saxophone basics
saxophone warmup
saxophone tone
saxophone articulation
saxophone vibrato
saxophone technique
saxophone tuning
saxophone education
saxophone teaching
saxophone lesson/masterclass
beginner saxophone
counting, sightreading
saxophone performing
Joe Murphy, saxophone
saxophone techniques
saxophone altissimo
circular breathing
saxophone multiphonics
saxophone quartertones
saxophone slap tongue
improvising, transposing
saxophone resources
saxophone research
saxophone repair/reeds
saxophone literature, recording
jazz saxophone
saxophone history
saxophone humor

Saxophone Equipment

 (to be expanded soon)


Reeds ¨C Vandoren, Hemke for classical (#3); Rico, LaVoz for jazz (medium)

Ligatures ¨C Winslow ($75!), Rovner (I dislike), usually the standard metal is fine

Mouthpieces ¨C Selmer C* or S190, jazz Meyer 5 (but many others to try)Farrell diss, articles

Instruments ¨C Selmer, Yamaha, Yanigasawa; SATB (at least mouthpiece & reeds of each), flute, clar

                Brief history of Selmer instruments

Supplies sax stands, sound system and microphones, tuner, metronome, pitch pipe, see repair

Music collection (solo, quartet, ensemble, real book, Christmas music) see literature

Software see technology

CDs, see listening  

Books & Journals (organizations) see

Also see above link for resources on equipment. Highly recommended resources include:

The Development of the American-made Saxophone by Paul Bro
The Saxophone is My Voice by Ernest Ferron
Essay consisting of a translation of Jaap Kool's "Das Saxophon" by Lawrence Gwozdz


Eble Music: Bx 246 Iowa City IA 52240, 319-338-0313, for Music

Saxophone Shop, 2834 Central Ave., Evanston IL 60201, 847-328-5711: anything saxophone related

Interstate Music Supply, PO Box 315, New Berlin WI 53151, 414-786-6210: supplies, instruments

The Woodwind, South Bend IN, 800B348B5003, 219-272-8266: supplies, instruments

Madison Enterprises (Winslow ligatures) POBox 8434 Madison WI 53708, 608-241-1124 for books or CDs

Also see & search ¡°Equipment¡±


If you're in the area

Teaneck NJ (Paul Cohen collection of instruments, music, historical writing)

Muncie IN (Cecil Leeson collection)

Elkhart IN (Selmer factory)


Common Saxophone Repairs
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Student saxophonists should be able to:
1. clean, oil, use a dollar bill to clean sticky pads
2. identify leaks with leak light (look particularly at low Eb, palm keys, & both stacks; and possibly replace/seat new pads (except on complicated stacks)
3. Know common mechanical problems
a.  G# key opens when playing low Bb, B, or C#; adjust by screw or cork
     b.  left hand C key closes three pads, one often not at correct height; adjust by bending, tape, felt.
c.  RH, F and F# keys each close 2 pads, often needs adjustment
     d. strengthen springs, replace springs
understand octave key mechanism
4. Replace neck cork

Resources (search ¡°repair¡± in both databases),  Music Index Online

Supplies, keyclamps, key corks, mouthpiece patch, leaklight, springhook, screwdriver, glue, felt, cork, reed guard, sandpaper, matches, pads, Q-tips, chamois swab, springs, flathead pliers, rubber bands

Acoustics ¨C The Saxophone is My Voice, Gwozdz/Kool, parabolic cone; closed/open

 saxophone reeds

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1st 8 days must be consecutive

Never play the same reed twice in a day even after it's broken in

1st 4 days don't play extreme ranges or dynamics

Store on a hard surface

Periodically sand the back of the reed to keep it flat, warpage is a common problem in "bad" reeds

Day 1:     wet reed 10-15 sec, rub pores shut, wet again, rub and play for about 15 sec, rub and store

Day 2:     same, increase to 20-30 sec.

Day 3:     wet; don't rub; sand (wet/dry 600 grit) pressure on butt end of reed, sand top & bottom, rub on paper.

Day 4:     wet 20-30 sec., play, rub, store

Day 5:     wet, play 30-60 sec., store

Day 6:     same as 5

Day 7:     wet, rub on paper or sand again, play 30 sec., store

Day 8:     play 5 minutes

Day 9:     play forever


Further information:

   Some people think it is better to soak reeds in water (not saliva, due to enzymes).  Some say to rinse in water before storing.

   Some people say not to soak the butt end of the reed (but lick it just prior to putting it on the mouthpiece to create a seal).

   Some say polish the reed day one (and only day one) and wait until after five days to adjust (scrape, sand)

   Some people use alcohol on old reeds to clean out the pores.

   Some reeds (even bad ones) play better after long storage (one year).

   Some say use a file instead of sandpaper (takes too much off the reed)

   Some say don't play the reed on the first two days, just condition

   Some people think coating the inside of the mouthpiece with vaseline helps eliminate a "spitty" sound.

   Hard rubber mouthpieces do wear down, you'll need to buy a new one about every 5 years.  Periodically lightly sand the facing.

   Some people seal the heal of the reed somewhere between day 4-10.

   Test the seal by closing off the mouthpiece or neck & suck the air out of the space.

   Test play both sides of the reed by angling it into the mouth.

See:  for further sources on reeds. Highly recommend:


Watch Single Reed Workshop video (Wazel) in  MU library