DIY Saxophone Repairs 🎷⚒️
If you’ve ever wanted to try repairing your own saxophone, here are 4 common, quick and easy DIY saxophone repairs you can do yourself.
These all take under 10 minutes to do, and the materials & tools cost less than $10.
To demonstrate these repairs I used the Ammoon/Lade Alto Saxophone. If you’re interested in more details about this saxophone, check out “Cheapest Sax on Amazon vs. My Professional Alto Saxophone.”
I’m not showing you all of these repairs so you can stop going to your repair technician. When you can, it’s always better to let the professional handle your instrument.
Just like learning the saxophone, It’s a huge learning curve and takes years of practice to be a successful repair tech.
However, these DIY saxophone repairs can help you in a quick pinch. Some of them are super simple and you really can just do them at home. If you’re a band director, you’ll probably find these repairs very helpful when working with your students.
If you have any great hacks for repairing your saxophone, be sure to comment below and share your tips and tricks with us!
Fitting the Neck Cork
If you have a neck cork that is too tight for your mouthpiece, with two little pieces of sandpaper and a little bit of cork grease you can fix this in a matter of minutes.
This is very common for newer saxophones because the cork has not yet been worn down. You should be able to push and pull your mouthpiece on and off the cork effortlessly.
For this I have pulled out my cork grease and two different grits of sand paper, 180 and 320.
When you’re using sandpaper it’s important that it only touches the cork. If it even gets near the lacquer on the instrument it could scratch.
Step 1 – 180 Sandpaper
First you’re going to start with the rougher sandpaper, the 180. Wrap it around the cork and twist the sandpaper back and forth gently, slowly wearing down the cork. Occasionally place the mouthpiece back on the cork to test the tightness.
Step 2 – 320 Sandpaper
Then, use the finer sandpaper, the 320, to smooth out the pores of the cork. This will give you an even smoother fit. Now even with no cork grease it should fit just fine.
Step 3 – Cork Grease
Finally, put a nice healthy amount of cork grease on the cork, rub it around with your finger, and then use your mouthpiece to finish up. The cork grease will help the mouthpiece slide on and off easily, while also keeping a nice tight seal.
Fitting the Neck Tenon
When I got this saxophone, I noticed that the neck tenon did not have a very good fit. But after a few quick adjustments I was able to make this problem go away.
I’m going to take a 1200 grit piece of sandpaper, anything in the middle really will work, and cut myself a small piece. Something a little longer than the tenon itself.
Wrap the piece around the tenon, and just like before with the cork, twist the sandpaper slowly and carefully around the tenon. This should smooth out any rough spots on the tenon, enough to get it to fit more snuggly.
Reattaching a Fallen Key Pearl
Another quick and easy DIY saxophone repair is reattaching a fallen key pearl. This usually happens when you’re dealing with a cheaply made saxophone, such as this one.
If a key pearl falls off, all you need is one tiny little drop of super glue. That’s it.
Replacing a Key Cork
Again, this often happens with these lesser expensive saxophones. To start, you’ll need a screwdriver to help you get the key you’re working with off of your saxophone (It’s not as scary as it sounds, I promise).
Once you’ve gotten it off, make sure you hold on to the key hinge – don’t lose track of that.
If you have any extra glue or cork left on the key, I suggest scraping it off so you have a clean surface to work with.
From there I’m going to use an Exacto knife to cut a piece of cork that will fit on my key. You can put just a small dot of super glue on the back of the cork and reattach. Once you’ve done that, use your Exacto knife to trim off any excess cork that does not fit behind the key.
When you put the rod back on, be sure to wipe off the rod and make sure it’s clean. If you have an older saxophone, I’d use a pipe cleaner to clean out the hole where the rod would normally go before you insert the rod. This helps rid it of any oil or grime lurking inside these saxophone joints.
Tools & Materials
The tools I used for these repairs are all very affordable and easy to find. You might even have many of these materials at your house already.
I recommend investing in these tools and create your own “emergency repair kit.” These are all portable enough in case you ever need to make a quick repair while at a rehearsal or a concert.
- Cork Grease
- Woodwind Screw Driver
- Slide Grease
- Pipe Cleaners
- Sand Paper Variety Pack
- Exacto Knife
- Loctite Super Glue
Interested in more DIY saxophone repair and cleaning tutorials? Check out “Time to Clean Your Saxophone?”