Sax and Clarinet

If you are a Rico reed user, try something new and you’ll get a better more vibrant and controlled sound with the Vandoren V12 concert reed and the V16 for jazz players. We have them in stock now. If you’re a student at Garfield Middle School in Lakewood Ohio, these are highly suggested and strongly recommended for concert and jazz band.

New Tenon or Neck Cork Care

Remember to grease new corks frequently as you break them in, especially if you feel the slightest tug as you fit the joints together; otherwise the corks will become damaged


Why aren’t my high notes playing?

  1. The mouthpiece is not pushed onto the neck far enough. Push it on the goose neck about 3/4 of the way and see if those high notes play easier.
  2. The reed was played so much that it’s now too soft or cracked/chipped. Try a new reed

Saxophone reeds: Young students who are frustrated with their playing is the majority of times is due to reed placement or reed condition. The good sound quality of a sax is based on these two things. Be aware when the reed has a chip or crack, no matter how small, it will affect the sound. The student will squeak more frequently and have trouble producing the sound of the note.

Reed placement: This can also affect the ease of playing, in other words, how hard she/he may blow through the mouthpiece to produce a sound. Check that the top of the reed comes almost even with the top of the mouthpiece (the black of the mouthpiece will show just a hair above the reed). The sides of the reed are aligned evenly to the side of the mouthpiece (visibly check or lightly run the thumb and index finger along the side of the mouthpiece and reed to check for placement).

Remove the mouthpiece from the neck when you put the instrument in the case. This stops the neck cork from becoming compressed and causing the mouthpiece to fit too loosely on the neck. Also when the mouthpiece is left on (which usually includes the reed), it is a perfect incubator for mold and crusty stuff. Take a peak sometime if it’s been on there a while – Yuk! Clean your mouthpiece using warm water, dishwashing soap and a mouthpiece brush.

Chips in the Mouthpiece? Replace the mouthpiece. Like a chip in the reed, it will cause squeaks and squawks!

Tuning Problems – general things to check

Flutes – check the head cork alignment. (see “tuning” below)
Saxophone – be sure your mouthpiece is pushed in far enough (usually about 3/4 down the cork). Or, check that the small key above your first finger left hand “B” is going down all the way. If not take it to a repair tech to fix.


Airy tone?
High or low notes hard to play?
The crown on the head joint spins around and is not tight?

It’s time to get a new head cork!

With regular use the head cork should be changed approximately once a year.

Tuning a flute

Measuring the position of the head cork at the end of your head joint.

The cleaning rod has a hole at one end for the rag that you use to clean the inside of your flute after playing each day. The other end of the rod has a line etched in it about 3/4” from the end. Ever wonder why it was there? Or was it just a way to decorate the rod? It is there to measure the position of the head cork at the top of your head joint.

Insert the rod (end with the line), inside the head joint and look through the embouchure hole and see if the line is in the center. If it is not in the center you will need to make an adjustment.

Notice before and after you make an adjustment, does the crown continually turn? This means the head cork needs replaced. It has shrunk and is now smaller than the diameter of the head joint and air leaks around it giving you the problems first described.

Looking at the position of the rod through the embouchure hole:

If the line is too far to the left:
Unscrew the crown a few turns and push the crown into the head joint to reposition. You may have to push the head joint crown against a hard surface to do this. You can place something soft like a towel between the crown and the surface you are pushing against. Recheck position with the rod and adjust until cork is centered.
Notice how it pushed into place. Did the cork slowly slide into place or pop quickly into place. If it popped, the cork will need replaced because it is worn and loose (if you can turn the crown to the right and it screws back to where it started, then the cork is to loose and needs replaced).

If the line is too far to the right:
With the rod inside the head joint you need to push the cork to the left to get it into position. Recheck position with the rod and adjust until cork is centered.