How To Replace Saxophone Keys

When wondering about how to replace saxophone keys on your prized instrument, sending your saxophone to a repair shop can be quite expensive. Instead of breaking the bank, there are a few methods your can try to replace your saxophone keys. First, look for any leaks in the pads of your instrument. Leaks are caused by corroded key pads, damaged key holes, and even nonaligned key arms. You will know this by observing normal play of your saxophone. If it can no longer play certain notes or octaves chances are you have a leak.  

1. Corroded Key Pads

Corroded key pads can occur from excessive pressure and moisture around the pad causing it to damage. When observing for leaks, this is noticeable by looking at the pad and seeing any irregularities. Irregularities can include a missing pad or partial pad removal.  You can find pads and glue online or at your local instrument repair shop.


What you will need:

  • New pads
  • Glue
  • Pliers or small needle

What you need to do:

  1. Replace saxophone keys by slowing heating the key with the damaged pad. You can do this by any low flame, just be careful not to burn the instrument. The purpose of heating the keys is to heat the cement used to hold the pad in place.
  2. Try to remove the pad with a needle or small object .  
  3. Apply new glue cement back to the key, with a new pad.
  4. Apply pressure and heat again to activate the glue cement.

2. Damaged Key Holes

  1. If the area underneath the pad, the metal key hole, is damaged this will cause a leak. Damages can include physical distortion to the key hole, in which parts, even a new body, would need to be replaced.
  2. Unless you are a professional saxophone repair, complete overhaul of the body is a large task that if done without help, might damaged the saxophone entirely. 

3. Nonaligned Arms and Rods


The keys of a saxophone are connected by a complex system of arms and rods. When certain notes are play and keys are pressed, others may open depending on the note. Arms and rods can be damaged or loosened over time.

What you will need:

  • Screwdriver that fits your current screw style of the saxophone

What you need to do:

  1. Find the loose arm
  2. Turn the screw in question until it is no longer loose
  3. If you are not sure about which screw to turn, as a professional for help.

With just a bit of patience, it is easy to replace saxophone keys, holes, arms and rods. It sure beats spending exhaustive costs on labor and servicing. Repairing it yourself can also give you a sense of gratitude and even strengthen your relationship with your saxophone.


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