Sax on the Web Forum Archive / Alto Saxophone / I have a problem...

User ID: 9426023
Aug 21st 2:42 PM
Whenever I try to play a G # the key tends to get stuck. Is there a way I can correct this? It looks like it's pretty dry around the key area when it goes up. Is there anything a non-professional can do?
User ID: 0234554
Aug 21st 2:55 PM
You can check out the Gig Dust advertised at this website...

I've never tried it, but others swear by it.
User ID: 1676554
Aug 21st 4:50 PM
Check to see if the spring hasn't slipped of the locating lug. Try oiling the rod of the G# key too. Place A little bit of sand paper, which should be placed face down (rough side) against the tone hole, apply light pressure to the top of the key and drag the sand paper through. This should cure the problem, do it once or twice only.
User ID: 0255034
Aug 21st 5:02 PM
when horn is not in use leave a slip of paper between the pad and tone hole. clean pad with wd-40 useing a q-tip
Gordon (NZ)
User ID: 1265504
Aug 22nd 3:42 AM
There are many reasons for this, many of them going back to poor design of both the linkage geometry and the springs, and rough or burred tone hole edges.. In modern horns these are often combined with a waterproofing treatment for the pad that makes it slighlty sticky.

There are many remedies suggested in this forum, many of them quite likely doing long term damage to the pads. Gig dust (or talcum powder, or teflon powder, or Yamaha's "powder papers") probably does no harm, as long as it is applied in such a way, such as an invisible trace on a piece of paper dragged under the closed pad, so that it does not leave a messy build-up. Another suggestion, dragging a bank note under a pad probably also does little harm.

Solvents may actually make waterproofing treatment even softer and stickier.

Oils and other liquid applications may well accelerate the hardening of the leather &/or the felt, which is the most common reason for pads to have to be replaced.
John T.
User ID: 8506593
Aug 22nd 11:01 AM
Gordon is Right, and because of this, we should all just throw our Horns Away and problem solved! :) :)

Ok, just had some brain drain..... back to reality...., I've had a few horns with G# sticking, and, all of them (except one, an SML Rev D Tenor that loves to stick probably because of the linkage design) were cured by gently rubbing a QTIP containing a 50/50 ammonia/water solution around the entire Tonehole (including the inside) and the seat impression on the Pad to remove the Stickiness from the Saliva buildup that has accumulated there over the years.
Then followup with another qtip containing only water to remove the residue ammonia from the horn.

Gordon (NZ)
User ID: 1265504
Aug 22nd 5:34 PM
John I would be a bit careful with ammonia, because of the invisible damage it may do to the brass.

"All copper alloys are rapidly attacked by ammonia in moist conditions, with the formation of a bright blue corrosion product, and contact should therefore obviously be avoided. Even in very low concentrations of ammonia, brass that is stressed by either residual or applied tension will spontaneously crack by 'stress corrosion', a phenomenon first observed many years ago and at that time called 'season cracking'. For failure to occur in this way, two conditions must apply: that the brass is under stress, and that ammonia is present (Mercury and moist chlorine may also cause similar failure). Internal tensile stresses caused by cold working, as in the cold drawing of tubes or cold bending of pipework, are sufficient to make brass susceptible to stress-corrosion cracking. Under such circumstances a stress-relief heat treatment is advisable before such items are put to use in aggressive environments...."

"The brasses are resistant to alkalis, organic acids, the full range of industrial solvents and refrigerants. However, brasses are not suitable for use in contact with ammonia...."

I got this info from:

Note that at tone holes the brass is probably highly stressed from the drawing process.