How to Swab or Clean Out Your Bari Sax

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Lots of viewers have asked me how to swab and clean out their baritone saxophone so I did it for the first time myself to find out. The crook of the baritone sax is not easy to swab out. I had to add a long piece of string to an alto sax swab in order to make this work.

I usually clean out the neck and the mouthpiece, so the rest of the horn has never been cleaned out.

Have you ever cleaned out a bari sax? Comment below and let us know how it went for you!

**WARNING** This May be very gross.

I took an extra alto sax swab that’s been lying around, tied a long piece of string to it, and then tied to weight to the other end of the string. We need it to be extra long to get through the entire body of the saxophone.

Put the swab through the bell, rotate the instrument so that the weight can fall through the rest and come out the other end.

You’re going to have to shake the instrument to help guide the weight around the bari. It might take a few minutes to work its way through.

Make sure that when you add the extra string to the swab that you’ve tied it very tight and secure. The last thing you want is something to break and get the swab stuck in your bari.

After playing the horn again, I can feel some more clarity that I didn’t feel 5 minutes ago before cleaning it out. I especially feel it in the upper register of the instrument!

So that’s how you clean out your bari saxophone. Definitely very gross if you’ve never done it before, and I highly recommend taking a stab at cleaning out your monster of a horn. I definitely felt a bit of a difference while playing my horn.

Interested in more cleaning how-to’s? Check out “Time to Clean Your Saxophone?” and my favorite alto sax and tenor sax swabs

Also be sure to follow BetterSax on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube to stay up to date with us for news, giveaways, and other saxophone tips and tricks.

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Norman I says:

They do sell a silk covered foam snake that will clean this top area from the top down. It will only clean the upper but that is where all the gunk is.

K. Taylor says:

I got a longer one of those silk tubing swabs and it gets a LOT of moisture out of that first bend, so I use it every time I play. I recommend these swabs, plus there’s less chance of a strong breaking while you’re pulling it through.

Oda Lisa Roberts says:

I swab my tenor every time I play and it’s always gross LOL

Bjorn says:

I tried cleaning it with a swab. The first time it came through with a bit of force. I figured the next times would be smoother, but it got stuck. So I pulled a little harder and I ripped the cord off the cloth. Had to take it to my repair man.
I have an old Buesher True Tone Bari. I could buy the same swab, it looked sturdy. But then I’ll have to cut a bit off. Anyone else have a good tip for a vintage bari?

Jay Metcalf says:

Was the swab you used specific for baritone sax? If not that could be the problem. Each horn has a different diameter bore at certain spots.

Chez says:

Please can you let us know what mouthpiece/ligature you are using on Bari Sax? I just tried a Bari sax for the first time, and it was rather dull sounding.



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