How To Replace Saxophone Pearls

When playing the saxophone, it is a good practice to learn how to do small repairs, such as how to replace saxophone pearls. By learning how to do these small repairs, you will save yourself some cash, as well as time waiting for your prized instrument to be repaired by a busy repair shop. Another advantage to learning how to replace saxophone pearls is the ability it grants you to customize your sax to your stile.

To replace saxophone pearls, you will need:

  • Flat edge screwdriver
  • set of hole punches
  • dremel with burring tool
  • vice grip pliers
  • soft rag
  • Five minute epoxy

Before you start your new project, make sure you have your pearl holder secured in a way it will not be damaged. Use your rag to handle the pearl holder and new pearl. This will keep the pearl clean and ready to install, and protect it from be scared by your tools or by dropping.

  1. Remove the old warn pearl. Look on the back of the pearl holder on your saxophone. Some saxophones will have a small hole in the back of the pearl holder in order to help in punching out the pearl. If this is the case, use a punch that is largest and will fit in the hole. Make sure you lightly tap the punch to crack the pearl. You will see cracks start to develop in the pearl as it bargains to break out. You will hear the pearl crack when it finally breaks though. Use your flat screwdriver to remove the remaining pearl. If this pearl is recently replaced or loose, you may only have to work it a little and it will pop out. If there is no hole in the back of the pearl holder, you will have to use the dremel with the burring tool to create a grove in the top of the pearl. Start in the middle of the pearl and work your way out being sure to watch for the the edge to keep from damaging the pearl holder. Once the groove is created in the face of the old pearl, use your flat screwdriver to twist in the groove to break the pearl. Remove the pieces making sure all pieces are out of the pearl holder.
  2. Clean the pearl holder. Scrap the inside of the pearl holder to make sure all of the old pearl is out. Make sure all loose pieces, and old glue is pulled out of the saxophone pearl holder. This is very important to make a good secure bedding for the new pearl.
  3. Choose and Glue. Once you have the bedding ready to receive the new pearl, choose a pearl that will fit snug in the pearl holder. Apply the five minute epoxy to both the pearl holder and the back of the pearl. Quickly pop the pearl into the pearl holder and use the vice grip pliers to clamp the pearl in place. Use the rag between the vice grip and pearl to keep from scaring the pearl.

When your epoxy is dried, you can remove the rag, sit back and enjoy the workmanship of your new pearls. Make sure the pearls are secure in their pearl holders before you begin to play the instrument. If it is not secure you may have to pop them back out and reglue them. Make sure the bedding is clear of any obstructions if you must redo your work.

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