Quick Tips on Saxophone Equipment for Improving Tone

Well, We’ve Done It!

We’ve covered the first section from 18 Tips for a Better Tone, and in this post we’ll summarize the whole section. Get an accumulative look at how the proper saxophone equipment can help improve your tone.

A Good Reed

This seems obvious, right? Have a good reed and your tone should improve. Here are some specifics:

  • Throw away your chipped reeds
  • Keep your reeds in a reed holder after practicing
  • Find the right strength and brand of reed that fits you…kind of like a shoe

Make sure the reed is working for you, and don’t be afraid to experiment with different strengths and brands.

The Correct Mouthpiece

This can be a tricky topic because there are so many mouthpieces available today. Make sure you purchase a mp that fits your style of playing: jazz, classical, etc. Here are some tips:

  • Purchase another mp if yours is chipped (chips can make the mp more difficult to play and can cause chirps/squeaks)
  • Use a beginners mp for the first year or so, and then move to a professional mp
  • Keep the mp clean on the inside and out. Calcium deposits will wipe off after an overnight soaking in lemon juice

Functioning Ligature

As a beginner, the purpose of the ligature is to secure the reed to the mp. After a year or two, you can upgrade to a professional ligature, but this would be unnecessary up until that point. The professional ligature will help improve items such as response of tone and articulation. Here arreed placemente some tips on ligatures:

  • The screws need to be in the right place. Generic ligatures usually have screws on the bottom, on the right side (see image to the right). 
  • Tighten screws until firmly tight, but not super tight
  • Reed BarkIf a screw brakes, replace it
  • Place the ligature low enough on the mp so the ligature is only making contact with the bark of the reed (see image to the left)




Very important! Sometimes people quit, thinking that they didn’t have what it takes to play the saxophone. If the saxophone is not working properly, and you don’t know that the fault lies in the instrument, you could think that the saxophone is too difficult to learn, and quit.  Give yourself a chance to succeed and take your saxophone into a repair shop. Make sure everything is working properly, and your saxophone will help you succeed!


Follow these tips and check out all the posts written on these topics under 18 Tips for a Better Tone Posts.  If you have any questions about equipment you can find two essential posts below:

Still have questions? Feel free to ask any questions in the comment section below. If you would like my opinion about a specific piece of equipment, I would be happy to help.

Before we close, what is your most burning question in relation to the saxophone and saxophone equipment? I look forward to your response!

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