Caring for Mechanism

Oil keys where they are attached to posts, also where one key hinge moves against another. For this purpose use a fine grade of key oil. Use oil sparingly, as too much collects dirt and lint. Dip a toothpick or fine wire in the oil and touch it to the part. Enough oil will run off the toothpick or wire. After working the key to distribute the oil, wipe off all excess oil. Springs will be preserved from rust if they are coated with a thin film of oil. Touch up the screws that go through the head of the posts; this will retard rust.

All saxophones have, beside the hollow hinge, the solid hinge which turns on the point of pivot screws. Since there is such a small bearing surface on the point, it is important to keep these pivot screw points lubricated to prevent excessive wear. Saxophones have the adjustable pivot screw which has several important advantages.  If the hinge wears and the key becomes loose, the pivot screw can be screwed farther into the hinge to take up wear. If a post gets knocked out of line and the hinge binds, the pivot screw can be screwed farther out of the hinge to relieve binding. When the pivot screw has been adjusted for best key action, it can then be locked in place with the set screw so it will not vibrate nor work out of adjustment. This adjustable pivot screw is also used on flutes, clarinets, and bassoons.

Keep corks greased with cork grease or tallow, especially the mouthpipe cork and those corks against which keys move, such as various articulated keys. The cork is put here to deaden noise of keys hitting against each other, but they will not work freely unless the cork is greased for easy action.

Usually do not put oil or vaseline on the joint where mouthpipe and body meet, as it will work better when dry or when a little paraffin is applied. However, it is a good idea to put a little vaseline on the end plug if you are putting the saxophone in the case for any length of time. This will prevent the end plug from corroding and becoming stuck.

If the tuning device corrodes or dries out so it is difficult to work, unscrew until threads are exposed. Clean threads with gasoline or benzene, using a cloth or small, stiff brush like a tooth brush. When the threads are clean, apply a small amount of vaseline to the threads. If this simple treatment does not remedy the difficulty, don’t try taking the tuning device apart. This is a job for the repairman. You may cross some of the fine threads and “jimmy” them, or you may put a kink in the sleeves that work inside each other. Such damage is serious and may require a major repair job.