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Hi,

I hope it's okay to post this, here. I'm not a tech.; just wondering if it's possible to fix this easily?

The A flat on my YTS62 tenor started sticking today. When I'm playing, it sounds like there's a slur from G to G sharp, as the G sharp / A flat pad is not opening quickly enough. But when I sit down to test it the A Flat won't open at all. It's as if there's not enough tension to get it to pop open when the key is depressed.

Any advice?

All the best,

Alistair
 

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Do both of these:

1. Check the spring. Maybe it needs to be adjusted or replaced. If it won't open the key without an assist from gravity, it's not working right.

2. Clean both the pad and the rim of the tone hole with your preferred solution (I use hydrogen peroxide). Dry them throroughly. From now on, always put a thin sheet of pad paper or paper towel under this pad before you put the horn away. That will help prevent the re-accumulation of sticky stuff.
 

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Note that as LostConn says it could be either of those, but I would always look to the pad first. Often strengthening the spring will appear to fix what was an issue with a sticky pad, and although it may fix tit for a while, it's still a sticky pad that only opens because the spring is too strong.
 

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If you take a couple of Q-Tips to school you can wet one and wipe the pad with it. Its the sugary residues from condensation in the horn from your breath that sticks pads and the G# is the worst one.
 

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I use a flattened Q-tip soaked in naptha (lighter fluid) to thoroughly wipe the surface of the pad and then go over it again with a dry Q-tip. I usually do this more than once. Then I take a strip of 1000 grit wet or dry sand paper cut slightly wider than the diameter of the tonehole and pull it under the pad with the abrasive side down using moderate downward pressure on the key cup. I do this 3 or 4 times. A good way to tell if the stickiness of a pad is really gone is to remove the mouthpiece and put the end of the neck up to your ear like a stethoscope. Then finger G and press the G# key several times. If you hear anything at all, go back and repeat the entire process again. If you still hear a sticking sound, it means there is probably a "burr" on the edge of the tone hole from the last time it was leveled. If you are the "brave sort, you can remove the G# key and fold a small piece of the wet or dry to about 1/2 wide and run it around the outside and inside of the tonehole several times at a 45° angle. When you are finished, stroke the inside and outside edge with your finger tip feeling for a sharp edge. If it feels smooth, replace the key.
 

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Do both of these:

1. Check the spring. Maybe it needs to be adjusted or replaced. If it won't open the key without an assist from gravity, it's not working right.

2. Clean both the pad and the rim of the tone hole with your preferred solution (I use hydrogen peroxide). Dry them throroughly. From now on, always put a thin sheet of pad paper or paper towel under this pad before you put the horn away. That will help prevent the re-accumulation of sticky stuff.
Amen to cleaning the tone hole before you try anything more abrasive. Quite often, if there is sticky accumulation on the pad, there will be similar accumulation on the rim of the tone hole. No need for abrasive action if a swab and mild solvent will do the trick.
 

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Amen to cleaning the tone hole before you try anything more abrasive. Quite often, if there is sticky accumulation on the pad, there will be similar accumulation on the rim of the tone hole. No need for abrasive action if a swab and mild solvent will do the trick.
1000 grit wet or dry paper from a practical standpoint cleans and smooths the top of a tonehole. The word "abrasive" really gives the wrong impression to those who have never used or even tried this common procedure that is completely safe.
 

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Shellite is also good for cleaning pads and Tone holes.
I usually soak a cotton rag and slip it between pad and tonehole.
Then close pad with fingers and withdraw rag.
Repeat a few times and that usually does the trick.
 

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1000 grit wet or dry paper from a practical standpoint cleans and smooths the top of a tonehole. The word "abrasive" really gives the wrong impression to those who have never used or even tried this common procedure that is completely safe.
Hear, hear!
 

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I've been playing pro since 1964. It's how I make my living. And old sax player showed me this, and I haven't had a sticky G#/Ab key in over 50 years.

Before putting the sax in the case, open the G# key, put a $1 bill between the pad and the tone hole, close the key, and put the sax in the case (or on the stand if you keep it there). When you play it next, all you have to do is remember to open the key and remove the bill.

Nothing could be easier.

I've heard a $50 bill works better, but since I gig for a living, I've never actually seen a $50 bill ;D

Insights, incites and a feeble attempt at humor by Notes
 

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Discussion Starter #12
This whole thing made me realise that I've got to get to know more about cleaning and basic repairs of the sax. Steve Howard's book has a good few pages on cleaning.

The guy who runs the rooms where I practise actually took the key off; I cleaned the pad and tone hole with hydrogen peroxide and cleaning papers. When he put it back on, it was worse, and neither of us knew how to fix it. I took it to a local tech, who adjusted a screw. He told me it needs to be tightened the right amount: too loose or too tight and the key won't open. Don't have Steve's book in front of me, now, so can't be more specific about the exact part.

Notes - thanks! That's a nice bit of advice. Funny too. Guess we could use cleaning paper too. A note is more romantic though - I'll try it with a 1000 Won note.
 

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I've been playing pro since 1964. It's how I make my living. And old sax player showed me this, and I haven't had a sticky G#/Ab key in over 50 years.

Before putting the sax in the case, open the G# key, put a $1 bill between the pad and the tone hole, close the key, and put the sax in the case (or on the stand if you keep it there). When you play it next, all you have to do is remember to open the key and remove the bill.

Nothing could be easier.

I've heard a $50 bill works better, but since I gig for a living, I've never actually seen a $50 bill ;D

Insights, incites and a feeble attempt at humor by Notes
But it does introduce a greater chance of the pad developing a leak in the region closest to the hinge axis. That is because the thickness of the note puts more pressure on the pad ion that region. Just a small sliver of a leak. Some players would not notice it.
 

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I've been playing pro since 1964. It's how I make my living. And old sax player showed me this...
News flash: You are an old sax player. :twisted: :bluewink:

Yeah, me too. I just noticed. :shock:


#OldSaxPlayer
 

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A sticky G# is very very common. For years, I dealt with it as notes morton described: wipe the pad with a dollar bill. I always worried, though, that doing that probably led to some unnecessary wear and tear on the pad, so a couple years ago I shelled out $10 for this product: https://www.wwbw.com/Yamaha-Powder-Paper-J12203.wwbw

Works great, much gentler, and a box of these will probably last me 10 years.
 

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But it does introduce a greater chance of the pad developing a leak in the region closest to the hinge axis. That is because the thickness of the note puts more pressure on the pad ion that region. Just a small sliver of a leak. Some players would not notice it.
In 50+ years of putting a dollar bill in there I've never noticed a leak. If there is one, it's so insignificant that it doesn't affect me.

I gig for a living. I haven't got the time to fuss with it. The dollar bill is quick, easy and it works for me YMMV.

Before the older pro told me about it, I used "Selmer No-Stick" and I don't think that is available any more. It was messy anyway.

Some people mess with their horns, some play them, and most somewhere in between. I maintain them enough to have them in good gigging condition, but that's it.

Insights and incites by Notes

Addition: My low Bb still plays effortlessly and clear. If that sounds good, IMO any minor leaks don't matter.
 
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