Mouthpieces & Reeds

Reeds, Mouthpieces, Swabs and End Plug… attention there will be a test…..

1. Never leave your reed on your mouthpiece. It needs to dry and lay flat. You should have (5) reeds for the week, mark them (M) Monday, (T) Tuesday, (W) Wednesday….etc. This will help extend the life of your reed. Remember whatever is in your mouth gets on your reed, including germs if you are sick. If you reed breaks…throw it away.

2. You should have a reed (known by many names) guard, holder, protector or case.  It is a plastic sleeve that holds two or four reeds.  It will let them dry out, keeps them flat and protects them from chipping on the end. The plastic sleeve that came with your reed will not completely protect it. 

3. Your mouthpiece….wash it, at least once a week. Gross stuff builds up in there and it can attract some friends you don’t want in your mouth. Wash it out at least once a week, with warm water and dish soap. To get it completely clean, there are mouthpiece brushes you can buy…..get one. 

4. You should have a cap for your mouthpiece, this will protect the tip from chipping. There are much cheaper than your mouthpiece and just a small chip will keep you from playing….you will be the “squeaker” in the band.

5. Swabbing out your instrument to remove your SPIT. Yep, that “water” dripping out your instrument is your spit. You need to swab your horn before putting it up to keep your instrument from becoming a science project. It will also keep your pads from warping. If you want to know how well you dry your sax…..look at your “D#/Eb” Key pad….what does the pad look like….Oh, and those fuzzy, multi colored “Pad Savers” they don’t save your pads or dry your instrument, if it is all your are using then it is trapping moisture in the instrument. Go get a swab.

6. The End Plug for Saxophones. When you got your brand new sax there was a Black Plastic Plug in the neck receiver. Most people assume this is packing material and throw it away….well, it wasn’t. It protects that small pin at the top of your sax that opened your top octave key. Without it, your sax is resting on that small round metal pieces and that is a lot of weight for a very small object to support. Now, go buy another one, they cost a few buck. That pin can cost big buck to repair of replace.


7. Finally, keep your case clean. Don’t let your dog or cat sleep in it, animal hair is not good for you instrument it can get into keys and keep them from moving. Don’t leave trash in your case, it can get into your tone holes and keep your keys from closing. Food wrappers can attract ants……and even roaches. And seriously… looks BAD!

So these item will cost a few dollars to protect your very expensive investment….your instrument. Your local Music store should carry most of these:

1. Mouthpiece Brush

2. Instrument Swab

3. Reed Holder

4. End Plug (for saxophones)



1. Why take your reed off your mouthpiece?

2. How often should you wash your mouthpiece?

3. What happens to your mouthpiece if you don’t have a cap?

4. What happens if you don’t swab out your instrument?

5. When should your End Cap be on your instrument?

6. Why should you clean out your case?

7. What is the purpose of a reed holder?

8. Why not keep old candy wrappers in your case?

9. What does the End Plug do?

10. How long should your reed stay on your mouthpiece?