In today's free video lesson, for absolute beginners on saxophone, I cover how to put your instrument together correctly. Even some intermediate players and above could benefit from this info as I've seen some pretty shocking efforts over the years! lol
0:22 - what 4 separate parts make up a saxophone?
1:20 - what is a sax reed?
2:23 - how to fit a sax mouthpiece to the neck (crook)
3:00 - how to fit a sax reed to the mouthpiece using a ligature
4:19 - summary of how to assemble your saxophone neck, reed and mouthpiece
5:27 - dos and don'ts of assembling your sax neck, reed and mouthpiece
6:07 - differences between alto and tenor sax necks (crooks)
6:19 - sign off
So...exciting times you've got your shiny new saxophone, you open up the box and you're looking for these following four main pieces to get your sax going - Part one is the body. That's the main part of the saxophone with all the keys. Part two is the neck, sometimes called the crook. Part three is the mouthpiece, which will have a cap to protect the reed and a ligature which is going to hold the reed in place. And finally, part four is the neck strap, or sling, which is going to go around your neck and help take the weight of the instrument.
Now, in part two we're going to cover the body and the sling so in this part, first of all, we're going to cover putting together the neck and the mouthpiece, which is probably the trickiest bit, so let's get to it!
So, first things first the beating heart of the saxophone, which is the reed. Now if you look in your case somewhere you should see something that looks like this. Hopefully it will have a protective guard. This is the reed. It's a small piece of wood made from cane. This is what produces the sound on the saxophone and you'll see that one side is flat and the other side is curved downwards towards a thin tip.
The thin tip end is going to go in your mouth. Now in order to get a nice seal with the flat part of the mouthpiece we have to wet the reed before we put it on so that is the first thing we're going to do. All you do you simply put it on your tongue like this, put your lips around it and leave it there while you do the other steps I'm going to show you, so......[garbled] put it in your mouth, like this, while we do the other steps.
While you still have you reed in your mouth take your mouthpiece and all we're gonna do is slide it gently onto the cork of the neck, taking care not to bend this fragile mechanism on the neck. We're gonna cover exactly where your mouthpiece should be on the cork in a later video. Slide it on. Now, when you see the flat side of your mouthpiece, that wants to line up with the middle of the underside of your crook a bit like this... and now for the tricky bit, so we're gonna take our mouthpiece and crook and take the ligature and place it over the mouthpiece.
Now your ligature might look completely different from mine, it might be upside down, but you just need to make sure that the wide end of the ligature goes on first and that the screw is always on the right-hand side.
So once you've got that in place slacken the screw, not too much, just enough that you can take the reed out of your mouth, very gently put the thick side of the reed in first and then what I like to do is use two thumbs, like this, to carefully line up the reed exactly flush with the end of the mouthpiece and make sure that it's also central and then gently pull your ligature central on to that.
This is the tricky bit... when it's in place you tighten up your screw. Now don't over crank it to strip the thread but it should be quite firm. And then it should look something like this. And that is now ready to plug into the body which were going to cover in part 2.
Ok, brilliant, easy-peasy. Now for a quick recap.
Number one, carefully take your reed and put it in your mouth. While you're doing that find your mouthpiece and take off the ligature and cap. Gently put the mouthpiece onto the neck lining up the flat part with the underside of the crook.
Next, get your ligature, make sure it's on the right way, take your reed out of your mouth and then using two thumbs to guide it line it up perfectly with the end of the mouthpiece.
Once it's in place tighten up the screws and then carefully put the mouthpiece cap over it to protect the reed. Easy-peasy!
By the way if you're a tenor player, exactly the same process, but your crook will look a bit different. See the tenor crook's got this nice curve to it but exactly the same process as the alto.
If you liked this video please show some love and subscribe. I'll see you for part two and other fantastic sax related videos on get your sax together dot com. See you later!
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