Parts of the Saxophone

Students preparing to play musical instruments
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Adolphe Sax was a Belgian musician and manufacturer of music instruments. He is the inventor of the saxophone. If you're interested in learning to play this particular instrument, you must also know its different parts and functions.

Parts and Functions

  • Neck - Also called the "gooseneck," it is a metal tube that is attached to the body of the saxophone. It is removable except for a soprano saxophone.
  • Octave vent and key - The octave vent is a single hole and key located on the neck of the saxophone. Next to that is a flat metal key called the octave key.
  • Mouthpiece - Is found on the neck of the saxophone. A cork is needed so that the mouthpiece can slide in. As you may already know, this is where the musician places his lips and blows air into the instrument to produce sound.
  • Body - It is a conically shaped brass tube that has plates attached to it and holds the rods, keys and other parts of the saxophone. The straight part of the body is called the tube. The u-shaped bottom of the sax is called the bow. The flared part of the sax is called the bell. The keys on the bell are called bell keys. The body usually has a high-gloss brass lacquer or clear-coat lacquer finish. Some saxophones are either nickel, silver or gold plated.
  • Thumb rest - It is a hook-shaped piece of plastic or metal where you place your right thumb to support the sax.
  • Keys - May either be made of brass or nickel and often some or all of the keys are covered with mother-of-pearl. The keys on the middle and lower part of the bow are called spatula keys. The keys on the bottom right side are called side keys
  • Rods - This is one of the most important parts of the saxophone in terms of its performance. That's why it is very important that the rods be strong and well maintained.
  • Pads - It covers the holes of the saxophone enabling it to produce different sounds. The pads must completely cover the tone holes. They also have a resonator to help in sound projection.