Cracked Corks?

In this video, I talk about how to avoid your neck cork (or any other corks) from cracking with a really simple piece of advice. I also give you a quick fix solution that you can carry in your case when there's an emergency.

Check it out by clicking on the picture below. (Watch it to the very end…I have some really funny bloopers there!)

Do you suffer from Cracked Corks?

Do you suffer from Cracked Corks?


Do you suffer from Cracked Corks?

Here's 2 situations:

1. We often forget, or are lazy, and don't feel like applying cork grease to our Clarinet or Saxophone corks. We can get by for one more day without it, right? Well, over time, the cork dries out, and the more you assemble the instrument parts, or assemble the mouthpiece on a dry cork, it stresses the cork. Little cracks or tears start to form. Then one day, you go to assemble your instrument and CRACK, your cork crumbles off.

2. Many saxophone players, like to leave the mouthpiece attached to the neck. It's a nuisance to have to take the mouthpiece off each day. Over time, the cork dries out and the mouthpiece gets stuck. You figure you have the mouthpiece in the right spot anyway, why not just leave it there? (Let's also consider how gross that mouthpiece is going to get because you are not cleaning it. Read my story on Maggots in the Mouthpiece for a true, eye-opening account of what happens when you don't clean your mouthpiece.) When you go to pull off the mouthpiece, the cork crumbles off into a million little pieces.


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Here's a really simple solution  – grease your corks!!! Now, cork grease comes in little tubes that look like Chapstick (NOOOOOO!!! It is NOT Chapstick, so don't put it on your lips!). I had a 4th grade student who got his instrument over the summer. He saw the cork grease, thought it was Chapstick and put it on his lips. Luckily, he realized it was a lot greasier than Chapstick and that he made a mistake. These little tubes are great because you don't have to get your fingers dirty, and it's easier to apply a little bit of grease. (You don't need to put too much grease on the cork.) You can find them at many local music stores, Woodwind and Brasswind, Amazon.com and other online places.

What happens if my cork falls apart at a concert?

Here's a quick fix for these types of emergencies. Always carry plumber's tape in your case. It comes in a small cylinder that you can get from Lowe's, Home Depot or any hardware store for really cheap. If there's a little cork left, wrap the tape around that cork and over the area where the instrument part or mouthpiece is supposed to go. To prevent the tape from bunching up, put some cork grease on so the part can easily slide on.

If you don't have plumber's tape, masking tape, or regular paper will do. Keep in mind, with paper, you will definitely need to put cork grease on to keep the paper attached to the instrument and to not bunch up.


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