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Hey I’m new to the saxophone. Got an old King Zephyr bari. I’m noticing a few sticky pads. Is there some regular maintenance I should be doing to keep them working nicely? I’ve seen people using a dollar bill to unstick them. Is that it?
 

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I've used water, lighter fluid, & rubbing alcohol on a Q tip to clean sticky pads. When that isn't enough I put some Pad Life (oil) on the pads, & that gives me relief for a while.
 

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I just tried the Yamaha Powder Paper on some sticky pads and, at least for the short term, so far it’s worked great.
 

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Music Medic sells good stuff. Magic powder.
https://musicmedic.com/padmagic.html
I am using it on my sticky G# pad exclusively. And I can't remember when I actually had to apply it last time. Never wears out!
 

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Naptha applied with a flattened Q-tip followed by drying with a clean Q-tip works on a majority of the pads I have used that method on. That is then followed by pulling a strip of 1000 grit wet or dry paper between the pad and the tone hole abrasive side down using moderate pressure 2 or 3 times to clean and "polish" the top of the tonehole. In those few cases this doesn't work 100% I remove the key and using my fingertip rub teflon powder into the pores of the pad, blowing away any access. At this point with the key off it is also a good practice to check for burrs on the tonehole and remove them before reinstalling the key. If it still sounds sticky after all of this work, it is time for a new pad.
 

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Hey I’m new to the saxophone. Got an old King Zephyr bari. I’m noticing a few sticky pads. Is there some regular maintenance I should be doing to keep them working nicely? I’ve seen people using a dollar bill to unstick them. Is that it?
No. That'll relieve the symptom, but it doesn't erase the cause. Chances are that you have some "organic" buildup on the pad. It is water soluble, so you can remove it with a swab dampened with water - not so much that you soak or saturate the pad. Some people like to use naptha, which is lighter fluid - don't breathe the fumes. Alcohol will dry out the pad and is generally not desirable.

After you get the pad clean (including the groove, aka "seat"), clean also the surface of the tone hole. Again, a damp swab will do the trick.

After cleaning the pad, and letting it dry, I like to treat the pad(s) with Runyon "Pad Dope".
 

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Dr. G nailed it - you must dissolve/remove the organic compounds (sugar) and whatever you use must have water in it. I do actually like to use some drugstore alcohol on a Q-Tip for this purpose, but I'm going to clue you in on a little secret - Pledge is great for pads. Contains water, liquid paraffin and silicone. Altogether it cleans them and protects them. I use Pledge to clean/protect my horns so its a natural for the pads. I spray some Pledge into a paper cup and dip Q-Tips in it to apply to the pads, trying to rub the sealing ring well. After finishing, I go back with a dry swab and 'polish' the pads - really just wiping off the excess.
By 'Pledge' I mean the original kind without any stain or anything. I actually buy the 'store brand' or 'Dollar Store' brand since they're all the same and work the same. Sprays out a whitish waxy film. For the same reasons, its perfect for a horn whether lacquered or not but for lacquer there is nothing better. Its good for the springs, pads and corks although it could soften any 'self-adhesive' corks/felts. Spray on, wipe off. If you get interrupted, it doesn't matter - you can leave it on the horn indefinitely with no harm. You'll need lots of cotton swabs and cloth strips for the nooks and crannies.
 

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Jmceachern36, there are many threads already on this topic. Use the search feature.
For a balanced perspective you will need more than just the contributors who are ready to repeat themselves in yet another new thread on the topic.
 

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qtip with water to clean the pad and the cup, dry with the other side of the qtip....then put pad paper between the pad and cup when you put the horn away....haven’t had a pad stick since...
 

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In my years of saxophone repair I have found that some types of pad residue dissolve well using naptha (lighter fluid) while some types dissolve better with a water based cleaner. There are times when I use both to clean the pad as well as possible. The water based cleaner that I have found to be effective is Dr's Pad Cleaner. Pads that come with a factory waterproofing applied to the leather do not dry out when cleaning with naptha or alcohol. Naptha or alcohol will dry out the leather of untreated pads such as those installed on vintage saxes.
 
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