mouthpiece up on the mouthpipe
until you throw your instrument sharp, just for the sake of keeping it
from falling off. Vice versa, in order to get your instrument up to pitch,
don't force the mouthpiece on if the cork is too big; you may damage your
mouthpiece. On the Conn alto with the tuning device, the mouthpiece should
always be pushed up flush with the shoulder on the tuning device.